Recent deadly and indiscriminate suicide attacks in Afghanistan have caused death and grief among many innocent Afghan citizens. These attacks once again bring to light the desperate nature of Al-Qaeda and Taliban terror networks that prey on the moderate majority in Afghanistan and other nations in the region. There is no clearer example of this than the 17 September suicide bombing of Canadian troops handing out treats to Afghani children. Four Canadian soldiers were killed, along with a number of innocent Afghan children.
Despair we may, but persevere we must in the face of this mindless violence and terror. Events of the past 5 years have given Afghan citizens new hope for freedom and opportunity. The moderate majority in Afghanistan want their nation to reemerge from years of repression at the hands of the deposed Taliban regime. The terrorists, an extreme, tiny minority within the region, want nothing more than to stifle this hope. However, their efforts are failing due to the indiscriminate violence and terror they are inflicting on Afghans and the people of other countries in the region. The terrorists themselves acknowledge their failure. As James Fallows reported in the Atlantic magazine, An Egyptian extremist, Mohammed Essad Derbala, recently stated, “…jihad for the sake of jihad has backfired…it produces the opposite of the desired results: the downfall of the Taliban regime and the slaughter of thousands of young Muslims.”
Although steady progress has been made in Afghanistan, these high profile terrorist attacks dominate the news and reinforce a perception that the security situation is deteriorating, the Taliban are regaining control, and it’s only a matter of time before they return to power. This is not the case. These suicide attacks have not been without cost. They have brought personal pain and suffering back into the lives of Afghans who have recently emerged from 27 years of war. But, the resilience and determination of the Afghan people are evident. With the continued help of the United States, NATO and other Coalition partners, Afghans will continue to prevail over the cowardly acts of a ruthless regime that once ruled by fear and terror. After historic national elections in 2004 in which nearly 10 million citizens voted, this fledgling democracy is building almost from scratch the institutions of government and civil society and developing an economy. With the continued help of the international community, there is no doubt the country will be successful.
Among the most visible examples of Afghan resiliency is that its citizens now understand, respect, and practice freedom of speech. Citizens are speaking out against terrorist suicide bombings. The Pakistani newspaper DAWN reports that after a recent attack, Kabul resident Mohammed Hayder Nangahari said, “This is a cowardly action that terrorists always take. They don’t care if it is a residential area, government area or military area.” Pharmacist Nawid Paidar, 31, said the killing of children, women and men in terrorist attacks was inhumane and he blamed militants crossing from Pakistan for the latest bombing.
Repairing the decades of physical and emotional damage, establishing democratic principles and the rule of law will take patience and courage. The Afghan people, Coalition military forces and the international community possess that courage, and all have a positive vision of the future. The Taliban, on the other hand, continues to offer only more of the same: totalitarianism, mindless violence, war, poverty, and death. What has become evident is that the people of Afghanistan will be triumphant. They have experienced the pain and suffering of this inhumane regime; every suicide attack reminds them of the past and strengthens their resolve for a better future.