As I am writing this Op-Ed as a 28-year-old Afghan man, I am focused on the real issues affecting political reality both in Afghanistan and elsewhere as the time for military pull-out nears. I am based in Canada while writing this article and have personally talked with political and tribal leaders to hear their concerns. I share some of their views in this op-ed article.
Once the Afghan people were living in fear, but now, more and more young people in Afghanistan around my age and even younger are using technology since the invention of Facebook and Google came about. They don’t want to return to the dark days. These youths are quick learners as well than most Western thinks about their culture and society values. Yes, even under the democratic government, some women are still beaten, and girls are still married at a young age.
To keep up with the current situation in Afghanistan, these young people use technology on daily basis. They like to watch the news, talk with friends and family, and now study online too as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. The good thing is that technology and telecom businesses are booming in major parts of the country such as Kabul, Helmand, Kandahar, and Jalalabad cities. Afghan people are willing to spend money on the internet and phone instead of paying for expensive food or clothes, even though electricity is still scarce.
Afghanistan people may further benefit from real peace after 44 years of war and some achievements on the peace front. The world would also benefit because more regions would be connected to Afghanistan which is the main route to China, Pakistan, Iran, India, and Russia.
The majority of people in Afghanistan are dependent on each other – the same way the US is dependent on China for cheaper goods, and Canada on the US. But for Afghanistan, the only problem is Pakistan for example when the border is closed, food prices rise.
Fighting continues in many parts of the country to this day since 2001 between the insurgents and Afghan army. Despite Coronavirus’s third wave spreading, fighting has not stopped.
The US and the government have promised peace to the Afghan people, and they are currently working on delivering this promise. Canada pulled out from the war many years ago after realizing there would be no gains. Canada took the right step at the time to leave the conflict behind. But during the last few conferences held on Afghanistan’s peace process, we did not see any positive change on the battleground. The Afghan government is clearly lacking a real plan for the durable and lasting peace process.
Meanwhile, the President of America, Joe Biden has called for all troops to withdraw from the war-torn country by the end of this year, a deal that enforces between the insurgency and US administration.
While Afghanistan started to be part of and accept the Western vision, for example, the current president is more Western enthusiast, however, this vision will not be fully achieved. This is because American forces are leaving the Afghan people this year to very little. They are taking out all their airplanes and vehicles, and weapons only to station them in Pakistan. President Biden has called for American forces to pull out by the end of September of this year.
On the ground, progress has already been made like the Afghan government trying to create a better life for the civilians, but this is all now at stake. Billions of US dollars spent on development efforts such as schools, hospitals and other infrastructure will be wasted when the troops pull out.
A clear plan for durable peace is needed right now to save Afghanistan from collapsing and safeguard all the gains.
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