Monday, 2 May 2011



By Hanan Habibzai

Finally, Bin Laden the most wanted man has been killed and the news is being celebrated across the United States, the news Americans were waiting for teen years. In fact, this is the biggest news in the world I have heard in the last decade. At last, he was found in a non-Pashtun area in a small town which president Obama refers to as ‘deep inside Pakistan’, in a region where there is the key military academy of the Pakistan army surounded the city.

His presence in Pakistan is not a surprise because many Al Qaida members, such as Khalid Shiekh and Al-libey and number of others previously arrested or killed in that country. This makes it clear that Al Qaida is not in Afghanistan but in Pakistan.

Bin Laden was a priority in American military invasion of Afghanistan, for that priority thousands of Afghan civilians have been killed during the operations. The civilian casualties since late 2001 in Afghanistan may be three times higher than those of 9/11. The same may be the case with the financial losses.

Nearly 3000s innocent men, women and children were killed in a catastrophic attack on world trade centres on 11th September 2001. This hurts anyone who believes in peace, harmony and human dignity, as president Obama added. The hunt for Osama resulted in the invasion of Afghanistan and toppling of the Taliban regime. After the fall of Taliban, the military struggle to capture Bin Laden and his friends moved to the villages of Afghanistan where he actually did not exist at all.

US-led troops were saying that they are in Afghanistan because Al Qaida is hiding in the country, but today it has been proven that the killing and blaming of Afghans as supporters of Al Qaida was an incorrect analysis for which Afghans witnessed their sweethearts being killed or tortured.
I was inspired by Jonathan Steele’s article in the Guardian newspaper where he portrayed an actual history of Bin Laden and his association in Afghanistan. After the collapse of Taliban regime by US military invasion, the south and east of Afghanistan are being punished for the wrong reason, the mistaken belief that Afghanistan was home to the 9/11 terrorists.

This is inexcusable.
Years ago, I listened to George Galloway challenging Jane Silk on Afghanistan. Galloway claimed that, of the terrorists, none were Afghans who went to the US or any other Western country to attack innocent citizens.
The argument, that Afghan villagers in the south and east and other parts of Afghanistan are challenging the US presence in Afghanistan as a justification for occupation and continued war is insane.
There are hundreds of thousands Afghan refugees living in West including the US and they have always condemned extremism and violence. The US seems to know nothing about Afghanistan and its people. Hilary Clinton has very clear arguments on Afghan war against Soviet. She has repeatedly stated that Al Qaeda is not an Afghan problem.

Yes, in 1980s bin Laden came to Afghanistan and began to fight against Russians in the country. He founded the Al Qaida and fled Afghanistan and went to Sudan after the Soviet was defeated there, however he becomes an Afghan problem when brought back to Kabul.

According to Steele ‘When he decided to leave Sudan, his previous headquarters, the Afghans who gave him a place to stay were the former mujahideen leaders who were fighting for their lives against the emerging new Taliban movement. Bin Laden, with his wives and followers, flew to Jalalabad on an official plane provided by the then Afghan president, Burhanuddin Rabbani, who remains an associate of the current president, Hamid Karzai, as chairman of the high peace council’.

Since then Osama becomes an issue and headache for Afghans,however, with the death of Al Qaida leader, a violent era of the history ended and this is the time to talk about peace in Afghanistan rather than war in the country. Peace comes when the strategies include justice for Afghans too.

Those prisoners of war who were barbarically massacred in north of Afghanistan in 2001 and those who have been killed in suicide attacks and military reactions to those attacks must be given justice.
The war shattered people long remained the victims of war on terror. Now,after the death of most wanted man, many Afghans may come forward and ask for the price for the losses in their country during the US campaign against Bin Laden.

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