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Afghanistan Bans Internet

michael posted more than 13 years ago | from the you-don't-have-mail dept.

Censorship 242

aristotle2000 writes: "Suprisingly, the Taliban has prohibited the use of the Internet in Afghanistan. Apparently, the Internet can deliver un-Islamic, immoral, or lewd material. Who can believe that a country that has such an open attitude towards women, minorities, religions, and the press would object to the Internet?" I guess I'm unclear on the concept here: if the government is also forswearing the internet, who is going to monitor to make sure the peons aren't secretly dialing up to AOL? On the plus side, .af domains should be real cheap.

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Sounds like 1984 (not only cause of internet) (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#85189)

"Muttawakil said the Taliban wanted to keep society away from trends promoting obscenity and immorality through the Internet."

Individual decision? Zip, gone. Access to information other than that of the ruling party, gone. I don't like pornography either, but this is absurd. I feel sorry for those who are trapped in this place and aren't quite so fanatical. They got a raw deal.

"AIP did not say when the ban was imposed and how the Taliban planned to ensure that telephone lines were not being used to access the Internet."

There is only one possible way I am aware of - monitor all phone connections. If they don't have an infastructure built right now they can rebuild it by running all lines through a central monitoring system. Brrr.

"But most Taliban decisions and edicts on conduct are ruthlessly enforced by their powerful religious police working under the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice."

Thought police anyone?

How do they stop companies? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#85190)

Some companies (e.g. - shell) have their own satellites and tend to shuttle all kinds of data off them, not just do surveying.

How're they gonna stop them?

It's impossible without pissing off an extremely large company that can crush an entire country (after all, they must buy their refined petrolium from somwhere... and you piss off one, with that kind of government you piss them all off).

I don't think every one Understand Islam (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#85193)

Islam in and of it's self is a very whole and sound religion. But like Christianity and Catholocism, it has been used in the name of violence and repression. I think that we can all agree on that. It needs to be stated that the Taliban perversion of Islam is NOT accepted by ANY OTHER Islamic sect. The other sad fact is the terrorism, middle east countries, and Islamic faith are all intertwined. A very western view. Is it accurate? I don't know, I don't care, Terrorism sucks. Compared to our vantage point, countries in the middle east do seem extremeist and repressed. And please remember that Hitler and his f'ed up Germany did get the collective Sh*t kicked out of them.

It took this long?... (5)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#85194)

The Taliban are extremists in the extreme. Take everything you'd consider to be religious fanaticism and turn it up to 11, then you have a general idea of what the Taliban are like. First they kill women for exposing some skin; then of course there's the destruction of centuries-old relics that don't align with their religion. They shun all forms of entertainment as far as I can tell. Why it took them this long to ban the use of the Internet is beyond me.

For those who want a really good look at the atrocities of the Taliban, check out RAWA [rawa.org] . Be careful what you click on, though; there are VERY graphic movie files and pictures on that site. Don't go there unless you have a strong stomach. We're not talking about annoying Congressmen here; these people are killers, plain and simple.

Bridging the Gap (5)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#85195)

I was born in Afghanistan, but I have lived in the US for most of my life. I would like to comment on the cultural aspects of the Internet and its relationship to the brand of Islam espoused by the Taliban.

To start off, I will try to give a perspective of what it's like as a Muslim (I'm not a Muslim, btw) trying to face American values. I quote from "The Islamic Declaration", written by Alija Izetbegovic.

"For more than a century now, many nations outside the western civilisation, have been facing the problem of which attitude to take towards that civilisation. Finding oneself face to face with it, should one assume the attitude of absolute rejection, cautious adjustment or accept indiscriminately all the aspects of that civilisation? The tragedy or triumph of many nations was decided by their answer to this crucial question."

This speaks to me, as I feel the same thing living inside the US. As a citizen of the US and forced subject of its culture, I have to discriminate between the aspects of the culture that I would rather not become, and those that are wonderful and magnificent.

This is often a very difficult process to undergo. Alduous Huxley himself wrote in the forward to the second edition of "Brave New World":

If I were now to rewrite the book, I would offer the Savage a third alternative. Between the utopian and the primitive horns of his dilemma would lie the possibility of sanity--a possibility already actualized, to some extent, in a community of exiles and refugees from the Brave New World, living within the borders of the Reservation. In this community economics would be decentralist and Henry-Georgian, politics Kropotkinesque cooperative. Science and technology would be used as though, like the Sabbath, they had been made for man, not (as at present and still more so in the Brave New World) as though man were to be adapted and enslaved to them. Religion would be the conscious and intelligent pursuit of man's Final End, the unitive knowledge of the immanent Tao or Logos, the transcendent Godhead or Brahman. And the prevailing philosophy of life would be a kind of Higher Utilitarianism, in which the Greatest Happiness principle would be secondary to the Final End principle--the first questino to be asked and answered in every contingency of life being: "How will this thought or action contribute to, or interfere with, the achievement, by me and the greatest possible number of other individuals, of man's Final End?"

I mention this source to suggest that it's not easy for people even living in the western world to address its culture. The Taliban, simply not being able to find the sanity among the modern western world, have decided to turn away from it altogether, the same thing Huxley did in "Brave New World" because he could see no possibility of sanity within the direction the west seems to be taking humanity.

So, the Taliban are certainly misguided, IMHO, but we must forgive them and recognize our own shortcomings in what we perceive as theirs. They are trying to force with law and government what they really wish would happen as a result of a transformation in the hearts and minds of people. How is that any different from what goes on in the US? The war on drugs, for example, is symptomatic of trying to use guns and force to stamp out an essentially crisis of the human spirit. In some ways, having any government providing such a "service" contributes to the problem and perpetuates the cycle since it distracts people from the root cause. People start thinking that big brother will come along and save them, and start to lose sight of their own individual will and spirit. While not particularly effective, people often commit crimes simply because they want to demonstrate that the whole approach of trying to prevent crime through negativity as opposed to positivity is misguided.

From Izetbegovic:

Re:Monitoring? (1)

mattdm (1931) | more than 13 years ago | (#85202)

Don't even need to know if it's a data call -- just keep track of the numbers they're calling....

Re:Not surprising Really (3)

mattdm (1931) | more than 13 years ago | (#85204)

Um, no. The ACLU will defend your religious civil liberties as well. The cases where they seem anti-religion are those which involve separation of church and state -- an important distinction which protects against exactly the sort of things the Afghan government has been imposing on its citizens. Keeping Christianity out of schools and local government may seem unfair to you, but in the long run it preserves the option of following the faith you choose. What if, at the founding of the country, Thomas Jefferson's edited Bible [angelfire.com]
had been declared the only acceptable version, and those who had different Christian beliefs forced
to discard them?

Trouble for Bin Laden (3)

booch (4157) | more than 13 years ago | (#85205)

Hmm, rumor has it that bin Laden has been using the Internet to communicate with his terrorist group. I wonder if he'll still be allowed to do that or not.

Re:And then there's... (2)

Glytch (4881) | more than 13 years ago | (#85208)

Hey, I thought we were talking about Clinton, not Bush.

informative (1)

bstadil (7110) | more than 13 years ago | (#85209)

the sad part is that informative is probably more accurate than funny.

Monitoring not a problem. (5)

hatless (8275) | more than 13 years ago | (#85210)

Since phone service in and out of Afghanistan is even worse these days than that in Pakistan (and that's saying something!), there shouldn't be too much concern about any but the wealthiest and most powerful people dialing out to AOL successfully via Afghani phone lines. And most of those people who are still in Afghanistan at all are considered enemies of the regime and under watch anyway.

For another thing, the Taliban is pretty good at using severe punishments as a deterrent. Beatings, reeducation camps and death at the hands of the morals police have brought Afghanistan's heroin-smuggling routes to a halt. Not a trickle, but a halt.

It's hard to imagine anyone risking internet access. You might see a trickle of UUCP-relayed e-mail continue below the radar via 2400-baud modem connections, but that's about it.

Make all the jokes you want from the comfort of your developed country re: how they'll monitor this, but in a country with only a few hundred outbound phone lines in working order, if that--prehistoric analog ones switched by hand--it doesn't take much to eavesdrop on all of them at once and listen for carrier tones.

Wow, they've heard of the internet? (2)

crovira (10242) | more than 13 years ago | (#85213)

But its NOT in the Koran.

Who reported this? Why? I'm sure the Taliban'd be much happier being ignorant clods of dirt smelling of goat cheese and wondering "where the wimin is!" (Answer: You shot them all jack-offs)

Gotta love the religious fundamentalists. The zealots are even worse than the hippocrites.

Remember the teary-eyed "Ah have sinned!" The Taliban would have shot his fat pink ass and not seen the irony in doing so.

Re:.af (3)

Col. Klink (retired) (11632) | more than 13 years ago | (#85214)

Great Britain ought to send in the r.af!

Hearing impaired could set up a site for the de.af.

alt.fan.warlord could keep an archive at bu.af
(Big Ugly ASCII Font).

alt.folklore.urban regulars could find testimonials at fo.af (Friend Of A Friend).

Obvious Solution - (1)

geojaz (11691) | more than 13 years ago | (#85215)

There is a plainly obvious solution to this problem that the Taliban just can't touch... come on, RFC1149 - all they need is a bunch of pigeons and... Of course they could outlaw birds too.

Politics, Religion, and using God for man's hate (4)

Geek In Training (12075) | more than 13 years ago | (#85218)

One of the great passions in my life (one that has led me away from organized religion, oddly enough) is having conversation wih people about the hypocrisy shown by religions throughout history. "God" and "Jesus" in the Judeo-Christian religons, Muhammed, Buddha, et al-- they all stood for peace, love, humanity, and understanding. And oh yeah... righteousness.

The concept of "righteousness" has led to the "My God is bigger than your God" shit that has been going on for oh, about 4-6,000 years now. Invoking God to justify murder and destruction, all becuase you think your God is right and the other guy's God is wrong.

I submit that Gods are all the same. A creator, life-giver, a spiritual leader... we just choose to worhip them in different ways. Americans probably have no problem with this, since most of us are pretty open-minded about religious differences. Except, of course, those crazy rabid Christians who like to call Catholics "Mary fetishists," claim that the King James Version is the "Only True Version" of God's Word, and anyone who disagrees should either be converted or damned to hell by their hand. But I digress...

The point is that in other parts of the world, specifically the Middle East, Religion is everything. Which God you worship and how you worship him determines where you will live, how you will vote, and oftentime whether you will live or die when a particular "party" comes into power.

Take for example, Isreal and Palestine. There's no reason in the world why this little piece of land can't handle people of two differing sets of religious beliefs. Oh, except of course that the Palestinians believe that they own the land by rights, and it was taken by the Israeli's when they claimed it in the name of "The God of Abraham." And the same Israeli's belive that since God gave THEM the land, they should be able to kick the Muslims the hell out.

Maybe that's oversimplification, but the fact is that it's a big pissing contest. Since the governments and religions are one in the same, the diplomatic approach is little different than the religious approach; with neither side wanting to give.

Wanna know how the great King Solomon would have handled the situaion? Drop a 20 megaton nuclear warhead square on the Gaza Strip or the West Bank, and let them sort out the resulting mess. Nothing unites people like working together to recover from Armageddon, eh?

And if you can't play nice, nobody gets the toy!

One more great example about the role of religion. (1)

Ramss Morales (13327) | more than 13 years ago | (#85219)

...and people still believe religion is good.

Religion is important only if you want to prevent civilization from going forward.

Well, this time is Afganistan's people loss. My enciclopedia has info. on them, so I won't worry about not having them on the Internet. I just hope they are happy to let some religious leader to think for them.

Yes I'm a "hard agnostic".

Re:One more great example about the role of religi (1)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 13 years ago | (#85221)

I think it's only organised religion that one should be very wary of. Personal belief in a/some God(s) can, I'm told, be very satisfying.

Organised religion is simply one more power structure erected by those at the top to control those at the bottom (and those halfway up :-)

Commercial organised religion is simply sickening.

Simon.

Re:Finally a country George W. can agree with! (1)

raistlinne (13725) | more than 13 years ago | (#85222)

Actually, there are some very good arguments for banning the internet in schools, but they don't have to do with moral arguments. It's simply that there are enough factors which inhibit that actual transmission of information in schools, the internet will just make it even more difficult.

I mean, really, have you ever seen what happens when technology becomes the focus of actual education? People learn skills that become osbscolete extremely quickly and don't really learn other things.

Take, as an example, the "current events projects" which are done every now and then in a "global studies" (i.e. history) class. What is the basic idea? Students get together a whole bunch of nearly irrelevent information that noone cares about, and then forget it. At least when they learn history and forget it there is the chance that they will actually remember some of the important bits.

The internet in schools, where it is not simply ignored, would serve a fairly similar purpose. People would do nearly anything but get actual real information which pertains to the basic subjects that they should actually be learning.

Of course, it would be fine to have some internet-enabled computers in a school available after school hours for students to use for research, email, etc.

Btw, as someone else said, imagine if the irreligious left got into power? It would be just as bad as you describe, but with different goals and a different slant.

Extremists are an interesting group. By and large they tend to be dangerous, but on the other hand, "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."

As I said. Extremists are an odd group to know what to do with.

And then there's... (4)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 13 years ago | (#85223)

> Apparently, the Internet can deliver un-Islamic, immoral, or lewd material. Who can believe that a country that has such an open attitude towards women, minorities, religions, and the press would object to the Internet?"

And then there's the USA, where lots of politicians would also be happy to censor the internet if they could get away with it.

--

Re:Obvious Solution - (1)

PigleT (28894) | more than 13 years ago | (#85233)

> Of course they could outlaw birds too.

Lends a new meaning to packets getting eaten in the network...

~Tim
--
.|` Clouds cross the black moonlight,

aaah yes. taliban online (1)

quadrinary (29568) | more than 13 years ago | (#85235)

Yea, i forgot to post this in my first reply, the taliban run their own web pages!

check it out! they're funny.

www.ummah.net/taliban/

afghanistan & internet (5)

quadrinary (29568) | more than 13 years ago | (#85237)

Well, i guess i'm probably more or less an authority on afghanistan, since i've lived there as an aid worker. the Taliban, a strict hardline Islamic regime, basically rule their country by fear. i know you've probably heard about the way they treat women, etc, but as it stands, all media (except for the Taliban's own Radio Shariat) is banned, and listening to or watching anything else is banned. Honestly though, i don't see why this is something that the talibs need to worry about. There is no telephone system in Afghanistan, and when i was there as an IT consultant, the best hope of "internet" was a dial up connection at 2400 baud to a mail server in switzerland. My theory on this, however, is that the taliban want to make themselves appear in "control" of their people to the outside world. any well informed person will realize that the only hope an afghan has of accessing the internet is to travel to neighboring Pakistan (i don't even mention Iran, since they're limited in internet access anyway.) This is not a realistic possibility though, as most afghans that travel to pakistan, do everything in their power to NOT return. In short, the Taliban are making another one of thier hollow threats, that in reality doesn't have any true effect on their people (especially since the only true internet users will be going through Inmarsat A or B, and the only people with that are the UN) so, i don't see the point. the really sad thing though, is that 2 companies - one chinese and one british - have just recently established a long distance (international) telephone service in the Afghan capitol of Kabul. while i was there, i was actually able to connect to a server back home at roughly 14000 bps (SHOCKINGLY good)! I wonder if that will be a possibility anymore...

Slashdot is just a bunch of whining people (1)

NickV (30252) | more than 13 years ago | (#85238)

Every day I realize more and more that /. is a whining majority opinion by people who have a passing opinion on things but never strong enough of an opinion on ANYTHING to do anything about it. It's like the guy in my office yesterday who said, "Hey man, Can you believe China got the 2008 olympics? that sucks." Yes we know it sucks, and yes everyone in my office thought it sucked, but nobody is going to do anything about it.

Look at what's gone down with slashdot around:
DeCSS is still banned, the DCMA is law, MSFT is still a monopoly, the Taliban bans the Net, MSN Messenger crashes for 7 days and it'll still be ok, there still is no good (honestly) usable office suite for linux, KIllustrator has to change it's name, Ximian Gnome is still broken on Debian, AOL hits 26 million users, MSNBC is still the #1 website on the net, and I can go on and on about all these things that have happened that slashdotters hate. Yet, nothing is done... NOTHING.

Why didn't VA Linux start a PAC group when it was at $100+/share? Why won't someone start a PAC right now with slashdotters opinions represented in our legislative process? MS has one, and we are starting to need one too.

We have millions of voices right now, and the mostly agree on most issues... let's have our voices heard. Right now, the only time are voices are heard is when some guy puts up a cool lego desk image on his DSL web server and finds out he has no net access for a few days.

Re:Not surprising Really (3)

Khalid (31037) | more than 13 years ago | (#85239)

Taliban are heavily supported by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, two of the bigest US allies, if the US wanted really to catch him, they would have done this a long time ago.

Re:Get its priorities straight (2)

macpeep (36699) | more than 13 years ago | (#85241)

Heh, check out the moderation on that one.. "Informative". Hello? How about "funny"? Geez.

Taleban Web sites (3)

Simon Brooke (45012) | more than 13 years ago | (#85242)

Are here:

They're all still working today, so presumably they're banning their own people from reading other people's Web sites, not banning other people from reading their Web sites...

Re:Americans. (1)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 13 years ago | (#85243)

Was that flaim-bait?

I respect other cultures, and all that crap but F* you... The Taliban _need_ help in a hospital with padded walls. They are class A nuts. I would rather spend the day with Hannibal Lecter than set foot in that country at the moment.

now thats flaimbait

Americans. (1)

joeytsai (49613) | more than 13 years ago | (#85245)

"Who can believe that a country that has such an open attitude towards women, minorities, religions, and the press would object to the Internet?"

Who can believe that someone with such an arrogant and narrow perspective would have such a closed perspective on other cultures?

How about learning about other cultures, talking to some Islamic people, and perhaps thinking that maybe the way you were brought and conditioned doesn't have to be better than the way others were brought up?

Re:Not surprising Really (1)

Betcour (50623) | more than 13 years ago | (#85246)

The fact is the goverment control all of the Telephone services and montitoring is normal, the TV, Radio and Media a government controlled and thus no criticism is allowed and anyone who dares to stand up to them dies.

It's worse than that - TV and radio are not allowed. I dunno about printed newspaper. Soon this country will be back to cave age.

Blasphemy anyone? (4)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 13 years ago | (#85255)

Blockquoth the Ayatollah Khomeni:
"The uncleans consist of eleven things; urine, stool, semen, corpse, blood, dogs, pigs, infidel, wine beer and the sweat of a camel that eats the unclean"

So, if I were to say that the Taliban leaders wallow in their own piss, shit, jizz, blood, wine, beer, and the sweat of a camel that had eaten a soup made up of the same gunk, and that they ate dog-and-pork sausage in the morgue with infidels, it might be regarded as un-Islamic? ;-)

(Unclean? Sounds like a great weekend! I cut my finger pretty bad during the wee hours of the morning, and was worried about the bleeding, so I got a stich put in by this cute Jewish med student interning at the hospital... we hit it off and met at the zoo later that morning after she got off her shift, on which one of her patients died, which was a bummer... we went to the zoo, walked around a bit, grabbed a sausage from the sidewalk vendor, saw the camels (he was looking hungry, so I fed him some sausage, even though the sign said not to, while petting him on the nose, poor thing was burning up, it was so hot outside that day), then went out for Chinese food, then went bar-hopping... then I got really drunk... Never mix beer and wine. Anyways, I remember getting laid, but I'd had waaaaaay too much to drink and I really embarassed myself. But I was too drunk to really give a damn. In fact, I was so damn drunk, she got worried, and she had to go to work anyways, so she took me to the hospital at 3:00am and left me to get my stomach pumped, which I think was a subtle signal that the relationship was over... but that's OK, 'cuz while I was getting my guts pumped out, I met this cute Hindu med student...)

Re:And then there's... (1)

be-fan (61476) | more than 13 years ago | (#85260)

Wow. Well said. Someone mod this guy up!

Re:ISLAM ISLAM ISLAM....OPEN YOUR EYES AND SEE (1)

smallpaul (65919) | more than 13 years ago | (#85266)

If the Taliban called itself a communist movement, that's how the media would report it. If they called themselves a Christian sect then that's how the media would report it. They call themselves fundamentalist muslims so that is how the media reports it!

Re:And then there's... (2)

David Ham (88421) | more than 13 years ago | (#85272)

I guess that the point is that they most likely *couldn't* get away with it. America would jump down their throats so quick, they wouldn't know what hit them. They'd lose their re-election, and politicians are all about the money - and it pays to be in office. That's why we have the current welfare system - it buys votes. Mass censorship of the internet, while never working, would cause more uproar than the Holocaust.

--
you must amputate to email me

Re:Not surprising Really (2)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 13 years ago | (#85273)

Umm... you do know we tried to do this once, right? Remember, we blew up several terrorist training camps in western Afghanistan, near the Pakistani border? Those were Osama Bin Laden's camps, and believe me, we were trying to hit him. The reason we don't do it is that we are terrified of the reprisal from Islamic nutcase terrorists and from our "ally" Arab nations if we undertook an all-out attack on Bin Laden camps. It would be even more embarrassing if we kept missing him, and then he'd blow up more of our embassies.

Frankly, I just think we're incompetent sometimes.

Re:Bridging the Gap (5)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 13 years ago | (#85274)

This post is one large postmodern fallacy. I understand your claim that the Taliban are misguided and that they are attempting to legislate religion rather than finding morality through the heart, but this is about where the similarity to anything resembling Western-style democratic government ends.

This does not in any way indicate a vast similarity between the two governmental structures other than the basic fact that they are both governments and therefore represent attempts to legislate a common understanding of "workable" cultural codes and compromises under which people live their day-to-day lives, work, eat, sleep, shit and fuck.

The similarities end there. The Taliban bases their moral code on the most extreme and doctrinaire interpretation possible of the Koran and religious exegesis by that over the years from the most insane of Islamists. Western-style democracy bases its moral code on a few fundamental first principles like Hillel's "Golden Rule" (do unto others as you would have them do unto you) and a tradition based on the value of freedom and the individual, equality, and other values derived by way of application of reason to the human condition. Is Western society influenced by religious values? Sure. But the superiority of a system that embraces and allows for all religious practices, except where they are imposed on others, carries an aesthetic that is human in origin and ultimately founded on rational social behavior, and not limited to any particular government, society or people.

In other words -- I reject the postmodern hypothesis that any culture is as good as any other culture and we cannot judge them as we are inherently polluted by our own culture's view point. I strive to understand other cultures, but I rely on observation and reason, firm scientific principles. Humanist philosophy is _not_ just another religion, it is the pursuit of truth and the rejection of irrational, false principles, with which radical Islamist societies are riddled.

I met lots of annoying people just like you at Harvard - they repeat this mantra about how we are misguided in judging any other culture. I say that's bunk. We can value other cultures for their positive aspects and reject their negative aspects in the same way as we do our own -- I certainly don't blindly accept all practices, of the people, nor of the government of the United States. Nevertheless, the fact that I live in a country where I am allowed to hold such an opinion puts me miles ahead of any unfortunate Afghanis still left to live under the Taliban regime.

Re:Not surprising Really (2)

gimbo (91234) | more than 13 years ago | (#85277)

US-Pakistan relations aren't that great.

Check out this [theatlantic.com] article about the difficulty of US counterterrorism in the area - you might find it enlightening.

Quote:

"Where the Taliban and Usama bin Ladin are concerned, Pakistan and the United States aren't allies. Relations between the two countries have been poor for years, owing to American opposition to Pakistan's successful nuclear-weapons program and, more recently, Islamabad's backing of Muslim Kashmiri separatists. Bin Ladin's presence in Afghanistan as a "guest" of the Pakistani-backed Taliban has injected even more distrust and suspicion into the relationship."
--

Re:Monitoring not a problem. (2)

Courier (91998) | more than 13 years ago | (#85278)

Wouldn't it be pretty cool if someone decided to air drop a few thousand short wave radios into the that country.

Re:Not surprising Really (1)

rapett0 (92674) | more than 13 years ago | (#85279)

Two points:

Um we funded the mujahadeen, not the Taliban. (I could be wrong, just sayig from the first half of your comment.) P Secondly, Osama Bin Laden, the more I have seen about him over the years, makes me feel even more strongly he is simply a media campaign, putting a name on the face of terrorism in general. The only way we will catch him is to make someone into him, drag him in front of a camera crew and claim victory, which will never happen. We have the best military in the world, if he really existed, there is no reason why our military would not have extracted him already, seriously.

Re:.af (1)

orkysoft (93727) | more than 13 years ago | (#85281)

Blijf.af [microsoft.com]

the source of confusion here (1)

evilWurst (96042) | more than 13 years ago | (#85282)

The source of confusion here is that the Taliban is claiming to be the authoritative religious interpretation. That's why these crazed terrorists get lumped in with the normal islamic types.

Not to defend Hitler here, but he never went around saying he was the Pope and that the German people must lead a holy war to wipe out the unpure...

So there is no need to demonize "western media" here...demonizing the Taliban's media is enough. They're the ones making themselves look so bad.

Get its priorities straight (4)

gargle (97883) | more than 13 years ago | (#85283)

The Taliban really needs to get its priorities straight. I mean, there could be much more productive things the Taliban could be doing, like:

1. Ensuring widespread deprivation, poverty, starvation.
2. Smashing a few more statues.
3. Playing host to more terrorist organisations.
4. Finding imaginative ways of abusing women.
etc.

Banning the Internet should be waa-aay down its list of priorities.

Mod parent up to +5 interesting! (1)

Steeltoe (98226) | more than 13 years ago | (#85284)

This must be the post of the day. Too bad this is /., you'll probably be moderated down as a troll.

Of course that may change with this post (which will probably be moderated down though. Keep posting :-)

- Steeltoe

Taliban and the Pakistani ISI (5)

Nova Express (100383) | more than 13 years ago | (#85290)

What very few people without an in-depth knowledge of the region realize is that the Taliban are entirely a creation of the Pakistani ISI (the Interservices Intelligence, i.e., their equivilant of the KGB).

The ISI was the primary conduit for western aid to the mujahadeen in their war against the Soviet invasion force of the late 1980s. (It should also be remembered that the Soviet invasion killed over 1 million Afghanis.)

After the Soviets left Afghanistan with their tail between their legs, Pakistan funded and trained the Taliban, and in some cases Pakistani regulars even lead them in battle. Taliban is also made up of ethnic Pashtunies, which are a minority group in Afghanistan, but are heavily represented in the Pakistani military.

The extent to which Pakistan is still pulling the Taliban's strings is unclear. Some feel the Taliban have slipped Islamabad's control.

The rteason none of thiis rarely (if ever) reported in the press is that: A.) Most western readers don't give a rat's ass about Afghanistan; and B.) Since it was a big egg on the face of the Clinton-era CIA, since Pakistan is still officially an American allie and the CIA worked closely with the ISI to arm the mujahadeen. Another problem is the lack of reliable, unbiased news from the region, as various news outletss (Afghan opposition groups, official media in India, Iran, etc.) who have reported the ISI connection all have their own agendas to push.

Look at the plus side... (5)

11thangel (103409) | more than 13 years ago | (#85293)

That means they banned .NET too!

Re:Get its priorities straight (2)

zwerf (114259) | more than 13 years ago | (#85299)

1. Ensuring widespread deprivation, poverty, starvation.
Nah, that's the job of the United States/Nations, with the crippling sanctions they are imposing.
2. Smashing a few more statues.
I might concede with you on that one, there are more pressing issues that require their attention.
3. Playing host to more terrorist organisations.
Harbouring terrorists is nothing more than an accusation that has not been proven as of yet. The Taliban have repeatedly stated that they are willing to hand over any alleged terrorists if conclusive proof is provided.
4. Finding imaginative ways of abusing women. etc.
Are you done, troll? Now about banning the Internet, the article states:
There are not many computers and most of areas do not have electricity.
Doesn't sound like such a difficult, resource-consuming task, does it? As was also mentioned, it is not the medium itself which they have a problem with, rather it is the content that is delivered through this medium that can be either permissible or forbidden. In Islam, effort must be made to ensure that people do not have access to the content that is considered forbidden. Since the Taliban are unable to filter this content, they have no other way of doing this other than banning it outright. Besides, not many people will miss it anyway. I commend this move, and hopefully they will soon be able to reintroduce it under the guidelines they perceive as proper and in accordance with the laws that rule their state.

Re:Not surprising Really (1)

mmp (121767) | more than 13 years ago | (#85302)

Congratulations. You (and by the looks of it, michael) have been trolled. Read the text of the item a few more times...

.af (4)

tommut (123314) | more than 13 years ago | (#85303)

On the plus side, .af domains should be real cheap.

Hmmm... I was trying to thing of a clever .af domain I could register like goatse.cx, but all I can come up with is rice-pil.af...

Re:Finally a country George W. can agree with! (3)

Mekanix (127309) | more than 13 years ago | (#85304)

Hmm... strange.... here in Denmark we've got porn i (almost) every gasstation, conviniencestore and supermarked. And so it have been for the last 20-30 years.

Computers are (still) unfiltered in libraries and schools.

I haven't caught or heard anyone caught in masturbating in libraries and schools.

Hmm... perhaps it's an american thing to spontaneous masturbate when exposed to porn? Perhaps you're not exposed to enough?

Bjarne

It's a bird. It's a plane. No it's a TCP/IP packet (1)

mini me (132455) | more than 13 years ago | (#85305)

I have a feeling that they will start to see a few more pigeons [slashdot.org] in the skies of Afghanistan.

While I understand that their beliefs are quite different than ours you think they could have at least been like China and setup a nation-wide firewall rather than deny total access.

Closer to the truth than you might realize (2)

cosmol (143886) | more than 13 years ago | (#85309)

George W's administration has already made a deal with he taliban leadership. Search for "faustian deal" on kuro5hin. The drug war makes strange bed-fellows.

Re:Not surprising Really (1)

Judas96' (151194) | more than 13 years ago | (#85311)

"The sad thing is this is a government the Americans helped put in power with weapons and funding..." And the US is suprised that they aren't all happy and servile towards them? How many governments/nations/regimes has the US supplied with weapons that still do get along with them? Many times when the US helps prop up a regime or enhance a faction they only seem to end up shooting themselves in the foot and leaving another nations people with another tyranny to deal with...
-- Judas96
"...don't take a nerf bat to a knife fight." - Joe Rogan, said on News Radio

Re:Religious Fanatics (1)

Judas96' (151194) | more than 13 years ago | (#85312)

A brutal past compared to any other religion? Sure, it's not like any christian sects ever demeaned women or ruled through fear (I hope I don't go to Hell for saying that).
-- Judas96
"...don't take a nerf bat to a knife fight." - Joe Rogan, said on News Radio

Get me Shawn on the horn... (3)

partingshot (156813) | more than 13 years ago | (#85313)


  1. We want to establish a system in Afghanistan through which we can control all those things that are wrong, obscene, immoral

Don't let these guys hook up with the RIAA.

Documentary (5)

NoNeeeed (157503) | more than 13 years ago | (#85314)

There was a documentary (I think it was called Undeer the Veil) shown on british telly recently made by the reporter Siras Shar (Not sure about the spelling). Her parents come from Afghanistan and she sneeked into the country with the help of an underground movement. The footage that was shown was very sobering, some of it showed a football stadium (ironically built by the international community to help return normality to the country) being used for very brutal executions, hangings, stonings, shooting etc.

The people in Af are under the complete control of the Taliban. They are ruled with the proverbial rod of iron (which is normally used to beat to death 13 year old girls for daring to read a book). Their interpretation of Islamic law is so extreme that most other Muslims, even the most 'orthodox'(*) ones consider it over the top.

It is seeing what can happen in a country like this that puts life in the west into perspective. We may whine about companies protecting IP, or governments introducing face recognising CCTV, but thats nothing compared to what these people are living through.

If it ever shown where you live, try and watch it. It certainly made me realise just how lucky I am. At least I have the freedom to live a normal life, go to school (although I have just finished Uni but you know what I mean), walk down the street, without risking beating, or death. And I have some say, no matter how small, in the way my country is run, I have a voice. People in Afganistan have no voice, not even a small one, especially not women, who are basically non-people.

(*) I don't like the word extremist, it smacks of American cliches about Muslims, most of whome are peaceful, honest, friendly, well educated and moral. The combative tendancy in the area is like that in europe up to about 50 years ago (ignoring the balkans), not a product of religion, just of the situation, religion just tends to fan the flames (the religious wars of europe, papal intervention in politics, the holy roman empire etc)

Here endeth the lesson :->


Monitoring? (2)

Perianwyr Stormcrow (157913) | more than 13 years ago | (#85315)

Most private folks in Afghanistan who can afford net access use out of country ISPs anyway. I think they just don't want internet cafes.

--Perianwyr Stormcrow

Another Link (3)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 13 years ago | (#85320)

CNN also has the story here:

http://www.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/asiapcf/central/07/1 3/taliban.internet/index.html [cnn.com]
http://www.cnn.com/2001/TECH/internet/07/13/afghan .internet.reut/index.html [cnn.com]

These are better links because you will be able access the data a year from now, while the Yahoo story will fall off the net in a few weeks.

It looks like alot of folks are commenting without reading the story. If they had, they would have noted this bit:

It was not immediately known how many people or offices use the Internet in a country in which infrastructure is in ruins because of more than two decades of war. There are not many computers and most of areas do not have electricity. Those who can afford to, including foreign aid agencies, log onto the Internet through the few telephone lines provided by neighboring Pakistan.

[...]

AIP did not say when the ban was imposed and how the Taliban planned to ensure that telephone lines were not being used to access the Internet. But most Taliban decisions and edicts on conduct are ruthlessly enforced by their powerful religious police working under the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.

A special note is that, as the taliban says, "We want to establish a system in Afghanistan through which we can control all those things that are wrong, obscene, immoral and against Islam"

This will be rather difficult to do, given their particular view of technology, etc. Maybe they'll mandate proprietary Taliban systems. But who would make them? I am sure someone would, but they could be a bit pricey.

Check out the Vinny the Vampire [eplugz.com] comic strip

Re:ISLAM ISLAM ISLAM....OPEN YOUR EYES AND SEE (1)

KATN (184143) | more than 13 years ago | (#85321)

I would like to take a minute and agree with the above post. While I certainly don't condone or approve of what the Taliban is doing, has done or will do, I can't call it Islam. I am a Christian living in the US. This means I am supposed to believe that all those of Islamic persuation are evil killers that want to wipe out all who are not Islam. I see this in the news, in the movies, and in everyday conversation when this subject comes up. But I have also worked with a number of Islamic people. Every one of these have been very nice, extremely tolerent, and shhow their faith in such a way that most Christians should be ashamed.

Does this mean I think that Islam is the one true religeon? No. But it also isn't what western media portrays it as. Many things in the past (and I'm sure in the present) have been done in the name of Christianity. These are things that no real Christian could ever condone. The Salem Witch Trials in Massacheutes in the 1600's come to mind. Like many, I am guilty of forgetting the crimes preformed in the name of that which I support.

My point is simply that the Taliban may use Islamic teachings to justify what they do. That doesn't mean that those teachings are being interpreted and passed on correctly. From my experience, Islam is one of the most toleratent and accepting of religeons and it is about time that the western world woke up to that fact.

Re:Taleban Web sites (2)

jdunlevy (187745) | more than 13 years ago | (#85327)

<http://www.afghan.gov.af/ [afghan.gov.af] > is not a Taliban site; it's a site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the pre-Taliban government of President Burhanuddin Rabbani, which is still recognized by the United Nations, even though the Taliban effectively control most of the country. (Apparently the Taliban don't have any control over the .af TLD after all.)

The Afghan Taleban Mission to the UN had a web site at < http://www.taleban.com/ [taleban.com] >. During the Bamiyan statues controversy, I'd used the web site to get contact information for the First Secretary to the Mission, Mr. Noorullah Zadran: I faxed him a letter of protest back in March (highly ineffective -- duh -- in case you have to ask). Looking for updates some weeks later, I noticed the web site had been defaced at some point by someone with anti-Taliban messages.

This web site's main page is now a simple document (generated by Microsoft FrontPage 4.0!) referring visitors to < http://www.shariatonline.net/ [shariatonline.net] >, a seemingly unofficial page about "The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan," as the Taliban style the country. It will be interesting to see if this page gets any further updates now.

Christian Coalition (1)

sulli (195030) | more than 13 years ago | (#85332)

isn't blowing up statues, or summarily killing its opponents. Big difference. I think they're wrong about a great many things, but terrorists they are not.

Re:Taleban Web sites (3)

sulli (195030) | more than 13 years ago | (#85333)

http://www.afghan.gov.af/ is an anti-Taliban site, I think run by the government in exile in London.

Makes the CIA's job much harder (2)

gruhnj (195230) | more than 13 years ago | (#85334)

With the banning of the internet this makes the CIA's job of monitoring Afganistan much harder. Either Osama Bin Ladin will continue to use the interenet, in which case we continue on as normal. If he decides to abide by this new rule then it makes his ability to orginize terrorism more of a personal endevor and as a result much more costly for the US to monitor.Goodbye SIGINT, hello HUMINT. Problem is HUMINT is much higher risk and also much higher cost.

Since we currently know only what small town he is in, mostly as I understand it through SIGINT, then we now must move in to get any intelligence at all. If we are going to go through with that, we might as well send in the assination squad to get them for the cost of the mission. Im not sure how politically viable such a mission is because it would take alot of work to even get that mission off the ground, but it's also such a high payoff if we do...

John Gruhn
National Defense University

Re:Monitoring not a problem. (1)

perlyking (198166) | more than 13 years ago | (#85339)

Actually the phone system in pakistan is digital (the exchanges that is) and you can get connected at over 50kbps on a 56k modem, something that I suspect most slashdotters (myself included) have never managed anywhere else in the world.
You will notice I generalised, i'm sure most of the country dont have a phone, but since you were generalising I thought I would too :-)


--

Re:Finally a country George W. can agree with! (1)

perlyking (198166) | more than 13 years ago | (#85340)

Yeah its like closing down Napster but allowing people to have guns...

--

Gulp... (1)

cbwsdot (212913) | more than 13 years ago | (#85343)

Hrm... Between coorporate greed [slashdot.org] and religious fanaticism [cc.org] things look pretty bleak...

People keep comparing western ideas to eastern ideas, old religions to new religions, and etcetera. This isn't about any of that. This is simply banning access to information to maintain power. No corruptive power can maintain its position while allowing a free flowing exchange of ideas. It cannot happen. Not here [whitehouse.gov] , not there [afghan-web.com] , not anywhere.

--

Re:Look at the plus side... (1)

Mik!tAAt (217976) | more than 13 years ago | (#85349)

At the current journalistic level of /. editors, the title should be "Afganistan Bans Slashdot"

Re:Western Bullshit (1)

praedor (218403) | more than 13 years ago | (#85350)

Yeah!!! Don't judge other cultures...like Nazi Germany! Or the Soviet Union, or China. Make no mention of any civil/human rights abuses because such abuse can be covered by the "culture" nonsense - different culture so torture, rape, mass murder, FORCED suppression of their own citizens, etc are OK as long as the culture says it is. Don't say anything against it.

What kind of idiot are you? The Taliban are a minority of the country FORCING their beliefs and rules on the majority who do not share that belief system.

DO judge!

Re:Americans. (1)

praedor (218403) | more than 13 years ago | (#85351)

You are an ignorant fool. The WOMEN of Afghanistan do NOT like being treated the way they are. Do you READ? Do you do anything but knee-jerk react to anything you see as pro-democracy/pro-western? YOU move to Afghanistan and live happily with your women as property to do with as you wish.

Of course, you can't do what YOU wish - you have to do what the uneducated taliban religious police enforcers decide you can do.

Yes, but what will Americans do about it? (2)

Mark Programmer (228585) | more than 13 years ago | (#85355)

I generally agree with this poster's entiments. However, the question that immediately comes to my mind is this: what should those in America do about it? Perhaps one of the reasons Americans often take such blank attitudes to world politics is that we screw up so badly when we get involved. Geez, the USA has one Vietnam confilct and the whole country's scared.

However, one does have to ask where we draw the line. Let's say America decides tomorrow that the situation in Afghanistan is abonimable. Bush dispatches the Pacific armed forces to beat them to a bloody pulp and institute a new government--probably a puppet democracy, since it's easier to guarantee they are doing what America wants them to do. Now assuming that the whole scenario I just described works... that the US military does not find itself totally unequipped for war against the Taliban, that the country isn't bombed into an unlivable hell, that the country doesn't collapse into a US military rulership... what then? Other Arab nations will probably feel threatened at such a brazen display of arrogance and hypocrisy on the part of America, to simply go in and tell a nation how its people should live (oh wait, isn't that what the Taliban is doing? Of course, it's THEIR nation). America would have a dependent nation filled with racial and ethnic animosities to attempt to handle. And it would set a precedent for world policemanship that the United States cannot afford.

I'm not saying America doesn't do this already. However, I'm not sure it's been a good idea in the past, and I think history has shown us that it's not wise to interfere in a situation like this. Yes, it shall pass. Nazi Germany fell, and a government like the Taliban cannot sustain itself for long if the people of Afghanistan have any shred of a backbone. How long can you oppress 50% of your population before the women just slit their husbands' throats and establish a matriarchy?

Yeah, the Taliban is really screwing up Afghanistan (at least in the eyes of this devil westerner). Yeah, Americans don't seem to care. I think the reason is that they can't afford to. You can only watch evil for so long before your inability to stop it makes you either jaded or insane.

Take your pick.

Take care,
Mark

ISLAM ISLAM ISLAM....OPEN YOUR EYES AND SEE (5)

azizu (240440) | more than 13 years ago | (#85358)

I read this chain and I was surprised that all I could see was ISLAM and Taliban...ISLAM and Taliban. All I could see what how the ISLAMIC Taliban think its ok to stone their daughters, cut off heads in public. How these religion fanatics badge everyother non-ISLAMIC person. ISLAM ISLAM ISLAM.....whats up with that???

When I read about Hitler...I never read he was a Roman Catholic. I never read that what he did was just follow his religion and that it was OK in his religion to wipe out a whole race of people. I never read that Hitler sent Jews to concentration camps because he was a Roman Catholic.

My friend...this is western progoganda at its best. An attempt to dissallude people about Islam to the extent that the people who follow Islam don't know what their religion is all about. Taliban are an evil group of individuals and their activites are NOT endorsed by ISLAM. Similarly Hitler was a devil and his activities are not endoresed by Christianity.

So for the sake of GOD....don't talk confuse the activites of Taliban with the teachings of ISLAM. I don't think there is any religion in the world that teaches us to harm other beings/be disrespectful to others.

Let me remind you that ISLAM was the first relgion in the world that actually gave women a status. Before that women used to be buried at birth and were thought of as a liabilty. Islam changed the status quo.
Today these illiterate idiotic piece of waste Taliban are doing everything AGAINST the teaching of Islam.

So stop commenting or defending their activities or associating their activities with the preachings of ISLAM.

banning the Internet - then what? (1)

ardiri (245358) | more than 13 years ago | (#85359)

this is really interesting - what else are they planning to ban after they follow this ruling? not that i would ever travel to .af - but, if i did - would it be illegal for me to use my GSM phone to connect to the internet? or heck - i dont think they will ever see GPRS or 3G technologies! Is this a ban on the Internet, or a ban on anything TCP/IP! in the later - think about all those LAN's they have (i am sure they have some) in office and such.. wow.. this is a crazy ruling.

Finally a country George W. can agree with! (1)

fmaxwell (249001) | more than 13 years ago | (#85360)

This is what happens with religious extremists get into power. They legislate their own religious views into law. Imagine what it would be like if the religious right really got power in the U.S.A. There would do exactly what the Taliban is doing. The Meese Commission (under Reagan) bullied convenience stores like 7-11 into not carrying porn (you'll notice that they still sell cigarettes). They want filtering software in all schools and libraries to limit what people can see on the Internet. They label anyone opposed to it as a "radical.". It's only a small step from banning the Internet from schools and libraries and that is something that many "Christians" would support.

Anyone who wants to see what I'm talking about can do a google search on the following set of terms:

"home schooling" Christian porn ban filtering

And the nut-cases will come out of the woodwork.

Western Bullshit (1)

metalhed77 (250273) | more than 13 years ago | (#85368)

Seriously, don't judge other cultures, for all the free thinking america espouses it's a pretty intolerant nation. We advocate freedom as long as the other party embraces our core values. If you look at it from extreme Islam's point of view we're just as evil as them if not more so. We are heathens to them, but that is ok because that's what they believe. Now I personally don't advocate taking away liberties and sexism and the other more violent parts of their culture but i'm ok with them doing it, Because it's their culture.

Get off your pedastal of freedom and realize what a hypocrite you are.

Oh yeah mods, mod me down as troll like that other guy but I don't care cuz i'm fucking right and I don't care what you discriminating pigs have to say

----------
www.shockthemonkey.org [shockthemonkey.org]

HA! HUMAN RIGHTS!!! (1)

metalhed77 (250273) | more than 13 years ago | (#85369)

Hmm human rights, they consider it just as bad that our women are allowed to act as free as they do. To them it's just as bad. Now I personally find much of it disgusting but hey, taking away the internet is a minor thing. When they say it promotes western values and is anti islam they are correct, it does not work with their belief system.

Now someone else mentioned nazi germany and soviet era russia. I have conflicting views on this, On one hand we are only right in our eyes, BUT according to western philosophy (which I believe in) we must stop these offenses. This is one of the main problems that has plagued civilization. We all have our own belief systems, we will try to enforce them, history has shown that, BUT I would never say people are wrong or just stupid as some other posts have mentioned. It is different, nothing more. No more or less evil, it is all in the eyes of the viewer.

----------
www.shockthemonkey.org [shockthemonkey.org]

Re:Western Bullshit (1)

metalhed77 (250273) | more than 13 years ago | (#85370)

Hmmmm first off I never mentioned the taliban, they are an extremist group unfairly ruling afghanistan, I realize that. My post was simply regarding American views towards islam. Now my point was not to not take action against governments that are anti-western but simply to recognize that there is no right and wrong, we are only right and wrong within our belief system and culture. They are just as right as we are. We all fight for our beliefs, we should just realize the nature of them.

----------
www.shockthemonkey.org [shockthemonkey.org]

Funny? You think this was funny? (1)

beri-beri (256875) | more than 13 years ago | (#85375)

If you moded this up as funny, you probably need to take a vacation there to get some laughs..

I submitted this one yesterday. (1)

Scoria (264473) | more than 13 years ago | (#85377)

2001-07-13 23:57:29 Afghanistan's Taliban bans Internet (yro,news) (rejected)

Anyway, I'm wondering how they'll enforce this. Scan phone lines for active Internet connections, log them, and then prosecute the individuals?

Or just cut the Internet connections to the outside world?

Re:Monitoring not a problem. (1)

Popocatepetl (267000) | more than 13 years ago | (#85378)

Plus you can always open the radio and make it open source!

Re:.af (1)

Vess V. (310830) | more than 13 years ago | (#85381)

ass.lo.af crack.a.lo.af

Re:And then there's... (4)

karmawarrior (311177) | more than 13 years ago | (#85382)

Except that's not true. Most politicians supported the Communications & Decency Act for example - otherwise it would never have been passed. It's somewhat fortunate that the first ammendment trumped it.

Indeed, Bush himself said during his election campaign that "There should be limits to freedom" in relation to a parody website done about him.

Unfortunately, and it remains a scary part of democracy, it's very easy to persuade people that things they "don't like" should be banned. A good politician (sadly rarely a successful politician) is one who recognises the values of his or her constituents and works to represent them, but doesn't blindly follow the solutions they support or propose simple solutions to complex issues.

Sadly, it's rare to come across a good politician these days. Most will follow the party line, and suggest simplistic solutions that they know will play well with the target audience. Don't like murderers? We'll have a death penalty. Don't want your friends to end up addicted to drugs? We'll "ban" them and have a war on drugs. Don't want to come across pictures of people having sex on the world wide web? We'll make it illegal! Meanwhile, justice and commonsense fall by the wayside.

I blame the parents...
--

Re:Western Bullshit (1)

snake_dad (311844) | more than 13 years ago | (#85383)

Well, there is that minor point of "human rights" which you might have heard about. Please do judge any culture, state, relegion or person that violates the most basic human rights.

Even though you might just be trolling, it needs to be said that the misconducts of the Taliban have nothing to do with relegion or culture. It would be nice to see their leaders brought into The Hague here in The Netherlands for a trial.

Let's move all those cameras that are now obsolete in Mass. over to Afghanistan where they could be usefull to record evidence of real misconduct...

Re:Not surprising Really (2)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 13 years ago | (#85386)

if he really existed, there is no reason why our military would not have extracted him already, seriously.

Yes there is. Firs off, there is the whole international law thing to think about. We can't just send in your military into any country we like any time we like. Now I'll grant you, it's not like that stopped us in south america, however the government is being watched a bit more closely for that now. However the real issue here is the cost of doing something like that. Please remember the Taliban are ARMED and heavily so. How many of our soliders are worth sacraficing for Bin Laden? I'm betting the cost would be fairly high and it is felt to just not be worth it.

I don't know what's worse... (3)

bacchusrx (317059) | more than 13 years ago | (#85388)

...the brutal slaughter and ruination of innocent people's lives in the Taliban's Afghanistan or Western ignorance as to what's actually happening over there.

I mean even the harshest critics of the Taliban regime here on Slashdot are pretty much saying: "Yeah, well, that's what right wing religious nuts will do... ban the internet and treat women poorly." Poorly?

Yes, well, I'd love to see (strike that -- I possess an utter loathing to see) what you'd consider falls into the "horrendous" or "godawful atrocity" category... yanno, what with "poor treatment" being the routine public stonings, executions, rape, torture, and mind control to which women in that country are subjected daily for "crimes" as little as ... oh I dunno ... learning to read or perhaps leaving the house not completely coccooned in oppresive clothing and under the supervision of male relatives? Women are bludgeoned to death for that, there. Or how about the fact that women were forced out their workplaces and any property forfeit to male relatives? Or, that greatly due to this, there aren't enough health care workers in the country to help aide the sick... and there are plenty of sick, now, since the Taliban's utter mismanagement of national econmics has caused widespread famine and a total disintegration of what social services existed there. Or that suicide rates for oppressed women in Afghanistan have skyrocketed thanks to their brutal treatment. Let's not forget! of course, that non-Muslims and their homes are branded in yellow and ostracized...

If this is "poor" treatment of women and of human life in general -- I can't, to be honest, wrap my brain around your concept of what's really going on... this is, as one of my good friends once put it -- WHOLESALE FUCKING GENOCIDE. "Poor" treatment?? I've never read anything more disgusting in my life.

Good gods, I wish we in the west would get a clue. We've got a regime committing atrocities on par with the horrors of Nazi Germany and we sit back and say... Meh. Poor treatment. This too shall pass. Fuck, we're arrogant hypocrits.

BRx.

Re:Monitoring? (1)

SumDeusExMachina (318037) | more than 13 years ago | (#85389)

Yeah, except for the pesky fact that there is some pretty cheap equipment out there that, when attached to a phone line, can detect a data call. That is, if they have any kind of coherent phone network there.

Re:Religious Fanatics (1)

ashakoor (324258) | more than 13 years ago | (#85390)

Their parents voluntarily gave up those children (they were called the Janissaries). The Ottomans guaranteed them a better life then the squalor of Eastern Europe. The parents were compensated for giving up their child. The parents gave them up so their children would get a better life. Those children were well educated, well fed and taken care of. Many of them became high-level government officials or generals. The Ottoman Empire treated the Janissaries better then the children native to their empire. To the people of today this seems like slavery and forced conversion to another religion, but you must remember, all actions must be taken in the context of the time they took place. To the children living in the squalor of Eastern Europe this was heaven. Religious minorities living in Islamic countries are required to pay a small tax. The tax allows members of religious minorities not to serve in the army. All Muslim males are required to serve if called up in wartime. If a non-Muslim male did not want to pay the tax they were required to serve. Muslim males can't opt out.

The Scary Thing Is... (2)

crowchild (326687) | more than 13 years ago | (#85391)

The U.S. is still sending them money. Now, of course, it's cloaked as "humanitarian aid". You know what the latest "humanitarian aid" was a reward for? Getting rid of the opium trade. To the tune of about $45 million or so (I don't remember the exact figure, atm) late this past spring. Admittedly, not a huge amount to most "developed" countries, but probably quite a lot to the leaders of the Taliban.

If you have any idea of what's going on over there, you know how much they've terrorized and punished the farmers to scare them into stopping opium farming. So, essentially, the U.S. is rewarding them for torturing their people.

How lovely. Apparently, it's more important to fight the war on drugs, than it is to fight rights abuses and total opression.

'crow, disgusted (And ftr, I'm from the U.S.)

Religious Persecution and Where it Could Lead (5)

crowchild (326687) | more than 13 years ago | (#85392)

The Taliban have destroyed ancient religious monuments, returned women to servitude, enforced the islamic laws and persecuted non islams out of the country and proceded to commit religious genocide and we should be surprised they have banned the internet ?

Thank you for bringing up another one of the things about Afghanistan that frightens me. How is it that so many people didn't consider it a big deal when the Taliban began destroying ancient religious monuments? When they announced that they would be requiring minority religions to display an identification of their faith? When all the other things that have been going on have happened? Yes, there was an uproar, but it didn't seem like nearly enough.

These people have proven themselves to be diligent, determined and successful at defeating others against all odds. They show all the signs of proceeding past their current level of extremism to absolute genocide. They still have tons of expensive weapons, left over from the Afghan war and also new ones supplied by terrorists and even (possibly) other governments. The level of terror that they inflict on their own people continues to grow and grow.

If they finally defeat the United Front and other so-called rebels in the north, who says they're going to stop at their own borders? Yes, it would be insane to attack in that heavily armed area of the world, but the Taliban has shown itself to not behave sanely. There's many countries around them full of people that to them are heretics. Talk about a chance for a holy war!

This isn't like the problems in the Balkans or anywhere else that has had religious conflicts recently (I'm not dismissing these events either). It's not "just" two religions or two ethnic groups fighting. It's one group, fighting for systematic destruction of everything it disagrees with. *cough* Sound familiar at all to anyone? How about exterior religious identification? Hmm?

I'm reminded of this quote:
First they came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up, because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me,and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me.
- Rev. Martin Niemoller, 1945

I know that people probably think I'm insane to compare the Taliban to the Nazis, but you know what? Germany was considered a laughable threat too at one time. They'd been destroyed by WWI, they were never going to rise again.

It just seems to me that not enough people (or countries) care about what's happening in Afghanistan. It's the country's issue, let them deal with that. The problem with that is that it could very easily become our issue.

Think about it.

'crow

Re:Americans. (2)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 13 years ago | (#85396)

"Who can believe that someone with such an arrogant and narrow perspective would have such a closed perspective on other cultures?"

You're the one here assuming that all Muslims agree with Taliban rhetoric and methodology. That sounds even more narrow to me.

Routing around damaged nodes (1)

Invisible Agent (412805) | more than 13 years ago | (#85397)

You know how the main design goal of the Internet was to route traffic around damaged nodes so as to make it extremely robust? Well, it makes me glad to see the Internet routing around the damaged node that is Afghanistan.

Invisible Agent

Hypocrites (1)

Dexter77 (442723) | more than 13 years ago | (#85398)

It's funny that country where over 50% of the women are raped in their lifetime and 10% of the population has fled from the country during past five years can say that the Internet is immoral.

Afghans = chubby chasers? (1)

6EQUJ5 (446008) | more than 13 years ago | (#85399)


Afghanistan... anagram for: "A FAT SHAG INN"

What a repressed nation!

Religious Fanatics (1)

gooberguy (453295) | more than 13 years ago | (#85403)

``We want to establish a system in Afghanistan through which we can control all those things that are wrong, obscene, immoral and against Islam,''

Those are the exact words of the taliban. If they weren't crazy Islamics (I'm not calling Islam crazy, they are crazy, and Islamic), then none of this would be happening. If you took away their crazyness, or Islam, then Afghanistan would be a much more tolerant place.

The taliban has bastardized Islam into thier own version of it and used it to control an intolerant, oppressive oligarchy.

BTW, a little Islamic history. In the Ottoman Empire, when the king died, all of his sons had to travel to the capital as fast as they could. Whoever got there first, became king. The rest were strangled with a silk cloth. Islam seems to have a brutal past.

D/\ Gooberguy

Re:Religious Fanatics (1)

gooberguy (453295) | more than 13 years ago | (#85404)

So, you would like more history on the Ottoman Empire?

Well, they also traveled into eastern europe where they killed thousands and took many more thousands (all young children) as slaves. They then trained the children to fight for them, to start the cycle all over again.

The Ottomans were a little more tolerant than Christans at the time, as they would allow Jews to practice freely in thier empire. They had to pay a "I'm not Islamic" tax, but were tolerated nonetheless.

D/\ Gooberguy

Re:Bridging the Gap (1)

datian (454948) | more than 13 years ago | (#85408)

this is apologist academic crap. "So, the Taliban are certainly misguided, IMHO, but we must forgive them and recognize our own shortcomings in what we perceive as theirs. They are trying to force with law and government what they really wish would happen as a result of a transformation in the hearts and minds of people." beating women to death for reading books is not misguided, it's sick and barbaric. blowing up thousand year old buddhist statues is not a "shortcoming," it's ruthless bigotry of the worst sort and a crime against history. having been born in afghanistan does not excuse this kind of craven refusal to condemn monsters like the taliban. quote izetbegovic and edward said and kropotkin and marx all you like, what the taliban are doing to our fellow human beings should be condemned in the strongest possible terms, period.

Re:.af (2)

jgore26785 (460027) | more than 13 years ago | (#85421)

l.af

Slashdot poll proposal (1)

mecachis (461067) | more than 13 years ago | (#85422)

I think that Slashdot should have a poll asking for retaliation actions against the Taliban regime. Suggestions:
  • Hack the US army and nuke them
  • Do a website with anti-taliban intelligentia
  • Give money to the opposing army in the north
  • Bomb the country with "Radios" (already proposed)
  • Force our goverments to give asilum to Afganistan people

Re:Blasphemy anyone? (1)

webworkz (463350) | more than 13 years ago | (#85423)

Haha. I love you Tackhead. That was quality.

How to introduce the Internet to Afghanistan (1)

p_trinli (463461) | more than 13 years ago | (#85424)

There's some story about a skeptical Muslim leader only being persuaded to adopt radio after someone demonstrated that it could broadcast the Koran.

Perhaps, we could do something similar for the Internet in Afghanistan--show the Taliban that it can be used to broadcast their propaganda. In this way, people can take advantage of the greater access to post anti-Taliban material, communicate with the outside world, and so on.

--
Aaron J. Shaver
http://aaronshaver.com/ [aaronshaver.com]

Re:afghanistan & internet (1)

f_thegreenbear (463748) | more than 13 years ago | (#85425)

>as it stands, all media (except for the
>Taliban's own Radio Shariat) is banned
Did anyone else read this as Radio Shack?

Gave me the wooblies. Suddenly the late C20 became a lot more ... clear ...

Not surprising Really (5)

q-soe (466472) | more than 13 years ago | (#85427)

The Taliban have destroyed ancient religious monuments, returned women to servitude, enforced the islamic laws and persecuted non islams out of the country and proceded to commit religious genocide and we should be surprised they have banned the internet ?

The fact is the goverment control all of the Telephone services and montitoring is normal, the TV, Radio and Media a government controlled and thus no criticism is allowed and anyone who dares to stand up to them dies.

The mujahadeen have been fighting guerilla wars first against the russians and now the taliban and the country is split into warzones, the taliban now run the most fundamentalist islamic regime on the planet and provide aid and succor to terrorists - so the internet is about the easiest thing to control.

He who controls access to the world controls the world - the populace of afghanistan after the russian occupation would consider acccess to clean water and electricty a bonus - they would put computer access very very low on their interests - it remains a toy for the rich and there aren't that many of them. Most of the population would like to have enought to eat.

How about a comment on their human rights record, or their treatment of women (this is a country that condones murder as a punishment for disobedience of a wife toward her husband).

The sad thing is this is a government the Americans helped put in power with weapons and funding to fight the russians - yet they now hide people like Osama Bin Laden - US public enemy number one.
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