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Saturday, July 14, 2007

American parochialism

Barnett Rubin has a must-read piece on Afghanistan, the Caliphate, and bin Laden at this site. But, one paragraph which especially grabbed me was this paragraph describing the area in the mountains separating Pakistan and Afghanistan where bin Laden is thought to be hiding:

And as the itinerary of the containers shows, that region is no longer the isolated backwater it remains in the National Geographic mind. While in the days of Abdul Rahman Khan only British India was permitted a legation in Kabul, today the capital of the Mughal Emperor Babur is a major outpost of the UN, NATO, the US Central Command, and the European Union, with enormous embassies of every major country under construction. The people whom Amir Abdul Rahman Khan informed about his rule with an illustrated map are now more likely to have traveled abroad than Americans, if not usually as tourists, and listen to far more international news in several languages.

I was particularly struck by the sentence I highlighted here.


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