Posted by: Tony Carson | 18 November, 2009

The costs of Afghanistan’s 30 years of war

Afghanistan has been at war since 1978. The costs have been devastating.

Time gives the highlights of a report by Oxfam International, in collaboration with seven other non-governmental organizations.

1. One Afghan man’s account of the effect that three decades of war have had on the country: “What do you think the effect that two million Afghans martyred, 70% of Afghanistan destroyed, and our economy eliminated has had on us? Half our people are mad. A man who is thirty or forty years old looks like he is seventy years old. We always live in fear. We are not secure anywhere in Afghanistan, whether in Kabul or Jalalabad.”

2. On the displacement of civilians: Three in four (76%) [Afghans] interviewed were forced to leave their homes at some point during the past three decades of conflict… many individuals were displaced multiple times, fleeing to a more secure place only to have the fighting reach them again months later or once they had returned home, forcing them to migrate once again.

3. On who is to blame for the current conflict: Seven in ten (70%) saw unemployment and poverty as a major cause of the conflict, while almost half (48%) pointed to the corruption and ineffectiveness of the Afghan government. Other factors that individuals identified as major drivers of the conflict were : the Taliban (36%); interference by other countries (25%); al Qaeda (18%); the presence of international forces (18%); lack of support from the international community (17%); warlords (15%); and criminal groups (14%).

4. An Afghan woman’s account of the consequences of the current conflict: “The current conflict has caused lots of tension and concern among people. People are very concerned about their future. In the beginning, people had hope but the ineffectiveness of the current government and bombardment of civilians by international forces made people hate the government and created more opportunities for the anti-government forces.

And the US is talking about escalating this war?

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