It was just another of the hundreds of minor incidents in the Afghan war, but to Canadian correspondent, Rosie Dimanno, it exemplified why more and more Afghans are losing patience with American soldiers. “I am not an American-basher,”says Ms. Dimanno, “I have immense respect for U>S. troops, for all soldiers doing their government’s military bidding in distant lands. But one day last week, I wanted to throttle a Yank-in-uniform and I think for a split second he considered killing me to.”
Ms. Dimmano was in an Afghan column of vehicles heading for Kabul when everything ground to a stop due to American soldiers refusing to allow anything to pass. Many minivans were jammed with women and children and an ambulance stood idly by with a patient in need of a hospital. The column just remained stationary, people tried signaling to the Americans about the ambulance but nothing moves. Ms. Dimmano went to the head of the column cognizant that soldiers become trigger-happy when an unknown civilian approaches their vehicles.
When she was about 50 metres away, a soldier pointed his machine gun at her and the Afghan driver who was by her side. She shouted, “don’t shot, please let the ambulance pass.” Two soldiers appeared and warned her to go back to her car “or we will have one REALLY REALLY BIG PROBLEM.” She felt the Afghan’s humiliation and saw red and then exploded. “Don’t you f…..g talk to him like that. And don’t you f…..g talk to me like that. this is his country, not yours, not mine.” A soldier apologized and pointed to ammunition that had fallen off a truck.
As they walked back to the car, an Afghan said: “Afghanistan is nor our country any more. They are our bosses. They treat us sometimes as if we are tress passing on our own land.” They waited additional hours before the vehicles could continue their journey to the city. According to Ms. Dimanno, “I suspect some more enemies were made on this afternoon, adding incrementally to the hostility that is rapidly replacing the warm welcome that most Afghans had originally given their ‘liberators.”