Civilian deaths and conscription in Afghanistan

As has been the case since the beginning of the conflict in Afghanistan, the numbers of civilian dead or wounded continue to be staggering.  Unfortunately, the Western “solution” to increase support for the Karzai government, which is in effect nothing but one more faction competing for power, will in fact simply increase the source of the problem, as the addition of 40,000 troops to the country will merely increase the amount of night bombings and air support needed for American (excuse me…coalition) forces.

Karzai seems to have a great solution to the problem of civilian deaths — make everyone join the military!  The Associated Press reports:

Karzai told a conference of the world’s top defense officials in Munich that he wants to build and train an army and police force of 300,000 by 2012 that will be able to provide security for Afghanistan by 2015 without external help.

Within five years, “Afghanistan should be able to provide security for its people so we are no longer a burden on the shoulders of the international community,” he said.

Karzai indicated, however, that international troops would still be needed, saying that the “war on terrorism … is an issue separate from this security arrangement in Afghanistan.”

So, Hamid Karzai wants a military and police force of 300,000 which will not be used to combat terrorist groups, because that is different than “this security arrangement in Afghanistan.”

Not only this, but both Karzai and American officials are angry that aid coming from the United States is not coming directly through his government.  Reuters reports:

U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke did not directly address the issue of night raids by U.S.-led forces but said he agreed with Karzai that the international community had to do more to support the government and not undermine it.

He said only 10 percent of U.S. civilian assistance had been going through the Afghan government and so “American aid is undermining the government we were supposed to help.”

He said the U.S. government had recognised this shortcoming and was now working with the Afghan government to provide more direct support.

Why wouldn’t anyone want to said aid through the Afghan government?  The reason is simply because sending an aid package through bureaucracy before it gets to those it is supposed to help is akin to putting a letter through a shredder before giving it to its intended recipient — there will be nothing useful left.

The second reason, and one that is more specific to Afghanistan, is that time and time again, Hamid Karzai and his government have been shown to be extremely corrupt.

Just imagine if a country would openly support such a regime.

Published in

Post a comment