Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, February 24th, 2020

Is it the “End of the Rope”?


Is it the “End of the Rope”?

Afghan President Hamid Karzai's demands that the foreign forces should leave Afghanistan as soon as possible are getting very serious. After the incident of killing of 16 Afghan villagers in Kandahar by a US staff sergeant, President Karzai has clearly mentioned that it is now time for international troops to leave Afghan land. In a meeting with the family of the victims on Friday, March 16, 2012, President Karzai said, "This has been going on for too long. You have heard me before. It is by all means the end of the rope here."

President's demands are getting tougher after the series of unfortunate incidents that have been happening lately in Afghanistan - especially the inadvertent burning of Quran in a NATO base and now these killings. Though recently, he has been claiming that Afghan forces are now capable enough to shoulder the responsibility of security themselves and international forces should transfer the responsibilities to them, this particular instance is the most vehement of all.

It is also a fact that this particular incident is going to generate so many questions about the war in Afghanistan and the role of NATO or US and even the conclusion of the war. There are already so many ambiguities about the so called End Game in Afghanistan and this is going to generate further concerns. The voices of the Afghan people are also getting louder against the notorious war and many of them have started thinking that the further presence of international troops may bring them harm instead of peace and tranquility.

Talking to President Karzai in the meeting mentioned above, one of the relatives of the victims emphasized, "I don't want any compensation. I don't want money, I don't want a house. I don't want a trip to Mecca. I don't want a house. I want nothing. But what I absolutely want is the punishment of the Americans.

This is my demand, my demand and my demand." Another man, Haji Abdul Samad Aka, who lost 11 members of his family in two villages of Panjwayi district said, "Our families are finished and our houses are destroyed." Mullah Ayaz Niazi at Wazir Akbar Khan mosque in Kabul has said, "Revenge for the blood of these victims will be taken either today tomorrow, in 10 years of the next 100 years." And such a scenario is really grave. If the people turn out to be against the international troops who are basically meant to save them and start revenging, nothing can save the country to once again fall in the lap of disorder and wars.

It is really important that NATO and US should tackle these issues appropriately. Instead of making the process of investigation clear and evident, they are making it more complicated. The culprit has already been flown out of Afghanistan and there are claims that there is no proper cooperation from NATO or US in this regard.

President Karzai mentioning the same has said, "The army chief has just reported that the Afghan investigation team did not receive the cooperation that they expected from the United States. Therefore these are all questions that we will be raising, and raising very loudly, and raising very clearly."

On the other hand there are possibilities that there may be more than one person involved in the killing of the villagers. Looking closely at the incident it is not difficult to reject such possibilities. If there is more than one person involved in the incident it would be really concerning for NATO and the overall war. Karzai has also said, "They believe it's not possible for one person to do that.

In (one) family, in four rooms people were killed, women and children were killed, and they were all brought together in one room and then put on fire. That one man cannot do." Whether a single person has been involved in the incident or more than one has yet to be determined, however it is sure that the depression and fatigue of the war are increasing with each passing day and they are displaying themselves in these sorts of incidents.

This fact can also be proved by the statement of the defense lawyer for the US soldier. He mentioned that the soldier was upset because of fourth tour of duty in a war zone and was very much depressed as well. "He and his family members were told that his tours in the Middle East were over. His family was counting on him not being redeployed. Literally overnight that changed. So I think it would be fair to say that he and the family were not happy that he was going back."

US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in his visit said that these incidents would not change the US strategy in Afghanistan and US will keep on taking the war towards a proper conclusion, nonetheless, it is a fact that the pressure is mounting on US as well to end the Afghan war. Pentagon, talking about the Leon Panetta's visit has said, "The Secretary (of Defense) has seen President Karzai's statement.

He believes it reflects President Karzai's strong interest in moving as quickly as possible to a fully independent and sovereign Afghanistan… The secretary also believes that we have made good progress thus far in both security gains and transition and that it is important for us to remain focused on those efforts in the months ahead."

It is really easy to declare success in talks and negotiations; however it is difficult to attain it practically. This is proving very much true in Afghanistan. There have been talks; and just talks but in fact the scenario does not seem to be improving at all. The basic conflict in Afghanistan still remains untouched and there have been certain amendments carried out.

So as to compensate for the incidents of the type mentioned above, it is really important for NATO and US to carry out a transparent investigation process and must punish the culprits as per the law. On the other hand Afghan government must also make sure that it, in the process of raising voice for the withdrawal of international troops, must also have a look at its own capacity to shoulder the responsibility of security.

Dilawar Sherzai is the permanent writer of the Daily outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at dilawar.sherzai@gmail.com

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