February 14, 2009
In my short life, I have been a witness to a generation of war in my country, Afghanistan. Every administration that took power had its own flag, national anthem, constitution and governmental system. It’s not like we have been taking turns building our nation’s walls brick by brick. We demolish each half built wall and revamp it in our own style. And so Afghanistan remains a largely desolate nation and sadly, this cruel saga continues today.
When Hamid Karzai became president with a democratic constitution and a Westernized system, he put radicals and opportunists in crucial positions in the government. A recent national opinion poll shows the majority is opposed to the return of Taliban and as well discontent with the progress of the current government. If a truck driver can’t fly a plane, why should we be surprised that the plane is going down? Afghanistan is floundering because of the corruption and tribalism endemic in its inept government.
Karzai’s second mistake was arguing with Pakistan over the Durand Line, the frontier border dividing Afghanistan and then British India and present-day Pakistan. As soon as Karzai established his cabinet, he denounced time-honored agreements and claimed that the land belongs exclusively to Afghanistan. Pakistan felt betrayed after helping America to overthrow the Taliban regime and assist Karzai’s nascent government. President Karzai unwisely provoked his neighbors and has on many occasions said that the Pashtun people on both sides of the border are brothers that cannot be divided. Every Pakistani was shocked seeing President Karzai dividing their land. In effect, Karzai has given reason to the Pakistani government to covertly facilitate and encourage the regrouping of the Taliban in order to defend their territorial integrity and prevent the Karzai government from ascending to power in the region.
In our present day, we infrequently see a nation exclusively homogenous in its ethnic character. Afghanistan, as a landlocked nation at a crossroads between South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East, has several distinct ethnic groups defining its national character. After the Pashtun people, Afghanistan’s second most populous ethnic group is the Tajik people, and indeed Afghanistan is bordered by the nation of Tajikistan. Similarly, the Uzbek people form a sizeable percentage of our nation’s population and Afghanistan is accordingly bordered by Uzbekistan.
Like the Pashtun people, these people also live proudly within Afghanistan’s borders, politically separate and distinct from their brethren in their motherlands. By recklessly claiming birthright to all the lands that Pashtun’s live on, Karzai has upset Afghanistan’s ethnic groups and exasperated political discontent by giving them reason to think that he is a Pashtun nationalist who only cares about his own tribe. Karzai’s thoughtless political posturing doesn’t end here.
Recently, after the newly appointed Secretary of State Hilary Clinton commented and described Afghanistan as a “narco state,” Karzai turned the page in his political handbook. Making a 180-degree turn, he has come out condemning his American allies at every opportunity for the sake of his own political expediencies. There is a well-written article entitled “Karzai to US: Don’t Kill Civilians” on Press TV, an Iranian funded website.
The sad thing is that even a boy in streets of Kabul can plainly see what is transpiring today in my home country. Everyone knows that the Taliban uses shameful and wicked tactics in their war against the government and all semblances of law and order – hiding in people’s homes and using the innocent as human shields. The Kabul Press, a widely circulated daily newspaper in Afghanistan, recently published a cartoon of a Taliban fighter holding a baby in front of a falling rocket with NATO written on it’s nose. And yet today, the Taliban refuses to justify its actions, let alone acknowledge them. And we all know that when someone refuses to take the blame that others accuse him of, it means that they believe they have done nothing wrong, and that there is nothing in him to change.
We have to be truthful and honest. A month ago, I read something in my college book about President Abraham Lincoln that really moved me. When Lincoln was a store clerk, he used to walk miles finding his customers to return their dollars given to him by mistake. It brought tears to my eyes. I felt depressed for almost a week, wondering why we cannot have such a person in our country. Karzai lived and studied in Honest Abe’s country. I don’t know what book he read and what school he went to.
Our hopes are dying and nobody is singing songs of praise for democracy anymore. Poverty, corruption and lack of security are driving the people away from the golden road of progress so close yet so far from our grasp. Every morning the city bus stations are crowded of people who are waiting to board buses that will take them far away from the land of their birthright.
We are back to homelessness. We are wandering to neighboring countries like ill-fated vagrants. Their last words will be to tell the people we only saw the wine of democracy and smelled its sweet essence from the glass. We never tasted it.
And now, its time to watch helplessly as the Taliban radicalizes our society and poisons the minds of our impressionable youth, born into the vicious hands of war. Now its time to find common men to take our sisters to marriage before the Taliban take them as their booty. Now, its time to watch the Taliban pour gasoline into the fires spreading across our nation. And now its time to wait for a suicide bomber to take from you what God gave to you.