Just today I found an article online (link at the bottom) that gave an overview of the situation in Afghanistan right now, as well as what the U.S. troops are doing over there. The website had many articles written about the current situation in Afghanistan, and as I perused some of them I found that they almost all had titles such as: “Afghan girl raped, killed by U.S. troops” or “Afghan child killed in bomb blast” or “2010 deadliest year for Afghan civilians”. I knew that conditions were abhorrent in Afghanistan; I guess that I just didn’t know the details of just how horrible the situation really is.
What I learned was that in the past year violence in Afghanistan has reached a record high as U.S. troops have killed even more civilians than they did in the invasion of 2001. This violence has been mainly due to military aggression from both U.S. troops and the Taliban, as well as a rise in insurgencies. The Afghani government does not seem to be helping anything either as corruption and war profiteering appear to be on the rise. Currently the Afghanis are facing a deplorable situation of violence and corruption from their own government, from insurgent groups, from U.S. troops, and from international powers as well. And throughout all of this, the needs and desires of the Afghan people seem to have been disregarded. Although there has been much talk between foreign powers and government officials of what to do in Afghanistan, the Afghani people have had little say in the matter. In the ten years since U.S. and NATO troops first invaded Afghanistan there has been constant violence and the people have been unable to speak up in defense of themselves; it’s no wonder that sentiments towards the west are so hostile.
Instead of creating more violence through increasing offensive military operations, the nations and organizations currently involved in the Afghanistan conflict should be trying to develop a strategy that unifies the country and sets the foundation for a stable government. The present focus on armed forces only generates corruption, greed, and war-profiteering. In fact, many Afghanis feel that the current conflict in their country is a “mutual business enterprise” between the different belligerent powers. They feel that the atmosphere of fear and instability allows these powers to mask their hidden agendas; meanwhile the civilians are the ones who are forced to pay with bloodshed and displacement. “As Martine van Biljert summarizes, ‘in the last eight years international contractors, policy makers and military have become part of an intricate patronage and racketeering network, sometimes as hostage, sometimes as unwitting contributors, but often as an active party seeking to further their perceived economic, political or security interests.’ Now, too many groups have an interest in perpetuating the conflict.”
However, as a result of this ongoing conflict, many westerners have come to view the Afghanis as hostile and savage people who are potentially unable to be governed. In fact, the majority of Afghanis want the fighting to end and hope for a functional and stable government instead. In addition, they want the state to provide them with reasonable health, education, and judicial services. In order to move forward in finding a solution to this conflict, I think it is essential that the Afghanis themselves be brought into the talks seeing as they clearly have some intelligent ideas of their own. The government in Afghanistan needs to gain the trust of its people and the Afghanis need to feel as though all the forces present in their country are there to do good rather than for personal greed.
So tell me what you guys think. If you’re curious to know more, I encourage you to check out the links below.