Mar 022009
 

ALI SUKHANVERalisukhanwer

“Once there was a magician in some ancient Egyptian land. He wanted to be the ruler of the whole world with the help of his magic. He made the lives of his dear and near ones very pathetic and miserable so that they might come to him for help and support. Since he was very much aware of the fact that some day someone might take his life for his misdoings, he encased his soul in the body of a pigeon, cast such a magic on it that it could never come to him back and then flew it away forever. After so many years the magician succeeded in his plan and became the ruler of a big part of the world. One day a little boy of eight caught that pigeon in his net and cut its heart open because he needed the fresh blood of a pigeon to save the life of his dying mother.”.. …..My grandfather used to tell me this story when I was just a three years old boy. That time I could never get the lesson hidden behind this story but now it is very much all around me in the shape of a bitter, undeniable reality. The Magician is making the lives of his dear and near ones pathetic and miserable but he does not know that an eight years old boy is searching for the pigeon to save the life of his dying mother.

After its eighth birthday, the so-called war on terror in Afghanistan is gradually approaching towards its natural and expected death before our own eyes. In all these years The Afghan war has proven entirely counter-productive to its stated aims and objectives. Instead of stabilizing a volatile region and denying it as a base for violent extremism, it has of course done the opposite. The aftermaths of the American-led invasion in Afghanistan have spread across Central Asia and most dangerously into Pakistan. Would that the American had given it a little thought that Afghanistan is a country that no foreign power has ever conquered and held. The war on terror has become a War of Injustice in Afghanistan. The country itself is in a desperate condition, laden with a weak, foreign-installed government dominated by warlords and riddled with corruption. The illegal opium trade has now surged to historic levels, and is flooding the streets of Europe and the West with low-cost heroin. Same is the case with India, China and Pakistan. An astonishing rise in drug addiction among these neighbouring countries is surely the by-product of this ‘sublime war on terror’. The relentless stream of American atrocities is giving birth to more suffering, more chaos, more corruption, more extremism, more slaughter and genocide on a large scale.

Atrocities never give birth to justice and peace. The reaction to any atrocity is nothing but always a very harsh and bitter violence; Palestine, Lebanon, Kashmir, Iraq and Afghanistan, everywhere the reaction is the same. Unfortunately the Americans are not aware of this reality. They are mistaken that exertion of force is the only solution to every problem. They are ignoring the fact that the use of force can captivate human beings but not win their hearts. The upward graph of hatred and disliking for the Americans is rising to very alarming levels but instead of taking healing measures they are adding more oil to the fire by increasing the number of their troops in Afghanistan. According to a recent report, Obama has been expected for weeks to announce the deployment of as many as three combat units comprising up to 17,000 troops. Top Pentagon officials have said they envision two of the units arriving in Afghanistan by the end of spring and a third during the summer. The U.S. military planners have been considering sending two Army brigade combat teams, each with about 3,500 soldiers, and a larger Marine task force of a number expected to approach 10,000 troops. The Pentagon is already sending about 2,200 support troops known as enablers and an Army combat aviation brigade of 2,800 soldiers, in addition to an Army combat brigade of 3,800 soldiers that deployed last month in eastern Afghanistan. The expected U.S. build-up would increase the total number of Western forces, including troops from other NATO countries, to around 100,000 troops.

Officials say the Obama administration may hold back the main deployment until it completes a strategic review in time for a NATO summit in the coming April, but at least one brigade may have to be ordered to Afghanistan before the review is finished. That is because of the danger of a spike in violence this spring when warm weather unclogs mountain passes and allows free movement to the Taliban and other militant groups. Here the question arises; what will be the outcome of this increase in the number of deployed troops. Such illogical measures are doing nothing but transforming thousands of people who once opposed the Taliban into fighters under its banner. It is simply a mathematical law; the larger the foreign force, the more force protection it needs, resulting in more atrocities and fueling more resistance, more extremism.

The latest figures from the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission suggest about 750 civilians had been killed by foreign forces during the last year. Most were killed in air strikes. The remainders were shot by jumpy soldiers, who often open fire in crowded public places after an attack on one of their convoys. Here is an extract from The Guardian which provides an enlightening glance at the results of American policy in Afghanistan today. “It was a hot July morning of the last year when a plane came swooping low over the remote ravine. Below, a bridal party was making its way to the groom’s village in an area called Kamala, in the eastern province of Nangarhar, to prepare for the celebrations later that day. The first bomb hit a large group of children who had run on ahead of the main procession. It killed most of them instantly. A few minutes later, the plane returned and dropped another bomb, right in the centre of the group. This time the victims were almost all women. Somehow the bride and two girls survived but as they scrambled down the hillside, desperately trying to get away from the plane, a third bomb caught them. Hajji Khan, the father of the bride says; I was holding my grandson’s hand, then there was a loud noise and everything went white. When I opened my eyes, everybody was screaming. I was lying meters from where I had been, I was still holding my grandson’s hand but the rest of him was gone. I looked around and saw pieces of bodies everywhere. I couldn’t make out which part was which.” This is just one chapter from the romantic tale of the American war on terror in Afghanistan. There are so many others not only in Afghanistan but also in the tribal areas of Pakistan along the Pak-Afghan borders. Since August 2008, the United States has intensified an aerial offensive using unmanned drones in Pakistan’s tribal regions. Formally known as Predators, the drones are apparently targeting al-Qaida and the Taliban. The Americans claim that these attacks are to stem cross-border attacks against U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan but actually these attacks are giving birth to a reaction among the tribal people, a reaction which may prove a grave challenge for the US war on terror in the near future. The anti-American feelings in Afghanistan and Pakistan do not belong to the conservative or religious elements, even the common citizens are also having the same feelings .These feelings stem from the actions and military operations of the foreign troops. The anti-western sentiment is directly because of the military actions, the civilian casualties, and the lack of respect by foreign troops for the innocent civilians.

The situation in Afghanistan can never be improved unless the US authorities review their policies in Afghanistan and the tribal areas of Pakistan. They should admit the fact that the US-led coalition has poorly failed in curbing the insurgency in Afghanistan. There are so many factors responsible for this failure; the weak co-ordination among the NATO-members, rampant corruption in the so called Afghan government, increasing hunger and poverty, the growing cultivation of poppy, the production of heroin at a large scale and above all the increasing sense of insecurity in the people of these areas. The situation in Afghanistan can not be improved unless the tribal lords are taken into confidence. Alone the NATO forces don’t have an ability of grappling with this hazardous situation.

The Afghan issue is closely linked with Pakistan. The people living on the both sides of Pak-Afghan borders do not belong to two different nations. They have strong blood relations. They cannot be dealt separately. For a cordial solution of the problem, the US government should take Pakistan in confidence. Without the help and co-ordination of Pakistan any effort to curb extremism in Afghanistan shall end in fiasco. Still there is time. The US authorities should rejuvenate their philosophy regarding the solution of the Afghan issue. The Drones are not the treatment. They are aggravating the wound. Change the medicine, or the wound may turn into a cancer. And never forget the boy who is searching for a pigeon, he needs its fresh blood to save his dying mother.

 Posted by at 7:58 am

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