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Afghanistan’s future: living in fear of 2014

This is the first post in a series entitled ‘Voices of Afghanistan’s Youth‘, which will feature the writings of Afghan university students. They are students at the American University in Afghanistan (AUAF). This unique series is both deeply personal and analytical. The students write on a range of topics from social media to security and education to aid effectiveness in Afghanistan. Allyson Krupar, an Instructor in the Department of IT & Computer Sciences at the AUAF facilitated and helped create this series. Many of the writers are her students.

President Obama, in his recent State of the Union address, announced the withdrawal of 34,000 troops by February 2014. The first two posts in this series reflect on the future of Afghanistan after this deadline and beyond. The first, entitled ‘Everybody has a plan to leave Afghanistan’, is by Zahra, a 23-year female student studying business administration. The second, entitled ‘What will happen after 2014′, is by a student who wishes to remain anonymous.

 

Everybody has a plan to leave Afghanistan

By Zahra

Zahra is a 23-year old Afghan woman, and currently an undergraduate student at the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF). Zahra was raised in Iran, but is from Behsud, Afghanistan. She studies business administration at the AUAF. Zahra also works as project administrator in a NGO. Zahra’s family returned to Kabul 8 years ago.

I live in fear more and more as each day passes and it gets closer to 2014.

Everybody is talking about civil war again. Everybody has a plan to leave Afghanistan; they want to have a better life. But where? In a country that does not belong to them?

Everybody sees them as an unfortunate refugee. Today, in our office, my colleague said that she put her house on the market and want to go to Australia. “But how?”, I asked. She said like everybody else that goes. I said, “With an invitation? Do you know somebody there? Will they send you invitation letter?” She laughed at me. She said, “Oh no, we will go illegally”.

First India, then Indonesia. After that they will go by ship to Australia. I said it is a risk and her youngest child is only six. But, she is fed up with this life; with the situation in Afghanistan getting worse and worse every day. She wants a better life for her children, not for her self. She has been living her whole life in Afghanistan in war, in discrimination, in fighting, in bombs and suicide attacks. She does not want her children to experience those dark days like she did.

One day during the Taliban regime, she was in a bus when it was stopped by the Taliban. The men went into the bus and beat her with stick because she didn’t cover her face with a burqa. She doesn’t want to see her daughter beaten by the Taliban.

I fear what will happen. The only image that I have of the  Taliban is of men with a huge turbans, big weapons, Afghan clothes and lots of beards and mustaches. They do not like educated women like me. They want to kill those girls who go to universities or schools. When I think about the Taliban I feel nauseous. I hope they do not come back and Afghanistan does not go back to civil war again.

I am confused. What will be Afghanistan’s future? Why is this country like this? Aren’t we human? Don’t we want to spend our life in peace? Why? Why should we have reputation in the world for war and fighting. Every body knows Afghanistan as a place of fighting and war. I don’t like this. When I say I am from Afghanistan, I don’t want people to say to themselves, “She is a daughter of war. She comes from a land of war.”

God where are you? Don’t you see us? Don’t you see this unfortunate and destroyed country? Don’t you see these corrupt governors? Don’t you see these dusty and bumpy streets?

Oh god where are you? Really, where are you? What are you doing? What are you waiting for? Will it get worse? God, don’t you like Afghanistan? God, some of my people just kill themselves to come to you forever. They heard if they kill others they will reach you; is it right? People in this world have different imaginations of you. I sometimes get confused.

If Afghanistan was a peaceful country, a country without war, racism, killings then nobody would want to leave Afghanistan and put their lives and bodies in danger. We are getting crazy thinking about 2014 and civil war. We can’t enjoy our time right now as it passes. We are losing our time as these fears enter our mind.

 

What will happen after 2014?

By Anonymous

At the end of 2014, almost all foreign troops will leave Afghanistan, and the Afghan security forces will be responsible for securing Afghanistan. Moreover, all NGOs working in Afghanistan are expected to leave after withdrawal of US troops and the arrival of the Taliban.

Why this might be a problem?

In my view, I expect that the Taliban will re-take Afghanistan and the capital of Kabul. Although, there have been some progresses in Kabul, I think after withdrawal of US troops Afghanistan will be again a witness to civil war.

Back in 2001, the Taliban did not let people to use phones or connect with each other. They did not let girls study in schools or go outside for some reasons; they started punishing them in several ways. For instance, hitting women with a whip, stoning them in public, shooting them in public, and not letting their boys to study in best educational areas.

Military trainings were mandatory for every young person over 18. The situation of Afghanistan got better after the US invasion. Moreover, best achievements got after invasion US invasion like expanding educational areas and paving the way for youths to study on most of fields. Indeed, there are many private educational centers all over Afghanistan, which are effective. Additionally, the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden was a great achievement.

Now, I am concerned about the future of Afghanistan after 2014, and I think the government will be retaken by the Taliban, and we will be under Taliban rules of law. Indeed, the Taliban mentioned in a conference for peace held in France that they do not want the current law of Afghanistan, and will demand many changes. This is a big concern; about going back to the situation prior to 2001.

The Afghan security forces are prepared to avoid harming civilians. Afghanistan’s government needs more funds to strengthen the Afghan Army. This will allow them to prepare and lead military operations throughout the country.

However, I think the Afghan government will not reach its destination, and they will fail again to control our own security. Afghans again will be the witnesses and casualties of civil war.

 

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8 thoughts on “Afghanistan’s future: living in fear of 2014”

  1. Mr. Sherzad,

    I respect your ideas and I can understand you why you are being so pessimistic about the future of Afghanistan. But is that the right way of thinking? Will it move our country to a better place in the nations of the countries? Absolutely No. I do believe that we have a government that corruption roots down to even the lowest levels of the government. I do believe that some corrupted youngsters are still present and trying to keep their corrupted power alive. But what I am thinking is about the future; to cope with these abnormalities; about the destiny of our fellow honest Afghans who strive for a better living and are not corrupted.
    After one year I’m still on my word, and I still think that Afghanistan needs committed citizens than anytime. Blaming and escaping from the problems can create more problems. Development of our country is OUR responsibility nor the US neither any other country. I believe that if we make a paradigm shift in what Adam Smith said and to channel the Afghan self interests in a direction for a better future we will have a better place in the nations of the countries.

  2. Dear Mr. Kawish,
    I dont believe that US has provided opportunities,indeed they implemented thier plans. They gave us fish but didnt teach us fishing.They spent alot of money but didnt invest in a way from which we can get advantage in thier absence.Afghans neither can build thier country nor would think of because they only care for thier own interest.
    I am pesimistic for our youngsters because they also learned how to take bribe,earn illegal money and work for thier own profit.(As Adam Smith says that human is motivate by self interest) but we afghans are not muslim because we forget about our dignity,country,people and islam when money is concerned which is so embarassing.
    I cant say all the things i have in my heart and mind but would only say i am ashamed of AFGHANS.

  3. I think same as Miss.Anonymous. I dont think taliban can take power again but the follwoing things will happen.
    1. The power will be divided into four parts Government,Warlords,Taliban and Inteligence agencies.
    2. When NATO and other forces quit Afghanistan then foreign aid will also stop which is the source of our economy.Then employment economy rate will decrease.
    3. Situation will get worse because when there is no employment and economical growth,corruption,killing and kidnapping will increase.

    As a conclusion,i would say that the situation will exacerbate.

  4. Zahra,
    Your article was inspiring, and I enjoyed reading it. However, I believe that God does not change the destiny of any nation until the nation (people) change themselves. I’m optimistic on Afghanistan’s future, not much because of the presence of US. US government had already given us the fish and provide Afghanistan the best opportunities it could develop, and now its time to learn to fish and to make this country a peaceful place. I’m also not so negative because of presence of corrupted leaders. I believe that Honesty is the big policy and it will work one day; just we need to do our best and be patience. I’m optimistic for my Afghan new generation, the Young boys and girls whom they are hungry for development, education, change and prosperity. The immigration/becoming refugee is a fact in all over the world. We do not need to be worry about this issue.

  5. I was not aware of the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul until reading this article, it looks like a great institution that supports women’s education. My question for the authors of these writings (or other readers) is what do you think will happen to co-educational institutions or all girls schools once the American troops and NATO leave and as you say ‘expect that the Taliban will retake Afghanistan’? Will the strict purdah (codes for male female relationships and restrictions) be reinstated?

    From the outside, what can the international community do to ensure protection of female oppression and abuse? Women’s rights should be a non-negotiable priority during this withdrawal process and no one wants to see your country go backwards to the level of oppression suffered under the Taliban regime.

    I have read that as a means of protection, ‘NATO forces should continue to train female Afghan security forces even though they are beginning the transition. It is important that these women be prepared to serve when the Afghan National Security Forces assume responsibility and control of security for the country.’ (womanstats.wordpress.com/2013/02/08/withdrawal-of-troops-affecting-women-in-afghanistan/) …Do you feel that having trained female security forces is an important part of protection?

  6. Thank you for your articulate and passionate plea for your fears to be heard. This passion to help your country from within will create change. Do not give up. We can only hope that the Taliban has moved on and Afghans will develop the infrastructure to govern and police themselves.

What are you thinking?