CHICAGO german-foreign-policy.com discussed the current situation in Afghanistan with Dr. Daud Miraki. Dr. Miraki is a sociologist living in the United States and is dealing with developments in Afghanistan, particularly the delayed effects of NATO's use of munitions with depleted uranium. His website is www.afghanistanafterdemocracy.com.
german-foreign-policy.com: Western troops invaded Afghanistan allegedly with the aim of bringing democracy and a better life to the country. You have been to Afghanistan. What did you see - democracy and a better life?
Dr. Daud Miraki: Not at all. Absolutely not. You know, democracy does not define anything concrete, it is merely a conceptual framework. You can only have what the biggest powers call the "benchmarks of success": elections, a constitution. It does not mean anything to the common Afghan. He cannot turn the constitution into bread, clothes, medicine or shelter. Therefore democracy is only conceptual terminology. Each power in history has its own adjectives, has one explanation or another, to describe its imperialist xobjectives. Democracy is for the United States a convenient term to use for its ghastly purposes.
gfp.com: What about the social situation in Afghanistan?
Miraki: Where you have poverty, abject poverty and hopelessness, whatever degree of normalcy that had previously existed in the society, in the family, in the neighborhood, ceases to exist. You see, when people are bombed and killed, when the social institutions - even, for example, the family - are completely destroyed, everyone has to look out for himself. A social normalcy ceases to exist. People's priorities change, their attitudes toward life change, people's perspectives on what has to be done change as well. In Afghanistan the only priority for people is how can they find food, how can they get enough to fill their stomachs.
gfp.com: Do they find enough?
Miraki: Of course not. Unfortunately with the US invasion, the cost of living has gone up exponentially. Real estate prices for example have gone through the roof, the cost of rent has gone through the roof. Before the invasion modest houses used to be rented for about 50 dollars/month. The same house today goes for 1.500 dollars/month. Before the invasion, a house in an affluent neighborhood in Kabul used to be rented for 300 to 350 dollars/month. The same house today rents at 15.000 dollars/month. So, as a result, the economy has been tailored to the foreign forces, to the foreign NGOs and the foreign consulting firms. There is nothing for the Afghans. The Afghans are more marginalized, more dehumanized and victimized. Anyone who can have three meals per day is the luckiest in the world. In Afghanistan, it is a luxury to have three meals per day.
gfp.com: In Afghanistan the war has made many orphans. How do they live?
Miraki: Of course there are many orphans, already from the previous war, when the Russians had murdered about 1.5 million people. A massive number of orphans are from that era. Then the bombing by the United States and their allies added to this already dreadful situation of the orphans. Orphans are actually the main victims. They have to find food for themselves, they have to survive on their own. They are being kidnapped by criminal organizations, sold to pedophiles around the world, sold to US military contractors like Blackwater, Brown and Root and so on for sexual exploitation. They are being sold solely for abuse, being kicked around and killed or whatever else they are doing to them. They are kidnapped by criminals to take their organs and sell them to international criminal syndicates for transplantation - their kidneys, their livers etc. Some of these criminals are without all constraints in regards to these orphans.
gfp.com: What are the circumstances for refugees in Afghanistan?
Miraki: Since the invasion six years ago, US propaganda has been speaking of development, reconstruction, and everything is going well. Refugees in Pakistan and Iran were induced to return to Afghanistan. But they find themselves in a situation much worse than before. They return to a country, where the government cannot provide them with even a minimum of services. They end up as displaced persons inside their own country. They have nowhere to go, nowhere to stay, no roof over their heads, nothing to sustain their family, nothing for the protection of their family. Their children die in the cold of night - it is really cold in Afghanistan - there are many diseases. There are of course internally displaced refugees created by US and NATO bombing in the south and the east of the country. It has compelled many people to abandon their villages for the refugee camps, where many children, many adults are dying of starvation. NATO and the West argue: "Oh, we are here to bring security". But with bullets and destroying people, you can never bring security.
gfp.com: It is said that the OEF troops are using munitions with depleted uranium...
Miraki: They use a massive amount of it in Afghanistan. They have used more than 1.200 metric tons of munitions with depleted uranium. That has caused a massive amount of congenital deformities of the new born. It has also contributed to cancers and diverse unexplained illnesses. For example in the Tora Bora area, women and animals have spontaneous miscarriages. They cannot carry out their babies. Before birth, babies already have cancer inside their mothers' womb. Children are born with cancer, with deformities. This uranium has a half-life period of five billion years so the Afghan people are doomed to a perpetual death sentence. This is a tragedy - unfortunately the Afghans cannot run away from their country and their country cannot run away from them. Hence I'm trying to raise funds to build a research facility that could help. If the money that has been used to kill people had been used to build research facilities to learn how to deal with munitions with depleted uranium, it would have been much more productive.