Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Afghanistan: When you just outstay your welcome

I wrote in Asia Times hardly twelve days ago: “We are not quite there where the epic film on the Vietnam-War era Apocalypse Now by Francis Ford Coppola was set. But one can almost hear Ride of the Valkyries playing over the American chopper loudspeakers.”

Well, I can now hear that chopper. This morning before the crack of dawn, an American solider assigned to Afghanistan walked out unseen from his military base with his weapon and walked into the neighbouring Najibyan village in Kandahar’s Panjwayi district and went on a shooting spree at the Afghans and as of reports available, “at least 17″ civilians were killed and five others were injured. The morale of the American troops is breaking down.

They realise the Afghan people see them as occupiers and want them to just go somewhere else and leave their country alone. By the way, this is also the judgment of the outgoing British ambassador to Afghanistan, Sir William Patey, whose interview with the Sunday Telegraph, ironically, appeared only today.

To be fair, US president Barack Obama is getting the message that this western occupation of Afghanistan must end and the sooner it happens, the better. Amidst the cacophony over the situation around Iran and Syria, not many would have noticed Obama’s remarks — and his tone — when asked about Afghanistan in his press conference last Tuesday.

Obama stressed that the “combat role” of the NATO troops will end in 2014. He acknowledged that Karzai is “eager for more responsibility” to be handed over to the Afghan side. He said a “mechanism” will be found “whereby Afghans understand their sovereignty is being respected”. Read More

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