Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A new wave of Taliban violence strikes Afghanistan

Our office receives daily news updates about events, military and civilian, from around Afghanistan; all day long they pop up into my email – Interior minister Hanif Atmar resigns, attacks in Pakistan, NATO supply vehicle fleet attacked, etc. The last few days have not been good ones for U.S. and coalition military forces in Afghanistan; insurgent attacks killed nine Americans, two Australians, a British soldier and a French Legionnaire, as well as two civilian contractors. Today a NATO helicopter was shot down, killing four Americans. The U.S., British and French flags at Camp Eggers have been flying at half-stay in recognition of their sacrifice.

At the time they entered the military service, these soldiers, however distant in their mind, knew the possibility that they could serving in a war zone existed. And when the tasking to come to Afghanistan was received, I’m sure it crossed their minds, as it did mine, that something could happen to them. We all live and serve here under the knowledge that there those who would do anything to hurt us, and for most, it’s a risk we willingly take to make the world a better, safer place.

This evening, I was working on another blog, when I saw an e-mail news alert stating “Taliban militants execute Afghan child.” Taliban members kidnapped and executed a 7-year-old boy from the Sangin district of Helmand Province, whom they accused of spying for the government. I was shocked to see the level that they would stoop to, and for what reason? What purpose does this serve? Who are they targeting? I can only imagine they did it to further terrorize the local citizens or maybe it was for retribution for a family helping NATO forces. At times, this can be a frustrating place. We seem to make progress, only to move two steps back. I hope this, instead of terrifying the Afghan people, brings down their justified wrath; I hope they finally get the courage to stand up to these people who are doing their best to keep the people of this country ignorant, poor and in a constant state of terror.

But most of all, I hope this country and its citizens can rise against these insurgents, and show the world that our fellow U.S. and NATO military members, and the innocent civilians like this boy, will not have died in vain.

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