People in the United States continue to pretend that the despair and futility we've caused isn't our fault.
Late last week, I learned from young Afghan Peace Volunteer friends in Kabul that an insurgent group firing rockets into the city center hit the home of one volunteer's relatives. Everyone inside was killed. On November 24, word arrived of two bomb blasts in the marketplace city of Bamiyan, in central Afghanistan, killing at least 14 people and wounding 45.
These explosions have come on the heels of other recent attacks targeting civilians. On November 2, at least 19 people were killed and at least 22 wounded by gunmen opening fire at Kabul University. On October 24, at least two dozen students died, and more than 100 were wounded in an attack on a tutoring center.
"The situation in our country is very bad and scary," one young Afghan friend wrote to me. "We are all worried." I imagine that's an understatement.
A new report released by Save the Children, regarding violations against children in war zones, says Afghanistan accounts for the most killing and maiming violations, with 874 children killed and 2,275 children maimed in 2019.
Since the United Nations started collecting this data in 2005, more than 26,000 children have died.
Under President Donald Trump, the United States signed a "peace" deal with the Taliban in February 2020. It pertains to troop withdrawal and a Taliban pledge to cut ties with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. The agreement hasn't contributed toward a more peaceful life for Afghans, and already a U.N. report indicates the Taliban has continued its ties with insurgent groups.
Now, Afghans face constant battles between insurgent groups, U.S. forces, Afghan government forces, NATO forces, various powerful Afghan warlords and paramilitaries organized by various mafias which control the drug industry and other profitable enterprises.
Under President Biden, the United States would likely abide by Trump's recent troop withdrawals, maintaining a troop presence of about 2,000. But Biden has indicated a preference for intensified Special Operations, surveillance and drone attacks. These strategies could cause the Taliban to nullify their agreement, prolonging the war through yet another presidency.
Mujib Mashal, a correspondent for The New York Times, was born in Kabul. When he was interviewed recently by one of his colleagues, he recalled being a little boy in the early 1990s, living through a civil war in Kabul, when rockets constantly bombarded his neighborhood.
Taliban groups were fighting various mujahideen. Mujib's father cultivated a vegetable garden outside their home. One day, a rocket hit the garden, cutting an apple tree in half and burrowing deep into the ground.
But it didn't explode.
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