U.S. Must Accept Responsibility for Crisis in Afghanistan
The Taliban regime has once again made world headlines and has drawn world condemnation for their practices and procedures in establishing a pure Islamic state. Just on the heels of the recent Bamiyan Buddha statue destruction, the Taliban are faced with renewed international hostility over reports the secret religious police ordered Hindus in Afghanistan to carry a thumb-sized yellow marker inside their pockets.
Officials for the Islamic group defended their decision, saying the yellow badge was intended to save Hindus from harassment and enforcement of Islamic laws.
But the order sparked outrage from members of the international community. Not surprisingly, the United States, India, and the United Nations, opponents to the Islamic regime, have been among the most vocal.
"But this sudden concern for human rights in Afghanistan seems a bit misplaced when one takes into account that many of these same governments and institutions have been instrumental in the current humanitarian crisis."
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said the move reminded him of "some of the most deplorable acts of discrimination in history".
The International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) said the "intolerable measure" constituted "a serious violation of the fundamental principles of universally recognized human rights".
But this sudden concern for human rights in Afghanistan seems a bit misplaced when one takes into account that many of these same governments and institutions have been instrumental in the current humanitarian crisis. A more serious, yet under reported fact is that hundreds of thousands of Afghans have been denied the very basic human right of food and shelter.
By the UN's own estimates, more than 700,000 Afghans have been displaced from their homes since mid-2000 due to drought and civil war, with about one million facing famine this year unless massive foreign aid is forthcoming.
But that has not stopped the international community from enforcing not one, but two rounds of crippling sanctions, which have hampered relief efforts during this humanitarian crisis.
Such contradictions over the concern for Afghanistan's citizens can only lead to one conclusion: that the recent "outrage" over the Taliban's policies is nothing more than a propaganda tool for ostracizing and isolating the Islamic regime.
Unfortunately many in the world community suffer from an acute form of amnesia, for it was just over 15 years ago that these Afghans delivered the Russians a humiliating defeat, preventing the former Soviet Union from expanding its borders. The US fully backed the mujahideen, or Muslim rebels, who made no secret about their desires to establish an Islamic state. As Amnesty International has reported, for the United States, political expediency was the priority, not human rights.
Now in this post cold-war era, US policy has shifted from containing the Russians to preventing the spread of Islamic movements in Asia, particular in Afghanistan, which is strategically located at the crossroads of Central, South and West Asia.
The West, with the help of the mainstream media has successfully changed the image of the mujahideen almost overnight. Once branded as freedom fighters, the Taliban are now branded as supporters of terrorism and violators of human rights.
Instead of demonizing the very same protagonists they supported during their battle against a one-time enemy, the US should take responsibility of the current humanitarian crisis and play a constructive role in resolving this tragedy.
Topics: Afghanistan, Conflicts And War, Human Rights, Taliban