Bloodshed in Afghanistan

“I lost my moral compass,” said 23-year old US Army Specialist Jeremy Morlock when he apologised for killing unarmed Afghan civilians in cold blood last year. Mr Morlock is the first of five US soldiers charged with this crime. He got 24 years in prison after his confession. The US has done well to convict Morlock and for pursuing this case. It is no secret that war is inherently cruel. Even in conventional wars between states, when the opposing armies face each other in the field, cruelty and aberration from the rules of engagement are not unheard of. In civil wars or foreign colonial imperialist wars, such tendencies exacerbate. There are many reasons for this but one of the top most reasons is the frustration against the guerrillas. The strategic plank of guerrilla warfare is that it is a war of attrition meant to wear down the opposing army politically, militarily and psychologically. The guerrillas whittle away and nibble away at their enemies until either the political will of the opposition evaporates or the guerrillas themselves become so strong as to take on the enemy. This increases the frustration levels in the ranks of conventional soldiers. And this is exactly what has happened to the US soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

History is full of such incidents of deviation from discipline despite oft repeated orders from the top command not to do so. It should not come as a surprise that this is happening in Afghanistan. Historically, American soldiers have treated guerrillas as sub-humans and in some twisted way they justify any sort of treatment that is meted out to them. After 9/11, the UN mandated intervention in Afghanistan but the jury is still out on whether it was a good idea or not. The Afghans have seen bloodshed for the past four decades and want to end it. The US should hasten the withdrawal of foreign troops and let the Afghans agree on a compact framework and learn to coexist. What is alarming is that the US now plans on setting up permanent bases in Afghanistan in order to ensure that another 9/11 is not planned from Afghan soil. But there is no guarantee that such planning cannot take place elsewhere. The Afghans have already been punished enough for 9/11 even though al Qaeda was hardly their representative. All regional and global actors should now have mercy on that ruined country and come to some agreement that there will be no more outside interference and occupation. Once these issues are rolled back, the Afghans must be allowed to settle their own destiny.

(my editorial in Daily Times)

Comments

AbdulMalik said…
In your article from your blog named as above I found that you had greatly described the security personal of US army as someone cruel. But here I must ask that don’t you know about the people being killed by the terrorists and extremists in our motherland Afghanistan?? Don’t you see our Pashtoonkhwa watan introduced by the name of camping zone for these extremists and terrorists by the Pakistani intelligence agencies ISI, MI and so on?? Don’t you think that 9/11 was a start of peace for Afghans??
AbdulMalik said…
We are both against the killing of innocent by Americans and terrorists and extremists. So why you people take one side???
mehmal said…
Abdul, I've never denied the role of our intelligence agencies for the bloodshed in Afghanistan. If you read any of my posts on Afghanistan, I have pointed this out quite often. I think this whole 'strategic depth' is actually 'strategic death' for Pakistan.

As for 9/11, I never agreed with foreign occupation/invasion. Has it brought peace back? I don't think so. But I detest the Taliban and wouldn't want them ruling your country ever again. Peace can only come back in Afghanistan when Pakistan and other countries stop meddling in your affairs and let you guys decide for yourself what you want :)
AbdulMalik said…
Great am agree with your comments. But one thing you should mention we are not invaded by foriegn troops we are having them all according to the deceistion of security council about Afghanistan. That the world must stop terrorism and extremism there in Afghanistan anymore, You should consider the case of Afghanistan according to ground realities. We are now a sovriegnt state having our own parliament, own president, own educational, social, political setup in Afghanistan. And the foriegners must crash the bacteria which was created by them, Should pay for the crulty they did through these bacteria in our motherland and killed 4 millions of us.......Here the great operatus of the imperial block was Pakistani state and their intelligence agencies....
AbdulMalik said…
You should get my 9/11 positive.... As American saw their childern weeping for losing their parents they U turned against the millitancy they had created.......here great days for Afghans started to stand on their feet......and be selfsufficient.......

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