On my drive home from town, I was listening to CBC Radio when I
couldn’t help but get lost in thought. The show was talking about the
younger generation in Afghanistan and the progress they have made in areas like radio, television and print media. What made me start
thinking is that we are leaving. Most of NATO is getting ready to pack
up and pull out of the area. I know there are a lot of people who
think that we should get out of Afghanistan, but I am not too sure.
On the combat front, there are a lot of mixed messages and the Taliban continues to give NATO troops a hard time. Now that there are more American troops in there, things seem to be a little easier on our
forces. What gets me is that if we are to pack up and leave we would
be handing the country back over to the Taliban and al-Qaeda. The
Afghan military is not strong enough to continue the war that our
governments created, nor is the Afghan government functional enough to rebuild its infrastructure, economy and fight a war.
Before the Taliban was our enemy, Western governments sat by as women were treated as less than human. Owning a television or listening to music was a punishable crime. Under the Taliban, the country was nearly back to the dark ages. There was no education for women and the majority of people were illiterate. The West actually supported the Taliban for a while in hopes that they would stabilize the region. In the West, we have a habit of supporting tyrants as long as it works in our favour. We only need to look at current events in the Middle East for proof.
I can’t help, but wonder what will happen if the Taliban gains control
again. Most likely, anyone who worked with the West will be targeted as will their families. The progress the country has made in advancing
towards a more modern country will be lost. Civil war will start again
and Afghanistan will become the same country it was before. Our
governments created the problems in Afghanistan long before 9/11. Our Cold War foreign policy paid for the people who are now our enemies. The CIA trained them, and we were okay with whatever happened there as long as it meant that the Soviet Union would lose the war there.
I fear that if NATO leaves Afghanistan prematurely and we allow the
Taliban to regain control of the country that our fallen will have
sacrificed in vain. The Taliban is not going away because Western
forces leave. Western nations created the situation in Afghanistan and
they have an obligation to fix the mess that they created. It
shouldn’t matter how long the conflict has been going on for that
should have been a consideration before they dropped the first bombs.
War is not something that should ever be taken lightly, but neither is
toppling a government and not finishing the job. Western powers have
an obligation to the people that they freed when they invaded
Afghanistan. It is time for the West to stick to something it has
started for once.