Taliban leaders leave the capital
Now that the Taliban has left Kabul, the capital of the country our
nation has been bombing since mid-October, the possibility of the war on
the people of Afghanistan nearing its end is filling me with overwhelming
And it should be. We should not want to buckle down for what U.S. officials
predict will be a very long war. Nor should we carry the attitude of "whatever
the government says it takes to avenge the horrible attacks and end terrorism."
Remember that war is hell and inhumane and should be unnecessary in
civilized society. And when you have a bad-table-mannered, terrorist-supporting
religious government fleeing from its capital with its tail between its
legs, it's time to stop dropping as many bombs.
The United States, similar to the Soviet Union, is bigger and stronger
than Afghanistan, which is just a little bit smaller than Texas and is
one of the world's poorest countries. Hell, for the most part, its citizens
hardly know what a paved road is. They're really no match for the richest
country in the world.
We're able to prove our superiority with cluster bombs that release
202 mini-bombs the size of 12-ounce cans of cola, each of which can propel
2,000 pieces of metal shrapnel at an intense velocity. We've got "daisy-cutter"
bombs the size of a small car, which we drop at 6,000 feet, pulverizing
everything up to 600 meters around its landing point. Most of our arsenal
is delivered via $74 million B-52H Stratofortresses capable of holding
30,000 kilograms of bombs.
The cluster bombs are the most widely criticized bombs being used in
the conflict. The Red Cross and several other humanitarian organizations
have condemned these bombs partly because North Atlantic Treaty Organization
sources have said that around 10 percent of the mini-bombs fail to explode,
leaving the once-targeted area a dangerous minefield.
It's doubtful whether all our firepower (at an estimated daily cost
of $40 to 50 million) was the main reason the Taliban retreated from the
capital. Recent events — the advance of the Northern Alliance, growing
cultural and political distrust for the government by Kabul locals and
the rise of ethnic Pashtuns from the South forming small militia groups
to overthrow the government — should definitely not be discounted.
Now that the oppressors have left the capital, Radio Afghanistan is
back on the air. Women are once again allowed to stroll down the street
without the constant companionship of an older male relative. Soon Kabul
citizens will be able to tune their new televisions to U.S. propaganda.
But it isn't all peaches and cream in terms of human rights in the post-Taliban
Kabul age. Members of the Northern Alliance, in full view of a New York
Times photographer, dragged a Taliban soldier through the street and, despite
his cries for mercy, savagely executed him with a rifle and later beat
his dead corpse with the butt of the gun.
But what about the Afghans who don't live in Kabul? What have they been
up to? Fleeing, mostly.
Somebody should tell Tom Petty that you do have to live like a refugee
if the United States is bombing your country. So far, seven million starving
Afghan refugees are running from the bombs and fleeing to their border
with nowhere else to go.
What can America do to help these refugees as the war on the people
of Afghanistan seems to be drawing near? Let's start by dropping less bombs
and working harder to encourage the political and cultural Afghan revolution.