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Ask a Pakistani why Afghanistan matters

If you want to know, ask somebody: (ht: smallwarsjournal)

Afghanistan: Seven Fundamental Questions by Major Mehar Omar Khan

I know we live in a world that is real and is moved by minds – thinking, manipulating, conniving, conspiring, calculating and masquerading minds. Our world therefore seldom has a place for ‘sentiments’ – pure, sincere, honest and spontaneous as sentiments are. But when it comes to war in Afghanistan, I am not deterred by the tyranny of the trend. I like, in fact I am forced, to think through my heart. What else can you do when you see images of your countrymen; innocent and unsuspecting men, women and children; ripped apart by other human beings exploding in their midst almost on a daily basis? How can I not worry about my daughter when I see a pale and empty face of a mother in Kabul or Peshawar, bent like a broken branch of an old, dried up tree; over the dead body of her child? How can I not cry when the soul of my nation is hit and hurt by violence that is so inextricably linked with bloodshed beyond the snaky Khyber Pass? For us in Pakistan, the ongoing struggle in Afghanistan and astride Durand Line is the most seminal endeavor of our history. If this war is won, the entire world stands to benefit. But if it is lost, one country that will be hurt the most is Pakistan – my daughter’s home and her future. War astride the Durand Line is therefore so personal to so many of us.

This war is also extremely personal for thousands of American mothers who await and pray for the safe return of their sons and daughters: bright young men and women who deserve to live and who must never be wasted just because someone considers it politically expedient to continue to muddle along and because setting the course right needs some statesmanship and may also involve some political cost.

Major Mehar Omar Khan, Pakistan Army, is currently a student at the US Army Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. He has served as a peacekeeper in Sierra Leone, a Brigade GSO-III, an instructor at the Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul, and as Chief of Staff (Brigade Major) of an infantry brigade. He has also completed the Command and Staff Course at Pakistan’s Command and Staff College in Quetta.

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