jump to navigation

The horror and beautiful bravery in Afghanistan 2010-Jun-11 at 01:12 PDT

Posted by Scott Arbeit in Blog.

In case you’re not sure why we’re in Afghanistan, and why it’s important… this is why.  Forgive the long excerpts, but they’re worth reading, I promise.

Taliban Aim at Officials in a Wave of Killings, by Rod Nordland, 9-June-2010

The Taliban have been stepping up a campaign of assassinations in recent months against officials and anyone else associated with local government in an attempt to undermine counterinsurgency operations in the south.

Government assassinations are nothing new as a Taliban tactic, but now the Taliban are taking aim at officials who are much more low-level, who often do not have the sort of bodyguards or other protection that top leaders do. Some of the victims have only the slimmest connections to the authorities. The most egregious example came Wednesday in Helmand Province, where according to Afghan officials the insurgents executed a 7-year-old boy as an informant.

Let that sink in for a moment.  The Taliban killed a 7-year-old for being an “informant.” Imagine witnessing it:

The youngest victim was the 7-year-old boy, identified only as the grandson of a farmer named Qodos Khan Alokozy, from the village of Herati in the Sangin District of Helmand Province. According to Daoud Ahmadi, a spokesman for the governor’s office in Helmand, Taliban insurgents went to his village and dragged the boy from his home at 10:30 in the morning, accusing him of acting as a government informant by telling the authorities of their movements. They killed him by hanging him from a tree in the middle of the village, Mr. Ahmadi said. A spokesman for the Taliban, reached by telephone, denied that the episode took place.


The bravery of some of the elected officials there, and their families, is breathtaking and beautiful against a backdrop of such difficult circumstances.

Assassins narrowly missed in attempts to kill both Kandahar’s mayor, Ghulam Hayder Hamidi, and the Kandahar Province governor, Tooryalai Wesa, last year. Mayor Hamidi, in a recent interview during a ceremony to mark the reconstruction of a local mosque, shrugged off the risks. “When it’s time to die, no one can save me,” he said, pointing out that he travels with a modest security detail.

An exile who lived in the United States until he returned here three years ago, Mr. Hamidi said his daughter, who had come back to Afghanistan first, talked him into doing so as well. “She said you have to come here, that we cannot change the time of death and one day you will have to die and I will cry. It could just as well be from a car accident in the United States.”

I don’t mind saying that I cried when I read what his daughter said.

As for our side, and what we’re doing about the Taliban:

“They read the papers; they know what we are doing,” said a NATO official here, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with his government’s policy. “It’s very much game on between the coalition and the Taliban.”

Game on… and our military plays to win.

Our understanding of developmental levels means that we have to look at this situation as it is, and allow what we understand from developmental psychology to influence the choices we make of how to respond, even when those choices indicate that we have to fight.  Against an enemy acting from unhealthy Red, targeting both Purple tribes and Blue government officials, executing 7-year-old boys… it is the world’s responsibility to see that such an enemy is destroyed. It is our responsibility to provide the public support that empowers our governments to continue to do that.

I’m proud to live in one of the only nations on this planet that still understands that.  It remains my hope and expectation that President Obama’s pledge to begin pulling combat troops out of Afghanistan in July 2011 – under the right conditions – was meant more to motivate the Afghan government to step up than it was a firm commitment… because if he pulls our troops out before we’ve crippled the Taliban, I can’t imagine ever voting for him again.

These are the new moral responsibilities that come with an Integral understanding of levels of development, and how they play out in the development of nations.  See them clearly, feel them deeply, allow them into your heart, your gut, your core, your head… and resolve to do the right thing, even when it’s hard.  This is our generation’s mission.



No comments yet — be the first.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: