Editor's note: Lewis & Clark College professor Zaher Wahab is a native of Afghanistan who has been returning every year since 2002 to help rebuild the country's higher education system. Below, in a handwritten letter composed Thursday and edited for clarity, he describes life in Afghanistan following the Aug. 20 election. Read more of his experiences at his blog, called "Dispatches From Afghanistan."
...The American-installed Karzai regime has zero credibility. It is corrupt, ineffective, indifferent, autocratic and American-made. No matter what is done with the election, no government will have any legitimacy or credibility. And Americans and Europeans who support this bankrupt system have little place here, either. It is too simple and ignorant to blame everything on extremist Taliban or al-Qaida. This is a multifaceted insurgency ranging from the drug mafia to nationalists to fundamentalists. There are no al-Qaida or terrorists here. And the insurgency are not a threat to the west.
This is part civil war between Pashtuns (60 percent of the population) and others in the north. It is also a multidimensional anti-imperialist struggle by people who don't like being invaded, searched, arrested, tortured, killed and bombed. Knowing the Afghans, there is no way they can be subdued. It is best to:
-Withdraw U.S.-NATO [troops] soon and replace them with peacekeeping forces from neutral Muslim countries.
-Commit to developing the country's education, agriculture, health care, energy resources, transportation, mining.
-Build state apparatus.
-Reconcile ethnic, religious conflicts, restore proportional power structure. Have Loya Girga [the grand council of tribes] develop a new constitution.
-Let the Afghans develop their own polity, economy, culture, etc., in their own way.
Ensure the country's independence and neutrality.
-Stop spending $5 billion per month on death and destruction. [emphasis mine]
Afghanistan Is Not Our Problem (Well, It Is...)
$5 billion per month. Seriously. We spend that much for war, every month.