What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Spanish AO

In the spring of 2008 I was wondering why we don't hear more, either in the form of scholarly studies or in the form of news stories using information disseminated by official sources, about the evolution of the insurgencies in Spain's (and Italy's and others') area of operations (AOs or AoOs) in the west, from the Spanish and the Italians and all the others themselves. Not that I couldn't imagine a reason, or two, for this, on the part of officialdom in these countries. One always had to expect whatever good was to come from journalists venturing into these areas.
A number of well-written reports appeared in the press since then (see for an example the story of Ghulam Yahya; or this other story of Taliban part-timer "Abdullah Jan").
Here is now an outstanding report (Google-translated into this raw form from Spanish) from a journalist - the result of long, adventurous investigative work; a very impressive feat by El Pais correspondent David Beriain and his team. You can also check out the at times quite shocking documentary shot by them, with lots of interviews with Taliban commanders all over Western Afghanistan. Taliban, that are very different from mullah Omar's stereotypical Taliban, yet insurgents nonetheless... One of the most striking phrases I'd recollect now, having just read the text is this, from mullah Moshlé Sayed Shah: "When I came to Herat, I was not welcome. 85% of the people supported the government and foreigners."
(H/t to András)
I will embed the video below:

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