Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The "Tribal Belt"

My friend Still Life Living alerted me to analysts on NPR who kept referring, in the kind of catchy-code from which surges are spun, to a "tribal belt" in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Perhaps by that phrasing we are meant to believe that pesky tribes, though poorer than Africans, are the problem. (Oops. Pardon me. Hang on a sec while I spray my office with Rant-B-Gone.....ok, it seems to be helping. Aaaah. Blood flow, good. Air, check. Al-righty, then.)

It would probably be best to simply look at a few maps. This is the most volatile border in the world, territory where our past sins, unknown as they may be, are manifold; clicking on any of the maps shows closer views. The conflict locus:

The tribe probably targeted most by the "tribal belt" descriptor, which is but one of more than thirty others in 'Afghakistan:'

The Federally Administrated (Unaided, Uncontrolled) Tribal Areas:

Pakistan is unwilling to let the tribal areas inside its borders go because of a deep love for denuded, arid mountains, increasingly hostile refugees, dust, and a bracing climate. (All maps courtesy of the helpful Jesus del Norte.)

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