A Perspective from a Hazara Asylum Seeker from Afghanistan
With the expected departure of US and Australian forces from Afghanistan, it is seems that the country is returning to the era of the brutal Taliban regime. To sit with the Taliban now, after fighting them for 20 years is not only accepting their regime but also giving them legitimacy. This begs the question whether war was a means to testing heavy and modern weapons on a vulnerable and defenceless people.
It is difficult to believe that a terrorist group such as Al Qaeda and the Taliban could not have been brought to justice after such a long time without the destruction that was meted out on the country – a country of a great variety landscapes and climate.
Afghanistan is a country where the people lacked many basics particular education. The people who were educated had left the country. The USA and its allies helped to create a militia which has resulted in the deaths of many thousands of people. This was done with impunity and without accountability. Everyone was considered to be part of the enemy. There is no organisation to speak up against war crimes and human rights abuses committed by both the Taliban regime and the NATO Forces. The Afghan people were being sacrificed to the foreign interests.
What has Australia gained?
Australia has lost over 40 servicemen killed and more than 260 wounded. Is this a gain? More than 500 Australian servicemen have committed suicide that have served in Afghanistan, Is this a gain? Is the Australian alliance with the USA worth this tragedy? Then, of course, there are the many thousands of Afghan people who have been killed and wounded. Is this a gain? Australia has been part of this, where innocent people on the ground, children, women and men. Could we not say now that this we have surrendered to the Taliban as there still is no peace in the country, no respect for human rights, no respect for the rights of women or ethnic minorities such as the Hazara population. It is a war that we should not have participated in in the first place. The many millions of dollars spent on the war could well have been spent on aid, social services, health services and education for Australians as well as the people of Afghanistan.
Australia’s reputation is also diminished by now accepting, along with the USA, the Taliban regime as a legitimate government and ignore the crimes against humanity and random killings of thousands of people based on their appearance, religious beliefs, ethnicity and profession. Is this a positive outcome from this involvement in the country? The Taliban has not altered its policies and ideology during this whole period. Formal education in public and private schools, universities, equality for women and inclusion of the all ethnic groups, have not changed. Education must come through the Islamic schools called Madrasas in their attempts to change the country from a republic to an Islamic emirate.
When we ask what has Australia gained by its involvement in Afghanistan, it is more important to ask what have the people of Afghanistan gained by our presence and now departure? It seems more vulnerability as a nature and a dark future.
What has Afghanistan gained?
Clearly, the capital Kabul and some other cities such as Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif have benefited. Women have been allowed to work in the private and public sectors, and were not forced to wear the burqa or be accompanied by a male from the family in the streets. So, they had some freedoms. For how long with this be possible when the foreign forces leave? How long will the private universities and schools that have been operating be able to continue?
People are afraid that the achievements in the cities at least will be lost.
What will ethnic groups in Afghanistan gain?
The Taliban has been responsible for the killing of thousands of the people belonging to minority ethnic groups such as Hazaras, Sikhs and others. . The Taliban only accept and recognise Sunni Islam, not people belonging to the Shia version of Islam. They want Afghanistan to be under this extremist Sunni religion.
So, as we contemplate the departure of international forces, can we accept a return to genocidal behaviour of the Taliban that we say we opposed in the past This is something for us all to ponder.
Taliban calls for declaration of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
Taliban excludes the Shia Muslim and other minority.
As Australia withdraws from Afghanistan, it must not abandon the vulnerable