Scared to death

Many Americans have friends from Afghanistan. I am one of them. Countless others have friends from the time they served in the military, working in the country for NGOs or simply becoming friends with people from Afghanistan who have immigrated to the US or other parts of the West. As we watch the fall of the government that was encouraged and supported by our country and see the faces of desperation on TV, we ask ourselves what next? Even before 911 we knew from the experiences of the Soviet Union and their failed 9 year war that started in 1979, that any kind of conflict in this part of the world would be extremely difficult if not impossible to win. Our troops arrived in October 2001 under President George W. Bush after the 9/11 terror attacks on the World Trade Centers in New York and the Pentagon just outside of Washington. The U.S. sought the al-Qaida militants who had planned the attack there and received support from the Taliban.

We went to fight and then help rebuild the country for 20 years and now nearly everything the West did and hoped to do seems to have failed. My good friend served side by side with American troops while risking his life for democracy and freedom. And like so many who were able to come to this country and become US citizens, they left behind family. This morning when I asked him how his family is doing he sent me a text reading they are “scared to death.” I know what that must be like from the stories he told me of life under the Taliban when he was growing up before 911.

I told my friend that we are praying for his family and during this time of fear and the feeling of immense hopelessness what else can we do? I hear that the Department of Defense could be housing 30,000 Afghan refugees in locations like Fort McCoy in Wisconsin and Fort Bliss here in El Paso. Unfortunately I do not think that my friend’s family will be among them. They are going to have to live under the rule of the Taliban. The Taliban of the past were infamous for denying education to women, carrying out public executions of their opponents and persecuting minorities. At this terrifying moment for so many, if you are not part of the Taliban and living in Afghanistan you too would be “scared to death.”

I hope that the Taliban show mercy to those who think differently about the future of this part of the world and give them a chance to work together in peace. What else is there?


One thought on “Scared to death

  1. Too reminiscent of the fall of Saigon or Phnom Penh. Or even the pro-US Syrian fighters we abandoned on the border with Turkey not long ago. Hard to trust the credibility of the US military on the world stage now. If I was in Kabul and ever had anything to do with Americans, I would be scared to death too. We bombed Cambodia and paved the way for the Khmer Rouge; we left thousands of allies behind in Vietnam for re-education–and now we add Kabul to the list. So many US and Afghani lives lost; some of my friends from the Marine Corps question our own government. Too much sorrow to write anymore.


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