Sunday 24 May 2009
Continued aerial bombing will result in more civilian casualties, leading to more anger, resulting in more terrorists. (Photo: Getty Images)
During the last thirty years of wars in
They fled the Soviet invasion. They fled civil wars. They fled US bombing.
Now that safe haven with its lush green valleys is burning with bombs.
And the hosts, the people who themselves welcomed Afghan refugees, at times literally into their homes or into campsites on their farms, are on the run. They are streaming out of Swat, Dir and Buner and registering as refugees in Mardan and the fertile valleys of
Pakistan is bombing its own land and its own people, who are caught between the Taliban and the Americans.
Whomever I talk to among Pakistanis, it seems, there is an emerging consensus. They hate both the Taliban who blast schools and the Americans who bomb Madrasahs. Both kill civilians.
The Soviets could not win by bombing
And American bombings in
Just last Sunday, May 10, hundreds of students in
Students held up banners, including one describing
It is unfortunate that while the
I wonder which technology allows soldiers flying tens of thousands of feet high in the air to distinguish between one guy dressed in Salwar Kameez and another guy also dressed in Salwar Kameez? This is the dress all Taliban and all civilians use in that area. It is next to impossible to distinguish between them unless you are on the ground and know the language and the culture. The result is that wherever there is a crowd, people are at risk of being killed, be it a wedding party or any other gathering. It is so difficult to understand, from the air, what lies below that the US planes have ended up dropping a few bombs on Pakistani Frontier Corps outposts, killing 11 Pakistani border guards who all dress in the same Salwar Kameez as others. To confuse things further, for American air force pilots and video shooters handling war drones from sites as remote as Nevada, the Taliban, civilians and Frontier Corps all sport beards. And, culturally, most men in these mountainous areas will carry a gun, even if they are not fighting.
The culprits are in the midst of people. The population is by and large with them since they are sick and tired of foreign intervention, corrupt governments and the absence of justice.
Just imagine that despite a seven-year-long massive air and ground hunt for Osama bin Laden and despite the US having placed on him the highest bounty in the history of humanity, which has been doubled to $50 million, all trails have gone cold to find Osama bin Laden.
Even when the US cornered bin Laden in the Tora Bora complex (which was built with CIA help during the "good Jihad" against the Soviets) he managed to escape; this despite the use of "Daisy Cutter bombs" which Rear Adm. John Stufflebeem of the Joint Chiefs of Staff described as "the most powerful in the US arsenal."
Afghans don't like foreign occupations. This is the reason the British failed in the 19th century. This is the reason the Soviets failed in the 20th century. This is the reason the
No wonder, Lord Curzon, the former British viceroy of
"No patchwork scheme - and all our present recent schemes, blockade, allowances, etc., are mere patchwork - will settle the
The British were wise enough to stop invading
Abdul Malik Mujahid is a Pakistani-American. He is an imam in Chicago, president of Sound Vision and serves as the vice chair for a Council for a Parliament of World Religions.
Donations can be sent to the
"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs