Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Afghan Rug

Great post from Bobby at Bobby's World detailing a thoroughly plausible possible explanation for the survival of the missing US Navy SEAL in the hands of Pashtun tribesmen.

Understanding of the way these people work is still somewhat lacking and this has led to far too many generalisations as to how they work, where their loyalties lie etc.

The influence their tribal beliefs have on their actions should not be understated. Interestingly, while it is commonly assumed (and asserted) that they are Islamic fundamentalists, this is not the case (though their brand of Islam is, by and large, of a deeply conservative and even reactionary variety). In fact theirs is very much a salad bar Islam, in which they have selected the parts that seem compatible with their tribal ethos and discarded those parts that don't. At every stage their tribal mores have proven more important than any religious allegiences. Indeed, Pashtun tribesmen in both Afghanistan and the FATA will turn on foreign Islamists who attempt to impose Islamist decrees and doctrine that come into conflict with their Pushtunwali honour code.

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