Taliban fighters attacked an Afghan military base in the Taliban-controlled portion of the northern Kunduz province on Wednesday morning, killing 24 soldiers. The base had been attacked and overrun several times in the past few months.
In a press release, the Taliban said its fighters had caught the soldiers on a “routine” patrol, and they had been shot dead at the spot. However, one of the soldiers told local media that some of the gunmen had managed to escape and killed another 25 soldiers.
While outside the front line, a US airstrike had claimed the lives of 16 Taliban fighters, the Pentagon confirmed on Tuesday.
Even inside the front line, it has been weeks since I heard a sound coming from the nearby region. But it is impossible not to sympathize with the officers who were the victims of this carnage.
There is a social dynamic that goes beyond money and political ambitions when the Taliban terrorizes the capital. It is due to the desire to be faithful and maintain allegiance. Being willing to fight in the front line allows the men to revel in their devotion and recognition.
For many Afghans, a major factor of resilience for many of the men in the front line is they are confident that, even if they give up, they will have a secure life at home.
Their conditions may vary, but they are usually far from a dictatorship. Other family members do have a role to play in getting assistance to those in need. Families must do so, but they can remain thankful without anger and complaints of deprivation.
But modern Afghanistan has grown very different from the traditional system. The demands of modern life as well as bureaucratic power seeking prosperity, middle-class identity, and the chance to help out, have overwhelmed traditional families and traditions. Money is sought for its own sake and well-being is valued. One must work hard in order to be accepted by authorities, and there is little loyalty to the tribe or other traditions.
The front line for many of the men is like a political rally, and such rallies have become commonplace. There are lists for those at the front line of points on which they must advance. When I spoke to someone in the Kunduz middle class, he emphasized that “they think women are pretty, they are beautiful,” and he had not seen one in the front line for weeks. As people want better, they want to make themselves indispensable by subjugating women, boys, girls, and the young in order to become part of the elite. What is clear is that if any society is unjust in regards to these individuals it is the United States, which actively maims and kills civilians in the name of security.