Saturday, March 13, 2010
In the mid-1800s the British Empire included vast areas of present day India,Pakistan,and Afghanistan. The British Army in India contained many native conscripts,Muslim and Hindu. Around 1859, a new rifle was issued to the army. The ammunition comprised a paper cartridge containing gunpowder and a bullet. The paper was greased with the fat of pigs and cows.Soldiers would bite and tear the tip of the paper cartridge and empty the contents into the rifle. But to a Hindu,the cow is sacred,and is never eaten.To a Muslim,the pig is unclean,and is never eaten. Soldiers of these religions refused to even touch these cartridges, touching off The Indian Mutiny.The British never subjugated Afghanistan,nor did Czarist Russia in their attempts. Soviet Russia failed utterly in conquering Afghanistan in the 1980s, and the USA in the present day is spending billions of $ on a land war against Muslims who would die before surrender.The geography of Afghanistan is conducive to small groups of fighters who constantly melt away into the terrain.Like the North Vietnamese in the 1960s-70s,the Afghans simply have to survive to win.