The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

October 7, 2012

Afghan war enters 12th year

(Continued)

KABUL, Afghanistan —

Ghairat Baheer offers an even gloomier prediction. Baheer is a representative and son-in-law of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a key civil war leader in the 1990s whose fighters attack foreign troops today. He warns that the current Afghan government will collapse with the international troop withdrawal and says civil war is likely without a peace agreement.

“The realties are that the government is not sustainable,” he said in a telephone interview. “Anti-Americanism and anti-western sentiment is increasing daily in Afghanistan and the resistance is spreading day-by-day across the country.”

Fahim Dashti was with Ahmad Shah Massoud, the charismatic Tajik leader who commanded the Northern Alliance of minority groups, when he was fatally wounded by two terrorists posing as journalists two days before the Sept. 11 attacks. Dashti’s face and hands were burned when one of the journalists blew himself up as the interview began. Even now, Dashti’s hands are not strong enough to twist the cap off a bottle of water.

Despite his experience, Dashti, who now directs the National Journalists’ Union in Afghanistan, doesn’t think his country is headed toward a civil war.

“I do share the concerns of the people, no doubt. But there are some positive points such as the (growing) capability and the ability of the Afghan security forces,” he said in his office.

Donor nations have pledged to continue supporting the Afghan forces, which will avoid civil war and prevent Afghanistan from becoming a sanctuary for international terrorists again, Dashti said. He’s more worried about the upcoming presidential race.

“There is no one-man solution,” he said, adding that a team of leaders from all ethnic factions needs to be assembled to lead the nation forward.

Gen. Majid Rouzi, who also commanded fighters in the civil war and is now an adviser at the Afghan Interior Ministry, agrees.

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