OBAMA ON AFGHANISTAN

Media Statement

 

 

President Barack Obama is reported to have decided to send 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan on top of the 33,000 already deployed there. Although this is almost half the number that commanders in the field asked for, in our opinion, this surge of troops would constitute a continuation of the Bush policy in the region and a dangerous escalation on the part of the new administration. This is mainly because it would be against the human values enshrined in the American constitution. Besides, in the past, occupation and war have not succeeded in the land of Afghanistan. In this regard, the Soviet attempt of the 1980s was the most recent fiasco. Many pundits are already comparing US involvement in Afghanistan with its earlier debacle in Vietnam – in the 1960s. In our opinion, this involvement might turn out to be much worse than that.

 

Almost everybody who is familiar with the conflict agrees that the only alternative is to win the hearts and minds of the people of Afghanistan. This would also be in line with the fundamental values of Islamic and Western civilizations. In our view, President Obama should rather give priority to social and economic development in Afghanistan, ensure an effective system of governance, and resist the temptation of pursuing the military solution.

 

Of course in the short term the security situation must be addressed; Instead of increasing troops, President Obama should replace US and NATO forces with OIC troops. The purpose of an OIC presence would be to stabilize the immediate security situation. Once some stability has been achieved, talks may begin for the formation of a truly national government and legitimize it through the democratic process.

 

 

————————————————————–
Abdullah al-Ahsan

Vice-President,

International Movement for a Just World (JUST).

And

Professor,

Department of History and Civilization

International Islamic University Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur

24 February 2009

 

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