Friday, October 03, 2008

Afghanistan's Compounds of Water Wealth

Via Boing Boing, Michael Yon has posted some striking photos of the rural compounds that dimensionalize much of the flat and arid Afghanistan landscape where “water is wealth,” he writes, and the “Afghan people are caught in the crucible of history, and their homes are battlefields.”

Yon: “Compounds are small fortresses that offer the Afghans scant protection from the forces of history … They vary in different regions, but many families and extended families live within compound walls … Sometimes several families live together to form a large compound or small village. … in the seeming middle of nowhere … Some are abandoned, and only the walls remain … The compounds are part of the landscape … Afghanistan is a living museum …”

In addition to his awesome photos, he writes a bit about their significance in the urban geopolitics of the War on Terror, with their potential to serve as key voting blocs to either further militant influence in the region or to empower the Afghan government, depending; as well as their precarious positions where militants and civilians blend together and live already rounded up into tight targets ripe for a collaterally mistaken air attack.

Yon says, “If we’re going to win this war, we will have to win over the rural Afghans. One compound at a time.”

Check it out. All Images by Michael Yon, 2008.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If we are going to win this war" what exactly does that mean, what shape will victory take?

11:52 AM  
Blogger Bryan Finoki said...

good question. 'winning the war' may be very clearly the wrong framework for considering what the nature of the conflict is, or is about, or how it will ever be resolved, qualified, contextualized.
even the word 'victory' might be inappropriate. i dont think anyone knows the answer to that. is this a war in the traditional sense that will conclude with a traditional victory, or is this conflict of another nature, perpetual, static, ongoing, resistant to winners and losers, just set up now to persist in its own violence?
though, i think the question might have been to suggest, if the war is to be won according to the warplayers' terms, then it wont be done with guns, etc.
i dont know.
your thoughts?

4:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the recnetly leaked memo from the British (or was it French) ambassador is any indication they (our allies, Nato etc) seem to be laying the groundwork for "winning" equalling installing a Western-friendly dictator within the near term (1o-15 years)....

7:29 AM  

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