The rift between President Hameed Karzai and his NATO ally appears widening as both have their own reasons and will to emphasize on righteousness of respective positions regarding civilian casualties. However, there is no friction when the issue appears in theoretical sphere as both President and Top US and NATO generals agree that the non-combatant casualties harm the ongoing counter insurgency struggle mission as well as would prove counterproductive. Thus, the difference refers to practical sphere, where Mr. President instantly warned of irresponsible and inaccurate operations which lead to regrettable consequences.
Let me explain the issue a bit. Before giving explanation, I think it is necessary to present my deepest regret and condolence to all those who lost their family members, and ask Allah to bestow his forgiveness on those who were killed. Of course, I am one of those who severely oppose operations which lead to civilian deaths and injuries. And I do understand, after experiencing harsh situation pre and during Taliban regime, that how loss of a relative can change the warm and cordial family environment into dejected and hell-like one. I am stating this somehow unrelated explanation because I do know that many would think, since my family or my relatives have been out effect of such military blunders, thus it is easy for me reclining somewhere in couch and writing the following stuffs. I am trying to tell these people that I truly understand their feelings but, meanwhile, I am in view that personal feelings should not overrule our rationality, because what we need today the most is ending our long-lasting miseries, not confronting foreigners.
Here is one thing I need to share with you. Once I was travelling between Kabul and a District of Ghazni province. On the way there was a police post which was frequently attacked by Taliban-led militants. In each round of attack many policemen were killed and their depot was burned down. One of them who survived attacks told me that most of the times militants attacked them from those houses, pointing his finger to muddy civilian houses which were only few kilometers away. He continued, "They are coming and hiding in those houses and live as civilians, and no one can really differentiate them. Then on suitable time attack us". This might seem freakish and odd for those who are not much familiar with the social and political situation in Afghanistan, but may not be the same for those who lived in areas presently under warlike condition.
No doubt at all, Taliban militants, wherever they have come from and whoever is their supporter, due to communal links in the South-Western parts of the country, enjoy sympathizers who are, at least, if not ready for greater support, wouldn't report them to Afghan and foreign security forces in particular circumstances. This sympathy perhaps intensified because of unfamiliarity of foreign forces with Afghan culture which cost them widespread angers because of their house-to-house search. Therefore, parts of civilians help militants to hide and protect them against possible military operations. In such a condition, there is the possibility that most of the times, reports received by NATO and Afghan security forces denoting that militants were hiding to this or that house——and after operations it appeared that all injured or death are civilians, which include women and children——, may not be that inaccurate. Maybe due to lack of quick reaction, insurgents had already left the house, which unluckily thereafter ended to horrible innocent deaths like that of women and children.
The influence of Taliban-led militants among parts of Afghan people is certain, and this reality cannot be ignored at all, because without such a base, it would have been extremely difficult for them to survive. And exercising hegemony is expectable, because Taliban regime rose up from these very areas where now they have the chance to maneuver the most. The situation gets more complicated in countries like Afghanistan where social and political relation is defined mostly on communal basis, and where communal clashes have historical links.
But meanwhile, I insist that nobody can persecute and punish people due to having sympathy with someone. And Moreover civilian's casualty is a red light that increasingly finds large opposition and even can end to grim consequences, unless stopped or restricted. I think the NATO and US clearly understand this, and similarly their ally President Karzia's administration is under growing pressure to force militaries to bring down innocent casualties to possible minimum point.
However, both NATO and Afghan government, on top Mr. Karzia, as I noted previously too, agree that civilians casualties is counterproductive, but meanwhile the tone as well as context of President's address hint on visible rift of his office and his foreign allies. This row appeared after two incidents once in Takhar, where four civilians were killed previous week, and followed by violent protest of people. The second incident was the bloody NATO air operation in Helmand Province this weak where reportedly 14 civilians were killed. However, NATO formally apologized for the incident but Karzia ordered to end Night raid and restrict air operations, the thing which yet has been rejected by top NATO officials.
Seemingly, Mr. Karzia's anger has undermined his political rationality. He warned and talked about bravery of Afghans against "occupiers". He and Afghan people definitely need international community. If today international security forces leave Afghanistan, his government may not last longer and will of course collapse. In such circumstance, using freak words like "occupiers" by first person of the country shows how personal feelings overrule rationality and sagacity. Frequently, NATO and U.S. forces were shot death by Afghan police and army, Afghan government hardly expressed condolence and none of the Afghan officials apologized for.
Therefore, Afghan officials need to act more responsibly and try to, at least for once, point the finger toward themselves. Civilian casualty is definitely a dangerous and complicated issue. But it cannot be solved by quarrels and warnings. The only thing that such emotional statements can bring about is not relief of Afghan people, but provision of opportunity for insurgency to grow stronger. This controversial issue can be somehow resolved through synchronized and coherent cooperation among politicians, military experts and Afghan civilians. Without establishment of such 'Trust Bridge' among these three forces, the issue will remain unsolved and nothing will change fundamentally. President Karzia should try to make people notice that Taliban-led militants are more responsible for their loss; and Taliban are responsible for casualty of more than 60 percent of Afghan civilians. Secretly supporting or hiding them cannot do any good to betterment of living condition and resolution of their problem, but will of course double them.