Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Is the US a good partner forPakistan and Afghanistan?

As the war in Afghanistan enters its ninth year, the need for an exit strategy weighs on the minds of U.S. policymakers. Such an outcome, it is assumed, would involve reconciliation with the Taliban. But Afghan women fear that in the quest for a quick peace, their progress may be sidelined. "Women's rights must not be the sacrifice by which peace is achieved," says parliamentarian Fawzia Koofi.
(Comment on this story.)

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2007238,00.html#ixzz0vZoLtWra

In many ways the western press is doing a great service to the plight of women in Third world countries by publicising the shabby and inhuman way that they are treated. The Taliban are not alone in these practices which are to be found in the breadth of India and Pakistan and in many many African countries, but then no one is making out a case for attacking Pakistan to free the women there.

It is clearly not the motivation of the Western media to uplift conditions of women in these countries, they just need to find a justification for Western armed forces being in Afghanistan, but reading these stories one comes away with the impression that America has nothing else in mind than to protect Afghani women from their men. It would not be difficult to find quite disturbing pictures of American women who are victims of domestic violence here in the US, but no one is rushing to put them on the cover of Time magazine. Domestic violence in America is quite bad and on the increase. In fact victims of domestic violence are not simply maimed but are more likely to be killed. The statistics say that every 21 days a woman is killed as a result of domestic violence in the US. My point is not to justify the poor treatment of women by people in third world countries but the idea that men are any more civilized in the US after having gone to college than the Taliban in Afghanistan who have never even gone to school, is delusions of grandeur.

Leaving aside the similarities of behaviour, there is a valid point that the law of the land should prosecute such behaviour rather than sanction it. In this matter the people in Afghanistan need a lot of laws to create an orderly and just society with or without the Taliban. Clearly the people who can help in doing this is not the US who have proven to have a great propensity for destroying nations than rebuilding them. This is truly the point, the Afghans need help but the US is not the white knight that can do this. In fact any one but the US would be good.
I am no fan of Karzai but even he has arrived at the conclusion that he is in bed with the wrong partner. The question that is being raised in the US constantly is whether Karzai and Pakistan are the right partners, is also the question that is being raised in Afghanistan and Pakistan, does the US have the interest of their people in mind?


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