May 13th, 2010
10:42 AM ET

Kabul residents: Karzai needs to make jobs, not war

While Afghan President Hamid Karzai makes his rounds in Washington, D.C., this week, some residents of Kabul are urging the Afghan leader to uphold his promises to reduce corruption and provide work and educational opportunities. That can only be achieved through an end to the war, they say. While some support reconciliation with the Taliban, others are not sure that the militant group can integrate back into society without erasing some progress, such as in women's rights.

Read some of the voices in Kabul and what they hope Karzai accomplishes on his trip to the U.S.

Wader Sapai, political expert
We remember when Mr. Karzai in his oath taking ceremony promised to bring good governance, strengthen the rule of law, economic development, eliminate corruption and bring peace and stability to the country – these were the key points that he mentioned. The international community also demands Karzai to bring his promises into practice.

If Karzai did not bring his promises into practice then there will be a growing distance or a gap between the people and government.

The government celebrates its success in Marjah but we hear every day from the media about new incidents there. People are migrating out of Marjah again, because during the night it’s the Taliban who are ruling and during the day the government is ruling Helmand province on their throne.

Peace is the most important issue in Afghanistan. In the regions there is no peace, there is no justice, there are no schools, there is no health care but there is influence of the enemy and there is poppy cultivation.

Since there is no transparency in the government, people can not trust them and can not be sure that their 9-year-old girl will not be raped or their 12-year-old daughter will not be kidnapped.

I hope Karzai in his travels to the United States has good achievements and makes a transparent and good government in order to bring peace and stability, eradicate the corruption, create job opportunities for his poor countrymen and bring us justice.

In conclusion, I want to say that there is no justice, there is no peace.

Friba, professor at Kabul University
I hope Mr. Karzai comes to an agreement with the United States in finding a solution and to bring an end to Afghanistan’s war. We hope the coming consultative Peace Jirga will not just be for show but should be a solution for Afghanistan problems. If the antinomian accepts the rule and constitution of Afghanistan, they can come back and they can join the government; they are also Afghans.

During the Taliban time, I was teaching English at home because the Taliban were not allowing women to work outside of their homes. I hope this time if they came to an agreement with the Afghan government, they should respect women’s rights, too. If they do not respect women’s rights and the Afghanistan constitution, we will never forgive the criminals and let them come back and establish a dictatorship government.

Zewarullah, 40, businessman in the electronics industry
I am a businessman of electronic materials - we export the materials from China, Dubai and Malaysia.

During the Taliban time we were jobless and at that time we were not feeling secure enough to invest. After 2001 when the United States invaded Afghanistan, we started our investments in Kabul. But still we are not sure about our security and we cannot expand our business because when a suicide attacker attacks in the city, then the people are losing their hope and they are not coming to shop – for at least 10 days. And on the other side, there is corruption in the government and there is not a clear and responsible government.

Peace is very important for all the people, especially for the businessmen to invest and to create job opportunities for the people. I am very optimistic about Karzai’s travel to United States to become in in agreement with the U.S. The Afghan Taliban are our brothers, they can also join the consultative Peace Jirga and become a part of the government. But as Afghans, they should accept Afghanistan rules and work harder for development of this country instead of killing each other. There were 30 years of war in this country and we lost millions of our brothers on both sides. Now everyone knows that war is not the solution, the only solution for Afghanistan problems is peace.

Khaybar, 20, recent high school graduate
I am working in a shop as a seller and the shop owner is paying me Af 4,000 per month (around $89). I am happy that I have a job but I really want to enroll in university as a student to become a journalist. But I am the only person supporting my family; my father is dead and I am responsible for my mother, two sisters and my young brother.

I hope Karzai understands that his nation is a poor nation and he should focus more on job creation and education, for the poor people who are not able to pay for education. Moreover, we are tired of war and we need peace, freedom, more job opportunities and a real democracy like other countries.

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Filed under: Karzai • Life and Culture • Voices
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. CGeorgeK

    Karzai needs to make jobs, not war? What kind of nonsense is this? Look at America! If it was not for wars, and all the infrastructure necessary to sustain and maintain them... there would be no jobs, at all, in America! What?... are we going to bring all the troops home so they can stand in unemployment lines? and for each and every troop, there are perhaps 100 civilians jobs that support each troops, that would be lost, also? War is a win-win for business. Sure some troops come back maimed, disabled, mentally scrambled or dead – but even all of that is great for business. Think of all the people employed to address the tragedies of war! War is good business and great for business – just ask any Congressman.

    June 19, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. CGeorgeK

    Karzai needs to make jobs, not war? What kind of nonsense is this? Look at America! If it was not for wars, and all the infrastructure necessary to sustain and maintain them... there would be no jobs, at all, in America! What?... are we going to bring all the troops home so they can stand in unemployment lines? and for each and every troop, there are perhaps 100 civilians jobs that support each troops, that would be lost, also? A win-win for business. Sure some troops come back maimed, disabled, mentally scrambled or dead – but even all of that is great for business. Think of all the people employed to address the tragedies of war! War is good business and great for business – just ask any Congressman.

    June 19, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. davec

    Having said that I do wonder if we should or should not try to remake them in our image; that being a technological society. Might they prefer the simple life of subsistence farming?

    Are we (the Western world) proposing to change Afghanistan for the good of the Afghan people or for our own good? Are we using or "helping" the Afghans as a means to and end?

    May 19, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. davec

    I think a combination of business development and colleges would be great. To these ends the infrastructure and communications need to be significantly upgraded. The first wave of jobs could be building (roads, buildings) and communications (wireless). Train the Afghans to do these jobs rather than having it all done by US contractors. The US contractors can train and supervise.

    The Aghans can then be trained for manufacturing such as clothing and electronic assembly and test.

    May 19, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. John Kantor

    Let's make peace with people who throw acid in schoolgirls' faces.

    May 18, 2010 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. C. Canty

    Islam is the source of violence, terrorism, ignorance, hate, resentment and hostility. This cult transforms normal people in hatemongers closing their minds to rationality, human development and basic moral/ethical values. Unless Muslims convert to any other religion, progress, freedom and basic human rights will be seriously compromised.

    May 18, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. James

    It would be nice to create jobs for them but the Taliban would just use suicide bombers to blow up any factories.

    May 18, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Greg

    This should have been the main objective from the beginning. Giving a large percentage of the people a real job, so they would not have to grow poppies to make a living by.

    May 18, 2010 at 1:47 am | Report abuse |
  9. Angela

    Funny, Americans say the same thing.

    May 17, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Tune

    To devolpe any nations economy will require the will, and dareness from some induviduals, that are willing to take a chance.

    To grow the afghan economy, the afghans have to look to the east, China, south, pakistan and india, to the north Russia. They should loo the west with caution towards iran.

    We in the west have great trouble finding a trade for the afghans to eksport, because we do not understand the economic needs of the surrounding countries. Ask the afghans what do the other nations need and what can afghanistan provide.

    A big job creation effort that could be undertaking, that is o build a low cost highway road to the surrounding countries. Have the afghans securty forces protect these workers. I am not thinking of a road, in western stile, but more, a road of lesser costs, easy to maintain and will require some effort to maintain.

    To devolp the small communities out there were the small cities with fewer than 100 ppl, give them some tools, so they can produce goods for a larger afghan city. Have trucks travel to the small cities, and that truc buy/sells the items on the road or in the city.
    That is a way to start a jobcreation program.

    To deal with the security issue, ask the afghans that are friendly and trustworthy to Nato, how it could be done and ask the afghans them selves to start it. If the afghans are not succesfull in a specific aera, then nato should leave the area, so nato does not get involved in that firefight.

    May 16, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ahmad Siar Safi

    I am agree that creation of Work can Decrease the Level of crime and war therefore the poverty is a big problem for Afghans that they are going to connect with insurgents, Taliban and unlawful way by these ways the security is going to critical day by day so, it is a good way to find a Basic and fundamental job for Afghan nation.

    May 16, 2010 at 2:53 am | Report abuse |
  12. realjunius

    (correction of my post above)

    If Afghans consider taliban their "brothers" as this business men pointed out, can't they sit together and talk or bomb each other out if they don't want to talk? Why does the USA have to be involved in this nonsense?

    This situation in Afghanistan reminds me of what I read in the history books about Pearl Harbor and Kamikazes. We all know how that ended. I am not saying that's the best solution but at some point, when nothing else works, you gotta do what you gotta do.

    Taliban and all other terrorists are fighting essentially against everything that has to do with civilization (running water, education, individual freedoms, doing business with each other) must realize that they are no match for the civilization. Since conventional warfare does not work, only one thing remains to be done: Integration vs. Annihilation. It would also show Iran which way the wind is blowing.

    May 15, 2010 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  13. realjunius

    @Bill: Great comment. We have to realize that all trouble is being caused by a bunch of men with sticks in the Afghan boonies somewhere. They cannot exist and operate without cooperation of corrupt governments (such as Karzai's). While Karzai looks like he just escaped from a GQ photo shoot with his flashy clothes, he is not very different in his mind than taliban because, apparently, they have a lot in common.

    May 15, 2010 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. realjunius

    If Afghans consider taliban their "brothers" as this business men pointed out, can't they sit together and talk or bomb each other out if they don't want to talk?

    This situation in Afghanistan reminds me of what I read in the history books about Pearl Harbor and Kamikazes. We all know how ended.

    Taliban and all other terrorists fighting essentially against everything that has to do with civilization (running water, education, individual freedoms) must realize that they are no match for the civilization. Since conventional warfare does not work, only one thing remains. It would also show Iran which way the wind is blowing.

    May 15, 2010 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Bill

    Is there a way to americanize them? It seemed to work ok in south korea. Maybe we just need a couple more decades of this in order to finally reach them. They need to understand we will not tolerate military rule. We will not tolerate backwards cultures that belong in ancient times. Hanging a rapist might have been in style 2000 years ago, but not now! Treating women like servants is not in style anymore. Countries that do this are just hurting themselves.

    The real dilemma in our global environment is how to assimilate these rogue, medieval, backwards countries that just can't seem to operate in the 21st century.

    May 15, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Amy

    Everything is here friends, please
    enjoy viewing bar

    May 14, 2010 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
  17. dogboy

    Riddle me this: Are we better off WITH or WITHOUT Aghanistan?

    May 14, 2010 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sonny

      Hard to say but I was so closed to ground zero on 9/11 that I the explosions reverberate with me to this day. My how we Americans, living in comfort and with the luxury to criticize other Americans who are willing to lay down their lives, forget history so often and must be reminded again and gain on Dec. 7 and Sept.11.

      May 18, 2010 at 5:21 am | Report abuse |
  18. desert voice

    A very interesting vignette of interviews and a cross section of what is best in Afghan culture, rather than the worst which we have been hearing too often. It appears to be a sample of a new culture emerging, a culture of peace and prosperity, not drug-pushing, warlording, and warmonging. As some of you remember, I have been challenging President Karzai to do better for some time in my writings. I did not do this to make his life more difficult, but rather to shock him into the realization, that his is an opportunity in a lifetime to lift Afghanistan from the ashes of war and impotence! I truly wish him luck in this endeavor.

    May 14, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Daniel-2

    @both rrock and aaron armswothy.It's good to see your blogging to prove that not everybody who blogs in here is a right-wing nut.I get nauseated at seeing all these right-wing fanatics blog in here for the purpose of glorifying these obnoxious wars and I don't mind saying that there's no glory in killing people,only grief and heartache to those who are close to them.Enough said.

    May 14, 2010 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Sonny

      Not true! I am a life long Dems who voted Gore, Kerry and Obama; however, that doesn't mean that we are not supportive or not a member of the armed forces who are risking their lives so y'all arm chair commandos can pontificate about all the warmongering going on, what with a black Dem Prez AND Congress planning, financing and cheerleading the fight! Just how do you suppose we achieve peace with al-Qaeda and terrorist havens like Afg-Pak, talk them to death with your verbal abuses?! Talk about idiots from the right and left!

      May 18, 2010 at 5:13 am | Report abuse |
  20. Anonymous

    Aaron Amsworthy,

    You are wrothless. First of all, what did you do to have your rights taken away? Are you a criminal offender? Second, IF you don't support our troops than you can go ahead and be used as a shield, because as far as I am concerned. All of us are worth far more than you because we are actually over here fighting. I am sorry that your livelihood is ruined by someone, but every American should support the troops. If you don't, then get out of our country that we are fighting so hard to preserve!

    Semper Fortis!

    May 14, 2010 at 7:03 am | Report abuse |
  21. Walter

    Read the history of Afghanistan. When someone comes to power, they never leave unless they are either killed or there is a regime changed. Karzai thinks he will run that country forever with US military support, and he really has fooled our leaders in Washington. The sooner we get rid of him the sooner we might be able to bring peace to that country.

    May 14, 2010 at 4:36 am | Report abuse |
  22. aaron armsworthy

    And if there is so much valor in removing the taliban in afgan so the afganees can work.Then why cant you remove pa state trooper hogan so i can work.Seems like a double standard to me or hagan works for you and you are a militant oppresive regime.If this is a free country i should not have anyone hindering my right to work.All this afgan stuff is trivial when you look at what our militants are doing to our own people.

    May 14, 2010 at 1:14 am | Report abuse |
  23. aaron armsworthy

    I cant work here in america due to pennslyvania and state trooper mike p hogan.I feel like a jew in a nazi concentration camp fixin to be led to the gas chamber.Ive lost and vsold just about every possesion i got,i watch my wife cry every night and we are on the brink of starvation.And our solution is to get the afgans jobs,while the nazi militants that are quote defending our freedom are beating us down and starving us.If this is a free country why does this one man have the power to do this to me and my familes livilihood.Its his stripes and since 911 the military is also working through the sherriffs and police office.When you praise these troops you remember when the sherriff is at your door sayin he is just doin his job foreclosin on your house that he is also the national guardsmen that trains on the weekend in afganastan just in case he has to kick in your door and put a potatoe sack on your head and embarass you in front of your family.Im a 41yr old man worked hard all my life and im a good man,never comitted a crime,but i do not support war or the troops,thats the only guilt youll find in me.And to all you proud mothers and fathers and vainglory vets you and your children are evil monsters your just like hitler and the nazis

    May 14, 2010 at 1:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Sonny

      Indeed sir, considering your heightened emotional state, you know your history well. Someone has to stop Hitler and the Nazis at Normandy, Stalingrad, El Alamein, Tarawa, Anzio– to be willing to make that personal sacrifice, be it an arm or leg (in my case) or even life–someone brother, husband or wife, BF/GF, fathers–all so that we, especially vocal people like you who know your rights so well, be able to speak and live freely. Even then as a wounded Afghan vet and US Army officer I am racially profiled by some of our law enforcement people on the one hand and ostracized by human RIGHTS advocates like you on the other. I want you to stop the uplifting self righteous emotions for one moment and think where your rights and privileges as an American come from without the men and women in the armed forces who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to defend them. From that perspective, you are nothing more than a parasite who pontificates day in and out about what are your rights but are too ignorant about the basis of their existence and too cowardly to really defend them with your life, so you leave it to other Americans like me.

      May 18, 2010 at 4:56 am | Report abuse |
  24. Achmed the dead terrorist

    You mean camel jockey doesn't count?

    May 13, 2010 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Smith in Oregon

    Residents across Afghanistan are ever more strongly looking forward to the return of the Taliban and the end of what they see is the mass corruption forced upon them by President Karzai.

    Today in a move which I entirely applaud and wish would have occurred far, far sooner, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton firmly told Afghan President Karzai that any reconciliation that takes place with the Taliban in the near future, the Taliban MUST pledge to 'respect women's rights' in Afghanistan.

    I've always urged a firmer stance by the US Military, NATO and American Govt. to help the Afghanistan women against the horrific abuses, torture and executions heaped upon them for near imaginary reasons during the rule by the Taliban.

    Kudos and thank-you Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for spelling out one of the primary conditions for Taliban reconciliation, They MUST pledge to 'Respect Women's Rights' in Afghanistan period and without exception.

    The continued poison gas attacks and poisoning of the young Afghan women attending schools in Afghanistan should be treated as a War Crime. And with its continued practices now in Afghanistan, the US Military, NATO, President Obama should go on the record and loudly and clearly state thru various venues that All Taliban engaged in poison gas attacks and giving poison to young Afghan women attending schools in Afghanistan will be put on trial for War Crimes.

    May 13, 2010 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sonny

      As a two-tour Afghan vet, I beg to differ with your assessment that the majority of Afghans look forward to the return of the Talibans. On the contrary, surveys after surveys have emphatically shown that most Afghanis loathe the Talibs' rigid and brutal oppression of the mass but are fearful to speak out publicly against them, even in the southern Pashtun heartlands of the Talibs. That said, the Talibans from a cultural stand point are representative of the conservative nature of this country and we cannot and should not arrogantly imposed our Western cultural notions of democracy, human rights and such on the Afghan people. Afghanistan is a ancient land with very different traditions and ways of life than America. Until Americans and others around the world understand this, we will NEVER be able to win the hearts and minds of the average Afghan!

      May 18, 2010 at 4:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Sonny

      Btw, I do agree with you completely on the needs to address women rights issues. The problem is that the majority of the population is predominantly illiterate and, with the exception of the few Afghan expats and handful of Western educated elites, the average Afghan haven't even heard of American declared women rights or other noble abstracts of civil liberty. That is because most Afghans simply struggle to make ends meet. All your American or Western oriented MUSTs are too MUCH for them to take at the moment. Most of the Afghan people just simply want improved security so that they can send their children to school and job opportunities so that they can support their loved ones–the same things that most Americans and human being want. If we can improve on these two crucial areas first, then we can proceed to other vital issues of concern. Until then, we cannot make unreasonable and frankly unrealistic demands on the local officials and people.

      May 18, 2010 at 4:29 am | Report abuse |
  26. Col Gregory T. Breazile, USMC

    ompletely agree that they need opportunities for employment. This war is about the people. The Afghan people will decide who wins. We need to convince them to support their government.

    We are building the Afghan Army and Police and they are motivated to make a difference in their country. We will be here to support them so they meet their objectives.

    Semper Fi,
    NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan

    May 13, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sonny

      With all due respect Col. Breazile, I am sure that being a Afghan vet (just as I) or if you read the Afghan comments (whose comments were very subtle but deliberate), you'll understand the prevalent view among the majority of Afghans as exhibited here: How can the Afghan people be ask to support a government that is riddled with cruel and corrupted Karzai wardlords, unable to provide and basic security and services after more than eight years of little or no progress?

      May 18, 2010 at 3:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Darrell

      Keep up the good work. It is almost always about economics in the long run. Time to build a toyota plant.....make tennis shoes....etc. Most likely the key to helping them overcome the difficulties they face. Does the world bank help? Is there talent there to build these larger organizations? What type of business development beyond small businesses are being look at for the long term? I have often wondered why various groups go in to the african countries offering mosquito nets and digging a single pump well. Hard to get my mind around that when there has been technology to mass produce basic needs such as water.

      May 18, 2010 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  27. brown

    Screw these Afghans! You morons were the willing HOSTS of terrorists organizations from all of the world! You live today only because of the
    mercy of the American people! I don't want to hear about what "you" want!

    May 13, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Angela

      How were INNOCENT Afghan civilians HOSTING terrorists??? If anything their country was TAKEN OVER by these monsters. And if anyone has suffered at the hands of terrorism, its Afghans. Go educate yourself! I've been to Afghanistan-you dunno what the heck you're talking about!!

      May 17, 2010 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
      • Sonny

        Excellent point Angela, finally a rational mind, more objectivity and less emotional ignorance. The majority of the people of Afghanistan are blameless for what had transpired because they are in many respect victim of more powerful brute forces, be it at the hands of the murderous Taliban and their al-Qaeda allies or the corrupted and just as cruel Karzai warlords who line their pockets with American-UN money while the rest of the Afghan people struggle to make ends meet. This whole-sale condemnation of an entire people (Afghans) is nothing short of our right ignorance and the same sort of absolute logics that the Talibans used to persecute people. We as Americans also struggle with religious fanatics and ignorant people who don't get along with anyone of a different race, religion or ethnicity. All of the Afgan comments here are very inspiring and true: The Afghan people, after more than 30-years of constant bloodsheds by one dictators after another, are sick and tired of warfare and one day in the near future–Ishallah, you will have your deserve peace and freedom. I can say with a degree of certainty that the majority of the American people are with your in your struggle to this end.

        May 18, 2010 at 3:19 am | Report abuse |
    • km khan

      u dont have the sense of understanding......the americans support them inorder to fight with the soviets.when the soviet left the americans left.they should have funded the afghan after the soviet withdrawal which they ddnt.the biggest mistake the americans had there wouldnt be any terrorists organisations.....

      May 17, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sonny

      These are really hateful and ignorant comments! Your narrowed, bigoted views are the same sort of conservative dogmatic logics that the Talibans used to enslave the innocent Afghan population. Please for the sake of our country reputation, don't type any more garbage none sense so as to give other people around the world the impression that Americans are culturally ignorant, intolerant, and hateful–something that is counter productive to the war effort to bring peace to this great land. Think about it!

      May 18, 2010 at 3:32 am | Report abuse |
    • carl

      you have no idea what you are talking about! most Afghans want peace and a future for their kids. Most afghans will work long hours under horrible conditions for this. get a grip. tell you what – Join the Army and become a ETT (embedded training team ) member- before you start dispensing your brain sewage !

      May 19, 2010 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
  28. rrock

    Lets see. We invade them, bomb them, shoot them, support a corrupt government of thieves and drug dealers, and then wonder why they do not like us. Sounds like the same thing the Soviets tried.

    May 13, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Daniel-2

    That country is in dire need of peace since it hasn't had any for over 30 years.

    May 13, 2010 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  30. lee

    too bad for these people. Their country is run by criminals with our support. There will not be peace until there is not a chance of a further dime from US to Karzai's bank account or he is killed. He and his corrupt brother.

    Also you can not have a blanced sensible country when all of your women are in bondage.
    or when there is no separation of Church and State.

    May 13, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Angela

      There is no separation of church and state in Muslim countries. Not every country operates like the West and you can't expect them to.

      May 17, 2010 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • km khan

      US and the WEST support curroption in Afghanistan,when they give billions of dollars then they dont ask them where did u spent the money?eg.Ur poor and sick i gave u £ u can go to see doctor,later i m gonna ask u how much did u pay for the medicine,i need prescription..isnt it?But they dont ask for it.they just pouring money into the country filling the pockets of politician.the public dont need this sort of funds and they wont support or b happy........

      May 17, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |