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Untold horrors of Afghanistan war

Back in 18th century, there was a traveler who called himself Alexander Burnes.

This traveler compared a city in subcontinent with paradise. In his own words, “There were peaches, plums, apricots, pears, apples, quinces, cherries, walnuts, mulberries, pomegranates, and vines, all growing in one garden. There were also nightingales, blackbirds, thrushes and doves…and chattering magpies on almost every tree.’

But today, this place is not even close to paradise.

Years of wars and obsolete attempts of colonization by foreigners have caused havoc to this place.

All green has turned into the remains of weaponry destruction. Anyone hardly finds any fruit here now and birds are extinct in this place. We all know this city by the name of “KABUL”.

Like Kabul, the beauty and allure of rest of the Afghanistan was magnificent in its own unique way. Mountains, rivers along with vast deserts, this place had an unexplainable charm. Its geostrategic location and vastness of natural resources also made it charming for the rest of the world and these charming blessings has now become curse for Afghan people. For centuries, Afghanistan is in continuous battle to defend itself from intruders. Greeks, Persians, Russians, Mughals, British and now, Americans —– all tried their best to get hold of this land.

In some battles it stood victorious and in some, fate did not favour it. No matter how battles concluded, the spirit and passion of Afghans remained constant. Their valor, loyalty to their lands and tribe and warring skills remained constant.

Speaking of valor!

Would bombing or ruthless killing of children in the name of fighting terrorism can be included in the category of valor?

Well, the mere thought of harming an innocent child gives chills. In fact, this horrendous thought is unthinkable.

But unfortunately, in Afghanistan this is what has happened.

The 16 years of so called war on terror has cost Afghans more than the extinction of birds, fruits or geographic beauty.

They have paid the price of this unwelcome war by unwillingly sacrificing the lives of their children.

Murder of civilian children in Kunduz madrassa is certainly a heart wrenching incident but that was not the first display of inhumanity by US troops.

While combating terrorism in this region they have knowingly, unknowingly killed hundreds of children.

And the height of atrocity is: there is no consensus of many US strikes on which basis one could decide what happened or how much life is lost. One such event was occurred in the morning of February 10, 2010 at Sangin, a town in Afghanistan’s Helmand province.

First air strike on a house claimed lives of 24 civilians in which 19 were children and rest were women. Later two more strikes by NATO forces left more than 40 civilians dead. United nation’s report in July mentioned, 9 Taliban fighters were killed in those air strikes but residents of the area said there were no Taliban fighters in the town, just children, women and old men.

Till date neither US nor Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) have taken responsibility of these deaths.

Panjwai massacre was another ruthless display by US soldiers. In the early hours of March 11, 2012, 16 civilians were murdered and 6 wounded by US Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales in Panjwai district of Kandhara Province. 9 of the victims were children who were first shot and stabbed and then charred by Bales.

Maywand district murders were another notorious event occurred in 2010 in Maiwand in Kandahar province. Unarmed civilians (also include teenage boys) were either bombed, shot or beaten to death by US soldiers who refer to themselves as “Kill Team”.

These soldiers represented the worst form of humanity as first they attacked unarmed children and then humiliated their corpse.

February 12th, 2010 marked the day of Uruzgan helicopter attack in which three minibuses filled with 42 Afghan civilians were aerially attacked by US forces with Little Bird Helicopters. After the attack, NATO officials stated that at that moment they believed insurgents were travelling in those buses.

Their misinformation at that time left 27 dead including 1 child and 12 severely wounded. Granai airstrike on May 2009 was another event occurred in the south of Herat, Granai village which claimed the lives of 140 civilians including 93 children.

Kunduz Madrassa air strike was the latest Afghan forces attempt to curb top Taliban commanders who were said to be present in graduation ceremony in Madrassa.

According to Ghulam Hazrat, a spokesman for the 20th army division in Kunduz, around 15 Talibans were killed and no civilian was harmed in the attacked. Any person with little sanity can infer from the pictures of blood bathed bodies of the children that Mr Hazrat is just making excuse to escape from what has happened. According to al-Jazeera around 150 civilians (most of them were children) are either wounded or dead in this air raid.

No explanation can justify the unjust murder of these unarmed, innocent children.

For killing 15 Talibans, you are willing to assault 100 children. 100 children who will be the back bone of the country in future. Other than air strike from planes provided by US, could your intelligence not think of any other way to deal with these Talibans.

It’s enough. It’s time.

For how long this game of blood and fire will keep claiming the lives of innocents? For how long innocent civilian Afghans will have to see blood soaked corpses of their children? For how long these people will have to suffer this agony? This war has stretched beyond the boundaries of control. Even US who is spending billions of dollars each year is unable to keep it under bridle.

Unsurprisingly, this war has become trouble for not only Afghanistan or US or Pakistan but for the whole region.

Continuing this war for the benefits which weigh much less in comparison to the harms it is causing, is not a witty decision. This has to stop. The demand of the hour is the unification of all the countries of this region in order to restore its peace.

Because if we keep surrounding ourselves in the illusion that we are safe from it, then yes, we are safe today but will we be safe tomorrow?

So, for the safer tomorrow act now.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are solely of the author and do not represent ARY policies or opinion.