Afghanistan: A Christan Response?

Map of Helmand Province

With the era of good feelings coming with the election of Barack Obama, there are some good things like the beginnings of electricy coming to the Helmand Province.

While, such good things are happening, thanks to google blog search I was also able to find out through Michael’s blog that there is an humanitarian crisis going on in Afghanistan as a result of a coming winter famine.  Approximately a third of the country will be without food and water.

The LA Times has shown that there is an increasing call to abort central government and begin working with tribal warlords:

Confronting the prospect of failure after seven years in Afghanistan, the U.S. military is crafting a new strategy that is likely to expand the power and reach of that country’s tribal militias while relying less on the increasingly troubled central government.

The solution seems relatively simple: give them food.  What’s the problem?  Well, taliban leaders and other people within Afghtanistan keep killing humanitarians aid workers.  Michael explains further on his blog that:

Part of the reason for the increase [in humanitarian aid worker deaths] has to do with the fragmented nature of many conflicts since the end of the Cold War. In places such as Afghanistan, Darfur and Somalia, there are a bewildering array of warlords and armed groups, and community acceptance isn’t much of a security guarantee if bandits control the surrounding roads…Furthermore, many Western aid agencies have agendas, such as support for women’s rights, which put them directly at odds with religiously motivated insurgents like the Taliban – who, for instance, go to great lengths to attack girls’ schools.

What’s more? These aid workers are considered part of the occupying western forces.  It is very difficult to combat these types of things in our world.  There is very little you can do except try to make deals with the warlords that kills the least amount of people, but what should the Christian response to this conflict be? Over at the council on foreign relations they say:

“[David Patraeus calls for] possible government reconciliation with the Taliban; and cooperation with neighboring countries, including Pakistan and Iran. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, speaking on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Budapest in October 2008, said he favored some form of reconciliation in Afghanistan, though he acknowledged not knowing “how it would evolve.” A week later, during a speech at the U.S. Institute for Peace in Washington, Gates was unequivocal in his support of bringing tribal elements into the fold. “At the end of the day the only solution in Afghanistan is to work with the tribes and provincial leaders in terms of trying to create a backlash … against the Taliban,” the defense secretary said.”

It appears that our duty as Christians is at is has always been: to serve Christ in all things.  If we go as workers to Afghanistan we will give our two cloaks until we have only one, we will take any form of persecution and return it with love, and we will LISTEN.  I cannot overemphasize that we will listen instead of talking so much.


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