Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Communicate with ordinary Afghans

By Hanan Habibzai  
Religious-hood is an extensive thought in Afghanistan,and you can not deny the reality.
Afghans want more than
anything is for the violence
 and killing to stop.
At this time of intensification of conflict, a debate is taking place among Afghan intellectuals questioning the presence of the US and NATO in Afghanistan. This is the anti-Western sentiment that the Taliban have for long been whispering into the ears of ordinary Afghans in the villages and valleys of the restive regions. 
Those Afghans who saw their children die those who watched their women and elders in pools of blood are increasingly becoming susceptible to this type of rhetoric.  Many are in the process of changing their minds about the international troops.Military attacks carried out by foreigners and that result in the killing of civilians are an insult to Afghans’ traditions and beliefs. In many instances, when the local population accuse international forces of killing civilians, the troops deny it and often dismiss evidence provided by Afghans. Also commonly heard is that troops were targeting terrorists in a raid, even when the victims are school children, or mothers with young children.
Sadly these tragedies overshadow the killing of civilians in suicide attacks  by the Taliban – preventing the public mourning of the innocents who lose their lives in such attacks.
In 2003 and 2004, I was reporting for international media agencies on clashes between two notorious warlords in the north, Rashid Dostom and Atta Mohammad. At the time I regarded the American presence in Afghanistan as crucial for protecting the country from war criminals and for helping to bring stability to the country. But now, I have begun to lose hope. The international security forces are creating such a terrifying atmosphere that it is hard for people to sleep at night.
Afghan Taliban should be brought to the political process and should be recognised as a political entity in Afghanistan.
Traditionally, mosques are run and controlled by Mullahs and historically they have enormous impact on peoples’ opinion in Afghanistan. They are the only source who rolling the public minds .One of the most effective ways to achieve stability in Afghanistan is to win the support of Mullahs and of influential religious leaders. Religious-hood is an extensive thought in Afghanistan,and you can not deny the reality. War alone will never produce a brighter future for Afghans; it can only result in the loss of more and more lives and hopes.
You can not establish democracy by force where people widely hate the word ‘democracy. Only when the violence ebbs will the torch of democracy be lit. As long as the fear and instability spreads, as long as each family is mourning a loss, so the enmities will deepen between families and tribes, and between the US and Afghanistan. 
Communication and Negotiation is always going to be more productive than violence. There can be no doubt that what Afghans want more than anything is for the violence and killing to stop.

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