A blood-covered M4 rifle belonging to Sgt. Matt Krumwiede, who was wounded by an improvised explosive device (IED), lies on the ground in southern Afghanistan on June 12, 2012. (Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters)

Ricky, an explosive detector dog, with Canadian soldiers from Task Force 3-09 Battle Group during operation Tazi, a village search and security operation in the Dand area of Kandahar Province, southern Afghanistan, on January 26, 2010.


Staff Sgt. Brenden Patterson, a Pararescueman, or “PJ,” of the 58th Rescue Squadron, of Las Vegas, scans for threats while sitting in the open doorway, with the door-gunner visible in the background, on a rescue mission aboard a Pavehawk CASEVAC helicopter in Kandahar province, southern Afghanistan on Wednesday July 28, 2010. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Oil painting commissioned by the Special Forces Medical Group in 2010. A Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT) aboard a CH47 Chinook above Southern Afghanistan, battles to save the life of an injured soldier.

“The white-eared bulbul (Pycnonotus leucotis) is a member of the bulbul family. It is found in Kuwait, Bahrain, mid and southern Iraq, southern Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, north-western India, in parts of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and on the Arabian peninsula. The species was earlier considered a conspecific of Pycnonotus leucogenys.” - Wikipedia

This was made after the pictures taken by Matt Pike.  I made some totes with this drawing, profits went straight to help Yazidi refugees in northern Iraq/Iraqi Kurdistan.


When news emerged in January 2007 that four British Royal Marines and soldiers had strapped themselves onto the outside
of two Apache helicopters and then flew into enemy territory in southern Afghanistan to rescue a missing Royal Marine, it was greeted with incredulity. WO 1 Ed Macy and S/Sgt Keith Armatage, both Army Air Corps pilots, along with Capt David Rigg of the Royal Engineers, all received the British armed forces third highest decoration for gallantry for their part in recovering the body of Lance Corporal Mathew Ford.

The cartoon refers to Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair, formerly deputy commander of the 82nd Airborne Division and of American forces in southern Afghanistan. The Brigadier General, married with two children, allegedly forced a military intelligence officer into having oral sex with him and threatened to kill her and her family. He received a reprimand and a fine but will not face jail or loss of rank .. (more here)

Sind Saw-scaled Viper - Echis carinatus sochureki

Despite its relatively small size (up to 61 cm long), the Sind Saw-scaled Viper, Echis carinatus sochureki (Viperidae) is considered a dangerous snake, with an aggressive temperament, a lightning-fast strike and powerful venom.

This viper is distinguished by a prominent, dark brown, arrow-shaped marking on the head and is covered in small, heavily keeled scales. Three or four enlarged scales form a slight ridge above each eye.

This subspecies is known from the parts of southern Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Iraq, Iran, Oman, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates.

Reference: [1]

Photo credit: ©Drew Gardner | Locality: Dubai, United Arab Emirates (2007)

Made with Flickr
However, the news about Farkhunda spread, and many people reacted on social media with emotional comments. One of them was Khaled Hosseini, the Afghan-American author best known for his book The Kite Runner. Writing on his Facebook page, Hosseini said: 
“I am depressed that the attack did not happen in, say, a remote conservative village in southern Afghanistan but in Kabul, an urban city embodying what passes for progressive thought in Afghanistan.”

Although he has since retracted his statement, Hosseini’s remarks raise a number of troubling questions: is such a brutal act not terrible no matter the location? Is the city of Kabul really a far better place than the rural areas of southern Afghanistan? Are the “conservative” people there savages? Is lynching a woman a normal thing for villages, while the people of Kabul are “progressive”?

Emran Feroz - The West’s Favorite Afghan: With his simplistic portraits of Afghanistan, Khaled Hosseini reinforces racist stereotypes and aids imperialism.

In The Kite Runner, Hosseini portrays Pashtuns as brutal Hitler worshippers (Pashtuns are often described as being the “true Aryans” of Central Asia) who oppress everything and everyone, beat women, and rape children. On the other side, there are the Hazaras, who are poor, victims of racism because of their Mongolian features, and oppressed and exploited — first by elite and modernized Pashtuns, and later by Taliban extremists who are also predominantly Pashtun.

Other ethnic groups are not mentioned as often, as is the fact that not only elite Pashtuns oppressed the Hazara and other poor individuals, but also other, non-Pashtun people who had enough money and were at the top of the society’s oppressive hierarchy.

Hosseini’s second bestseller, A Thousand Splendid Suns, follows a similar line. Once again, the main antagonist is a Pashtun — in this case an old man who beats his first wife and then makes his second wife, a young girl who was forced to marry him, have sex with him. And the violent and barbaric Pashtun man is loyal to the Taliban. What else could he be?


Furthermore, Hosseini’s equation of Pashtuns with Taliban sympathizers, militants, and extremists has had dangerous consequences for the way both the public and policymakers view the people of southern and eastern Afghanistan — the site of the majority of drone attacks in the country. Just last month, more than thirty people leaving the funeral of a tribal elder were killed in just such an aerial strike — a tragedy that, unlike the killing in March, attracted scant media attention. Indeed, there were around twenty drone strikes last month that killed more than one hundred people.

As for Hosseini, his commentary on the lynching of Farkhunda amounted to a ten-second soundbite of what we learn from his novels: we should expect more of progressive Kabul, but backwards, militant, rural, and particularly Pashtun Afghanistan still needs saving. The Facebook post also suggested that while his latest book contains less emphasis on particular ethnic groups, the departure is likely more accidental than intentional.

The public and media shouldn’t expect a single individual to speak for a complex, diverse society with a wide range of perspectives and life experiences. And while we cannot hold a single author responsible for the suffering of Afghan people, what is objectionable is this: Hosseini has made millions of dollars bolstering neocolonial interests by creating a black-and-white construct of his own country of origin.