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The decentralized nation of Afghanistan is the victim of both internaland external strife. Not only has inter-tribal tension (spear-headed bythe Taliban) paralyzed the "country," but the aggression of theUS has exacerbated the already volatile and tumultuous situation in thisimpoverished area. The once war-torn nation is now suffering from harshfeuds and tribal battles. Any outside influences (from the US or otherwise)have been entirely detrimental and destructive. One is hard-pressed toforget the recent bombings of Afghanistan after the US Embassy bombingsin Kenya and Tanzania. Without digressing to the point of beginning a newcritique, it is important to understand that these unprovoked bombingsnot only failed to achieve their intended purpose, but this attack on theentire nation of Afghanistan was a clear distortion of US foreign policyand international law. Unfortunately, international politics appears tobe near the bottom of Afghanistan's list of woes. The Taliban, the onlysemblance of order and government in this area, maintains control of amajority of the country, but rivals for power continue to mount counter-offensiveson a regular basis. As a result, the people of Afghanistan are force-feda life of poverty and oppression.

The inhabitants of Afghanistan are now placed between the crosshairsof a battle that is as far displaced from them as the once-common heroicimages of freedom fighters during the Soviet attack on the infrastructureof the country. The killing is indiscriminate, and without a centralizedgovernment, Afghanistan remains the breeding ground for revolutionarieswho threaten the political future of this fragile area. Let us not forget,however, that the situation in this nation has come about only after theUS left Afghanistan to its own devices after continued aid and supportduring the Soviet assault on this country. It in not surprising that afterthe Afghani people had served their purpose of combating communism theUS allowed the complete decimation of a people who wanted nothing but tolive a "normal" life. How quickly things change - Afghani fighterswere once heralded as "freedom fighters," but today, these verypeople are quickly labeled as "terrorists" or "Islamic radicals."Apparently, the approval or disapproval of the United States ultimatelydetermines the course of history for a given people.

Now, Afghanistan remains the breeding ground for oppression and senselessaggression. The aforementioned internal and external influences have takentheir toll on this once-bustling nation. The right to self-determinationis, of course, imperative, but how can one expect the nation to attaina reasonably respectable status if the powers that be are adamantly opposedto progress or reform? While political strategists attempt to solve thisparadox, the innocent people of Afghanistan continue to live and to diein vain.

J. Adam Brockwell

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