Editor’s note: In 2001 Americans and their Tajik allies slaughtered 2,000 POWS in Northern Afghanistan, a barbaric war crime. VT calls for an investigation of this act, those who ordered it, and those who covered it up. The first group of names, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft, we all know. There are more…
REMEMBER THE MASSACRED PRISONERS
By Hanan Habibzai
The war in Afghanistan has entered its 10th year, a year of both stalemate and suffering. Everyone is thirsty to see peace and stability in his or her environment across Afghanistan but they are not sure. Even the idea of peace carries great danger.
“If the war criminals who tried to destroy innocent families who worked with the Taliban gain power, returning to peace will be impossible,’ said 23-year-old Jailani.
His father was amongst those Taliban prisoners who were captured in Kundoz province in October 2001 never to be seen again. Jailani was 13 when his father Shah Ghasi left him behind along with his mother and elderly grandmother.
‘He was working at the provincial police headquarter when the Taliban decided to surrender Kundoz to US-backed Northern Alliance forces. American air power had made holding this region untenable for the Taliban.
“Later we have been told that my father has taken to Shaberghan but he never returned,” he said. Jailani can’t dare to go outside his village in Kundoz which he doesn’t want to be named. ‘My father was serving with the Taliban regime to bring us food, he says.
‘The people who killed my father are in power, I don’t think there would be peace until these foes are using official status to suppress their rivals’, Jailani was speaking via telephone.
Everyday events are shaping public views; even recently President Karzai admits that the Taliban are ‘fighting for patriotism’. In a press conference on 12th April 2011, he clearly indicated that ‘with small weaponry Taliban are getting around by foot, they don’t come by tanks, vehicles, or airplanes so it is a war of patriotism,’ he said.
This time President Karzai tried to question what has now become an international war in a different way. Karzai recently witnessed the killing of nine children in Kunar province as well as the publication of tragic images of dead bodies of Afghan civilians in ‘Rolling Stone’ which influenced his opinion.
Karzai is becoming a more reluctant ally of NATO.
NATO has no other role than to defend Hamid Karzai’s regime and they are finding that increasingly impossible. They are fighting against the Taliban to increase the rule of Karzai’s government across the country.
With all their war technology from around the world, NATO’s efforts have been more than unsuccessful and pushing the Taliban out of the country. One decade’s presence in Afghanistan means bloodshed but no achievement.
Thousands of Afghans who died following the US invasion of Afghanistan were alive during the Taliban regime, and at least they were bringing food for their kids. Today, thousands of their remnants including children remain between death and life. The poverty, injustice, state corruption, and violence badly shake and distress them.
Now, after a decade of war and bloodshed, everyone is talking about negotiation with the Taliban whose regime had been removed ten years ago by a US-led military invasion. Thousands of Taliban prisoners have been brutally massacred in the north, and many others have been tortured in connection with their resistance to what they believe to be a foreign invasion.
However negotiations and peace talks are good things but what about the atrocities, massacres, and bloodshed? Who will pay the price? Will there be an accounting? Will there be justice?
At this point, if I return to Jailani; I may face thousands of other Jailanis who are unlikely to forget the injustice of those who killed their loved ones. “Those who massacred thousands including my father are a small group that holds power in Afghanistan. They are few people who divided official posts within themselves and are using the authority against the nation.”
“I remind those involved in the peace talks of our blood that if they forget it you will never see the peace agreement and a return to permanent welfare in the country,” he added.
The people of Afghanistan want peace but, after ten years of war, they aren’t willing to walk away with nothing. If you ask an ordinary Afghan, you will hear. Peace is desired, peace is wanted above all but peace will not come without justice.
The people of Afghanistan will no longer allow themselves to be ruled by the corrupt, by war criminals, and will no longer all themselves to live in poverty and desperation while others grow rich and fat through theft.
Hanan Habibzai, an investigative journalist with more than ten years of experience in global journalism has covered the US invasion of Afghanistan, the fall of the Taliban regime, and post-Taliban developments, including the rise of militancy in the country.
MA in global journalism from Coventry University, Hanan writes on the conflict in Afghanistan and the regional politics, his work has been published by the BBC Afghan Stream, Pajhwok Afghan News, Reuter’s news agency, the Washington Post, Veterans Today, several local and the global media agencies, Including contribution in a journalism book Afghanistan War and the Media: Deadline and Frontline (2010), edited by R, Keeble & J, Mair, Hanan’s academic work is published around the world.
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