Terrorism,  Your View

Bunglawala and Faisal Shahzad betraying Afghans

This is a cross post by Shiraz Maher from Standpoint

Over at his new blog Inayat Bunglawala is already tying himself in knots over the guilty plea by failed Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad. During his plea hearing Shahzad told the court:

Unless the US pulls out of Afghanistan and Iraq, until they stop drone strikes in Somalia, Pakistan, and Yemen, and stop attacking Muslim lands, we will attack the US and be out to get them…Listen, you are attacking children with your drones in Afghanistan. I would not consider what I did was a crime. I’m aware it’s a violation of the United States laws, but I don’t care for the laws of the United States.

Indignant but not insightful, Bunglawala tells readers that Shahzad’s guilty plea:

should in a more sensible world urgently prompt a rethink in the US administration about its callous strategy in Afghanistan.

Perhaps we should scrutinise this ‘callous strategy’. An in-country poll commissioned by the BBC, ABC News and Germany’s ARD just six months ago reveals the following key facts:

Taliban, al-Qaeda and terrorism

  • 90% wanted the country run by its current government. Just 6% expressed support for the Taliban.
  • The survey asked if people thought it was good or bad that US forces entered Afghanistan in 2001 to drive out the Taliban: 83% said it was either very good or mostly good.
  • 69% believe the Taliban posed the biggest security risk to Afghanistan.
  • 66% blame the Taliban and al-Qaeda for the violence in Afghanistan.
  • 72% of Afghans rated President Hamid Karzai as excellent or good.

Future of the country

  • 70% of Afghans believe the country is moving in the right direction, representing a significant jump from just 40% the previous year.
  • 71% said they were optimistic about the year ahead (2010) compared to just 51% who expressed optimism a year earlier.
  • Similarly, only 5% expected things to deteriorate in 2010 whereas 13% were pessimistic the previous year.

Views on foreign troops

  • 68% of those questioned supported the presence of US troops in Afghanistan, compared with 63% the previous year.
  • With regards to NATO forces – which includes British soldiers – support stood at 62%. Again, this was up from 59% the previous year.

Another in-country poll conducted last year by the Asia Foundation, an NGO working in Afghanistan, found the following:

  • Afghans give a more positive assessment of their economic situation in 2009 than in previous years.
  • Considerably more urban respondents (63%) say they are more economically prosperous today than they were under the Taliban.
  • 78% said democracy is the best form of government available.
  • 68% are satisfied with the way it is currently working in Afghanistan.
  • 80% believe in the principle of equal rights for all.

Democracy the best form of government? Freedom from the Taliban? Economic prosperity? This is what Bunglawala characterises as a ‘callous mission’?

Last month I travelled to Pakistan’s tribal regions along the Afghan border for Standpoint Magazine and spoke with people who have actually lived under Taliban rule. Yes, there is anger at the loss of civilian life and the indiscriminate nature of drone attacks – but I found very little actual support for the Taliban wherever I went. Indeed, most people wanted rid of them.

Of course, minimising civilian casualties actually requires more soldiers on the ground, not less. But that is not the point Bunglawala was making. What he wants is withdrawal and, therefore, the callous surrendering of Afghanistan’s people and their future (not to mention our own) to the Taliban.

It has been said endlessly before but is still worth repeating, Bunglawala is a busted flush. Like so many of his Islamist chums, he betrays the very constituency in whose defence he claims to act – the Afghan people.

Bunglawala’s attempts in recent months to remodel himself as a thoughtful commentator on British Muslim affairs is almost as comical as Mr Bean’s latest reincarnation (to whom he bears absolutely no resemblance):

Oh Bungles.

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