IslamOnline dot net & Newspapers Tuesday October 27, 2009
"I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States' presence in Afghanistan," said Matthew Hoh.
CAIRO — A senior US diplomat disillusioned with the US involvement in Afghanistan has resigned, becoming the first US official to quit in protest over the eight-year war, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday, October 27. "I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States' presence in Afghanistan," Matthew Hoh, 36, wrote in his four-page resignation letter.
Hoh, the senior State Department official in Afghanistan's Zabul province, said he became disillusioned about the exact goals of the US presence in the war-ravaged country.
"I have doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy, but my resignation is based not upon how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end."
He said at Americans need to be reassured their dead have sacrificed for a purpose worthy of futures lost and promised dreams not kept.
"I have lost confidence such assurances can be made any more."
The US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to topple the ruling Taliban and its ally Al-Qaeda.
Since then, Taliban have launched protracted guerrilla warfare against the US-led forces, rendering heavy losses to the foreign troops.
The spiraling attacks have made 2009 the worst year for the US-led troops since the 2001 invasion.
Hoh, A former Marine who fought in Iraq, said he had come to the conclusion that the presence of the foreign troops is fanning ethnic tensions in the country.
He added that the Pashtun people view the war as a continuation of “sustained assault, going back centuries, on Pashtun land, culture, traditions and religion by internal and external enemies."
"The US and NATO presence in Pashtun valleys and villages, as well as Afghan army and police units that are led and composed of non-Pashtun soldiers and police, provide an occupation force against which the insurgency is justified."
The diplomat believes many of the groups fighting foreign forces do this because they see them as foreign intruders.
"That's really what kind of shook me. I thought it was more nationalistic. But it's localism. I would call it valley-ism."
In many cases the presence of the US troops turned calm areas into chaotic ones, Hoh said citing Korengal Valley, an isolated spot near the eastern border with Pakistan.
He insists that militants appeared in strength only after the Americans came to the region.
"(The war) has violently and savagely pitted the urban, secular, educated and modern of Afghanistan against the rural, religious, illiterate and traditional.
"It is this latter group that composes and supports the Pashtun insurgency."
The diplomat hopes his resignation would affect the American public opinion and policy regarding Afghanistan.
"I'm not some peacenik, pot-smoking hippie who wants everyone to be in love.
"I want people in Iowa, people in Arkansas, people in Arizona, to call their congressman and say, 'Listen, I don't think this is right.'"