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Afghans react angrily to Trump’s remarks on Afghanistan

ali ahmad safiVIENNA, July 24, 2019 - On Monday during Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to the Oval Office, the US President Donald Trump threatened to kill 10 million people in Afghanistan to end his country’s longest war, but he said “I don’t want to take that route” as if he is doing a favor to a country that is known as “the graveyard of empires.”

“If we wanted to fight a war in Afghanistan and win it, I could win that war in a week. I just don’t want to kill 10 million people. I have plans on Afghanistan that if I wanted to win that war, Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the earth, it would be gone, it would be over literally in 10 days. And I don’t want to do that – I don’t want to go that route,” said President Trump without elaborating on how he would do that.

Many Afghan politicians and social media users reverberated their anger over Trump’s remarks. Afghanistan and its people felt insulted for the fact that its destiny is determined by Pakistan and the US governments in the absence of the Afghan people. The US-led NATO forces and the Afghan people fought shoulder to shoulder to fight terrorism and the Afghans have been paying with ultimate price, but such comments waste all those sacrifices made by millions of Afghan men and women.

In response to Mr. Trump’s controversial statement, the Afghan government said “The Afghan nation has not and will never allow any foreign power to determine its fate.” The statement also emphasized that “foreign heads of state cannot determine Afghanistan’s fate in absence of the Afghan leadership. Afghanistan will remain dignified and firm in the global political arena.”

Rahmatullah Nabil, one of the candidates in Afghanistan’s upcoming presidential elections requested all Afghans including the Taliban and President Ashraf Ghani to drop their selfishness and make peace among themselves in the wake of Trump’s “insults”. He tweeted that “there is no need for mediation from the US or Pakistan. Afghanistan need to be protected before it’s too late.”

Dr. Fahim Tokhi, a social activist posted on his Facebook: “From Alexander the Great to Genghis Khan, British Empire to Soviet Union and … they all tried to wipe Afghanistan off the face of earth but our country stands strong. However, nothing has remained from those powers except their names.”

The former Afghan ambassador to Pakistan, Dr. Omar Zakhilwal, who have met the Taliban representatives in Doha during intra-Afghan peace dialogue in early July has also posted similar frustration online: “Genghis Khan and the invaders before and after him came with similar intentions but they have gone. However, Afghanistan still shines like a star in the sky.”

The US government militarily intervened in Afghanistan in 2001 to bring peace, freedom and defeat the extremist Taliban who had harbored Osama bin Laden. After nearly two decades of military engagement, the US is threatening to wipe off the very country that they promised to rebuild and bring peace.

For the leader of the so-called free world, using rhetoric as “wipe off the face of earth” is injustice to millions of people who stand in front of the terrorism devil to protect Americans’ interests, reflected by many social media activists Afghan human rights defender, Ahmad Shuja believes that the rhetoric is dehumanizing and dangerous and must not be used even for enemy: “You don’t use language like that – nor for an ally, nor for a foe. It’s sensitive, dehumanizing and dangerous.”

Afghans feel particularly insulted because Mr. Trump made his disgraceful comments on Afghanistan in the presence of Imran Khan.

For most Afghans, Pakistan is the source of terrorism in their country and those sanctuaries in their neighborhood need to be addressed if the US want to see a dignified exit from Afghanistan. Most activists refer to places where Osama bin Laden and the Taliban leader, Mullah Akhtar Mansour were killed in 2011 and 2016 respectively inside Pakistan.

The US administration has applied pressure on Pakistan in the past to push the Taliban into political settlement in Afghanistan, but none of those promises have been materialized.

A Pakistani former member of parliament, Bushra Gohar reacted after the meeting that “it is not for Afghanistan’s neighbors to negotiate exit plans.” Ms. Gohar wrote on her twitter account that her country is controlling the Taliban. “No wonder Pakistan is viewed as the Taliban’s control center.”


Written By Ali Ahmad

Photo: Ali Ahmad

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