Man, this is rough:
Returning home from a three-week trek on foot to deliver free medical care to the remotest regions of the country, the aid workers — six Americans, a Briton, a German and four Afghans — had just finished eating when they were accosted by gunmen with long died-red beards, the police said.
The gunmen marched them into the forest, stood them in a line and shot 10 of them one by one.
Like everyone else, I am torn reading this sort of story. On one hand, my reaction is “screw em” — the Afghans I mean. What kind of culture would break this sort of fanatic? And what can we do in the face of such nihilism? Who would target and kill doctors like this?
And yet, of course, I realize that this is a broken society, and that the killers don’t represent the majority of the population, and that by throwing in the towel we would essentially be surrendering to lunatics and fanatics.
Every time I read a story like this — or one about Talibans cutting off a girl’s nose — I am split in two in terms of my response.
But in the final analysis, this has to be an Afghan problem with Afghan solutions. We ought to help the decent elements in Afghan society, but we just can’t seek to impose our values. And yet, we do have a universal ethical obligation to promote human rights.
The terrorism issue is incredibly straight-forward and simple compared to the human rights issues we face in Afghanistan.