I’m not sure when the New York Times is going to stop calling the ‘B’ Section ‘A Nation Challenged,’ but today’s section is packed with interesting pieces.
This article shows how the rule of the Taliban was in many ways an example of a common process one sees recurring throughout history: circumstances wherein the collapse or mutual destruction of urban elites leads to armies from the countryside taking over and imposing the backward ways of rural villages on the cities (sorta like GOP control of the House of Reps! … okay, sorry, just kidding … back to our story). As the article explains, in many ways, the rigid rule we associate with the Taliban – enforced-burqa-wearing, no education for girls – has always been standard fare in many villages of southern Afghanistan, the region where most of the Taliban leaders came from. What was new was the imposition of these severe customs on the more educated and cosmopolitan cities, as well as their enforcement in other regions of the country where such a harsh code had never been known.