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
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.