Opinion | Fearful About Afghanistan’s Future

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To the Editor:

I am from Afghanistan. I have grown up here and have had a lot of dreams. However, my heart is broken, there is no hope, and I don’t have any desire to live life like a prisoner at home.

I have studied very hard in my 12 years of school and three years at university. Then the Taliban arrived and attacked the city that I love. In the last two weeks, my future has become dark and I have seen my dreams destroyed. My heart broke when I saw one mother cry because her son was killed recently by the Taliban and a father cry because his daughter was kidnapped days ago. Everyone is paying a price.

These days, there is fear inside my heart. I am a girl, and I am scared that one day some man will come to our home and force me to marry him. This is the kind of fear that lives in the heart of every Afghan girl.

I am writing this with eyes full of tears. I believe that there is humanity still alive in the world, and I hope that somebody will listen to me, help me dream again.

Name Withheld
Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan
The writer’s name has been withheld for her protection.

To the Editor:

Re “Tightening Grip, Taliban Silence Foes and Dissent” (front page, Aug. 20):

As your report confirms, the American mission in Afghanistan has not been the unmitigated failure that many assume. Despite its considerable shortcomings, that mission has given rise to an active civil society in which “a new generation of educated, ambitious and media-savvy Afghans grew up in the cities — young people, including women, accustomed to making themselves heard.”

If the Taliban believe that they can put the genie back in the bottle by restoring Afghan society to the primitive conditions of 20 years ago with the threat of brutality and terror, they may be in for a rude awakening.

Michael Silk
Laguna Woods, Calif.

To the Editor:

Re “How Will the Taliban Rule Afghanistan?” by Ashley Jackson (Opinion guest essay, Sunday Review, Aug. 22):

How the Taliban will rule Afghanistan will also depend on how the United States and its Western allies treat the Taliban regime. If the U.S. retaliates and imposes severe sanctions on the Taliban regime, the Taliban may be crippled or hampered in their rule, but they will blame the West for their failures and will gain the support of the Afghan people.

While the U.S. doesn’t have to support the Taliban regime itself, it should continue to support the Afghan people in discrete, selected ways. Let’s not make ourselves the enemy of the Afghan people in spite of the Taliban regime.

Ko-Yung Tung
New York
The writer is a lecturer at Harvard Law School and former vice president and general counsel at the World Bank.

To the Editor:

Re “A Presidency and Its Values Put to the Test,” by Peter Baker (news analysis, front page, Aug. 21):

At the risk of appearing as a “Monday morning quarterback,” I find it difficult to understand the behavior of the Defense and State Departments with regard to ensuring the evacuation of Afghans who worked with the United States over the past two decades and whose lives are at more risk than the thousands of Americans in Afghanistan, who have the protection of the U.S. government and all the leverage that goes with it. If I knew the Afghan security forces would not fight, why didn’t Defense and State know this?

The drawdown of the Afghans and their families out of Afghanistan should have started — at first quietly — as soon as the Biden administration assumed power in January. Moving thousands of people out of Afghanistan, as we witnessed this past week, has been a logistical nightmare.

In light of the poor planning and worse implementation, it is difficult to imagine why, in the future, foreign nationals would work for the United States in sensitive areas around the world.

Ira Sohn
New York

To the Editor:

In his news analysis, Peter Baker writes that President Biden is “seemingly more intent on washing his hands of Afghanistan than expressing concern over the humanitarian tragedy unfolding on the ground.”

Until recently, the United States maintained a tenuous stalemate on the ground in Afghanistan in great part through use of aerial bombardment. Whenever the Taliban temporarily seized control of an Afghan city or town, they would then be driven out by U.S. bombing raids entailing inevitable “collateral damage.” Many innocent civilians, including women and children, were killed or maimed in consequence. Was this policy humanitarian?

John Graves
Little Rock, Ark.
The writer is professor emeritus of American history at Henderson State University.

To the Editor:

Re “America’s Afghan War: Drawing Down an Unwinnable Conflict,” by Adam Nossiter (news analysis, Aug. 22):

In the waging of wars that can’t be won, the feelings of the troops and their families are understandably conflicted and often angry. I would hope that those who served and sacrificed will understand that their effort was not in vain. These brave men, women and their families provided the opportunity for change in Afghanistan. Whether the opportunity is seized upon or wasted is not up to the giver, nor is the giver diminished if the opportunity is not taken.

Cheryl Davidson
Madison, Va.

To the Editor:

The media has raised the question about whether the war in Afghanistan was winnable. I believe the United States over the last 20 years should have promoted Afghan women to be included as members of the Afghan Army. Those with the most to lose are often most determined to win.

I believe that Afghan women, supplied with U.S. weaponry, would have been a fierce fighting force within the Afghan Army.

Sidney M. Braverman
Rochester, N.Y.

New Yorkers, One for All

To the Editor:

Re “Delta Cripples Fall Recovery for New York” (front page, Aug. 23):

How proud I am to live in New York City, where people had some of the worst of the pandemic, sacrificed to help one another, got vaccinated, and waited for hours to cram into the Central Park concert celebration of the city’s Homecoming Week. And when they were told early on to leave the concert because of lightning, they actually filed out peacefully.

The public good still lives.

Melinda Mlinac
New York

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