Afghanistan War and Election

August 21, 2009

By Padmini Arhant

The nation ravaged with decades of wars, terrorism, militant rule and occupation goes to the polls to exercise the basic human right, a privilege in this part of the world , while taken for granted in the U.S.of A as reflected in the health care battle.

Afghanistan known for the ruggedness and terrains with the Khyber Pass enabling invaders to move across the foreign territories in a manner as the ‘no-man’s land’ ignoring the inhabitants scattered around the vast mountainous regions.

Afghan demography is complex and beyond the grasp of understanding for Western powers and even its Central Asian neighbors. The Imperial powers from the British, Russian and now the American & NATO forces have struggled to enforce any form of stability, political or otherwise.

The tribal laws conforming to the medieval times view the progress desired by the mainstream population from the rural to the urban areas, a threat to the ancient culture and the tribal archaic ascribed to the Western influence through occupations.

Further, the abandonment of the Afghan nation by the Western forces after brutal Soviet decimation solidified the anti-trust against the Western power. Unfortunately, the desolate population then sought the support of the groups earlier recognized as the mujahedeen (combatants against struggle) trained by the CIA and fostered by the Reagan administration core foreign policy titled Reagan doctrine to challenge the Soviet rule.

Ironically, the trade tricks related to weaponry and military retaliation imparted by the sophisticated U.S. armed forces in the late 1970’s to combat Soviet presence tactfully demonstrated in the on-going war on terror between the Taliban insurgents and the U.S & NATO alliance.

Mujahedeen were nurtured through the neighbor Pakistani ISI and military aid essentially representing various multinational forces like the United States CIA, Saudi Arabia, People’s Republic of China, several Western European countries and the military regimes in Pakistan.

When the U.S. departure followed the end of Soviet occupation, the country engaged in a civil war in the late 1980’s forcing the orphans of the Mujahedeen evolve into today’s menace the Talibans. The outcome – the tiny lizard morphed into a tyrannosaurus…wreaking havoc in the Islamic Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan apart from becoming the terrorists’ haven for the terror organization Al-Qaeda and the world’s most wanted Osama Bin Laden.

Now when democracy appears to work its way through, the country riddled with bureaucracy, corruption and the ever-lucrative production of poppy fields.

What could the people of Afghanistan possibly live for and aspire in the twenty first century?

After prolonged tyranny and drudgery, the people are tired and worn out from the perpetual cycle of violence that has paralyzed progress leaving the nation behind in stone age, when the rest of the world zoomed past them reminding that Afghanistan frozen in time.

The Afghani people as part of the human race seek simple life. A life guaranteed with freedom, human rights allowing every human being to live with respect, honor and dignity. Above all, the people of Afghanistan deserve peace like their fellow citizens in Palestine, Africa and other war torn regions of the world. Women as victims of extreme hostility and abuse imploring for their release from the ideological shackles and inhumane practices shockingly happening in both the developed as well as the ‘backwaters’ of the nation.

Children, the future of any country and the world dream of normal existence such as attending schools for both girls and boys, raised by their parents and the family unit if they are lucky to survive the Western aerial bombardments via drones and the Taliban insurgency. These innocent souls, even in that environment of despair and hopelessness don’t forget to smile or pose…momentarily floating in their fantasy to be the center of the universe for the international press and media.

When they grow up, the men have the options to either become a terror network recruit or hired by the tribal warlords to toil in the poppy fields contributing to the flourishing narcotic industry. The alternative for young women is to become the obedient slave in the male chauvinistic society regardless of the Western backed and financed political leaderships in Kabul.

It’s relevant to analyze the objective and achievements by the U.S. led war against terror mission in this region. After consuming millions of Afghani lives as well as American/NATO casualties and billions of American taxpayer dollars the status quo is –

There is no information on Osama Bin Laden, Talibanization of Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan leading to Pakistani military action in Waziristan and the Swat Valley, fragmented Al-Qaeda temporarily relocating to Somalia while controlling operation in Pakistan.

In terms of the U.S. national security, the war in Afghanistan claimed to be justified.

How long is the war in Afghanistan long enough for the U.S. and allied forces?

Has continued U.S. aggression eliminated terror forces from the region?

One might argue that there have been no attacks against U.S. interests since 9/11 as a result of the continuous drone and ground attacks in Afghanistan. It could serve as a legitimate argument,

However, the fact of the matter is the terrorists believe that they gain nothing from repeating September 11 attacks. The motive behind September 11 was to inflict economic chaos and constrict the once booming U.S. economy, which the terror network accomplished with the catastrophic terrorist activity. The economic turmoil further exacerbated with the previous administrations’ Machiavellian Iraq adventure exceeding Al-Qaeda’s expectations to reign in on the U.S. economic progress.

Instead, Al-Qaeda diverted its attention to Iraq’s battleground with their insurgencies to prolong the Iraqi conflict in their aim to continue draining the U.S. treasury.

Meanwhile, the re-emergence of the Taliban in Afghanistan issuing death warrants to the electorate and forbidding them from going to the voting booths confirm the insurgents’ defiance against the U.S. and NATO forces. The Taliban and Al-Qaeda’s primary goal is to re-establish their Sharia law governance and headquarters in Afghanistan. They will fight fiercely until the Western power exhausted of the never-ending guerilla warfare that the West proven weaker at… for e.g. Vietnam, Iraq and in Afghanistan.

The Drones might be successful in reducing the U.S and NATO casualties and seemingly achieving their targets, but the major problem of the entire warfare strategy lies in the massive civilian loss of lives from this operation. Although, the Taliban insurgents counteracting the Western drone attacks by blending in with the civilians in the remote and rural regions, the Afghani government and the people view the incidents as Western negligence given the past track record and remarks by the ex-defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld on the civilian deaths in Kabul in 2001 – “collateral damages in war.”

No populace would like the eternal presence of foreign troops on their soil, whether it’s Afghanistan or Iraq, irrespective of the occupiers’ mission. The hypocrisy is conspicuous when the U.S. conservative agenda vehemently opposes the ‘illegal’ immigrants represented by the unarmed civilians and in the same breath relentlessly supports the ‘illegal military invasion and occupation’ of foreign lands whether it is Iraq or Afghanistan.

How does the U.S and NATO make progress in the rocky Afghanistan?

First, eliminating the arsenal and arms supply to the insurgents would considerably debilitate the militants’ strength. Detecting the providers and enforcing severe international arms control would substantially relieve the U.S. and NATO command from any additional troops requirement. Similar techniques in Iraq would reduce the internal violence over there.

The immediate implementation of such methods would not only protect immense lives from all sides but also greatly help the U.S. economy from the war spending and investing in the life saving “National health care with public option.”

Second, allocating a major segment of the military operation towards nation building like infrastructure, schools and hospitals rather than held responsible for national chaos and killings. This would easily win the hearts and minds of the local population.

Last but not the least, paving way for job creations in both agricultural and industrial sector would gradually lead to the emancipation of the society. Afghanistan believed to be thriving in poppy plants yielding Opium. Likewise, Afghanistan has other valuable cash crops with vast potential to become a leading exporter of dry fruits and nuts, other than woolen products – clothing, shawls, carpets, rugs and silver, mineral ore etc.

Therefore, substituting Opium with healthy life sustenance crops like wheat, nuts, dry fruits and setting up woolen mills and carpet manufacturing guaranteed to revive hope and change that is long overdue in this nation.

The United States, European countries as well as developing nations like India and others should collectively promote the Afghanistan economy by easing the trade tariffs and quotas for these products and facilitate the trade flow from this long battered nation.

With respect to the political system – Unless and until the substantial corruption, bureaucracy and nepotism restrained if not eradicated from the political structure, no western power can succeed in the democratization of this demographically estranged society.

The incumbent administration under President Hamid Karzai, survivor of several assassination plots and attempts by the alleged Pakistani ISI supported Talibans up until early this year, has disappointed the international community on a range of issues.

President Karzai’s inability and lack of interest in housekeeping specifically the Opium production, minimizing government bureaucracy leading to corruptions, alleviating the nation’s poverty and devising any effective plan for job creations and economic growth has undermined regional advancement given the tribal control of the remaining areas.

Moreover, the Karzai government’s endorsement of social injustice towards women slighting women’s rights in the marital relationship is a matter of deep concern and violates the democratic norm in a society represented by the Western sponsored leadership.

According to various news reports, the voter turnout was relatively low as a result of the Taliban’s stern warnings to harm the electorate.

In light of the above perspective, Afghanistan would be better off with a coalition government of the three contenders – President Hamid Karzai, DR. Abdullah Abdullah and DR. Ashraf Ghani exchanging ideas, sharing intellect and experience in a concerted effort to move the war torn nation forward to the twenty first century. In addition, the fractured society would benefit from the collective talent and experience of the consolidated government, besides maintaining checks and balances on activities hindering the democratic functions.

On that note, Best Wishes offered to the new government in Afghanistan with peace, progress and prosperity in the immediate future.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant


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