OP/ED: Opposing MP's Afghanistan stance

Rob Leggett
By Rob Leggett
February 3rd, 2010

After all the time, resources and manpower spent in Afghanistan, it seems that the NATO forces are considering negotiation with the Taliban. Under normal circumstances this wouldn’t be a bad idea – if the Taliban was just another political party vying for control of their country.

They are not. They are one of the most ruthless, extremist, theocratic terrorist organizations operating today. Although they were in control of Afghanistan’s capital (Kabul) and much or most of the country, the Taliban regime gained diplomatic recognition from only three states: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Adhesion to extremist Islamic law denied it United Nations recognition and most of the world’s states, including Iran, India, Turkey, Russia, the U.S. and most Central Asian republics, opposed the Taliban and aided its rival (Afghan Northern Alliance).

These are not the type of individuals who are likely to honour the terms of a negotiated agreement. They are not only terrorists, but religious extremists as well and they are willing to use any means necessary to achieve their wanted result, even, dare I say it… lie.

I have no doubt that, a year or two after an agreement, has been reached the Taliban will breach the terms and once again rule the country under the iron fist of their version of Islam.

Sadly, many people, even government officials like MP Alex Atamanenko, in my opinion, lack an understanding of the Afghanistan dilemma. Recently, Atamanenko was quoted as saying, “History has shown us that Afghanistan cannot be conquered. We saw that with the mighty Soviet army of 100,000 strong, we’ve seen it with the British army, now we are seeing it with the most sophisticated army in the world under NATO command.”

It seems to me that if our MP had an understanding of the NATO involvement, he would know that we are not there as a conquering force, but as a liberating force. It is our duty to ensure that the Afghani people are self governing, with NATO assistance in achieving this. NATO’s main role in Afghanistan is to assist the Afghan government in exercising and extending its authority and influence across the country, paving the way for reconstruction and effective governance. It does this predominately through its UN-mandated international security.

Atamanenko also said, “These people are not there for money, they are there because they believe in their country. So we have to find a way to work with them to realize this dream of a free and prosperous Afghanistan.”

Again, if he understood what Afghanistan is facing he would know the Taliban became notorious internationally for their treatment of women and for human rights abuses in general.

Women were forced to wear the burqa in public, and were not allowed to work. They were not allowed to be educated after the age of eight and, until then, were permitted only to study the Qur’an; women seeking an education were forced to attend underground schools, where they and their teachers risked execution if caught. They were not allowed to be treated by male doctors unless accompanied by a male chaperone. They faced public flogging for the most trivial violations of the Taliban’s laws, while both men and women were beheaded in public, and entire families were burnt alive.

The Taliban does not want a “free and prosperous Afghanistan”, but rather an Afghanistan that bows under the rule of their extremist Islamic law.

Our NATO forces have worked hard to prevent the Taliban from regaining control of the country and it would be a shame to let all their hard work be in vain by negotiating with terrorists, who I am sure, will breach the agreement at the first opportunity.

I can only hope we do not give them that opportunity.

Categories: Op/Ed


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