The Never-Ending Afghan War

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The sun scorched lands of Afghanistan, for the past four decades, are being torn upon by this never-ending bloodshed. While many are breathing a sigh of relief about America’s decision to pull out its troops at the end of 2014, the reality, there seems to be getting worse. Recently, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) released its 78 page report and it clearly states that nearly 3,000 civilians were killed and more than 5,600 were injured in 2013 – a 23 percent increase compared to 2012. It is also found that most of the civilian causalities are rising because the people are getting caught in crossfire. Another haunting fact is that the Improvised explosive devices (IED’s) have played a huge role in civilian casualties.

Among all the causalities, the hardest hits are the women and children. Women killed by IED’s in 2013 have risen to a mind-boggling 138 percent over 2012, while injuries and deaths of children are up by 30 percent over 2012. Taliban, Militants and other insurgents have their own code of conduct for war, which all states hat civilians should be protected. However, in reality, these groups don’t care about the causalities or else simply say that the dead are working for the opposite faction (“We don’t consider people civilians who are directly involved in our country’s occupation,” said a Taliban statement).

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In any wars, civilians have been the main targets. The language of Geneva conventions are so flawed that the responsibility to limit or avoid civilian casualties by militarists or rebels is never given a serious recognition. Many Afghan Peace Volunteers fear that possible reduction in US troop presence might leave the control to various warlords and insurgent groups that aren’t necessarily Taliban, but were often created by US. These warlords are also drug lords, who are accustomed in producing the opium.  The agricultural infrastructure and electricity are largely absent, while people are starving to death. The hunger deaths may not be a part of war casualty. But, at the same time, it could be tied up to the war on terror that the United States has claimed had to wage in order to keep its citizens secure. Afghan Special Forces and Local Police are the groups to which US is supposed to hand over the power, when it’s time for their withdrawal. However, the UN report claims that 60% rise in civilian casualties are caused by “Local Police.” So, the real day to day security is still remaining as a mirage. The US’ withdrawal may cause another civil war, where the Special Forces, Drug/War lords and Taliban are going to create another bloodbath.

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USA likes bilateral security agreements. To keep the security force and to build roadways and pipelines, they take certain control over the pricing and the flow of resources. This was what happened in Iraq, nation with an eventual potential for independent wealth (oil resources). The same cannot happen in Afghan, because it doesn’t have any kind of financial base or natural resources.

Meanwhile, it is said that the US Army has opened up an investigation into allegations of war crimes in the Wardak province of Afghanistan. The irony is that witnesses have told UNAMA that US soldiers and Afghan Forces are seen perpetrating these so-called war crimes. However, UNAMA report notes that only 3 percent casualties are caused by international coalition forces (74 % percent by anti-government forces). Yeah, there is plenty of blaming still remaining at large to go around.

NATO forces and foreign troops are rushing up to pack and leave. The foreign media presence in Afghanistan are also said to be winding down. Like the past, the bloody and brutal years, lying ahead for Afghans may not be paid attention by the international community at all. What’s going to happen to this insurgency-ravaged nation?

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  • It’s a tragedy. US interventions haven’t helped anyway in any country. Unfortunately that country won’t learn any lessons. More unfortunately countries like Afghanistan refuse to learn much needed lessons.

    • Arun Kumar

      Yeah, although US and other foreign countries’ interventions are the cause of these conflicts, Afghanistan and African nations are always careened by their countries’ insurgent groups.