Afghanistan has experienced thirty years of war and conflict. The country continues to remain violent. It is important to emerge out of this appalling and terrible situation. But the government alone cannot solve the problems. On Wednesday, May 18, 2011, some 1,500 protesters poured into the streets of a northern Afghan city, shouting "Death to America!" and "Death to Karzai" and calling for justice as they clashed with security forces following an overnight NATO raid they claim killed four civilians.
The demonstration turned violent and as a result at least 11 people were killed when the protesters fought with police and tried to assault a NATO outpost in the city of Taloqan, the capital of Takhar province. Afghans have been very sensitive towards civilian casualties caused by international forces in the counter-insurgency operations, particularly those conducted overnight. Afghans can wage protest against civilian deaths, no matter whether caused by Taliban or international and Afghan security forces.
But they must not address the issue in emotional and sentimental fashion. They must try to learn rational practices and actions. They thought they could solve the issue of killing two or four civilians by killing another 11 people. Common sense, logic and wisdom do not tell us so. But unfortunately they have not raised their voice against the atrocious killing of Afghan people by the Taliban and other terrorist networks. Taliban militants continue to kill Afghans through suicide attacks, roadside bombings and face-to-face fighting almost every day. But unfortunately there has not been any protest waged by ordinary Afghans against the Taliban insurgents.
In order to analyze the reason, it could be said that it is the government that has chosen this game. The president continues to call those militants and insurgents as "unhappy brothers." This is feeding ordinary Afghans across the country. But when a civilian or few civilians are killed in counter-terrorism strikes and operations, the government hits the ceiling and flies into rage.
The government has responsibility to protect the citizens of this country but it has to address the sources of violence that leads to killing innocent Afghan people. The killing caused by disgruntled brothers is almost ninety percent more than the killing caused by counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations carried out by Afghan national army and international security forces. The chanting of "Death to Karzai" shows that president Karzai has also lost his influence before he has been able to expand and establish it across the country.