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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid