How A Foreigner Views the Security Situation in Afghanistan

I believe for most outsiders when they hear the name Afghanistan their mind would automatically swift to the bloody scene of bomb explosions, kidnapping, suicide attacks, and groups of beard man holding AK 47 and shouting extreme slogans. No surprise at all people have such surreal reactions, being repeatedly fed with such reports by the news and media it’s hard for people to think otherwise. Surely, nobody can deny that Afghanistan is not a safe place but is it really as bad as the media reported? Let me bring you what a foreigner says about the security situations based on his personal experience after living in Afghanistan for 20 years.

Street View of Kabul

Mr. Yu is a Chinese businessman who visited Afghanistan in 2002 for the first time. Ravaged by years of fighting, Afghanistan was in dire need of reconstruction in every fields. Mr. Yu felt construction materials like steel and cement would be of high demand, so he started off as a trader. Years later, being assured of the security situations there, he co-established a steel mill with a local partner, which was applauded by local government and people as it brought sort of hope to them. As the business increases more factories covering other basic sectors were launched. Here is his personal experiences and how he foresees what future holds for Afghanistan with Taliban coming back to power:

War-torn is the how Afghanistan is perceived by other countries. But as a 20-year resident here, I see it differently from other people’s graphic understanding of the Afghanistan that is riddled by hell of gun fires and explosions, positional defence, airplane shot down etc. As a matter of fact, you can hardly see any positional warfare. Though violent attacks still popped up occasionally, generally it is not that bad.

Living through the past 20 years here, I have learned not to believe in hearsay, and street rumors. In my opinion, there is an obvious weakness of Afghanistan that has long been overlooked: Guest is stronger than the host. The problem faced by Afghanistan is not home grown, rather it’s a result of geopolitics from surrounding countries and its position of world powers wrestling ground.

I travelled around Kabul many times this year, the farthest to Bagram which is 50 km from Kabul. My general feeling is that the general public is badly affected by the COVID pandemic which put a fire to the already limited saving of people. The market is showing low and reduced imports including daily necessities. One sock manufacturer: told me their export to Afghanistan reduced considerably since the outbreak. I pray the pandemic could end soon so that people can have a better life.

Around the outskirt of Kabul, I didn’t see any anti-government guerrillas but farmers installing second hand solar power system to irrigate their farmland. Sadly, from ancient time to today, it is the general public who suffer most through fighting and wars. Whoever wins a war, the people are always the loser.

Afghan People Fled Their Home BEcause of Fighting

For over 42 years, Afghan people have been engulfed in endless fighting, the Soviet, the US and military groups in between. Now the US army has left, and Taliban came back to power again 20 years after. For Afghan people and the future of Afghanistan, I wish Taliban has matured with time and they could adopt a much inclusive, open and practical policy in ruling their country. It seems that things are moving toward the positive direction since Taliban took over Kabul: Taliban soldiers are patrolling the streets peacefully, causing no harm to both locals and foreigners, market is open, business is running, people are working. Hope a changed Taliban can bring peace and prosperity to the Afghan people who have suffered so long and so much.

Wish Afghanistan A Happy and Prosper Future



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Ben Li

Self taught commentator, history buffs, worked abroad, hosiery manufacturer, provide objective and balanced perspectives to what's going on in today's world.