Posted by: Christian | August 28, 2007

Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan: Mongol Style

August 29, 2007.

In 1221, the people of Herat and Balkh rebelled against their new Mongol rulers. In the process the Mongol governor was killed. The Mongol response to the 1221 uprisings was to massacre the entire populations of both cities.

Thomas J. Barfield, an anthropologist and a legitimate expert on Afghanistan (as opposed to those illegitimate ones), briefly discussed historical rebellions in Afghanistan in an article titled “Problems in establishing legitimacy in Afghanistan” (Iranian Studies, Volume 37, Number 2, June 2004). Barfield notes that:

“While conquered cities often rebelled after a conquest, this was less a challenge to the legitimacy of its government than a test of its staying power. Populations were rarely punished for such acts beyond the execution of the ringleaders and confiscation of property.”

Barfield goes on to say that the Mongols clearly did not understand the “ritual nature of such challenges.” Yes, clearly not.

Pic: The newer, kinder, gentler Mongolian military presence in Afghanistan. Forgive and forget, right?

Mongolian soldier afghanistan

Shortest. Entry. Ever. Thanks to the Mongols for that.

PS: I do not endorse this model of counterinsurgency in any way, shape or form. That’s clear, right?


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