Many people living in Afghanistan greatly fear increased Taliban power over their cities, villages, roadways, and crumbling infrastructure. Taliban war crimes are frequently covered in global media. Less obvious to people in the U.S., but horribly real for people in Afghanistan, are acts of aerial terrorism regularly waged by the United States military.
Writing for The Daily Beast earlier this year, Andrew Quilty described how one Afghan family in the Helm -- and province suffered a vicious attack on their home last November. Two Taliban fighters had come to their home, insisting that Obaidullah, the householder, let them in. He pleaded with them to leave, but instead the Taliban fighters fired on a joint United States and Afghan military convoy. Shortly thereafter, a United States A-10 Warthog plane strafed Obaidullah's home.
"Hundreds of rounds of ammunition -- bullets the size of large carrots -- fired by a weapon designed to disable armoured tanks, poured out of the plane's Gatling gun," Quilty wrote. "The two Taliban fighters had fled. Instead, Obaidullah and his 15-year-old son Esmatullah were killed; 13 others suffered broken bones and shrapnel injuries from head to toe. One boy, 14-year-old Ehsanullah, lost both his eyes."
In a report on civilian casualties, the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan attributed a rise in civilian deaths in 2019 to an escalation of the U.S. air war in the country. In addition, countless night raids carried out by joint U.S./Afghan forces have struck terror in families whose loved ones were killed in front of them. Ordinary Afghans whom I have met with in the past week are acutely aware of the night raids and link the gruesome pattern of killing civilians to United States trainers and the CIA.
Before Donald Trump pulled back U.S. participation, there had been nine rounds of talks, and the United States special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad was supposedly edging closer to a "peace" deal with the Taliban.
A genuine peace process would hold all warring parties accountable for crimes against humanity and would call for an immediate end to U.S. and NATO militarism in Afghanistan. It would urge the United States to humbly acknowledge the recklessness of its invasion and occupation.
Reliable non-governmental parties would be asked to develop ways for Afghans to receive reparations from all countries who've participated in the past 18 years of war. Those responsible for pursuing a genuine peace process would need mentors and advisers. I recommend the Afghan Peace Volunteers.