Volume 95, Issue 45

Wednesday, November 21, 2001
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The road to recovery

Editorial Cartoon

Editorial Board 2001-2002

The road to recovery

For so many Afghan citizens, they never thought they would see the day.

When the capital of Kabul fell late last week, the people of this war-ravaged city began to rejoice and take hold of their new freedoms.

Afghan women are free to walk in public alone, while Afghan men are shaving their beards and lining up for hours to see a movie for the first time in years.

But what may, at first, appear to be emancipation may, in fact, be the calm before the storm. What comes next for Afghanistan is still unclear, as various ethnic groups inside the country, as well as outside nations, vie for the upper-hand in establishing the nation's next government.

If this is the case, what is preventing yet another civil war?

Although Afghanis may be celebrating the fall of the Taliban in the capital city and throughout the country, we must remember that the fighting continues. The United States and Britain still have special forces operating in the region and though there have been certain victories, we must not forget that the battle is still being waged.

Clearly, the Taliban are under siege and a U.S.-led victory may be imminent. Yet, before the international alliance pulls out of the country and leaves the clean-up to the Afghanis, we must consider what is best for Afghanistan and, more importantly, its people.

Afghanistan requires a major humanitarian relief effort in order to set it on the road to recovery. It will take more than the U.S. to rebuild this nation, pummeled by almost a quarter-century of war, famine and chaos. The international community, under the leadership of the U.S., must come together to rebuild.

The reconstruction process will be a long and arduous one, but if it is not completed, the problems will, in time, return.

The kind of diplomacy required here is unimaginable. Delicate steps must be taken in order to satisfy all sides involved.

In terms of terrorism, we must be clear that this current struggle is not an all-out war on terrorism, but rather a war on one particular terrorist organization. If a U.S.-led victory comes, it will mean the al-Qaida organization has been defeated. The global terrorism problem will still exist.

Though it has not yet fully arrived, the early signals of freedom in parts of Afghanistan are hopeful. For many, it will be a drastically new experience. How an entire generation of Afghanis are going to learn to understand the world around them without the destruction of war or the oppressive Taliban governing them remains to be seen.

But one thing is certain – the whole world will be watching and, hopefully, lending a hand.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001