On Wednesday, members of NATO's International Security Assistance Force carried out a night raid in the eastern Kunar province of Afghanistan that killed 10 civilians. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has demanded that these night raids stop.
On Saturday he said, "I will issue a decree that no Afghan security forces, in any circumstances, can ask for the foreigners' planes for carrying out operations on our homes and villages. Our forces ask for air support from foreigners and children get killed in an airstrike."
According to the BBC, “NATO has said it backs President Hamid Karzai's order banning Afghan security forces from calling in foreign air strikes in residential areas. The commander of the US-led NATO forces, Gen. Joseph Dunford, said NATO respected Afghan sovereignty and had other ways to support Afghan forces.”
Dunford has been in his post one week. He believes the ISAF has made "extraordinary progress in mitigating the risk to civilians." He went on: "There are other ways we can support our Afghan partners other than air ordnance."
Foreign forces entered Afghanistan in 2001, following the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington that resulted in around 3,000 deaths.
The Afghan war has resulted in many more. The number of military injured and killed is widely recorded. The civilian death toll is not. The best estimate is that the Afghan civilian death toll is in the thousands.
The public reason given for this conflict was to catch terror mastermind Osama bin Laden, to prevent terrorist groups from organizing, and to oust the extreme Islamist Taliban rebels from the country. The mission is due to end, and the number of military killed is decreasing. However, the civilian death toll remains high.
Are Dunford’s words anything more than words? Do they have any substance? He is, after all, attempting to calm a volatile situation, following the killing of 10 civilians.
There are claims that the mission also resulted in the death of four insurgents. However, the 10 civilians killed were women and children.
How the West can believe that killing women and children will prevent a new breed of terrorist festering away is baffling. If there is one sure way to breed hate, anger and a will to rise up, it is such brutal killings.
Try to put yourself in the shoes of an Afghan civilian for a moment, if you can. A person aged 14 perhaps. You would have no memory of peace in your country. You would have lived in occupied territory as long as you can remember. You may have listened to elders preaching hate and anger. Life would be precarious, with deadly nightly raids by foreign forces always a possibility. What if you have had a parent or sibling killed by the ISAF?
So why do you hate the West? Need you ask?
It is certain that more horrors occur in Afghanistan than we will ever know. Maybe in time the full truth will come out. For now, though, the news is propaganda-fuelled and aimed at limiting our knowledge.
The death toll for our military has been high. Too high, most would agree. However, the military have some choice in what goes on. Most are volunteers. If you live in an occupied country you have few choices.
Yes, it is now up to the Afghan people to take the lead and decide on their country’s future. Will the West let the people though?
Karzai is a puppet of the West. As the last foreign troops leave Afghanistan, insurgents who left the country will move back. Have we helped the Afghan people prepare for this eventuality? Are they now equipped to deal with such challenges?
Or are they so weary from battle, so full of anger and hate, with revenge in their hearts, that they will welcome Islamist militants back with open arms? You tell me.