Afghanistan is Not Better Off

Thousands of people in Afghanistan have been left with nothing since America intervened three years ago.
Though the U.S. military disposed of the Taliban-led government in November 2001, Afghanistan is worse off now than before the United States liberated its people.
According to the 2004 United Nations Human Development Index, Afghanistan is ranked 173rd of 178 countries.
Though conditions before U.S. involvement were terrible, because of the constant air strikes and bombings post-Sept. 11, the living standards of Afghans worsened even more.
The level of starvation is at its highest because food and medical aid from truck convoys are restricted due to security issues, leaving families vulnerable to starvation and disease.
With their homes destroyed and family members murdered, an increase in refugee camps throughout the country has also ensued.
One-fifth of the children in Afghanistan die before they are five years old, and 80 percent of them die from diseases that are easily preventable. In fact, one in eight children dies from the lack of clean water.
Education has also gotten worse, with a 28.7 percent literacy rate and an annual per capita income rate of only $190 with unemployment at 25 percent.
‘Years of conflict and neglect have taken a devastating toll, as measured by dramatic drops in human, social and economic indicators,’ states the author of the National Human Development Report 2004.
The average life expectancy of Afghans has dropped to 44.5 years, averaging 20 years lower than that of their neighboring countries, and poverty leaves 20.4 percent of the population insufficiently nourished. There are an estimated 3.6 million refugees displaced because of the war. The United States has time and time again promised to provide aid to Afghanistan for the destruction it caused to innocent families and civilians, but since then it has fallen short of what was expected, avoiding responsibility for its actions.
Though much of the heartache Afghans currently endure is, in part, due to the years of occupation under warlords, and of course the Taliban, their suffering severely increased as a direct result of U.S. intervention.
Repeating history, America once again used the country for its own benefit with complete disregard for civilian life, leaving Afghanistan worse off than it was to begin with and providing only a fraction of the aid it promised afterwards.
And still Bush claims that the ‘United States of America is a friend to the Afghan people.’
Twenty years ago when the United States used Afghanistan to fight the Soviet Union, money and support was given to the Mujahidin, whom we now consider to be terrorists.
The CIA looked for volunteers from the Muslim community all over the world to fight this ‘jihad’ against the Soviet Union (including Bin Laden who was then an ally of America), and used drug lords to finance it as well.
Sound familiar? A huge concern of today is that Afghanistan is nearly becoming a major narcotics state.
According to the United Press International, ‘The three years since the United States toppled Afghanistan’s Taliban regime, opium cultivation in the country soared.’
The country was abandoned after its defeat of the Soviet Union, and it is being abandoned once again, when it needs help the most, when people are not only suffering physically, but also psychologically.
According to a Times article written by Nick Danziger, who traveled the country, ‘During the past 23 years more than one-and-a-half million Afghans have been killed as a direct result of the wars that have taken place on Afghan soil. Most of those killed were civilians: children who were out on the street playing or in the mountains shepherding their animals, ordinary people like you and me. The local populace has never been spared