While the US was keen in 2001 to clarify its stand in Afghanistan, stressing its fight was not with Islam but extremism, ten years of killings, abuse, unlawful arrests and war crimes, all targeting Muslim communities, have re - defined the nature of the conflict, pushing entire communities to side with the Taliban and al - Qaeda in reaction to America ' s imperialism.In 2011, researchers at Brown’s Watson Institute for International Studies found that since 2001 an estimated 132,000 civilians have died in America ' s wars against terror - - Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan - - Since Washington resumed its drone program in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen, researchers have warned that civilian casualties would continue to increase exponentially, fueling public anger and resentment against the West and the values it had come to represent.RadicalizationBecause American soldiers in Afghanistan are now perceived as the occupiers, the malevolent force which in the dead of the night prey on innocent, villagers, pillaging and killing randomly in all impunity, young Afghanis are joining the ranks of the Taliban and al - Qaeda in the region, willingly choosing what they believe to be the lesser evil. The time when America star - studded flag was linked to freedom and democracy has long gone, instead its emblem now strikes fear at the heart of civilians, it inspires hatred, resentment and anger for those whose families were torn apart, destroyed in the name of America ' s revenge. The Taliban and al - Qaeda have grown popular in the region as the public has come to know them as Afghanistan ' s freedom fighters, the only force wiling and capable of opposing the United States of America. Tired of acting the victims in a war which was imposed by foreign powers onto them, Afghani young and old are choosing to take up arms and join the only factions which are openly denouncing America ' s evil on Afghan land, determined to defend their liberties. Ironically, the very force which sought to export democracy and liberty has become in the course of a decade the oppressor to be fought. Caught in a net of its own making, Washington is feeding Islamists ' momentum, having endowed its militants with a worthy cause - the Freedom of their people. More surely than if it had run the Taliban recruitment campaign, Washington has helped the Taliban morphed into an organization with global reach and widespread popular support.America ' s war crimesIn 2012, Moign Khawaja, a journalist, wrote on the matter, " Trigger - happy behavior is widespread among the US occupation forces. American soldiers are known for their “shoot first, ask questions later” approach. Many Afghans, especially the rural folk, are shot on mere suspicion. In many cases, the suspect would be either going to or coming from work or tending his fields.
The most serious of all the violations of the US military is their complete disregard for the dignity and privacy of the Afghan people. The behavior of the US occupation forces is reminiscent of the European colonialists of the “New World” era who invaded and occupied the lands of Native Americans, destroyed their settlements, killed their men and captured their women, children and cattle. "Prominent rights organizations among which Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have frequently denounced and exposed America ' s war crimes violations, cataloging every infractions, every irregularities. Both organizations recorded numerous incidents of theft and sexual misconduct committed by US troops in Afghan villages. Afghanis have been forced to watch American soldiers desecrate their homes, dishonor and insult their wives and children. According to a Human Rights Watch report published in March 2004, “US forces regularly use military means and methods during arrest operations in residential areas where law enforcement techniques would be more appropriate. This has resulted in unnecessary civilian casualties and may in some cases have involved indiscriminate or disproportionate force in violation of international humanitarian law. ” Human Rights Watch routinely accuses the US occupation forces in Afghanistan of violating international humanitarian law and human rights laws by mistreating and torturing suspects. It has cited several cases recorded in detention centers where suspects were held incommunicado and without any charge for several years. In 2011 and 2012, US marines were caught urinating on dead Afghani prisoners and the Holy Quran, an incident which had dire repercussions across the region as it incensed Muslims around the world, prompting violent demonstrations. Over a decade of systematic and pandemic lack of accountability has meant that Afghanistan has no faith in the West and its values. More importantly, America ' s war against Afghanistan violates international laws including the Charter of the United Nations, Geneva Conventions and all the eleven international agreements that deal with the suppression and control of terrorism. The UN Charter prohibits the “use and the threatened use of any force in international relations. "Myopic understanding of the regionRetired General Stanley Mc Chrystal frighteningly admits to Washington lack of insight and foresight in the Afghanistan conflict. “We didn’t know enough and we still don’t know enough. Most of us, me included, had a very superficial understanding of the situation and history, and we had a frighteningly simplistic view of recent history, the last 50 years, ” he told the Council on Foreign Relations, an independent think - tank based in New York. Eman Mansour wrote in the Scottish fortnightly Journal on January 16,2009, “The US government brought back to power the men who devastated the country and the lives of the people like no government before. These are the criminals of the Northern Alliance who fought among themselves from 1992-96, immersing the country into deep turbulent years of unimaginable crimes: abductions, torture, rape, looting and forced labor. " Hamish Chitts from Direct Action explained back in 2009 why he believed the US is losing against the Taliban regime, " The Taliban regime quickly collapsed in 2001 because it did not have popular support. Now more and more people are realizing that the new regime of old criminals is no better or worse than the Taliban. This is one of the main reasons more and more Afghans are joining the growing resistance against the US occupation. The high number of civilians killed by US, NATO and allied forces is another reason for people joining the resistance. " Washington ' s lack of vision, its arrogance toward Afghans ' suffering and calls for justice have led thousands to join radical Islam. America ' s war against terror has meant that terror has now metastasized across the region, turning a once dying breed of Illuminates into a fire breathing monster of the likes the region has never seen before. Hamid Karzai said on January 20,2009, “For years the Afghan people have come to me and said, ‘We are allies and we are committed to fighting terrorism and we welcomed the international community in Afghanistan - why are we the victims of air strikes? ’” Washington ' s reckless policy in the region has meant that an entire generation of Afghans has known nothing but war and chaos in their life time. They have come to understand that the West is seeking to uproot Islam. After over a decade of war and political manipulation, Afghanistan central government is but a shadow, a network of corrupt politicians whose alliances have become but mere tradable commodities, allowing extremism to thrive unburden and unchecked.
[box type = " info " color = " 000000 " bg = " FFFFFF " font = " arial " fontsize = " 11 " radius = " 10 " border = " FF7F27 "]Catherine Shakdamis a commentator and political risk consultant. Her writings have appeared in Foreign Policy Association, the Guardian and Majalla among many others. Based in the UK, she worked in collaboration with Yemen Human Rights Minister on shaping new policies to protect women rights.[/ box]