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Afghanistan Is Also Arab - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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As usual, us Arabs are sitting by and watching what is happening in Afghanistan. We believe that what is happening there is America’s problem or predicament, and we believe that only painful memories link us to Afghanistan. However, the opposite is more accurate. A stable Afghanistan is more in the interest of the Arabs than the Americans, and the reports indicate that the funds that are pouring into Afghanistan come from our region, whilst its weapons come from Iran, and most of the commanders are present in Pakistan. Above all, a significant number of the fighters there are Arab, whether they are from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, Libya, Tunisia, Sudan, or elsewhere [in the Arab world]. These [Arab] fighters represent ticking time bombs that will undoubtedly blow up in our faces one day.

The failure to stabilize Afghanistan also threatens important countries such as Pakistan, which possesses a nuclear arsenal, and what is happening on the Af-Pak border is sound evidence [of this], as is the rise of extremists and extremism in Pakistan. It is not wise, nor is it in Pakistan’s political interest, that its stability is allowed to be targeted.

In order [to ensure] that the terrorists do not have a country, or a haven in which they can flourish, there must be effective Arab efforts in Afghanistan, and the field must not be left for American experimentation, especially as the Americans are being called upon to look into the history of Afghanistan since the British presence there in an attempt to understand the nature of the Afghans and how to deal with them. However this is American self-indulgence whereas we know that Afghanistan is nothing but the name of a country that collapsed over 30 years ago, and was a hotbed for underdevelopment, crime, and drugs, even during the Taliban era that claimed to adhere to religion. Therefore Afghanistan is not a country in need of democracy inasmuch as it is in need of stability, and this is what the Americans must be aware of.

A country the size of Iraq, which cannot be compared to Afghanistan in any way, shape, or form, is still suffering from a lack of understanding regarding democracy, and sectarianism continues to reign supreme there. So what kind of chance has a country like Afghanistan got [of understanding democracy]?

Evidence of this can be seen in the outcome of the recent Afghan presidential elections, from vote rigging to other [accusations], and also in the fact that a man such as Mullah Omar continues to exert an influence in Afghanistan, not because he was elected by the people, despite his claim and the claims of his group that they follow the principle of shura [consultation], but because he imposes his control by force and weapons. Afghanistan is in need of a man who will impose security in a firm manner, without corruption, or drug trafficking.

We must remember that when the world – including the Americans and the Arabs – ignored Afghanistan following the Soviet withdrawal, the world was hit by the September 11 terrorist attacks against America and other operations prior to this, and a series of global terrorist operations after this, particularly in the Arab world. We are still in an open confrontation with terrorists and terrorism. To those who thought that these terrorists were merely naughty boys in the mountains of Afghanistan; these boys have now become a waking danger to countries and their powerful security agencies.

The Arabs have the power to cut the funding [entering] Afghanistan in a firm and serious manner, and we also have the religious power with which the youth can be enlightened and doctrinal evil can be eliminated from the roots. The Arabs possess the knowledge that the Americans and the West lack regarding how to deal with the Afghans, and we must take the initiative, not to preserve the Americans but in order to protect ourselves and our Arab youth.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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