Hope and Reconcilliation

This post is a sort of response to a discussion I had with a friend. I don’t know if he’ll even see it, but its worth the attempt.

Am I naive for thinking that there are better ways than simply fighting and killing terrorists?

I think not.

Tragically, just war is often necessary, but does it have to be necessary? Are there better ways, ways that do not involve so much human death?

In remote Afghan valley, a rare peace sprouts with insurgents

Here in Alasay Valley, a restive district a two-hour trip north of Kabul, government-backed mediation efforts had floundered for months. The presence of insurgent group Hizb-i-Islami and the Taliban had grown tremendously here, in Kapisa Province, over the past couple of years. By last year, most of the Alasay Valley was under militant control.

But in a series of offensives this year Western forces were able to dislodge the guerrillas and reassert control in parts of the valley. Normally, when this happens, the insurgents regroup and attempt to reclaim territory,

In this case, however, tribal elders offered an olive branch to the besieged fighters. Muhammad Ismail, a tribe leader and former insurgent during the Soviet days, approached a local guerrilla commander, Ghafor Khan. “I told him that we will create job opportunities and bring education. I told him I spent time in prison for fighting jihad, so I know his feelings.”

At first, the commander was hesitant, but Mr. Ismail persisted. “I told him that none of us want the Americans here,” he continued, “but fighting isn’t a solution, because the war will just go on forever.”

The meeting, with 18 tribesmen from the government side, continued for some time. Finally, another elder pointed his finger at the commander and said, “If you keep fighting, the Americans will keep attacking our village and our civilians will suffer. We will hold you responsible.”

The combination of intense military pressure from the international forces, the prospect of a job, and the discontent of his tribal peers finally pushed commander Ghafor to defect, his men say. He brought nearly 60 fighters over to the government side.

8 thoughts on “Hope and Reconcilliation

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  1. This is the public platform of the Taliban, as related in Khaled Hosseini’s _A Thousand Splendid Suns_:

    • All men must grow beards of a prescribed length or be beaten.
    • All boys must wear turbans and Islamic shirts.
    • The banning of singing, dancing, playing cards, playing chess, gambling, kite flying, writing books, watching films, painting pictures.
    • Cutting off the hand of a thief.
    • The beating and imprisonment of any non-Muslim who worships in view of Muslims.
    • The execution of any non-Muslim who attempts to convert a Muslim.
    • The beating of any woman on the street unaccompanied by a male relative.
    • The severe beating of any woman who shows her face.
    • The banning for women of cosmetics, jewelry, charming clothes, speaking unless spoken to, making eye contact with men, laughing in public, painting nails (the penalty is loss of a finger), attendance at school, working.
    • The stoning of any woman found guilty of adultery.

    Why exactly do you desire peace with people who support these rules, and do you honestly think they desire peace with you?

    The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said “True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.”

    Do you think the Taliban’s rules promote justice?

    1. No, but then, this post is in no way about the Taliban either, is it?

      I debated approving your comment simply because its not relevant to 1) the article in question and 2) my point/purpose in linking to the article.

      And I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but if you read Deuteronomy, you’ll find some extremely similar laws.

      But again, its irrelevant. The Taliban isn’t in control of the area to enforce such law.

      1. “The presence of insurgent group Hizb-i-Islami and _the Taliban_ had grown tremendously here, in Kapisa Province, over the past couple of years.”

        1. Its still completely irrelevant.

          The word “Taliban” being in a quote by no means necessitates that the words I write in this post have anything to do with the Taliban.

          Did you even read the article??

          “There may be some who could be considered extremists,” says Shah, speaking of his fellow fighters, “but most of us are just ordinary people wanting the same things that all human beings want, such as jobs and well-being for our families.”

  2. reza aslan wrote an interesting book addressing the problems fraught with our conflict against al queda. he mentioned the difficulty fighting a war against vague concepts such as “terror”.

    to wit, the largest military in the world is fighting a group of thousands. these sunnis represent a microscopic percentage of the global muslim population (literally thousands of billions), but our war has validated their eschatology, which is primarily apocalyptic. worse is that Christian references laced many of the former President’s speeches (who arguably has his own eschatology problems & misconceptions about providentia extraordinaria.)

    these conflict, which so many christians supported, reflect the lack of any theological foundation in the broad evangelical movement. especially with respect to how a Christian should respond to the use something like the American Military.

      1. Yeah.

        I’m making a pragmatic argument. I still think that your argument, a theological/ethical argument is superior. That’s what especially troubling about the recent torture debates, they all are focused on pragmatism.

        I think the real debate (is an old one) that of some form of utilitarian ethics vs. deontological ethics. I have a difficult time finding any view but the latter as compatible with Christianity.

        This is a good explanation if you have the time:


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