The history of war reveals a clear pattern in that while men fight one another, civilians wind up bearing the cost of their battles. New figures on death and injured in Afghanistan this year reveal a 30% increase among civilians and a 55% increase among children who are killed or wounded. Of the 3,286 dead and wounded, NATO and US forces accounted for 386. General Petraeus has emphasized to American forces that, “every Afghan death diminishes our cause.” Absolutely, but to the people of Afghanistan, the recent Operation Moshtarak which witnessed NATO, US and Afghan forces attacking the Taliban in Helmand province has resulted in death and destruction in their villages since they are caught in the middle. If they assist westerners, the average Afghan faces the prospect of being killed by the Taliban, if they remain passive, they might be accused of helping the Taliban. All they desire in life is some peace. A generation of Afghans have been raised with war, Taliban violence, western inspired violence, and ordinary people just left out to hang in the valley of death.
It is time for some form of negotiation with Taliban leaders or it is time for Afghan forces to ensure security for their own people. In the end, it is Afghans who must save Afghanistan.