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本拉登死后的阿富汗

(2011-05-08 22:39:05)
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杂谈

                         Afghanistan after the demise of bin Laden

 

                                                     

         It was midnight in 1980. I was listening to the newscast of the Voice of America through a shortwave radio in a tiny classroom with the door and all the windows shut tightly. I was an undergraduate student at Nanjing University. 

         “The freedom fighters of Mujahedeen ambushed Soviet tanks and killed communist soldiers”.

         Mujahedeen? It was a new word and I did not find it in my Oxford dictionary.

         Later I read in the press that Mujahedeen were armed and trained by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which supplied billions of dollars in arms to the Afghan mujahedeen. Osama bin Laden was among the recipients of U.S. arms. The Voice of America gave daily reports of the freedom fighters of jihad like bin Laden and his fellow fighters.

         30 years after I heard the Voice of America joyously reporting the battle victories of bin Laden and his fellow heroes, the western media joyously celebrated the shooting death of bin Laden and called for a continuing war against jihad ideology and its followers.

   But the 10 years of war in Afghanistan have killed hundreds of thousands women, children and other civilians. Pakistan alone has lost at least 30,000 civilians and 3,000 soldiers in the war against terrorism.

         With his death, Osama bin Laden is history now. It is time to start focusing on the bigger picture.

         The larger picture is to restore peace and national reconstruction in Afghanistan. No more military game but to start talk about peace with different political and ideological factions of the region. The interests of Pakistan and Afghanistan rest with the regional peace and economic cooperation instead a destabilizing war against terror and Islamic ideology.

         A holistic approach should be adopted to address both the symptoms and root causes of terrorism to eliminate the breeding ground of this menace, as Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu suggested after the death of bin Laden.

         The 20 years of Soviet and the West military occupation of Afghanistan have disrupted the regional economic development and cooperation. Most people of the region believe that the presence of a large army from the West will not make peace with Taliban and their supporters the Pashtun people. Many people hope the death of Bin Laden serve as the beginning of withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan.

         The underlying problems for the popular support of Taliban in Afghanistan and in Pakistan are poverty, poor education system, unemployment, corruption and social unjustice.

         But for over a decade, the west has looked at the Pashtun people through the prism of  violent Taliban.

         Taliban, in Pashtun, means the students in the religious school. Early in the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, the earliest Taliban originated in Pakistan. These students grew up and went back to the Afghan war. At that time, CIA provided arms to the Taliban. But these student soldiers from the villages did not know how to govern a country. After the Taliban took power, they manage their country like a village head.

        If someone had taught Taliban how to govern, rather than encourage them to fight, today's situation would be entirely different. Now Afghanistan is completely out of control. Today the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Taliban in Pakistan have intricate relationships. They are school mates, fellow tribal members and grew up together. Today, the rural religious schools in Afghanistan and in the tribal areas in Pakistan's northwestern frontier region are welcomed by the local people because they provide free food, books and education.

         To root out terrorism, the most important thing is to provide normal education to the rural areas of Afghanistan. If the international community, especially Europe and the United States, but provided food, housing and school to the villages instead of sending troops and missiles to Afghanistan, the situation would be totally different.

         The average Afghan family has 10 children. Most farmers cannot feed them at home so the children are sent to the religious school and become Taliban. If the United States spends merely 10% of its military budget in Afghan war for the rural education,there would be a revolutionary change in Afghanistan.

         Afghanistan is a tribal society. A village is a big family. A big tribe is composed of hundreds of small tribes, with each small tribe made up of different families. Solution to the Afghan issue is to form national unity, rather than waging war against the majority of Afghan people as NATO is doing now.

         Although the Taliban regime has gone underground, it enjoys popular support among the Pashtun in their resistance against the armies of the West. Today,the Taliban have 70% of Afghan land. The Pashtun people of both Pakistan and Afghanistan regard each other as family member. Whenever Afghan Taliban is under attack, Pakistan's Pashtun areas become safe havens. If you fight Afghan Taliban, the Pakistan Taliban will look at you as their enemy.

         If America refuses to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, it is pushing more Pakistan Pashtun, which make up of 16 per cent of the population of Pakistan, into Afghanistan and join the Taliban.

         After waging 10 years of war in the two Islamic countries, the US and the western countries have a big PR problem there. The people there had little confidence in the western countries. Time has come to the West to improve its relations with people of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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