Pedophilia, forced marriages, blasphemy trials and drug dealing. That is the real Afghanistan. The one that lingers on even when the Taliban are chased into the hills. That cannot be changed by American intervention because this is who its people are.
We might have been able to save Afghanistan from the Taliban, but we can’t save it from the Afghans. From the quarreling clans and warlords, the age old customs and the Islamic mores. Beyond a sliver of Western educated men and women in Kabul lies a land of a thousand cruelties and a million knives. With a vendetta around every corner and murder in every heart. (…)
Almost any other religion would have had a civilizing influence on Afghanistan. But Islam’s influence has only embedded the savagery deeper beneath its dusty skin. Everything that is bad in Afghanistan has its supporting verse in the Koran. The culture of the tribal raid, its emphasis on victory as proof of divine sanction and its contempt for women– finds its echo in the Koran. Tribal cruelty becomes the will of Allah.