The Kabul Attack: The Cost of Normalizing Terror
BY: Qudsia Saeed
KABUL, Afghanistan—Another day and another attack on the most vulnerable—this has become a reality Afghans are forced to accept as their norm. Over the course of May 11 to May 17, Afghans suffered a series of inhumane and barbaric attacks, which killed dozens of innocent civilians across the nation, including mothers, newborns, and elders.
On May 12th—the 19th day of the holy month of Ramadan—there was a suicide bombing during a funeral in Nangarhar, Afghanistan, where 24 people were killed and 68 people were wounded. A few hours later, assailants attacked a medical center in Kabul, Afghanistan, where gunmen specifically targeted the hospital’s maternity ward, killing 16 people, including at least two newborn babies, mothers, and nurses.
While the world celebrated Mother’s Day and embarked onto recognizing Women’s Health Week, Afghan families mourned the losses of their loved ones and ached for the parents who lost their children and for those who are now motherless and traumatized forever. The world remained indifferent as families across Afghanistan screamed a deafening cry and death tolls continued to multiply.
These attacks are sickening and heart-wrenching—pregnant mothers, newborn babies, and health workers should never be a target of something so cruel and incomprehensible, and no one should ever have to endure this extent of violence—especially not at critical times that mark the beginning and end of life.
In order to contextualize the relevance of the ongoing brutalities, one needs to understand Afghanistan’s complex history with regards to the US involvement in its domestic affairs. While fighting the Soviet Union, the US forcefully established its military presence in Afghanistan and since 9/11 and the subsequent war on terror, chaos has emerged across the Middle East. The US involvement in Afghanistan’s politics alongside the incompetence of the president—who was elected under US’s influence—deprives civilians of their democracy and humanity.
On February 29, the United States and the Taliban signed a preliminary peace agreement, in order to bring the two-decades of conflict to an end. However, since the agreement, violence in Afghanistan has heightened and intensified, targeting anyone from children to Afghan forces, and killing dozens daily.
Although the Taliban has denied any involvement in the attacks, the majority of people killed belonged to either the Shia Muslim or the Hazara community—two historically marginalized groups residing in East Afghanistan. These attacks unveil how the Taliban is the real enemy of Afghanistan, and support the position that the attacks were indeed premeditated by the Taliban.
In a press statement, Micheal Pompeo condemned these attacks without villainizing the Taliban, he suggested that “The Taliban and the Afghan government cooperate to bring the perpetrators to justice”. His statement misjudges the complicated history of Afghanistan, and fails to recognize the United States and the Taliban as the culprit, given that the United States has instigated the Afghan government and the Taliban has historically targeted minorities.
The attitude with which other countries, the UN, and major news publications reacted to these attacks is disappointing but not surprising. By simply condemning these barbaric attacks or diminishing their impact in the discussion, instead of raising awareness and taking decisive measures to hold the perpetrators accountable, our society continues to perpetuate a cycle of terror and normalize heinous attacks on the innocent.
We need to do more, we need to do better, we need to make sure everyone is protected from cradle to grave. We need to stand together in solidarity with Afghanistan to end this humanitarian crisis.
Why is this relevant a month later? You may ask. The sad reality is that with so much happening around the world, you probably forgot about the inhumane murder of these innocent newborns, and that is only if you even knew about it, while their families continue to endure the pain. Zohra Shah, an eight year old domestic unpaid worker was beaten to death because she set exotic parrots free from their owner’s cage, and their freedom cost her own life. A pregnant elephant was fed a pineapple with toxic explosives that killed her and the baby in her womb. 14 Afghan asylum seekers were reportedly burned alive in Iran’s Yazd, while simultaneously being denied treatment for the coronavirus.
The inhumane events I listed above are just a few instances of reported human cruelty, and occurred while the American political climate was overwhelmed with injustices and daily occurrences of police brutality across the nation, and this is the cost of overlooking brutalities and normalizing terror.
*All arguments made and viewpoints expressed within Youth In Politics and its nominal entities do not necessarily reflect the views of the writers or the organization as a whole.
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