1.10.2009

The U.S. in Afghanistan & What Afghans Want, Part III

(Editor's Note: This is the final part of a three-part series on U.S. policy in Afghanistan and reactions to U.S. doctrine by Afghans. To read this series from the beginning, please go here.)

by
Kit-Bacon Gressitt

Ibrahim directs literacy programs for girls and women in the Ghazni Province of Afghanistan (supported by San Diego-based Rescue Task Force), despite violent opposition by the Taliban and Al Qaeda insurgents. The following paragraphs are a continuation of Ibrahim’s e-mail (which has been edited for clarity) describing the international intervention and aid he believes is necessary to bring stability to Afghanistan, including protection and support of schools. He is particularly concerned about what he believes is too passive an international military force and calls for a more aggressive U.S.-NATO strategy. (Ibrahim's name has been changed for this series because of the security concerns for those involved with educational and literacy programs for women.)

From Ibrahim's e-mail:

Illiterates are as fuel in the machines of Muslim fundamentalists. Educated people are rarely deceived by wild Taliban to kill themselves to go to heaven. Weakness of Muslim fundamentalists means success of the Afghan government. So a more literate population means more power and ability of the Afghan government.

There is a proverb in Persian ‘wearing of the clothes [requires the body fit] the clothes.’ So, suppose if the USA and other friendly countries by their friendly help bring progress and peace and enough work facilities in Afghanistan, illiterates still cannot find work because they do not have the ability to read and write. Learning most jobs needs literacy. Surely a more literate population will improve my government’s ability to succeed.

I believe increasing the U.S. military force in Afghanistan with real actions will have the best effect for my literacy programs, for Hazara communities and all Afghanistan. I believe passive action by U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan gave life to those Taliban who escaped from Afghanistan and were hidden in Pakistan. Yes, the ISI (Pakistan’s Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence), by its aggressive action, has [helped the insurgents] succeed over about 40 powerful countries that have been more passive in Afghanistan.

I request the new U.S. administration, especially Mr. Barack Obama, give attention to these following points:

— Pashtun areas in Afghanistan and Pakistan are the main network and strong front of terrorists. If there are any bomb explosions in London, Paris, Madrid, undoubtedly the root, planning and one side of that string is in the Pashtun areas, with help and planning from the ISI. So I hope increasing the U.S. force will be with aggressive actions, not passive as there is now.

— About 200 meters from the U.S. military, the Taliban are blocking the roads, burning the trucks and capturing and killing those people who are working for progress in Afghanistan. I hope the U.S. forces will keep peaceful all the highways and the roads that cross from Pashtun areas to the areas of other [ethnic groups] like the Hazara, Tajic and Uzbek.

— The Taliban are annoying and killing the Hazara people during their crossing along the unpaved roads from Pashtun areas to Hazarajat [in central Afghanistan]. The Taliban want the Hazara to stop helping Afghan and U.S. forces. So I propose the new U.S. administration put special forces along all the routes that cross from Pashtun areas to Hazarajat, especially the roads between the Qarabagh and Jaghri districts of the Ghazni Province. Afghanistan is very different from the USA. Success in Afghanistan without force and action is impossible.

— I request from President-elect Barack Obama to give kind attention in the [more peaceful] central and northern parts of Afghanistan by making schools, hospitals, universities, getting electricity from rivers and paving the roads and making factories.

According to my idea, the people and governments of every country are as the bone and meat of a body, all humans from all over the world are as parts of a body. Only with cooperation of the bone and meat will the body be strong and healthy. If there is pain in one part of a body, undoubtedly the other parts will not live in peace.

In summary, I hope the answer to love will be love and the answer to [shooting] will be [shooting].

Long live the USA. Long live the Afghan-U.S. friendship.
Ibrahim
(To read this series from the beginning, please go here. To read the previous post in the series, please go here.)

(
Editor's Note: This piece is cross-posted from Kit-Bacon Gressitt's personal blog, Excuse Me, I'm Writing.)

(The photo shows Kurt Swann of the Rescue Task Force conducting a reading session with women in Afghanistan. The photo is © copyright Kurt Swann and is used with permission.)











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