The war in Afghanistan, which has entered its 14th year, has another ugly aspect that often goes unseen. As well as the tragic deaths of countless innocent civilians, the enemies of peace and the people have waged an unremitting campaign of terror against the public services and infrastructure of Afghanistan. Their aim is to hollow out the state and drag us back into the Stone Age. By destroying our future, they hope to control us.
This campaign against our basic human rights has destroyed 302 schools, 41 health centres, 50 mosques, 5305 residential houses, 1,818 grocery stores, 170 bridges and over 123 kilometres of roads in 11 provinces of Afghanistan in just the last two months, according to government statistics from October 2016. Each of these projects took months or even years to complete. This destruction has cost this country over two billion Afghanis.
Sadly, there has been very little reporting on this, and even less on the far-reaching effects it will have on our society. And we should be clear that the Taliban is enacting a deliberate strategy. Our enemies want the people to be poor, sick, and illiterate. Their greatest fear is that Afghans will be able to stand on their own feet. By depriving people of government services, the Taliban seeks to control them. They destroy with one hand, and offer an inadequate alternative with the other. They devastate schools and offer extremist madrasas where they teach our children to kill for their cause. They attack our courts and our judiciary, and offer barbarism and brutality in their place. And they destroy our markets and force us to cultivate illegal and un-Islamic crops.
Our brothers and sisters in outlying provinces will attest to the devastation that the destruction of a school or a clinic causes in a remote community. It can mean the difference between life and death, between earning a living and being forced to relocate, or lead to a mother deciding not to eat so as to feed her children.
Hundreds of young people are deprived of an education when a school is destroyed. This education represents the future of our nation, and by destroying bricks and mortar our enemies are also frustrating our hopes and our dreams for a better life. They are kicking away the foundations of our future society. Who knows, a child in any of these schools could become a great leader, a brilliant doctor or a visionary engineer. When a health centre is destroyed in Kabul we can simply take our children to another clinic. When a health centre is destroyed in Helmand, it can mean that a mother has to hold her child in her arms while something as basic as a fever kills them.
Additionally, this insidious strategy has caused the displacement of thousands of families. According to the ministry of refugees and repatriation, over 95,000 families have had to flee their homes in the past two months alone. The human costs cannot be underestimated. Children must leave their homes, their friends and their education. Mothers and fathers must leave their work, their mosques and their communities.
This particularly ugly aspect of the war has not received the attention that it deserves, neither at home nor amongst the international community. The people who are carrying out the proxy war in Afghanistan destroy their own country and kill their own people. As a society we must take action, we must resist. We must understand that every time we allow our enemies to shelter in our homes and our villages we are hastening our own destruction. The famous Chinese dictator Mao said that the people are the sea in which the insurgents swim. We must drain the sea and force these people from our lives. Without us, our enemies cannot survive. We must starve them and bring them to the negotiating table. We must make them understand the trauma they are causing their country. They must see the light like our new friends HIA and lay down their arms for the sake of God, our people, and our families.