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.