Afgans fight amongst each other for power

By Staff Writer
October 18, 2001

The citizens of Afghanistan cannot remember a time when there has been peace in their country. There has been a war in their country for the last 20 years. Because of these demanding times, the commanders in the country’s military and the several anti-Taliban groups, are now utilizing young soldiers to fight in the many battles they encounter.

Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries. The life expectancies are as low as 43 years old for men and 44 years old for women. The majority of the population is illiterate. The people have endured many tragic events. As a result of the country’s warfare, approximately 1.5 million people have died. The villages in areas of the northern region are dominated by men who took up arms when they were teenagers. As a result of the underprivileged and uneducated lifestyles of the Afghanis, young boys are more familiar with guns than with school.

The anti-Taliban Northern Alliance has soldiers as young as 12 years of age to fight against the Taliban. There are other anti-Taliban alliances that have had several boys engaged in battle by the age of 13. This seems outrageous and cruel to someone outside of the Afghanis nation, but to one facing horror everyday, it is second nature and part of the norm. According to a story in the Sept. 30 New York Times, many of these young soldiers are fighting because their own fathers and family lost their lives in the battle against the Taliban. A 15-year old boy who has been fighting for about a year says that his motivation for volunteering was simple, “My father was killed by the Taliban and I want to take revenge with his gun.” This is the case for many of the children that are battling the Taliban.

There have been many attacks against the Taliban from inside the country as well as the United States attacking from outside. Anti-Taliban citizens are outraged and wish to fight and combat the government for as long as needed. The incidences that have taken place illustrate ethnic undertones of conflict. A report by Human Rights in the summer also warned that the fighting was taking on a growing ethnic tone.

It is widely believed that the southern-based Pashtum, the largest ethnic group and one that dominates the Taliban, would not accept a government led by the Tajiks, the major group in the Northern Alliance. Winning the support of the Pashtum elite is considered central to hastening the fall of the Taliban, and American diplomats and Northern Alliance officials say they have stepped up contacts with Pashtum leaders.

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