Afghanistan, Land Of Woe, Land Without Peace, Land Without Hope


By Sigrid Weidenweber

On your TV screens, you see the pictures of horror—women, children hastening, lucklessly stumbling, and men running in terrorized panic toward Bagram Air Base. This base was, with its airport, the only way out, the way to freedom. Behind them, in howling pursuit, a screaming mob of frightening figures. Kalashnikov rifles slung across their chests, both hands on stock and trigger, ammunition belts draped like jewelry from their shoulders, their white flags, inscribed in black, billow curved in the wind like scythes of death. Many faces of the Taliban pursuers are covered with brown and black clothes to prevent recognition when the killing starts. This mob is known to hack the bodies of their enemies to pieces, decapitate and and rape. The fleeing people know their ways well.

What you see with horror in your living room, is the result of the helter-skelter withdrawal of our troops, from a land we tried to turn in to a democracy wit a cost to the American taxpayer to the tune of $300 million per day for twenty years. So why the demented rush to leave the country? You must ask president Biden and president Obama that question, for both were in joint government when most of our actions happened in Afghanistan. Biden should have had, at least, a glimmer of knowledge of what constitutes the Taliban. He should, at least, have cared about the billions worth of weapons, airplanes and material, paid for by ordinary Americans that were left behind. He knew, for to put it simply and short, the Taliban is nothing but a rabble of religious barbarians. Its membership is mostly assembled from men from the Pashtun tribe, and a few other tribal members, steeped in the most ruthless teachings of Islam.

So let us ask the question why could we not with the investment of billions turn this country into a Democracy or, failing that, bring about even a semi-functioning state with a stable government?

My husband I were involved for almost ten years in the affairs of this most interesting land, in the hopes to free its people from the Soviet invasion. We came to love the Afghan people—they are not the Taliban. In the process of trying to help, a wealth of information about Afghanistan’s culture and religion was open to us.

It did not take long for us to understand that Afghanistan was not a land to be governed centrally from its main city, Kabul. That had only been achieved by their King, who thought like his people, and when they rebelled—he bombed them by airplane. He was as ruthless, as they were. However, he brought education, engineers, doctors, bridge-builders to Afghanistan. That reign, as most things in this land of cross-roads, did not last long.

The root of all problems lies in Afghanistan’s human composition. Afghanistan has a literate culture—but a non-literate society. The Taliban belongs to the non-literate. Most Taliban cannot read—even the Qur’an, which they are taught by rote. The greatest problem to form a cohesive society here, though one tries, is that Afghanistan is composed of twenty ethnic groups. They are, beginning with its largest tribe the Pashtuns, from which the Taliban obtains most its soldiers. This tribe speaks Pashto. Next in tribal size are the Tajik, speaking Dari and Tajik, then there are Farsiwan (Dari), Qizilbash (Dari), Hazara, (Hazaragi), and Aimaq speaking (Dari). Furthermore, Moghol (Mogholi), Uzhak (Turkic), Turkoman, (Turkic), Kirghiz (Kipchak) on and on the list goes. I will spare you the rest of the list of various tribes and their different tongues. But I think you are beginning to see the point I am making. How is it possible to centrally govern such a diverse population. Not only do they speak in different tongues, nay, they also disagree on cultural, political and religious dictates. Their land disputes, as are all others problems, if unresolved, end in violence.

We, and the other members of NGOs (Non Governmental Organizations), agreed that any power in Kabul would have to grant the largest tribal leaders, (perhaps eight of them) the power to have their own security force, cultural and judicial adjudication over their tribal areas, with guidance and enforcement from Kabul. However, even such a solution would be precarious, and would require great men without avarice, greed, and power ambitions. The State Department thought to know better. However, their members sat ensconced in a compound in Islamabad.

Talibe, is an Arabic term for student, however, in the Taliban it refers only to the studies of the most radical form of Islam. Most Taliban have learned little but what is necessary for a seventh century religious life. Pashtuns have fought other tribal groups their entire lives. Their lives are hard, therefore they have little or no empathy for others. Women are looked at as a commodity. I read in the Hadith, the interpretation of the Qur’an by religious leaders, that women are but a rented vagina, because even the married woman can be divorced with three claps of the hands, while intoning, “I divorce thee,” three times. I am describing here the average fighting man of the  Taliban. They are brutal, ruthless and possessed of deep need to control.

The Pashtun tribe is settled across the border into Pakistan, where they are the second largest ethnic group. Pakistan has always had ambitions to take more of Afghanistan, and it is believed that their Secret Service instigated the making of the Taliban. As the Pashtuns form the world’s largest tribal society, with many sub-tribes, it is always possible to draw discontent, poor, and extremely violent members into militant service.

My heart goes out to our thousands of left-behind service men and American support members, and the thousands of great Afghans who worked in our installations. They now bear the brunt of a jubilant, drank-with power Taliban, seeking retribution for the humiliation of having been held at bay for twenty years. They see this not as a Biden failure, they see this as victory over a weak America.

My apologies to the many wonderful Pashtuns who suffered from Taliban excesses, much as the rest of the country.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal

 Sigrid Weidenweber grew up in communist East Berlin, escaping it using a French passport. Ms. Weidenweber holds a degree in medical technology as well as psychology and has course work in Anthropology.  She is co-founder of Aid for Afghans.  Weidenweber has traveled the world and lived with Pakistani Muslims, learning about the culture and religion. She is a published author and lecturer. You can find her books on

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Esther Bleuel

What an excellent helpful perspective about this country. A tragedy that our leaders seem to either not understand nor care. Seems like a fools missions for the US.


It’s so disheartening to think about what the Afghan women might have to through again. Sigrid, this is specially sad for you since you lived there and saw the situation first hand. My prayers are with them. ❤️