Afghan Journalist Painda Mohammad Hikmat: file photo

Afghan Journalist writes a Letter to US President Donald Trump

Kabul: We all know the United States of America plays a role in the ongoing war and conflict in Afghanistan. We all know the history of the conflict and your “war on terror” in Afghanistan, but do you think interfering in a country that is already underdeveloped for a decade has made any difference? Did you achieve your self-created, one-party mandate? Take a look at the world around you.

Mr President, I am Painda Mohammad Hikmat, an Afghan who has witnessed decades of war and conflict, has been deported from Pakistan and lost friends and relatives. I am an Afghan journalist who you should be looking at in the eye and giving answers to, because I seek answers for all the loved ones lost and those Afghans who suffer from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Despite all that, I have picked up my pen to write and seek answers from leaders around the world. Should I have chosen a gun, would I have been successful? So, why did you think you would be successful in your aggression? Pashtuns have a saying: “You cannot build love by force.” And our history has proven that. Your strategy to handle terrorism and the decisions made – like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – mean that not just Afghan lives, but also American lives, are threatened.

Mr President, when you walk through the halls of the White House, thinks of us for the better. You’ve made unexpected moves and surprised us in the most pleasant and unpleasant ways, but if you really claim to love your country and your people, please show us some sympathy.

Bring the Taliban to the negotiating table; make an effort, because this war with the Taliban will otherwise go on forever. You cannot eliminate the roots: The Taliban are Afghans and have been fighting for decades. It’s not just the Taliban who don’t desire a foreign intervention. So, why prolong your invasion? Take a step back, now that you’ve assumed the presidency and end the military deployments to our country. Yes, we still do need your help, but that help should be tangible: Bring the Taliban to the negotiating table.

Mr President, the world is not made to bear cruelty. We’ve seen innocent people die in Kunduz in 2015 when the Taliban took over the city. You must check and balance and watch the war crimes committed. Have you counted the number of Taliban you’ve killed? Have they backed down? Funerals, homes and villages are raided by your forces – sometimes with warning, sometimes without.

Our lives matter, too. Most importantly, speaking for the Guantanamo prisoners – held and tortured without charge by your forces – they hate America. Their lives are not normal and can never be normal again. Is this not a lot of damage done just for the sake of the “war on terror”? Mr President, it’s better to reassess your activities in Afghanistan. If America can fight, it can also bring peace. America can play its role better in peace than in war. When you make future decisions about Afghanistan, be sure to imagine your son or daughter getting killed in front of your eyes. We face this reality on a daily basis. In this unfortunate phase of life, we just want to be alive. We want peace: Work on peace and drop the guns. We want peace.

About Arif Qureshi

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