Posted by: Christian | May 5, 2008

Cartographic Paranoia

I was reading a blog entry over at Kotare (The Strategist) about the redrawing of borders, and about Jeffrey Goldberg’s hypothetical map of the new middle east (also discussed at Coming Anarchy):

goldberg map

Of course, this reminded me of Ralph Peter’s infamous map:

ralph peters map

Ralph Peters, a retired US Army Lt.Col. and author, had written an article in Armed Forces Journal that included the above map. The article was met with the usual amount of skepticism and criticism that any proposed border redrawing proposal receives (including in the same journal). But the hypothetical redrawing was in the independent-private Armed Forces Journal and was written by a retired officer who is out of the loop. So what?

Well, the result was some serious paranoia on the part of some people in the middle east. Certain parties were sure that this was a signal of White House intentions and the borders were fiercely debated. I would say these people are taking things a little too seriously, but then again the establishment of the state of Israel and the war in Iraq were signaled well ahead of time as well. Of course, I consider this the musings of a bored old soldier. But the map was not redrawing any borders where I live.

Closer to my area of focus, there are private proposals for new borders that affect Afghanistan. To start with, here is a map of Pashtunistan:


Pashtunistan? Some people are very serious about Pashtunistan, including some people very close to Karzai. Notice how Afghanistan has consistently refused to recognize the Durand Line? The dream lives on.

The flag of Pashtunistan:

Some like to reminisce about the good old days of the Durrani Empire:

But realistically, they’ll settle for Pashtunistan plus the non-Pashtun areas of Afghanistan all rolled up into one state. Of course, this would require just a wee bit of extra effort. Might the government of Pakistan resist? Of course. Would the Baluchis and Dardic-speaking people up north be happy about being included in a Greater Afghanistan? Probably not. And how about Tajiks, Uzbeks, Hazaras, Turkmen, etc…? The new state would completely marginalize them demographically.

This is all speculation of course. But are some people in Afghanistan and Pakistan waiting, watching and hoping? Absolutely. And some of them are in Karzai’s inner circle. Stranger cartographic events have occurred.


  1. I’ve always loved how Americans enjoy casually discussing the prospects of carving ethno-nationalist states out of Brown-Skin countries, but when the idea of something like the Chicano Aztlan movement rears its head in Southern California, Americans flip over backward in fear and anger. We can’t carve up AMERICA! It’s ancient!

    Also, I would love to see those ambitious Pashtuns try to place Balochistan in their brand new Pashtunistan (a concessions westerners seem to indulge but they don’t, perhaps because a reduced Pashtunistan is far less impressive-looking). More specifically, I’d love to see what the Marri and Mengal tribes have to say about it, and if we’d get to see another Prince Abdul Karim Khan-type figure.

  2. […] be part of Pakistan or maintain independence. This was partly backed by early Indian advocacy of “Pashtunistan” in the mid ‘40s, and the issue continued well into Afghanistan’s official opposition to […]

  3. Somebody left out Delhi… Afghanistan’s southern borders seem to linger up and down the plains of Pakistan.

  4. […] Cartographic Paranoia, Ghosts of Alexander – great post about the psychological implications of redrawing boundaries in the Middle East and Afghanistan. […]

  5. what makes the first map so amateur is that there is no Afghanistan on the map at all. That makes all that theory so weak and unrealistic. I mean Afghanistan have a brave and proud history, it cant just disapear. And noice that Afghan means Pashtun, wich make both afghanistan and pashtunistan (NWFP and large part of Baluchistan) land of Afghans(Pashtuns)

  6. The Thing with this Map is that firstly its Scary, :P

    not just for the Muslims but for the Americans , since Israel specially the American Born Jews and the Zionists who Support Israel wont be happy with pre 1967 borders

    secondly this will create a great sense of unity amongst the Muslim Nations… seeing their countries being cut out into pieces this will have a huge fall back for the European union, as well as USA,

    its not that its not going to happen it can happen but what comes is what is scary is that they people who calculate this fail to realize that all the countries involved are muslim countries,

    and the concept of PAN Islamic thought has been really pumped due to American actions in the middle east, and any further action will be a cause of moving the people to accept the extremist’s view of american Agenda ….. that could be a serious problem for USA.

    and might eventually lead to war with Isreal, or something like an Armegadon.. with 1.3 + billion Muslims on one side and the rest of the world army on one side… since the muslims have been waiting for the … Great Catastrophy… and then Coming of the Mahdi Who will lead them into a War with the Roman Empire

    well thats just my thought

  7. I wonder if Pakhtonistan will be secular?

  8. Where is Assyria? The Assyrian people waiting for their land that been invaded by many. Kurdish are the big enemy.

  9. American are the greatest terrorist of the world, they have history to plan against many countries, but beaten every where, definately in Afghanistan and pakistan as well,

    As b4 in Vietnam and Araq, shame shame USA

  10. Thanks to massive refugee influx from afghanistan Balochistan would soon be a pashtun majority province if it aleady isnt one? Its inclusion in a greater afghanistan is thus inevitable.
    This would be the logical and natural end to the mess created by the brits.

  11. […] wrote about the map 6 months ago in this post. Here’s the offending map by Ralph […]

  12. in my openion the pashtustan will be another failed stuiped pokistan iran and afghanistan we Baloch nation dont want to be part of another artificial nations we want our freedom an independent free Balochistan and we will never merge or submitt to any other nations we are Balochs and Balochistan is our motherland and freedom is our distany

  13. Linguistic nationalism is very different from religious nationalism. The former (signified by terms such as “pashtunistan” or “balochistan”) are essentially secular movements. They cannot be “islamic”.

    In fact, if one looks at the history of these movements, its supporters have always been secular and liberal parties. The opponents to Pashtunistan have always been hardline Islamic parties (such as Jamat-e-Islami) which have been arguing for an Islamic pakistan. Taleban is essentially a frankenstein monster created by the Pakistani army along with the USA to combat Pashtun nationalism.

    Now the monster has turned its back on its creators. Taleban ranks have never enjoyed popular support in the Pashtun provinces. If not for the continuous support and intelligence from Pakistan’s ISI, they would not have captured power. It is time political control is returned to the true masters of the province and linguistic sentiments are respected.

  14. I think initially, a confederation of NWFP and Baluchistan as a separate country and then later unification with afghanistan is more realistic approach.

  15. Life is full of suprises thus America’s plans for New World Order is not something new. They want to divide and conquer. But here in Afghanistan they have a problem – the Pashtuns. Now these Pashtuns have never been defeated so even if American military invents new bombs they will never crash the Pashtuns. So the only losers are the Americans not only in the real end but every day. They are losing the war; the British in Helmand know that and that’s why they made a public statement. However the Americans were angered by it – that’s funny! All the time both saying “Shoulder to Shoulder”. Anyways, Afghans who are Pashtuns and these Pashtuns who are the only people who are fighting the occupiers are winning and will win. Pashtuns kicked out 4 major empires: Mongolians, Alexander THE MACEDON British, Soviets. And now they are doing the same to the US and 34 strong NATO troops. AMERICANS AND ESPECIALLY THEH BRITS SHOULD READ BUT THEY DON’T AND NOW THEY BLEED….Allahu Akbar. O! Allah make victories – IRAQIS, AFGHANS, CHECHENS, PALESTINIANS, SOMALIS AND OTHERS….SUBHANA ALLAH.

  16. Why is Tabriz part of Kurdistan? the person who drew this doesnt know what he is doing.

    funny how every sub nation wants there own country, look at the failure in Pakistan.

    You can divide every country in this world.
    USA: North East, Texas, California, Confederates
    German: you can easily separate Bavaria
    Canada: Maritime, Quebec

    just bc u think u should have a country mean that you should, there is no reason to have a Kuwait separate from Iraq

  17. Armenia should have gained a bit more territory dont ya think? True, I respect the Kurds, and the Armenians and Kurds are friends and we try to put are sad and horrific past aside for good relations. I am Armenian and kharabagh, the land to the right of Armenia on the map on this page, is filled with Armenians and that land has been part of the Armenian homeland for centuries until the Soviets took it and randomnly gave it to Azerbaijan. I respect Azerbaijanis too, but when it comes to Kharabagh and other territories under thier rule, they should face the facts that the land is ARMENIANS. and those who seek for proof, look “KHARABAGH” on GOOGLE and you will see how it is filled with hundreds of Armenian Churches and barely no mosques (there is only ONE mosque in the city of Shushi that was built because of the Azeris that came to the Armenian town calling it an Azeri town).
    As for the Kurds, northern Kurdistan on the map, is actually WESTERN ARMENIA. See, Armenians have populated these lands for centuries, and in the 1000s, when Mongols or TURKS came, they settled in this HOMELAND of ours claiming it their land. The kurds came from the Iranians and Armenians did not fuss with them too much, not as much as with the TURKS. They treated us cruely mainly because we were Christians and they were Muslims. I want to be friends with the TURKS, but because of the massacres and GENOCIDE they did against ARMENIANS trying to “Turkify” us and lying about it saying it was just a small “war”, I cannot accept. Because of this, they destroyed the Armenian heritage and culture in our land, and claim it never happened. WEll Turkey, what happened to all the Armenians there? What happened to all the cities, towns and villages populated by Armenians that spoke Armenian and practiced Christianity? Did they just decide to leave their loved homeland suddenly in 1915 after centuries of living there, or did you guys FORCE US TO LEAVE?
    You see, Kurds came after Armenians, but since the TURKS also treated them unfairly too, it is best for us to join hand in hand. Just look in modern EAST TURKEY (google). U will see, besides the cities, ancient destroyed or ruined monuments and other villages. The people there are Kurds and for the 2 million Armenians that once lived there (until 1915 of course), 1.5 MILLION DIED AND WERE RAPED, KILLED, THROWN IN THE DESERT TO STARVE AND DIE, AND HANGED JUST FOR BEING CHRISTIANS, while the rest 500,000 either forcibly converted to Islam so the Turks would spare them, or escaped and became free, either to the Middle East, Europe, Russia, Armenia, or even to the Americas. It really saddens me to see that all those Armenian churches were once filled with happy Armenians that lived a peaceful life, and now, it is a silent wasteland. Even for the Kurds, the Turks treat them terribly. True, the Kurds did kill us too, but at least they ADMITTED IT! Unlike the TURKS WHO LIE LIKE COWARDS TRYING TO SHOW THE WORLD THEY ARE PEACEFUL AND CIVILIZED! So be it, some are civilized, some are not. I like NORMAL TURKS, not the ones that spit at kurds and Armenians faces like racists.
    If only this world had a little understanding and gave Kurds and Armenians some DESERVED rights for all their suffrage…

  18. Great blog – creative maps – can’t you limit the idiotic ravings?

  19. the proposed map reflects the desperate dreams of immature and unthankful western and eastern traitors…..
    Pakistan will survive ….as its survival is crutial for survival of true pashtuns who are muslim first and then pashtuns…

    The fools are suggested to continue living in their paradise……

  20. Long live the Durrani Empire!
    The only Afghan empire founded and run by Pashtuns.

    Give us Eastern Iran, Pakistan and parts of Northern India.

    Afghanistan was at it’s greatest and will be again!

    It is the Pashtuns who defended Afghanistan and conquered new lands throughout the ages.

    Afgha Resistance, you forgot to mention we beat the Persians aswell :P

  21. All the plan of america and europeans wanted to divide pakistan ….what is happening N,W,F,P and baluchistan alll are the result of American,s interuption in these areas …if Muslisms do something against this country then he shouts they are terrorists …Listen american,s u r not Super power Allah is the super and only power…

    Americans, and europeans are terrorists.
    Pakistan Zindabad Paindabad

  22. It’s all rubbish i will never want to be seperate from pakistan and to be the part of afganistan i would like to stay in pakistan and try to make my PUKHTOOON brothers and sisters to able and to be capible of doing eery thing i am proud to a PUKHTOON and a proud PAKISTANI i love my people and my country i hope and belive what they have shown in the map i don’t know who ever did is will be happen in thousend years PUKHTANOO BYA DOOKA NA SHEE BEEDAR SHE DA KHOB TIME NA DAY BYA AGYAR JAL KHOR KARAY DAY BYA GWARI CHE MONG PA SROO STERGOO OGARO KHO DA ZAL AZAM OKI CHE MONG BA DOKHA KIGO NA ALLAH DE ZAMONG MAL SHE AMEEN

  23. only free baluchistan

  24. thanks 4 ralph peter, only free,free baluchistan, fuck, fuck pakistan

  25. we need only free baluchistan

  26. a confederation between afghan and balochistan could work quite well. The balochis and pashtuns have many similarities(and differences often exploited by ousiders)
    An independent balochistan would ofcourse still be a viable state economically but sparsely populated and hotly contested between iran and pak!

  27. Yasirr!! dont forget u r pashtun, and Afghanistan means land of Pashtuns orite, now if u wana b a paki then dont call urself a Pashtun coz the only pashtu land is Afghanistan ok. you dont even know how to write Pashto properly maann you shud learn first. Pakistan is a country of punjabi, and u know what we eventually dont want pashtuns like you, we want our brave (nangyale) Pashtun. although, i live in Peshawar but hopping to get rid of Pakistan one day INSHAA ALLAH.
    you shud pay more Attention to your background ok Yasir.

  28. long live the greater baluchistan

  29. pastun and balochis are the same we most unite to keep strong in fact we pastun are brothers to balochis and treat them better ten Iran the gayest country and the most raciest country in the world
    But I think Kashmir is mostly pashtun we should have that to.

  30. with Baluchistan we can have accuses to sea and with the sea we well gain riches I strongly belive that pushistan and Baluchistan should be one for economic reason and cultural reason Baluchistan is mostly desert and the only good thing about it is it’s sea pushtunistan has good lands but no sea accuses and pushtun will treat us balochis better then Iran or Pakistan and it’s also good for military too with one strong state we will be invincible

  31. Baluchistan defrent than pashtonistan, we are dont need any other wd us, only Free Baluchistan

  32. plz dont combine us wd pashtonistan, we ar baluch only figthing 4 Free Baluchistan , long live the greater Baluchistan,

  33. Our struggle and persistance will one day bear fruit and we will liberate our land and the dream of THE GREATEST PASHTONISTAN will come true.

  34. Afghanistan is run by pashtoons and Pakistan is run by Punjabis. And still some pashtoons in pakistan want to be part of pakistan. that is stupid if you ask me.

  35. In 1776 Ahmad Shah Durrani created an empire streching for Dehli to Mashad in Iran. It was called afghanistan. There was no Pakistan, Baluchistan, or Pashtoonistan. And by the way he was a pashtoon but didn’t name it pashtoonistan he named it Afghanistan. Persia conquered Mashad and the british conquered india. IN 1800s
    the durand line was created to seperate british india from afghanistan. it was a hundred year agreement that would end in 1993. The pakistanis refuse to accept this so they support terrorists to make afghanistan war torn so we cant claim it.

  36. I like the last map better than the rest.

  37. My parents are both Dardic speakers. We speak Dari and we are not pashtoon. It says that Dardic people wont be happy about being part of greater afghanistan. But me I would love to be. I Love every afghan as my brother or sister. no matter what ethnicity.

  38. First of all Fuck the british who devided the pashtuns. Unfortunetaly there is no justice in this world, and nobody who punishes them. At first All country west of the river Indus must become afghan territory. In the past it has been afghan country.

  39. This blog is extremely stupid written by a white morn who thinks that white people can carve countries in any way they like. The buggers cut our country Bharata into two parts, and gave a large chunk of the land to Moslems who are not not even natives of this land. Then they called our great nation as India, what the FUCK is India. We have an ancient history which goes to back to several millenia, unlike the Americans.
    Truly all all muslims do need to be kicked out of the lands from Khyber to Bangladesh as it is all Vedic territory.

  40. now baluchistan become free soon


  42. pashtunistan is a reality not some form of stupid dreaming. The biryani farter of pakistan will be really punished for killing pashtun one day and also will loose some parts of panjab to compensate the pashtun they have killed and the two provinces they have been holding on to illegally.

  43. Baluchistan not 4 Pashtun & Hazaras, Bcz Pashton & Hazaras They Came From Outside Of Baluchistan, By The Way Baluchistan only 4 Baluchis & Inshallah Baluchistan soon Be a Free Country. Long Live Greater Baluchistan The Land Of Baluchis

  44. Baluchistan Only 4 Baluchis, Pashtoons & Hazaras They Came From Outside, Long Live Greater Baluchistan The Land Of Baluchis

  45. Fuck Pakistan & Pakistanis , Fuck Iran

  46. Long Live Abdolmalik Rigi He Fighting Against Iran 4 Free Baluchistan,

  47. no hazaras ,no pashtoon, baluchistan only 4 baluchis , long live greater baluchistan the land of baluchis.

  48. no more pakistan and iran

  49. long live baluchistan of afghanistan

  50. ithik that if we want apeace in meaddle easte we muck achive this map
    because i am kurdish and we want free state

  51. salam, hey brothers… i think this is bullshit what the west ( non muslims) backed by the zoinists want to achieve… we cannot let our muslim lands to be divided like it happened in 20 th centuray… brothers be united cuz they r planing to put us in chaos and stuggle for different nations and could destroy us easily…
    I condemn that pakistan never wanted afghanistan to be stable but pak did it for their survival… pashtoons uzbek tajik, panjabi, baloochi all are different ethics but one nation that we are muslims and muslims must never oppose each other.. I m from Afghanistan but the true fact is that Pakistan must survive if u want a greater and powerfull Nuclear muslim nation… Afghanistan has never developed in its history but pakistan developed in 60 years like a great and power full nation…
    Pashtoons are actually divided by british and now tey must unite again for that pashtoonistan must be made but not greater afghanisan… cuz afghanistan is the name of areas around solaiman mountains which is in Nwfp ( pakistan) it refers to the pashtoons… And i think the rest of county should be called khorasan as its historical name for lands of tajiks, hazaras , etc.. and i think balcohistan is mentioned as part of greater afghanistan not pashtoonistan… Pashtoon wants it for getting acces for the sea… but they both can unite cuz they share the same culture and history… and baloch are tired and don’t like to be treated by Iran or Pakistan so they can separate and then unite with Pashtoonistan or Afghanistan…

    @ Allen … Muslims has never treated anyone badly in its great history… Muslims don’t destroy churches and force non muslims to accept islam cuz there is no force in accepting islam as ur religion that is ur choice to make… If u see the muslim history muslims has given non muslims more rights than other nation who dominated the areas…

    @ Stupid white moron… I think you hindus forget muslims lesson which we showed you multiple time in ur history … remeber Moghul Empire… and they they people of Pakistan … they panjabis and sindhis they r from ur nation and later converted to islam… so u share the land… its not that u people own it… and wait our other muslims lands are remaing those muslim terrories such as eastern india ( assam )and northen india etc belongs to muslims u have to give it too… u fraudis


%d bloggers like this: