The Afghan paradox

Terror has never been away from Afghanistan. The suicide attack and sporadic firing in the heart of Kabul, which killed at least nine foreigners, are merely a grim reminder of many unanswered questions in the war-weary country.

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Published: Sun 30 Jan 2011, 10:04 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 6:52 PM

Having taken place in a so-called secure zone of the capital and that too in the presence of security forces, the incident only spoke of the pattern that is evolving countrywide, questioning the writ of the government and the utility of retaining foreign troops.

Ironically enough, the attack took place on the day when the German parliament gleefully voted to extend the military mission in Afghanistan by one year despite polls suggesting its unpopularity at home. This reflects a moment of confusion; as far as chartering a roadmap for peace and prosperity in the war-ravaged country, and goes on to prove that it is ages away from a considerate geopolitical solution in the region.

Irrespective of the dislike, widely witnessed in various European capitals for funnelling in more troops in Afghanistan, there is consensus at large that the developed world should shoulder the responsibilities for reconstruction. Germany has been at the vanguard in training police force personnel and broadening the scope of non-governmental organisations that have contributed immensely in the fields of education, health and women empowerment. Though Berlin has less than 5,000 soldiers in action fighting Taleban and the like, its role as a credible nation-builder is highly appreciated in the length and breadth of Afghanistan. It is this aspect that is in need of being emulated by other International Security Assistance Force members who, along with the United States, have more than 100,000 troops on the field, and are groping for a way out of the mess.

The point of concern is the bitter fact that stability hasn’t been around for all the nine years since the coalition of the willing had made Afghanistan its operational base. Their respective governments’ initiative for peace and reconciliation had either ended up half-heartedly or were too vague to make an impact. The fundamental, however, that the West has stood behind President Hamid Karzai’s government all these years has impacted negatively, and resulted in furthering the psychological divide between the coalition and the opposition groups. The Taleban who in the early years of the occupation were on the run, and later were more than pleased to become part of the power paradox, are now in a position to dictate their terms. This is owing to the blunder of dealing with Afghanistan in a militaristic manner, deliberating undermining the political connotation of the dispute. This has cost the West its credibility. A serious review of the situation is indispensable.

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