News / Asia

Some Afghans Fear Early US Departure

A girl, who sells water, closes her eyes as the wind blows her scarf at a cemetery in Kabul, Afghanistan, June 5, 2011
A girl, who sells water, closes her eyes as the wind blows her scarf at a cemetery in Kabul, Afghanistan, June 5, 2011

As U.S. politicians review the American policy in Afghanistan in advance of an expected drawdown of troops next month, many Afghanis wonder about the future of international efforts in their country.  

Many Afghans watched with concern as the U.S. Congress debated the future of international assistance in the war-ravaged nation.

The congressional report presented Wednesday about Afghanistan and the appointment hearings for the nominee for U.S. Ambassador to the country, Ryan Crocker, are both events leading the news in Afghanistan.

Worries of a premature departure

Many Afghans, especially in the capital Kabul, are worried that the West may leave too quickly and abandon them, like the U.S. did after the Soviet withdrawal in 1989. A development that ultimately led to civil war and the rise of the Taliban.

Sayid Mohammed Azam, a Kabul businessman and former official in the Afghan government, warns that if the West leaves too quickly, it all could happen again.

"It will be the same situation as soon as the pro-communist government collapsed in Afghanistan," said Azam. "The Soviet troops withdrew and there was no, you know, strong administration to fill the gap. And the country went into chaos and civil war. At the end of the day, the emergence of the Taliban… so they not only destroyed our country, but they also pose a great security threat and well being of the world community."

The report on Afghanistan, delivered Wednesday by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington, D.C., also warned of a collapse if the departure of the West is too abrupt.

Cost effectiveness, corruption concerns

It also reported that little has been achieved, however, in the effort to establish a strong government and civil society in Afghanistan that could stand on it’s own. This is despite nearly $19 billion spent over the last 10 years.

The report says the U.S. government's spending often has overwhelmed the local Afghan economies and fostered corruption.

Many also argue, though, that it isn’t just Afghans who are guilty of pocketing money that is intended to build up the impoverished, wartorn and remote country. As Kabul student Mohammed Iqbal sees it, those who came from abroad are equally corrupt and to blame.

"Corruption is all over Afghanistan," he said. "Including, our government and also the foreigners which came here."

Some Afghans who spoke to VOA also expressed criticism that the foreign community does little to provide long-term opportunities for them, instead focusing too much on security or war fighting.

Hopes for improvement

For businessman Azam, the fact that the West is focusing on these issues is a positive, and hopefully both sides will improve.

"I think this report that was prepared by the congress is very helpful; I hope this attention brings positive changes," he said. "We could and we can do a lot of more things, and more effectively and far better."

A day after the congressional report and hearings, and following a phone conversation with President Barack Obama, the Afghan government of President Hamid Karzai did announce they would be forming a commission to look into corruption and spending.

Karzai is scheduled to travel soon to Pakistan for a two-day visit to discuss regional talks aimed at a peaceful resolution of the conflict. It is widely believed that will include some sort of negotiation with some elements of the Taliban.

But many military commanders say those talks must be held from a position of strength. At a meeting in Brussels on Thursday, some NATO defense ministers warned that if the U.S. pulls a significant number of its troops, exactly at a time when there are gains being made on the ground, it could lead to disaster in Afghanistan.



You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs