© Paolo Woods, 2019.
 

AMERICAN CHAOS

"You can do everything with bayonets, except sit on them."

Mohammad Zaki, spokesperson for warlord Rachid Dostom citing Talleyrand, in regard to the systematic use of force of the Americans in Afghanistan. 

 

"America applauds those who fight for liberty and independence but she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy"

John Quincy Adam

Sixth president of the United Sates of America, July 1821

 

 

I have stared working in Afghanistan in 1999. In the spring of 2002 with journalist Serge Michel I undertook the first complete tour of Afghanistan. 

 

We traveled the national road, or what was left of it, that forms a ring around the country uniting Kabul with Mazar, Herat, Kandahar, Ghazni and then back to Kabul.

 

Along the 3000 km journey we saw the people of Afghanistan regain hope after the fall of the Taliban. The talk on the streets was of the homecoming of refugees, the end of the drought, marriage and reconstruction. 

 

Two years later we retraced our steps and discovered that the international money has been hijacked by the war in Iraq, the Taliban were reforming and controlling large sections of the south, the warlords had regained unrivaled power in the rest of the country, the poppy cultivations was at its all time records, the women situation has not improved much, and the central government of controlled little more than Kabul. 

 

In the spring of 2004 we traveled the dangerous roads of Iraq, from Basra to Mosul.

 

This was a plunge into a country full of hate, from the hideouts of the insurgents to the back of American Humvees, from the carpets of sheikhs to the weddings of Kurdish people. We crossed the Shiite south, on the verge of rebellion, and lived in Falluja with the insurgents who began by kidnapping and threatening to kill us. 

 

Through this unprejudiced reportage we try to give an on-the-ground understanding of how the coalition forces have won the war but have lost the peace. Of how the “Pax Americana” is becoming the “American Chaos”.