Monday, February 27, 2012

Burn A Quran, Unite The Afghans

For the first time since 2001, Afghan Taliban, police, army, Shia, Pashtun, Uzbek and Turkmen are united against American occupation. What does this mean for us in Pakistan?
Pakistanis are too busy in their messy domestic politics to notice a major development in Afghanistan: the country might finally be slipping out of American hands.

Until now the Afghan Taliban and other resistance groups were fighting American occupation. But now new segments of Afghan population join the fight: Afghan police, soldiers and ordinary Afghans whether Shia in Herat, Pashtun in the south and east, or Uzbek and Turkmen in the north.

Afghans are united for the first time since 2001.

Bagram, the largest American military base in Afghanistan, is under siege by angry Afghans for the past five days on the outskirts of Kabul. They are trying to storm the fortified complex to drag US commanders out. Smaller US bases elsewhere face a similar situation. This is the first time US bases across Afghanistan are besieged simultaneously.

The most stunning part is that US-trained Afghan army and police has joined the fight … against the Americans.

Just today morning, two US military officers were shot dead point blank inside Afghan Interior Ministry, the most heavily secured building in Kabul. The killer, an Afghan soldier, remains free. No Afghan army or police officer is ready to arrest the killer. This shows wide support for the murder.

More and more Afghan policemen and army soldiers are turning their guns against US soldiers who trained them in the first place. Yesterday, the Afghanistan Analysis Team at PakNationalists.com made an excellent observation. It said that NATO and US soldiers don’t know whether they will be killed by Afghan Taliban or Afghan police and army [See our team’s excellent report, NATO Soldiers Don’t Want To Work With Americans].

And it’s not just the Afghans turning against US soldiers. NATO’s other armies are doing the same. The French are incensed that French soldiers were killed by Afghan soldiers last month because American soldiers peed on dead Afghan bodies. Why should French or Spanish soldiers die for American actions?

The death of so many brave Afghans as they protest the latest American blunder has saddened Pakistanis. But US troubles in Afghanistan are good news for us in Pakistan. Why is that so? Well, for starters, United States turned Afghanistan into an anti-Pakistan outpost, inviting India and others to create problems for us in our western regions, including Balochistan. The CIA and other allied spy services are known to provide indirect help to TTP and BLA terrorist groups, which they helped create in the first place to keep Pakistani military engaged and punish Pakistanis for not toeing US line in the region.

Now American troubles in Afghanistan should help us and our Afghan partners enhance our bargaining positions vis-à-vis American plans for our region.

We need to highlight:

1. How US army does not understand or respect the Afghans even after a decade of occupying the country.
2. How US soldiers are trained and indoctrinated to be anti-Muslim, hence the repeated incidents such as burning the Quran at Bagram or flushing them in toilets at Gitmo. Even American policemen are trained to profile Muslims negatively. Among the worrying indications: the emergence of several hatemongering American preachers and the lone Norway attacker in July 2011 who said he was influenced by American religious hate speech.
3. The American military and intelligence presence in Afghanistan is destabilizing that country and the region.

The Pakistani foreign office condemned burning copies of the holy book by US soldiers. But that is not enough. Pakistani government should have the guts to go beyond condemnation to ask the Americans to take this incident as a sign they are not meant to stay here as occupiers and should leave.

If nothing else, we in Pakistan know that terror groups such as TTP and BLA will die a natural death once the Americans are out of Afghanistan.
AHMED QURAISHI


Santorum demands Afghan apology for Qur'an burning reaction

US Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum has demanded Afghans to apologize for “overreacting” to the burning of the Holy Qur’an copies by American forces."I think the response needs to be apologized for, by Karzai and the Afghan people, for attacking and killing our men and women in uniform, and overreacting to this inadvertent mistake,” Santorum told NBC's Meet the Press talk show on Sunday. “That is the real crime, not what our soldiers did,” he added. On February 20, US soldiers burned the copies of the Holy Qur'an and other Islamic texts at the US-run Bagram airbase, located 11 kilometers (7 miles) southeast of the city of Charikar in the northern province of Parwan. 

The comments by Santorum come as Newt Gingrich, another Republican presidential hopeful, has similarly deplored Obama’s apology for the desecration of the Holy Qur’an by American forces, describing it as "astonishing" and undeserved.

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