Leaving Islam






AFGHANISTAN - why preserve this nation?


Lee Jay Walker Dip BA MA

The war on terrorism took the United States to Afghanistan and both the Taliban and Islamic fundamentalists were soon beaten.  Yet this success was built on regional cooperation, for the Northern Alliance was supported by both the Russian Federation and Iran; while Russia gave her approval for the nations of Central Asia to help the United States and American bases were allowed.

Yet what now?  Does the international community really believe that different ethnic and religious groups want to live together?  Or maybe the international community will be brave enough to de-Islamize this land via education, health care facilities, law, and other important institutions and services? 

Alternatively, does the international community really believe that Afghanistan can be preserved under conservative Islam, albeit under Western "eyes?" If so, why do they think this?  For all indicators appear that either ethnic or religious conflicts will continue, and that conservative Islam will hold-back modernity and fail to set women free from their bondage.

Or is the international community merely spending vast resources on preserving elites deemed to be partners and on schemes which sound nice in theory, but in reality do not belong to Afghanistan?  For in the past many failures have been made by organizations who had good intentions, yet few results were made, notably Kosovo, Somalia, Rwanda, and many others.

So should Afghanistan either be allowed to be carved-up or de-Islamized?  The first option appears possible and territorial boundaries could be changed to allow Tajiks to join with Tajikistan; and for Uzbeks to be linked with Uzbekistan.  While Shia Muslims would be allowed to unite with Iran and Pathans merge with Pakistan.  Of course many communities will reside in other regions, yet all Afghan citizens should be given a choice and minorities will after decide their preserved options.

With regards to Kabul, this city could be either an independent miniature entity or an economic and political free zone.  Remember, Singapore was small in size, however, her economic development must be admired and by having a free and open Kabul the international community can maintain a small United Nations military force to police this area.

This may sound strange, yet look at the benefits, for you would be giving economic aid to nation states who could absorb their own ethnic groups much easier.  And major international aid could be directed to regional governments and all major international bodies like NAFTA, EU, ASEAN, World Bank, UN, and so on must be involved; alongside regional structures in order to break the endless problems of Afghanistan which spill over to neighboring nations.

The other alternative would be to de-Islamize conservative Islam in Afghanistan, and this applies to education, womens welfare, law being based on secularism, and other important issues.   This may be deemed imperialist, however, for the future generations of Afghanistan this is their only hope.  Otherwise women will continue to be abused and children will be brainwashed by conservative Islamic clerics and another generation will be lost to poverty and hatred.

Of course I can hear liberals and Muslims alike denouncing this "imperialist idea," yet look at the alternative.  You will have continuing conflict between different ethnic groups based on ethnicity, religion or  based on clan loyalty; while women will be mere objects and they will remain in the " shadows."  While criminality will destabilize regional nations and heroin production will continue to grow.

Added to this will be a continuing economic burden on many nations without any results and possible future open hostility aimed at the international community.  While conservative Islam will continue to "strangle" society and Islamic radicals could once more destabilize Central Asia and Western China.

If American policy was to solely eradicate Islamic radicalism, then this will ultimately fail, for Afghanistan, like Somalia, will continue to be a failed nation and hotbeds of terrorism will remain.  Also, regional nations in Central Asia, China, Iran, the Russian Federation, Pakistan, and other nations, deserve better, for they all helped America in her quest to destroy Islamic fundamentalism.

One thing is for sure, and that is Afghanistan is no Cyprus, and taking the easy way and preserving the status quo will ultimately fail.  So will brave policy makers come forward and challenge current modes of thinking based on status quo?  This applies to either de-Islamization or allowing Afghanistan to disintegrate. 

The children of Afghanistan and women deserve a chance?  And current policy concepts are not allowing this to happen.  Instead the old Afghanistan of ethnic and religious hatred is growing and women are secondary subjects.  So for the children of Afghanistan and women, lets give them hope and the chance to "breathe" from the endless cycle of hopelessness. 





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