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The root of Afghanistan’s troubles

The Taliban are nobody’s friend
Basir Helmandi
Thursday 22 October 2009

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by Basir Helmandi

edited by Emily Withers

The political situation in Afghanistan is very complicated for every politician in the world, especially those who watch the situation from outside. Many questions have confused people. Why are things in Afghanistan so rough, why has no strategy led to peace and democracy, what kind of people are Afghans and what do they really want? Some blame religion, some blame the traditional lifestyle, and some blame the wrong strategy in the war on terror.

To clarify these issues, we should look back to the history of Afghanistan in the previous century, during the time that the former Soviet Union’s ideology of communism was spreading through Middle Eastern countries. The United States and its allies, including Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, stood against communism and did everything in their power to defeat the USSR’s attempts to spread its ideology. To carry out this mission, they armed and equipped students of the Quran and brainwashed them to fight against the Red Army. They succeeded in this task, and Mujahidin militants defeated the Red Army. At the time, however, the U.S. and its allies concentrated only on how to defeat the USSR, neglecting to consider that these extreme fundamentalist groups might one day be a problem for the US itself.

After the downfall of the Soviet Union, educational institutions known as Madrasas and political-religious figures continued their activities to reinforce Jihad against non-Muslims with the financial aid of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. They sought to spread Islamic thought and to make an Islamic empire based on Sharia laws.
The Pakistani politicians who supported these efforts were ”short-sighted.” They didn’t foresee that their own brainwashed people would become a problem for themselves. Today, extreme fundementalist groups have become a big adversary of U.S. politics, and they want to build an Islamic empire— first in the Middle East, then by expanding their imperial territory by Jihad. China, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and many other countries where Muslims and non-Muslims formerly lived together side by side are for the first time in their histories experiencing violent protests by Muslim groups. This indicates that extremism is very active and that the problem is growing.

How can this be prevented ?

Former U.S. president George W. Bush believed that the U.S. had the military power to defeat its enemies in every corner of the world. Bush ordered the military to attack Iraq and Afghanistan. It was a huge mistake. The invasion caused a civil war in Iraq.
Now, president Barack Obama and General McChrystal believe that the Taliban is getting stronger, the security situation in Afghanistan is becoming worse, and that they must change their strategy by reinforcing military power and expanding the war against Taliban activities.
I believe that this strategy can also fail, and that it will cause the deaths of many civilians, members of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), and American soldiers in Afghanistan. War generates more war, and America will not win in this battlefield, because Karzai’s government did not adequately lead Afghans in a reconstructive and security process. At the same time, the huge number of civilian casulties by ISAF and American airstrikes has increased anti-American sentiment and aggression.

What to do

Where do the Taliban come from? Where do they acquire financial support? How do they recruit warriors?
As I suggested in the beginning of this article, the U.S. has a good long-term relationship with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Pakistan has become a center for Islam-brainwashing Madrasas. Thousands of Madrasas are active in different Pakistani cities, where hundreds of thousands of students from around the world study the Quran and Sharia laws. Madrasas are centers for gathering and organizing terrorists and their activities. Some lower-level students become soldiers and go fight American infidels in Afghanistan to save their Muslim brothers. Other higher-level students go back to their native countries to make new groups to fight for Sharia law, and encouraging new students to study in Madrasas.

In a Madrasas, public speaking is a very important part of the studies. Classes practice giving speeches every day, with each student taking a turn speaking for a few minutes. They become skilled spokesmen with the power to influencing people’s minds. Their speeches do not use scientific theory; rather, they are platforms only for Sharia law and Jihad. Instead of fighting this with violence and warfare, the USA should press its friends, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, to stop financial support and close these Madrasas. To close all the Madrasas at once is not possible, but Pakistan and the US can train new and modern Mullahs, or lecturers, to replace and entirely change the system of study.

The planting of opium in Afghanistan is also a big financial resource of the Taliban. The international coalition in Afghanistan should fight seriously against giving farmers the facilities to plant opium.
Youth which have no aspirations for the future, no education, no jobs and no prosperity, and people who have lost a family member in airstrikes make the ideal new soldier for the Taliban. To succeed against them, The U.S. and Pakistan must understand that the lack of security in the region is a great danger for the whole world and that it strongly affects Afghanistan’s situation.

The strategy should be changed. The U.S. should stop supporting Afghanistan’s corrupt government which consists of people who widely violate human rights and have driven civil war in Afghanistan for many years. There is no difference between the Taliban regime and the Mujahedin. Both are violaters of human rights. Today the people of Afghanistan have only two choices. Which one is worse? Karzai or the Taliban? The US has the skill to empower Afghan democracy using people who are highly educated and have not committed any crime against humanity; people who believe in democracy and freedom— from around the world. There are many such Afghans who live both in and outside of Afghanistan. If the U.S. can accomplish this, the direction of history will be changed.

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