The Challenge

A so called MRAP standing just outside Sar Howza on the day we visited the former girls school. I like this one, because it has a somewhat deceptive feel of tranquility to it (Photo: Heimken)

Afghanistan must be one of the most challenged countries in the world, at least the parts we got to see. This is by no means the fault of the general populace, but there are powers hard at work keeping this country down – they’re not just foreigners.

As Staff Sergeant Meredith of Apache Company 2-28 said, there are many men in powerful positions, who are not interested in educating their subjects out of fear they might start to want a piece of the pie.

War as a way of life

The role the Westerners are playing in Afghanistan, I’m not sure of. In some cases they might be helping the population, but at the same time the presence of this mighty war machinery is a welcome reason for some to keep fighting.

There are many men for who war has become a way of life and income. The infidel on Afghanistan’s soil is the best excuse for waging war.

The population is sitting on the fence, like onlookers, trying to establish, who will in the long run gain the upper hand. Whoever this will turn out to be, they will follow. Captain Perkins, a wise military man, said that this behaviour, or state of mind, has throughout history prevailed with people in wars.

He brought up the American War of Independence (1775–1783), when in America there was a majority of undecided onlookers, waiting to see, which side was winning.

It’s getting worse

The general impression I got from talking to aid workers, interpreters, locals and soldiers was that the situation in Afghanistan is worsening. Zee the taxi driver, who yesterday drove us to the airport, said he would try to leave.

So far, there is no peace and stability in Afghanistan, as the killing of former President Rabbani on Wednesday has proven graphically. The International Security and Assistance Force can – for whatever reason – not provide for what they intend to do.

On October 7 the war will enter its 11th year. And I’m with international analysts, the secret service chief Nick Mohammed I spoke to in Mata Khan and Mullah Tuti in Shatowry: There will be no peace in this country as long as the situation in Pakistan is not resolved.

Why should the Taliban and insurgent networks even think of peace and reconciliation, as long as they’re supported in a safe haven across the border?!