Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Afghanistan War: To Be or Not To Be, That's the Question -- 3

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US soldiers fighting in Mian Poshteh, Afghanistan
Photo courtesy: www.gawker.com/

Afghanistan Has a Mosaic of Races

Dozens of ethnic groups (tribals) live in Afghanistan with their own language and cultural diversities. Among these groups, some important ones are: Aimaqs (in the north-west and west of the country), Baluchis (in the south), Hazaras (in the middle of the country), Kirghizes (in the north), Kizilbashes or Qizilbashes (mainly in urban centres), Nuristanis (in the north-east), Pashtuns (in the east, south-east, and north-west), Tajiks (in the north-east, east, and south-west), Turkmens (in the north) and Uzbeks (in the north). To keep these ethnic groups together is a difficult task, too. Tribal chiefs and warlords have their own agenda and fealties.

To Be or Not To Be

Initially, the Afghanistan War was a necessity. It was a purposeful war, aiming at capturing the honchos of the terrorist organizations and root them out from Afghanistan. After the US invasion of Iraq in 1983, the purpose began to fade and its importance receded to the back burner. Now, in spite of fielding more troops, money and material, it is turning into a purposeless war because those honchos can be found nowhere and their suspected dens can't be attacked directly.

As we sit here, there are people dying or getting maimed for life on both sides of this war.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that Canada would withdraw the bulk of its military forces from Afghanistan in 2011, but it will keep about 950 soldiers there until 2014 as advisers and trainers in non-combat roles. They will train the Afghan forces so that they can function on their own.

The US and other NATO forces are supposed to leave Afghanistan in 2014.

A recent ABC News/Washington Post Poll shows that six in ten Americans say that Afghanistan War "is not worth fighting." The Angus Reid Poll of August 4-5, 2010 shows that 53% of the Canadians oppose Canada's participation in Afghanistan war.

There have been public protests against Afghanistan War in different parts of the world. Recently, there was a protest in London and another Washington, D.C., followed by arrests of many protesters.

The psychological cost of the war in Afghanistan is immense. The psychological effect on many of the soldiers last for years and, for some, for the rest of their life. The tax payers are the ones who would be bearing their treatment costs.

Many people in different NATO countries are asking whether it is worthwhile to continue the war in Afghanistan when the main purpose of finding and capturing the terrorist leaders has failed miserably, let alone eradicating the roots of terrorism based in that country.

Most importantly, billions of dollars are being spent in this unresolved war. Much of this money is being borrowed by governments involved in the war. Is it not wise to leave this war and concentrate on preventative action on homegrown terrorists and their breeding grounds in NATO and European countries?

It is to be or not to be, that's the question now.

(The End)

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