Will the U.S. still be meddling in Afghanistan 30 years from now? If history is any guide, the answer is yes. And if history is any guide, three decades from now most Americans will have only the haziest idea why.
Source: The Nation
This is a personal story, and it’s hard to tell because nobody knows how it will end. I first went to Afghanistan in 2002, where I volunteered with two small nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) staffed by Afghan women: widows, university students, teachers. I’ve gone back to Afghanistan to work with those women almost every year—except for part of 2010 and 2011, when I embedded with the US military instead, to learn more about its “mission” in the country. The military was so out of touch with the actual Afghanistan that I may as well have been on the moon.
Source: The Nation
I know Bibi Aisha, the young Afghan woman pictured on the August 9 cover of Time, and I rejoice that her mutilated nose and ears are going to be surgically repaired. But the logic of those who use Aisha’s story to convince us that the US military must stay in Afghanistan escapes me. Even Aisha has already left for America.
I realize that last remark has no logical basis, but then neither does the Time cover line “What Happens if We Leave Afghanistan” beside a shocking photo depicting what happened (to this woman) after we had already stayed for eight years. I heard Aisha’s story from her a few weeks before the image of her face was displayed all over the world. She told me that her father-in-law caught up with her after she ran away, and took a knife to her on his own; village elders later approved, but the Taliban didn’t figure at all in this account. The Time story, however, attributes Aisha’s mutilation to a husband under orders of a Talib commander, thereby transforming a personal story, similar to those of countless women in Afghanistan today, into a portent of things to come for all women if the Taliban return to power. Profoundly traumatized, Aisha might well muddle her story, but what excuses reporters who seem to inflate the role of the Taliban with every repetition of the case? Some reports have Aisha “sentenced” by a whole Taliban “jirga.”