Posted by: Christian | January 11, 2010

Militants Moving from Iraq to Northern Afghanistan

The source for this is an eminent scholar whose reputation in the field is rivaled by few. Basically, what he describes is the movement to northern Afghanistan of a local fighter and his large number of followers who withdrew from the fight in Iraq once they released that their position was no longer tenable after a particularly bad defeat near Irbil. In a demonstration of the anger and cruelty this man possesses, he [the militant, not the scholar] tortured and killed his former leader after determining him to be incompetent.

Apparently he feels that he and his men will be better able to fight off the foreign forces and their local allies by basing himself in northern Afghanistan. The foreign forces have responded by making alliances with locals and following a policy of “reconciliation” with some of their former enemies, placing far too much trust in these men of “dubious reliability” according to my source. The coalition forces will be attacking this particular militant only after securing Farah province in southwestern Afghanistan, Herat in western Afghanistan and Kandahar in southern Afghanistan. However, reports are that the main opposition in the south has already fled to Pakistan.

Furthermore, this campaign also involves a massive fortified presence in Bagram. The outcome of the current struggle is very much in doubt as coalition forces move into northern Afghanistan in large numbers.

UPDATE: Apparently, and details are sketchy, coalition forces have caught this militant and… cut of his face. Seriously. And after he died from his wounds he was either ripped into two pieces or crucified. Either way, sucks for him.


  • Eminent scholar: Frank L. Holt
  • Militant: Bessus
  • Militant’s former leader: Darius
  • Coalition forces: Macedonians, Greeks and Persian allies
  • Locations: present day names

I promise to review this book sometime. It’s excellent. And by excellent I mean that it reads well and is very entertaining, while also being penned by a scholar with a great reputation. I’m in no position to seriously evaluate a book on Alexander. Even if it involves him in Afghanistan.

And mega bonus, listed in the bibliography at the back is this book:

Andrew Exum, This Man’s Army: A Soldier’s Story from the FrontLines of the War on Terrorism (New York: Gotham Books, 2004)

Not too sure who this young Macedonian is. But his book is on sale for $1 on Amazon.

More info on Into the Land of Bones at University of California Press.


  1. Could give details about where the reports about this militant came from or anything else?

  2. I read Exums book. Nothing political, like his blog Abu Muqawama, but it is a good read and helps to get me exercising.

  3. “In a demonstration of the anger and cruelty this man possesses, he tortured and killed his former leader after determining him to be incompetent.”

    Wow. I knew Frank Holt is serious about his work, but even scholars can’t be that cruel, can they?

    (unless I misread your first paragraph something terrible)

  4. AJK,

    Yeah, I would point that out to if I was grading a paper: “antecedent?” I’ll toss in something in brackets to make it clear that Holt didn’t kill his dissertation supervisor or anything like that.

    Grant: pages 27-44.

  5. I loved this post!

  6. Hey!
    You almost tricked me into thinking that we of this brave, new world were as barbaric as people in olden days.

    Furthermore, if I read this right, we are going to have to wait until we have troops all the way to the Indus River before war weariness sets in, and the troops come home.
    That has ominous meaning for Pakistan.

  7. Montag,

    If you read this right, Petreaus will also have to kill McChrystal in a drunken fit of rage and then march coalition forces home on foot through Baluchistan, Southern Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq while they drop dead from thirst and illness.

    But regardless, no shortage of ominous storm clouds for Pakistan.

  8. Over at Michael Tottens blog, Christopher Hitchens (“One of the 100 leading intelectuals of the world”, lol) is advocating an immediate attack on Iran. Now if we add in Pakistan and Yemen, thats starting to become some serious geographic areas to clear, hold and build. Seems hubris didnt die with Alexander…


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