Afghanistan Five Years On

Today, November 13th 2006, is the fifth-year anniversary of Taliban’s fall from power in Afghanistan -or more exactly, their flight from Kabul.

No matter who says what, it was a liberation at the time. That much is true. A majority of Afghanistan’s people felt so at the time, and barring a few countries who had cozied up to the Taliban, much of the world community felt the same.

Looking over the cynical brinksmanship that surrounded Osama’s handover to the US (that fortunately collapsed) here was actually a textbook example of a just war, and an instance of the US taking serious its responsibilities as a, shall we say, global benevolent hegemon. It was the dawn of a new morning in Afghanistan.

What has happened since is not so upbeat. Looking at some of the major reports and studies that have come out of Afghanistan just over the past few days does not paint a terribly heartwarming picture of the situation five years on:

  • Today the Joint Coordination and Monitory Board (JCMB) reported that the number of insurgent attacks has increased four-fold since last year, now numbering 600 a month. (read more)
  • Also today head of UN Security Council’s fact-finding mission to Afghanistan expressed his concern over the increased violence and insurgent attacks and the rising opium cultivation/drug trade. (read more)
  • On Friday Human Rights Watch warned about the deteriorating human rights situation in the country. (read more)
  • Earlier in the month a report by the International Crisis Group described how the insurgency is a deep-rooted one and would need more time and committment to uproot. (read more)
  • A short while before that, Afghan-American journalist Fariba Nawa authored a report for CorpWatch, entitled “Afghanistan Inc.”, a muckraking account of the corruption, wastefulness, and ineffectiveness of the reconstruction process. (read more)

Today we heard in the news that the US president has conferred with members of the Iraq Study Group to discuss a change of course in Iraq and to consider the recommendations of the “Baker Mission” to Iraq.

What all of the above reports and studies amount to is far more convincing in their range, reliability, research, and independence than any Baker Mission to Afghanistan. It is an Afghanistan Study Group, and its calls should be heeded now -before any embarassments, political pressures, and the deaths of many thousands more drive it home.

There is an old saying in central Afghanistan where I grew up: “Fortify the dam before it breaks.” The time to act in Afghanistan is now -before things spiral out of control like in Iraq, and before there is a need to announce a change of course, deploy bipartisan fact-finding missions, and acknowledge -much too late- that the country is in a civil war. With the memory of sectarian violence and civil war alive in the minds of even my generation in Afghanistan, and with things going as they are now, there is no reason why that should not happen in Afghanistan again.

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2 Responses to Afghanistan Five Years On

  1. hatif says:

    dear hamisha,
    this is what happens when a country defines its interests on the basis of “stay the course”rehtoric of a G.W.Push ! when Bush does not, or cannot, push any more, the stink-tank chamber of ruling demagogues in Kabul express hope that democrats in Washington will continue their support of kabul.
    I liked your previous post on Afghaniyat. Hey, you embarassed me too! it is easy: Afghaniyat is a frequent occurance of a situation where you can’t explain some thing that does not exist in any form and you still strongly believe in it!
    to my understanding, Afghaniyat is a disciplinary concept (the way Foucault uses discipline)to subordinate the so-called minorities while letting them forge a false identity for themselves that is nowhere and everywhere– inexplicable but supressingly functional.

  2. safrang says:

    As Ali G would say, Respect.
    Anybody who would drops the ‘Foucault bomb,’ respect. Believe it or not, I had Foucault in mind when writing this piece on Afghaniyat. I have him in mind often -it is a necessity of having a skeptical mind. Or at least when not himself, such categories as power and governamentality, and the intriguing concept of discursive meaning. I agree with you, these frames and card-borad-boxes are all instruments that are devised to limit, prohibit, discipline, and regulate. Part of their power is their mystique and not surrendering to definition. They are defining categories, not subject to definition themselves. That detracts from their power.

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