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United Nations Afghanistan Ambassador Zahir Tanin Visits Stony Brook

KENNETH HO/THE STATESMAN

Zhair Tanin, the ambassador for Afghanistan to the United Nations and journalist, spoke Thursday afternoon at Stony Brook University at the Center for Global Studies about the war in his country and how it relates to the past and future.

Tanin spoke to the students, faculty, staff and guests that day about his country. His presentation was labeled: Afghanistan: The Current Situation Through a Historical Lens. He addressed the current war in Afghanistan in the context of the constant struggle that the nation has gone through during the past 30 years.

Tanin, a graduate from Kabul Medical University, began his career as a journalist in 1980, a few years into the Soviet-Afghan war, which consumed his home nation for a decade. He co-authored a book about this period called “The Communist Regime in Afghanistan.”

“In 30 years, I saw eight leaders,” he said. “Four were killed, one is in exile and three are alive.”

But none of these transitions were easy.

“Any changes here are bloody changes,” he said. “In any of these changes, thousands were sent to prison. Thousands lost their lives.”

There was $300 billion worth of damage, or 100 years worth of growth, destroyed in Afghanistan through this period.

Since 1973, there has been continuous conflict in Afghanistan. In the same year, Tanin’s own brother, who became the first president of Afghanistan, dethroned the last king, Mohammed Zahir Shah.

Five years later, the Communists took over; It was the first foreign intervention into Afghanistan in the 20th century. From 1978 to 1989, the mujahedeen holy warriors drove the Soviet Union from Afghanistan with financial aid from numerous countries.

Some compare this war to the current conflict in Afghanistan, fearing that it may have the same result.

Tanin suggested otherwise: “It’s fundamentally different. The U.S. and NATO forces aren’t in Afghanistan to invade the country. They’re helping Afghans to get rid of al-Qaeda influence. It is helping Afghans to get rid of terrorism.”

However, he added that fighting is not the only answer.

“It’s not only about attacking the Taliban. The aim is to establish peace and stabilize Afghanistan.”

From numerous press releases, the Obama administration has declared that this is essentially their strategy, driving Taliban fighters from crucial regions and bringing government stability to those places.

Tanin also addressed those who would say that the United States should abandon the war.

“We shouldn’t leave Afghanistan. It would be irresponsible. Al-Qaeda is still in the region. We should avoid what happened in the 1990’s.”

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  • A

    Ahmad ZaiNov 9, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    Is there a God in thei world. When I see Tanin, sometimes I am shocked how a staunch communist, a KGB’s cheap spy bluff his way to New York as representative of a regime for which Americans are sheding their blood and spending billions of dollars.

    He was a dirty communist bureaucrat who might have killed innocent people by reporting them to the communist establishments.

    He worked as the editor in chief of the communist paper Haqiqat-i-Inqilab Saus. After the collapse of the communist regime, he resurfaced as human right supporter and he grew up on BBC, and then he is lavished with a lucrative post in New York.

    During the communist era in Afghanistan, he was a blue-eyed boy of the Russians and Babrak Karmal. He did nothing but induled in women, whisky, lavish travels etc etc.

    He has blood of the Afghan innocents anti-communist intellectuals who were sent to jail by this evil face. Looking at Tanin’s trajectory, i cant stop thinking that Washington is run by Satan.

    Ahmadzai

    Reply
  • R

    Ramin HaqgoNov 9, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    When I see Tanin talking about peace it is like I am seeing a gothic film of horror.

    In 1980s, he was working with KGB and he was a staunch supporter of the Soviet Union. He was showered with money and Vodka, now it is time for his CIA’s master to shower him with dollars and Wiskey.

    For God’s sake, the Americans have to wake up. they are supporting a regime which is represented by a Charlaton and Criminal like Zahir Tanin.

    A great reason for the American defeat in Afghanistan now is its pathetic immorality.

    March on Uncle Sam with villains like Tanin to your tomb in Afghanistan.
    Ramin Haqgo

    Reply