Why are we in Afghanistan?
No one can ask what the Turks are doing in Afghanistan as, thank God, the Turkish military has so far managed to stay away from combat duties and has been involved in rebuilding the country, which was tarnished first under Soviet occupation, later by the savior Taliban and al-Qaeda, which helped get rid of the Soviets and then by the American-led NATO troops that flattened the country to bring an end to Taliban rule and kill the al-Qaeda presence in the country.
Fighting saviors is no easy job, particularly each time the saviors try to create a country according to their political or religious inclinations, be it the Soviets or Russians, the American breast-fed Taliban and al-Qaeda or a coalition of foreign forces under the NATO flag. It is perhaps even more difficult to manage to stay afloat if the country under question, besides itself producing drugs, is one of the leading transit countries in global drug trafficking.
At the beginning of the last century, Turkey and Afghanistan were quite similar in terms of their incredibly low living standards. Turkey opted for development and prosperity under Kemalist secularist reforms – which are hated by the present-day political ruling class – while Afghanistan initially tried to copy developments in Turkey before eventually opting for the easy way by closing its doors to reform and progress.
The American-led vendetta against Afghanistan’s Islamist radicals in the wake of Sept. 11 produced no clear-cut success because, after removing the Taliban from government and waging a decade of all kinds of covert and overt operations against the Taliban and al-Qaeda, the Americans and the American-led NATO installed a “civilian government” in Kabul that has been begging for peace with the Taliban while trying to engage the radical Islamists nurtured during the Soviet occupation by Pakistan in camps there with funds provided by the Saudis and the U.S.
For the past many days since the helicopter crash that killed 12 Turkish soldiers and four civilian Afghanis, Turkish leaders have been stressing that our sons were not killed in an operation; it was their fate to die; since their time was up, they might have died in a crash in Turkey if they had not been posted to Afghanistan. What a bright fatalistic mentality.
Why are we in Afghanistan? We went there to train the Afghan army. The mission was accomplished, troops trained by Turks can train the rest. Afghanis can build their own schools or mosques. If it is a must, Turkey may continue providing financial assistance. The government is angry with those asking the question, but for God’s sake, why are our sons still there?
Experts in funeral services
Yesterday a ceremony was held at the Mamak Eşref Bitlis Garrison for the 12 soldiers killed in the crash in Afghanistan. Eşref Bitlis was the legendary gendarmerie commander who died (or was killed) in a crash as well. That garrison is the home of the troops serving in Afghanistan.
As is always said, our politicians, as well as the civilian and military bureaucracy, are experts in arranging funeral services. It was a very emotional service and tears streamed down are cheeks.
Following the military-religious services at the garrison, religious services were held at Ankara’s Kocatepe Mosque, as well as in Tekirdağ’s Muratlı town, Konya’s Akşehir town, Ordu’s Boztepe town, Isparta, Erzurum and İzmir as 12 beloved sons were laid to rest.
And an absurd politician was still saying their death was fate.