(15a) Immigrants: Afghans and Afghanistan

Some months ago, there were some troubles between the Belgian police and immigrants from Afghanistan who fear they may soon be deported to their country. At least one person had to return although he was good integrated while a number of Belgian friends tried to help him stay. Many of the Afghans said they had to flee the violence of the taliban, only to see the Belgian police using the same tactics. Probably they exaggerated as the taliban would have shot them at the spot if they dared to demonstrate, the reason why these people fled their country. They also walked some marches and set up a camp near the PM's home town to be heard. At this moment, they can re-apply individually to have a re-investigation of their asylum request.

I can very well understand why these people exaggerated the situation in Belgium (although it may not be helpful) as I can imagine their fear for having to return to Afghanistan, certainly after most if not all of the Western armies will have left that country by the end of 2014, amongst them the US army. I may not imagine what may happen to certain people (such as politicians, doctors, teachers, people who fled the country but had to return, interpreters for soldiers (who were promised a visa to go to the West if they would help our soldiers fight against the taliban while now it seems that was a very slow promise) and many other people including women and their children) if the taliban may defeat the Afghan army after we leave and they may gain power again. I hope the taliban will show some mercy and not only seek revenge on those they suppose supported the West or on those they regard as not following God's will. But the future doesn't look good and probably Afghanistan will need a large army to control the taliban.
Only a small sign indicates refugees from Afghanistan are inside the church where they found shelter.
At this moment, President Karzai is trying to reach a deal with the USA to keep some US troops longer in Afghanistan but until now he refuses to sign a US-Afghan security pact because he wants to reach a better deal. He argues that Afghans will blame him and his government when another drone attack may kill more innocent people while he wants to talk about peace with the taliban (although probably those fanatics will break any promise; still maybe we should try so they can show they can't be trusted). I think President Karzai should better explain to the people that these drone (and other) attacks are sometimes necessary and unfortunately sometimes kill innocent people. Because a return of the taliban will be much worse than the US and other Western troops. President Karzai argues that "Afghanistan has always won the war but lost in politics", and he is demonstrating it. If the Western armies leave and thus indeed an empire retreats without winning the war (i.e. destroying the taliban), he may be death (maybe he realises this, and this may be the reason why he hopes to have peace talks with the tabilan to convince them to stop fighting while showing he is not a puppet of the West) together with the MPs of whom many begged him to sign the deal or some may go in exile. President Karzai also seems to believe the Afghan army is ready to defend its people (for which it needs money). But he should understand that the West is tired funding and fighting a war they can't win, and for being blamed for the many things that go wrong in Afghanistan while its soldiers risk their lives for a better future for the people in Afghanistan against people who not only attacked foreign countries but don't mind killing their own people. Of course, some Westerners are only there to revenge the attacks on the USA while getting very rich from the war, giving a bad name to those who sincerely try to improve the lives of the Afghans by destroying the taliban.

Nevertheless, I understand President Karzai as he may probably think too often a promise was broken and thus trust is gone while hoping that peace talks may smoothen the taliban. But, already conservatives are trying to increase their powers by limiting the rights of others, especially the rights of women: limiting the numbers of women on provincial councils and writing a criminal code to make it very hard to convict anyone for domestic violence (against women and even children) while there may be a return to the time when adulterers were publicly stoned. Human right groups are asking the President to demonstrate a basic commitment to human rights, and he stopped the law for now but it will be difficult because, what can one man do if even the strongest army in the world may retreat without having won the war? After April's election his successor may not be as strong as President Karzai and thus give in. Living in hell (Afghanistan) where the devils themselves (taliban) live means death for the good while joining the taliban may mean survival but causing death to others. Still, even then they may one day have to kill themselves in a suicide attack.

Therefore, as it is indeed not possible for the West to remain in that country for eternity and thus one day we will leave, I hope President Karzai will accept the hand that the USA is reaching out to help Afghanistan so it will be able to pay its own army to fight against the enemy from within (what is also in our advantage as we don't want that the taliban reclaims power and controls the army). But equally, I hope the US understands the problems President Karzai faces each time drones and soldiers kill innocent people and thus angers him. Maybe the US should discuss certain actions in advance with Afghanistan's leaders or at least with the President so there will be more cooperation and thus trust. Of course, if President Karzai would refuse each attack, then there would be a problem. But Afghan's army is already fighting the taliban and as I understand it, even many ordinary people do because they know the taliban is much worse than Western soldiers.

But equally, the West should not send people who integrated very well back to a country that is in such a mess (we should all watch the film "The kite runner" to understand a little of what is going on in that country). A Belgian politicians indicated that we can't send people back who have a criminal record while we send back people who integrated. And indeed, some Courts prevent that countries deport dangerous people to their home country because they may be tortured. Of course, torture should not be tolerated as it will not solve problems while equally, people should first be sentenced for criminal offences in the country that wants to deport them before they are removed so it can be proven the persons are criminals (and then they can be given a chance to repent so they don't need to be deported). But if people don't accept the rules of the country that welcomes them, than I have no problems that people are send back to their home country, even when this may cause death, because people who have to flee their country because of human rights abuses (not because they are criminals) should criticise their country, not the country that protects them (unless the welcoming country misbehaves like sending people back to war zones). People who flee their country should therefore accept they have to follow a course that tells them about the rules in their new society so they know what is expected, and many will welcome this as it will increase their opportunities. Countries that already suffered terrorist attacks (such as the UK) become very frustrated that they can't return people who preach hate (an example was Abu Qatada); it even frustrated the UK so much they were talking about considering leaving the European Court of Human Rights and I can't blame them; although, if indeed Abu Qatada was guilty of anything, why was he not sentenced in a UK court?

I am very well aware it is difficult to accept unlimited numbers of people coming to our countries but we should allow people who escape war zone and want to integrate while we should be able to remove those who don't want to integrate (although we fear the "horse of Troy"). Still, we are the richest continent on the planet, yet we find it hard to share even with people coming from one of the most dangerous countries in the world (although we pay some people in countries to implement our policies or buy our weapons, even against the will of the people and thus making them angry). Compare with African countries that are amongst the poorest in the world, still many accept large numbers of refugees coming from neighbouring war zones. Equally, look at the neighbouring countries of Syria who accept many refugees, although too many refugees destabilise regions.

In addition, I also understand that not only people from war zones come to our countries, but also people who are looking for a better future, accepting jobs we don't want to do. And we even welcome those with money and those who have excellent skills as they increase our own wealth while the poor and real refugees are no longer welcome.

Thus, although I think we should accept people from other countries, I am not naïve and thus indeed not everyone is welcome to prevent the collapse of our society. Therefore, we should be able to demand people integrate or they will be send back to their country of origin because people who refuse to integrate consider the values of their own country higher than the values of the country that wants to protect them while the refusal to integrate causes tension in the local community. But as we did in the past, we should protect people who have to flee their country on the basis of human rights while today we prefer to welcome those who have money and send back those who have to flee their country.

It is a very complicated situation and I think the main question is: do we want to sacrifice some of our wealth so people in poor countries have a better life and don't need to come here unless out of love for our countries, or will we try to keep them out and probably cause anger? And sharing some of our wealth doesn't mean take from the poor in the West to give to poorer in developing countries as then resistance against foreigners will increase. Therefore, to prevent more people from coming, we will need to be sure the Afghan army is strong enough to fight the taliban until they agree to peace talks, and thus we will need to sacrifice some of our wealth to pay it soldiers.

The latest news about Afghanistan is that President Karzai said stoning will not return. Therefore, I think we should show more respect towards him as he managed to head of country many years while each day he has to resist strong opposition, even death for being different from many of his fellow citizens. And thus, he needs to find a way that pleases as many people as possible without sacrificing too many human rights in his conservative country where many people often listen more to religious leaders than to people who reason, even when this means being oppressed. Indeed, most Western politicians have an easy job compared to President Karzai.

By the way, for me the war in Afghanistan was right: terrorists attacked the West, the leaders in Afghanistan (taliban) were given the chance to extradite the terrorist leaders of Al-Qaida to the US but, as they refused they acknowledge they were part of the plot and thus were attacked. Every other leader would have done the same or people would not understand that their leader allows the killing of many thousands. The US even allowed some time for the taliban to arrest Osama bin Laden, something they refused. As a result of the war, life improved for many Afghans, whatever certain peace activists may claim (e.g. the stoning of people was no longer allowed and thus fewer people died this death) and I have great respect for our soldiers who are risking their lives although I acknowledge that, knowing Westerners, errors due to arrogance will be made by the West.
Thus, those blaming the West for the invasion of Afghanistan should remember why we invaded: the US were attacked and thousands died while the Afghan government refused to arrest the leaders of the murderers. Because the Afghan government protected killers, we attacked and as a result, the terrorist organisation became weaker, certainly because many people in Afghanistan experienced a better life although some radicalised. Still, not all is well and if the taliban may return to power, it may show the people why they should not blame the West but many of their own for killing their own people.


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