The murder of 16 Afghan civilians on March 11th 2012 shocked the international world and brought more tension to the already strained relationship. U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales allegedly killed the civilians in cold blood but according to the Pentagon, Bales had been treated for a traumatic brain injury that he suffered in Iraq in 2010.
Other information leaked by military officials indicated that Bales, who was on his fourth deployment, may have “snapped” under pressure due to a brain injury and/or alcohol abuse.
Robert Bales had broken into three homes in three different locations in Panjwai district -villages of Alkozai and Najeeban and another settlement known locally as “Ibrahim Khan Houses”.
By the end of the attack, 16 people, 9 of them children were dead and 5 wounded. Some of the bodies had also been set on fire. According to pictures, some of the victims had been killed by a single gunshot to the head.
Suicide and health problems
It’s no surprise that U.S. military personnel and veterans are plagued by substance abuse, depression and suicides.
In various studies, researchers surveyed nearly 600 veterans returning from war zone deployment in Iraq or Afghanistan, finding out that they were at increased risk for mental health problems and alcohol and drug abuse.
Nearly 14% of the veterans screened positive for probable post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), 39% for probable alcohol abuse, and 3% for probable drug use. Men reported more alcohol and drug use than women, but there were no gender differences in PTSD or other mental health conditions.
Another important founding was the difference between veterans returning from Iraq who reported more depression or functioning problems and more alcohol and drug use than those returning from Afghanistan.
The studies were published online on Jan. 25th in the American Journal of Public Health and are scheduled to appear in the March supplement print issue of the journal.
In a second study, researchers found that major depression and substance use disorders have increased among active duty combat-exposed veterans. The finding comes from an analysis of data from 678,382 active personnel that served between 2001 and 2006.
"Given the continuing U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and other parts of the world, and the increasing trend in major mental health conditions reported in the U.S. military, it would be important for the Department of Defense to assess whether the current system has adequate resources and manpower to handle the increasing number of active duty personnel who need mental health services," the researchers concluded.
The third study found out that suicide rates for all U.S. military services increased between 2005 - 2007, particularly for members of the regular Army and National Guard. The increased risk of suicide in 2007 compared with 2005 may be due to the extended duration of war and increased lengths of deployment for Army and Air force personnel the researchers concluded.
Already in 2008, researches had presented study results where 300,000 U.S. troops were suffering from major depression or post-traumatic stress in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and 320,000 received brain injuries and only half of them had applied for help according to the nonprofit RAND Corporation. Terri Tanielian, the project’s co-leader and researcher at RAND already warned about the health crises 5 years ago. -“There is a major health crisis facing those men and women who have served our nation in Iraq and Afghanistan. Unless they receive appropriate and effective care for these mental health conditions, there will be long-term consequences for them and for the nation,” she said in an interview with The Associated Press.
The 500-page study was the first large-scale, private assessment of its kind, including a survey of 1,965 service members across the country, from all branches of the armed forces and including those still in the military as well veterans who have left the services.
RAND researchers also found:
• About 19% or some 320,000 services members reported that they experienced a possible traumatic brain injury while they were deployed. In wars where blasts from roadside bombs are prevalent, the injuries can range from mild concussions to severe head wounds.
• About 7% reported both a probable brain injury and current PTSD or major depression.
• Only 43% reported ever being evaluated by a physician for their head injuries.
• Only 53% of service members with PTSD or depression sought help over the past year in 2008.
• They gave various reasons for not getting help, including that they worried about the side effects of medication; believing that family and friends could help them with the problem; or that they feared seeking care might damage their careers.
• Rates of PTSD and major depression were highest among women and reservists.
The report is titled “Invisible Wounds of War: Psychological and Cognitive Injuries, Their Consequences, and Services to Assist Recovery.” It was sponsored by a grant from the California Community Foundation and done by 25 researchers from RAND Health and the RAND National Security Research Division, which does work under contracts with the Pentagon and other defense agencies as well as allied foreign governments and foundations.
Another study which has been published in Injury Prevention, it has been revealed that American soldiers are not able to tackle situations at work front and this has led to commit suicide. The study was being conducted by Kathleen E. Bachynski and colleagues from the U. S. Army Public Health Command in Aberdeen.
They found that from 2007 and 2008, there have been 255 suicides in the US and the majority of the deaths that took place in 2008 were mainly associated with troops who were deployed in the 2003 Iraq war.
In addition, the study authors found soldiers to be suffering from mental illnesses as well like post-traumatic stress disorder, personality disorder, mood disorders, and anxiety disorders. It is said mental disorders have contributed a major portion to increase the number of suicides taking place in the US Army.
Who is responsible to see the signs?
The commander on the ground is supposed to be responsible to look out for the mental health of those under his command. It’s something they are thought to do and should do as people understand when someone shows signs of disorder.
The signals vary from high-risk behavior, such as self-medicating with alcohol, anger management, involvement in partner abuse, drug abuse, and alcohol abuse. I personally see the families of the soldiers as responsible as well to some point. Last year for instance, an Army private accused of killing a Taliban prisoner by shooting him in the face agreed to plead guilty in the slaying, despite his diagnosis of schizophrenia. His parents said he had repeatedly told them through email and phone conversations that he was hearing voices. If parents or partners see signs of disease or other, they should report it, so that both sides should be spared of damages.
What is obvious from past and present studies is that there is a stigma closely tied to getting help for mental health problems.
The Army has tried to prevent suicides in the past year through training, a suicide prevention task force, and a day of standing down from official duties to focus on suicide prevention. Top military officials including former Defense Secretary Robert Gates have encouraged military personnel to seek counseling.
While PTSD can be treated effectively with talk therapy, the military has also begun focusing on whether the problem might be prevented in the first place — for instance by identifying those at high risk and preparing them psychologically for conflict.
In the new study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, more than 22,000 soldiers completed a health questionnaire before they were deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, and again after they returned.
Just over 3% had some mental illness, including PTSD.
Upon returning, however, 8% had symptoms of PTSD. Those who had mental illness other than PTSD before deployment, had more than twice the odds of developing the condition after they returned home.
According to the Army Medical organization who conducted another study, the suicides rose 80% from 2004 to 2008. As many as 40 percent of these suicides may have been linked to combat experience in Iraq, yet nearly a third of the soldiers who committed suicide saw no combat at all, said the researchers, from the U.S. Army Public Health Command published in the March 7th online edition of the journal Injury Prevention.
The findings are based on analysis of data from the U.S. Army Behavioral Health Integrated Data Environment, a registry including consultations, diagnoses and treatment on suicides from many military sources.
Almost half (45%) of those who committed suicide were between 18 and 24 years old and what the researchers found out was that the soldiers who committed suicide were more likely to have been diagnosed with a mental illness in the year before their suicide.
The reasons behind the increase in the suicide rate was related to increased rates of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, substance abuse, personality and adjustment disorders, and serious mental illness, the researchers said. Those with severe depression were more than 11 times more likely to take their lives, and those with anxiety disorders were 10 times more likely to do so according to the researchers in Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.
Diagnoses linked to a higher suicide risk included depression, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress, substance misuse, along with psychosis and adjustment disorders.
Past and present – what have we learned?
The authors of the study, the Army Public Health Command (APHC), estimated that 25% to 50% of the suicides were directly related to combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some of the key psychological issues affecting the approximately two million American troops deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001 have been traumatic brain injury (TBI), depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
One mistake made by the U-S- government was that there was a critical shortage of health care personnel, especially specialized on mental health to meet the demands of those who returned from Iraq and Afghanistan according to a 2010 report from the Institute of Medicine.
After the withdrawal of U.S. soldiers from Vietnam in 1973, the same thing happened. The rates of mental health problems went up. American soldiers had fought in harsh conditions both in Vietnam and the Persian Gulf where being ambushed and taken as hostage was a part of their daily life, but the combat and weapons have changed with the years and even if the wars are effectively fought, the mental problems remains the same. The U.S. government has been too busy with planning wars and sending Iraq veterans to Afghanistan instead of focusing on mental health issues.
Stigma – Wrapped in shame
Bottom line is; the Pentagon’s mental-health workers are fighting a war of their own for the minds of the nation’s soldiers and Marines, but they continue to lose ground on this matter.
Many veterans are aware of the mental state they are in but have not seeked help or treatment. Some of the most important reasons they have given for not seeking help includes:
• Concern over being seen as weak.
• Concern about being treated differently.
• Concern that others would lose confidence in them.
• Concerns about privacy
• They prefer to rely on family and friends.
• They don’t believe treatment is effective.
• Concerns about side effects of treatments.
• Problems with access, such as cost or location of treatment.
I believe that the sense of shame has kept these men away from treatment and that’s also one of the reasons that they have committed suicide. Sometimes the conscience plays a role in suicides when war crimes have occurred.
The American staff sergeant Bales who killed 16 Afghan villagers, had been drinking alcohol, something that is a violation of military rules in combat zones. He had served three tours of duty in Iraq and was deployed to Afghanistan for the first time in December serving a total of 11 years in the army.
With the alcohol running through his veins and stress because of being deployed on his fourth combat tour, Bales snapped American officials say. Bales also refused to speak to investigators asked for a lawyer shortly after he surrendered on the base.
Local journalists have said that the villages of Najeeban and Alkozai are about 5-7km (3-4 miles) apart. This immediately raises questions about if Bales walked by foot the whole time. An Afghan guard at the NATO base had also told the media that Sgt Bales left the base twice. He returned at 00:30 local time after the first trip out and was out between 02:00 and 04:00 for the second trip. In one village Sgt Bales reportedly went from house to house, trying the handles of several doors and entering the homes and killing those whose doors were unlocked. Although he had “snapped”, Bales had remembered to put on his night vision goggles before he killed the 16 villagers.
Apparently the U.S. military is quick to discover mental problems after the damages were done but isn’t that effective to examine them before. This man should never have been deployed out in the field, and he should certainly have never been sent back to America after the murders.
If an Afghan man had “snapped” and committed similar crime in Washington DC, I am sure, the U.S. would have never sent him back to Afghanistan to face trial but instead punish him in America as the US government has no problem in bringing “terrorists”, guilty or not to Guantanamo.
There is no doubt in my mind that this was planned from Bales’s side and he knew exactly what he was doing. His actions were not the results of PTSD and not only against military culture but against human behavior. When a person snaps, he does not put on his night vision, arm himself with weapons and walk several miles to nearby villages where he goes from door to door to kill and burn innocent people, mostly children. A person who snaps will instantly target those who are near him so why didn’t he shoot and execute the men and women around him on the base? I have no doubt that Bales has mental health problems but these killings were conducted effectively and in cold blood. This kind of act brings various consequences:
1.) Creates environment to encourage people to go on the path of extremism.
2.) Extremists exploit these kinds of situations.
3.) Opposing regimes of other neighboring nations takes advantage of such incidents.
4.) Whatever the percentage Afghan government leaders support US role in the region they become separated from its people and from those leaders who are already against the US; this makes the situation more badly.
5.) Afghanistan’s youth would slowly but gradually move towards extremism.
The country which has been affected and suffering unjustifiably would one day stand against the power that has made them victims. And Afghanistan has history of taking such unified stand against suppressive powers.
If America would not give justice to the affected family and may not maintain the transparency in punishing the culprit of the massacre then there would countless question marks which would raise against the leadership role and the system of America which it promote as democratic and justified.
Afghanistan was already burning under the heat of the ties which got thawed when some miscreants’ irresponsible marines burnt the holy book hurting the faith of the very Afghan from the base.
The rage took 30 lives of civilians and 6 lives of soldiers but the relations of the bleeding US – Afghan partnership in the war of terrorism is yet to face another severe blow to their already strewn crumbling strategic ties. But the incident which happened in the dawn of 12th March 2012 at 3:am not only killed the innocent people but has also revealed the true insight of the cost of war which Afghanistan and its people have faced and bear in this 10 year long struggle started by US.
Whatever the positive developments which took place in Afghanistan under the leadership of ISAF and International community lead by US has now been blackened by these kinds of ruining incidents which has created major dent in the hearts of Afghans and their trust in the approach taken by these allied forces.
When Quran burning incident happened in the beginning of this 2012 the General of ISAF said that training program will be started which will teach soldiers of ISAF to identify the religious material and its believes in the Afghan society but till now the reality hasn’t changed and has remained the same with even more worsening situations being created by the insane and psychological crippled soldiers working in the intense pressurized environment of the defense services making them vulnerable to lose their sensibilities making them a killing machine which has no sight to identify between good or bad.
Even though there were reports and bases are known to have the facts about Taliban strong holds in the suffered Panjwai area but that doesn’t means that anybody will go on a hunt and will play the game with the lives of innocents. No religion, no culture taught to kill children and women but the world has witnessed always that it is the innocents who have always paid the price of senseless war started in the in the addiction of power but ended in with guilt and shame.
The killing of 16 civilians in Panjwai has made the Americans to rethink on their withdrawal timetable which was planned keeping in thought to provide the necessary stability to the under established Afghan forces.
Staff Sergeant Robert Bales who is believed to be a suspect the one who had committed this heinous massacre of the innocent civilians has been moved to an unidentified location in Kuwait when asked the American lead ISAF authorities said that they don’t have detention facilities in Afghanistan but our question is that when they knew about the situations being faced by the forced in the past during this war then why the authorities didn’t setup the facilities to handle such crisis.
This kind of irresponsible statements and misleading attitude towards the plight of Afghan people shows the casual approach of the concerned authorities.
Another statement made by Michael Waddington, an American military defense lawyer said the decision to remove the suspect was likely a security call.
"His presence in the country would put himself and other service members in jeopardy," Waddington said.
U.S. authorities showed their Afghan counterparts the video of the surrender to prove that only one perpetrator was involved in the shootings, the official said.
Some Afghan officials and residents in the villages that were attacked have insisted there was more than one shooter. If the disagreement persists, it could deepen the distrust between the two countries.
Panetta, in a series of meetings with troops and Afghan leaders Wednesday, said the U.S. must never lose sight of its mission in the war, despite recent violence including what appeared to be an attempted attack near the runway of a military base where he was about to land.
It wasn’t clear whether it was an attempt to attack the defense chief, whose travel to southern Afghanistan was not made public before he arrived. Panetta was informed of the incident after landing.
"We will not allow individual incidents to undermine our resolve to that mission," he told about 200 Marines at Camp Leatherneck. "We will be tested we will be challenged, we’ll be challenged by our enemy, we’ll be challenged by ourselves, we’ll be challenged by the hell of war itself. But none of that, none of that, must ever deter us from the mission that we must achieve."
Karzai who talked and informed about the complete truth of the terror by an eyewitness named Rafiullah who got shot in his leg and was found by AP photographer lying covered in the blanket along with other 15 The tensions between the two countries had appeared to be easing as recently as Friday, when the U.S. and Afghan governments signed a memorandum of understanding about the transfer of Afghan detainees to Afghan control - a key step toward an eventual strategic partnership to govern U.S. forces in the country.
But Sunday’s shooting could push that agreement further away.
"This is a fatal hammer blow on the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan. Whatever sliver of trust and credibility we might have had following the burnings of the Quran is now gone," said David Cortright, the director of policy studies at Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and an advocate for a quick withdrawal from Afghanistan.
"This may have been the act of a lone, deranged soldier. But the people of Afghanistan will see it for what it was, a wanton massacre of innocent civilians," Cortright said.
"This is an assassination, an intentional killing of innocent civilians and cannot be forgiven," Karzai said in a statement. He said he has repeatedly demanded the U.S. stop killing Afghan civilians. Nevertheless the situation becomes bad to worse now. If the pleas of nation’s President have no effect then how can other authorities are listened by those who believe that they are the boss of all societies. Karzai said he was sending a high-level delegation to investigate and deliver a full report.
Twelve of the dead were from Balandi, said Samad Khan, a farmer who lost all 11 members of his family, including women and children. Khan was away from the village when the incident occurred and returned to find his family members shot and burned. One of his neighbors was also killed, he said. It was unclear how or why the bodies were burned.
"This is an anti-human and anti-Islamic act," said Khan. "Nobody is allowed in any religion in the world to kill children and women."
Khan demanded that Karzai punish the American shooter.
"Otherwise we will make a decision," said Khan. "He should be handed over to us."
Residents in Alkozai village also demanded that Karzai punish the American or hand him over to the villagers. The four people killed in the village were all from one family, said a female relative who was shouting in anger. She did not give her name because of the conservative nature of local society.
"No Taliban were here. No gun battle was going on," said the woman. "We don’t know why this foreign soldier came and killed our innocent family members. Either he was drunk or he was enjoying killing civilians."
The Taliban called the shootings the latest sign that international forces are working against the Afghan people.
"The so-called American peace keepers have once again quenched their thirst with the blood of innocent Afghan civilians in Kandahar province," the Taliban said in a statement posted on a website used by the insurgent group. U.S. forces have been implicated in other violence in the same area.
Hailing Karzai for justice is of no use as He really has no control over the foreign powers and their missions. He can only request them, plead them but cannot order them to do as needed. Until n unless the US and its allies will not feel their responsibilities in carrying their offensives in the suspected regions of this war ridden country nothing can be done.
Obama administration must think about it and should work in the complete direct coordination not only with their forces and concerned authorities but also with the local population in order to achieve the 100% success rate of their mission’s objectives. However the circumstance has now gone beyond repair when it comes to local strategic partnerships on the ground and dealing with targeted enemy.
Today Afghan society is standing on the juncture where future is favoring the rise of Taliban and demise of those who have helped in getting rid of the former (Taliban) with no proper system which they can trust and count upon for generations to come in near future.
President Barack Obama phoned Afghan President Hamid Karzai to express his shock and sadness at the killing and wounding of Afghan civilians. He offered condolences to the grieving families of those killed and to the people of Afghanistan.
In a statement released by the White House, Obama called the attack “tragic and shocking” and not representative of “the exceptional character of our military and the respect that the United States has for the people of Afghanistan.” He vowed “to get the facts as quickly as possible and to hold accountable anyone responsible.” But what is the use of making phone calls and showing the concern while making commitments which has no real meaning in the execution of the actual justice which may not even see the light of a day.
Americans are good administrators and great strategic planners and based on these natural qualities they should also give proper training to their implementers along with the security forces who operate and handle some of the worst terror scenarios across the world. Americans have always played a responsible role in making this world a better place but still there are many areas where they still need to work on especially on the psychological state of their forces as these the ones who face the worst and operate in the greatest level of stress. If they given proper look out and address to their exiting issues only then the true ground position will get improved and not only they will react in a more positive and lawful manner but also their families will also be made comfortable about their status.
Someone has rightly said that a nation is what its media portrays to the world. The better the media system in that nation, the better would be image of that nation in global perspective. Usually, media is considered to be a platform which provides us support to voice our emotions and sentiments.
However, with the entrance of corporate sector in this noble profession, things have changed a lot. An apt example of media being corrupted due to vested interests can be seen in Afghanistan. Media in this nation has played an extremely negative role in portraying the nation’s image in front of the global community.
When communists lost control over this war-stricken country, media which always remained under their full control and influence took a sigh of relief as it was free to bring out only the truth to the people. However, before too long, the nation again entered another difficult phase wherein the divide in the society and hunger for power pushed the entire nation into the early ages and media which sought a better future after the departure of the communist came directly on the target of the fundamental powers which ruled the nation.
This was a time when all media operations were stripped off and journalism became a toy to those who did not even know the meaning of expression and freedom. Situation became more and bleaker with each passing day. The glimpse of media’s presence only lived in the name of extremist radio which played the only programs according to the propaganda of the extremists from the only surviving radio station at that time. The situation remained grim and very exploitative in nature for the entire fabric of media which should support the nation by all means. Freedom only remained in terms of saying yes to the fundamentalist leaders. Nonetheless, this was also a time when media in Afghanistan got an opportunity to make its presence felt in the ravaged nation where lives were vandalised by discrimination.
When American forces attacked Afghanistan, everyone thought that this would turn out to be another systematic invasion carried out by another power which had earlier supported Afghanistan in its struggle against the communist forces. However, things changed quite differently and what happened next was quite intriguing for the people of this country.
As this war reached its conclusion, the nation got a new leader in the form of Hamid Karzai and entered a new phase in which the much awaited democracy was implemented in the country. The Karzai government started to bring together the shattered society of Afghanistan’s natives who had been fighting with their unwritten destinies for several decades.
When Karzai took charge of his country, there was no development. There was hardly a kilometre of highway which remained in good condition. There was no infrastructure of power, energy, connectivity, education, communication and broadcasting which was destroyed during the civil war and later by the extremist Taliban.
The work done by Karzai in bringing together a nation which was fighting its own people within its own borders is commendable. He has done what no earlier leader in his governance could do for the country.
In such times, it is very sad to see how media has taken up the task to bring out the darkest facts of his governance. Media even blames the government and authorities for indulging in corrupt practices and its large scale acceptability. Instead of playing the role of a responsible pillar of a democracy, all that media is doing is defaming Karzai government through all possible means. Media has never highlighted and took the responsibility to show the world what good and positive things Karzai and his government has done after the fall of Taliban.
Today, what media propagates about him and against his role as a President of Afghanistan is far from reality and is also based on hypocrisy of those who are running a mouth piece of their own tribe or who pays good amount of money to the sold out media of Afghanistan. Whatever activities the media is able to do in Afghanistan and to what level is only due to the good policies of the Karzai government and its vision for a better future of the country.
Now that media has tasted it and is enjoying a good level of freedom of speech, it is crucial that it should also understand what its duties are in this country which is waking to a new dawn. Rather than just being a criticising agency, it should play the pivotal role of finding solution to different issues and communicating with the government.
Afghan media now enjoys the country wide access and coverage through more than 75 channels and establishments. It is time that this fourth pillar of democracy should sit back and think what they are contributing to the growth of this nation. They need to understand that they are just creating a state of confusion among the authorities who have helped them in the past and even now to get free from the clutches of extremists and invaders who had no vision for their community and country.
Afghanistan is standing on the crossroads of prosperity and failure and even a single wrong move is enough to push the entire country and its communities backwards into the dark times. In such crucial times, it is so disheartening to see Afghan media doing coverage of false realities just to support a few power hungry political frenzy people without even caring to know the truth behind their support. The media perhaps does not know or does not want to acknowledge the fact that they have evil backing from the foreign lands who want the country to suffer and surrender to them.
It is true that Karzai government has not been successful on a number of fronts, but then we cannot out rightly forget what they have contributed to the growth of the nation. It was Karzai only who brought Pakistan, Iran and other neighbours to one table to support his country for stabilizing further. How can we forget that he is the only leader in the last 40 years who has served the purpose of Afghan traditions and unity on political and cultural terms?
There is no denial that media is very important and its freedom is crucial for a nation which has struggled to survive with its identity and values. Its existence and presence plays an important role to form a unified society which is aware and relates to all human beings living in the boundaries of a nation. It is the mirror of a nation which if becomes corrupt may destroy the image of a country and also the mind sets of others who see their country as great.
Propaganda is acceptable only to some extent. It cannot cross its limits to defame the authority and governance of a country which is working hard to make its nation prosper. For a healthy nation and stable society, a responsible media and its agencies doing coverage on ethical grounds are needed. The corporates who only work for their own interests cannot bring the much needed change in a new nation like Afghanistan.
We demand that media in this country should stop being a mouth piece for unethical propaganda which just operates to earn money and does not stand for truth and appreciating positive developments taking place in the surroundings.
Federal Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel
Office of the Federal Government
Her Excellency Dr. Angela Merkel
AFTQ wants to appreciate your efforts in bringing nations like Afghanistan on the road to democracy and playing a host to a respected International Conference on Afghanistan at Bonn. However with the reference to the last conference held at Bon which shapes the entire format of Bonn Agreement to form an interim government in Afghanistan electing Hamid Karzai as the President and the challenges it still face which the nation was facing at the start of war on terror in Afghanistan.
Her Excellency Bonn Agreement though was a great initiative but has serious flaws which proved brutal and fatal to the Afghan political road map to democracy and to the international community assistance program which even after its decade old implementation has failed to bring normalcy and stability in Afghanistan. When we talk about Afghanistan the situation seems easy to handle and the common formula for all could be implemented which is just call few representatives and elect an interim government with interim leader but it cannot be worked on successfully in Afghanistan if we think it will and the results of which we all are seeing and are witness to.
Afghanistan though being an independent and sovereign country but always ruled by tribes and their leaders where even they have central authority but have their own laws while functioning under a common framework agreed upon by them on common terms. Since last four decades Afghanistan remained a chessboard of the politics where world leaders fought their wars of self pride and imperialistic strategies but as usual the price has always been paid by the innocent Afghan people.
Hundreds and thousands of lives has been lost and counting it just happens in the misconceptions about the Afghan society and effects of various factions which influence the Afghan national stability. Till now Karzai government has unable to bring the opposition in confidence and other disturbing factions based in nearby countries like Pakistan and Iran. His government has failed in negotiations with the opposition leaders many times like Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Mullah Omar who now have re-formed and are on constant organizing drive since the start of war and the result is that civilians are being targeted and military has also become vulnerable to them.
Apart from this the complexities grew even more when the new networks like Haqqani and other terror outfits from across the border tries to create nuisance and are making possible for the parties like Hizb e Islami and Taliban to stand more powerfully against the foreign troops and their operations failing their every possible move towards development.
Though Her Excellency many good things have happened in Afghanistan with signing of this Bonn Agreement but the majority of them which ensures the safe future of this nation are still lies in limbo and still waits for the light of progress to shine them. International community has build schools, colleges, roads and many great infrastructural projects however the things still remains somewhat the same when we take an outlook of the overall Afghan progress which shows the grim picture.
Due to these lackluster approaches and constant implications’ of failed schemes has led to the demise of Hamid Karzai’s national representation though the government selected is legitimate and elected but series of civilian deaths and failures to contain the growing Taliban and Hizb e Islami effect has created a huge divide between Karzai government and the general people of Afghanistan and the reason major to this authority depreciation is due to the non representation of other distant and forgotten tribes which were never got quality representation and consideration in the team of Karzai and the Interim government.
International community and its presence in Afghanistan from the day Taliban rule was toppled and till now there is hardly any visible systematic progress in terms of vibrant political establishments and other related institutions like Supreme Court of Afghanistan and functioning judiciary.
Even though we understand that the commitments were made for the training of Afghan security forces but with the withdrawal of foreign troops their existence and effectiveness left a big question mark on their future and the entire security scenario of Afghanistan and its political governance as Afghan security forces are hardly trained properly and they lack expertise in tacking the growing mess of extremists and other radical movements in and around Afghanistan which is not a matter of grave concern to the region but entire world at large whose result and aftermath we all have seen and suffered.
Her Excellency Interim government since its formation has never been able to represent all the tribes and their concerns properly where many still awaits their chance to stand as partners in the race to democracy. The result is now that Afghanistan and its people now stands at the cross roads where the situation will soon to become similar like the last civil war whose uncontrolled governance leads to the rise of extremists Taliban rule.
Her Excellency until n unless the Interim government and the entire parties who are signatories to the Bonn Agreement including Pakistan and Iran does not show the confident approach and their long term assured commitments towards the establishment of a flourishing and prosperous Afghanistan; none of the so called agreements and conferences will have no worth in the reality.
Nevertheless, when we say that the situation lies poor and there is a growing divide in the Afghan society we must take into consideration that there are other factors that too are responsible for these chaos’s created by the cross border infiltration from Pakistan and Iran both of them are failed and terror states.
Till now International community has coordinating with the governments of these countries but there especially in Pakistan if we did not have good associations and dialogues with other agencies like ISI, Pakistan Army, fundamentalist leaders and warlords operating inside the territory of Pakistan then how can we guarantee the long term stability to Afghanistan and its people.
If the Bonn Agreement and its vision need to be successful then each and every party which either has direct or indirect influence on the Afghan stability must be called upon at any cost and at all levels otherwise there is no need calling all the failed leaders and authorities of Afghanistan and other leaders from the global community all the way to Germany and concretizing on nothing. If this is the situation then these types of conferences, gatherings and agreements can be held and signed in Kabul itself then why wasting the precious money and time of all.
AFTQ wants to suggest that if the German authorities and other signatories are serious and visionary enough in making this prestigious Bonn Agreement and the International Conference on Afghanistan a successful event which can become an example to others then they must call and invite the scholars who are settled down in Europe, experts / professionals of the Afghan politics and its culture, representative leaders of all the Afghan tribes, representatives from all the agencies / authorities of Pakistan and Iran and all those group leaders which are called and named as extremists / terrorists because without a proper and efficient dialogue with all the parties whether they are in favor of Afghan progress by west or against it must be brought into the negotiations and all parties must come to common terms to solve the Afghan crisis otherwise it is worthless to sign or work out any agreement for Afghanistan as said earlier in the letter without a complete representation no-one can assure the Afghan stability and democratic establishments.
“As it is said that in politics and economics always be a visionary from two eyes not from one eye otherwise you may hit the roadblocks in your progress.”
Founder and Chairman
(AFTQ) Armed For The Quill