Comment: What happens if we leave Afghanistan?

This article was originally published on the website of the Islamic Foundation of the Maldives. Republished with permission.

A month ago I was shocked to hear the news of an 18-year-old woman from Afghanistan who was punished by slicing her ears and nose, for running away from her abusive husband’s house.

The news was carried around the world by the leading news agencies for many days, especially the western media. A few days later, I was shopping at Ashrafee Bookshop – one of the largest bookstores in Male’ – and happened to see the mind-disturbing image of the abused woman named Aisha.

The image was published on the cover page of the TIME magazine. I did not have the courage to gaze at the horrifying picture for long, because the beautiful girl’s nose was missing. A maroon coloured shawl partially covered her head while her ears were covered with the beautifully combed black hair.

The image would certainly create hatred against the Taliban, the previous rulers of Afghanistan, before the US forces occupied the country to hunt Osama Bin Laden. Like any other reader, the bold letters on the image also caught my attention. It read: “What happens if we leave Afghanistan?”.

The message was very clear.

What I understood from it was that if US forces withdrew from Afghanistan, the country’s condition would worsen as seen in the picture. Every woman would be abused likewise, as we see Aisha in the image.

The article was written by the famous writer Aryn Baker. I read the whole article twice. My conclusion is that the purpose of publishing the article was to criticise Islamic Sharia and to blame the Taliban because they are gaining victory over the US forces in many of the districts in Afghanistan.

One line in the article read: “Under the Taliban, women accused of adultery were stoned to death; those who flashed a bare ankle were whipped”.

The whole article was in favour of Islamaphobia, and creating abhorrence against Islamic customs, principles and jurisprudence. The article was very much in support of the occupied forces while failing to bring all the sides of the story.

Although I am not a professional journalist, I had the opportunity to report from Pakistan and Indian controlled Kashmir. To my knowledge all the parties involved in a sensitive story should be given a fair chance to respond.

But the writer has failed to bring the comments of Aisha’s husband and in-laws, and Taliban. The whole article was single sourced, breaking journalism ethics. It may be hard or impossible to get an interview from the victim’s husband and in-laws. But if the writer wished, she could have got a comment from Taliban.

The writer also could have mentioned Taliban’s denial statement made through internet. The whole story is totally a biased one. Aisha’s case may be true, or it is possible that the story was created. There is no way to prove the accusations made by Aisha.

She might have been abused by her family or by muggers. Who knows what is behind the picture? Aisha might have blamed the Taliban by posing for the cover image of TIME, as it may be her only chance for reconstructive surgery.

In the editorial, Managing Editor Richard Stengel wrote: “Aisha will head to the US for reconstructive surgery sponsored by the Grossman Burn Foundation, a humanitarian organisation in California. We are supporting the effort.”

This statement proves that TIME has bought the story by funding for the surgery to some extent.

Since US and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001, hundreds of innocent civilians have been killed and many were made disabled by ‘accidental’ attacks. But these incidents have failed to catch the attention of the international news media.

On 19 September, the Washington Post reported that the US military was investigating a case where three civilians were killed for fun by a group of US soldiers. The newspaper also reported that the culprits even posed for pictures with the amputated body parts of the dead Afghans.

I want to question the western media as to why stories involving abusive acts of US military are not covered in the same manner as the story of Aisha? Like Afghanistan, the unlawful invasion by the US has killed hundreds of thousands of civilians in Iraq. A report published by Iraq Body Count Project (IBC), an independent UK-US group reveals that nearly 1,989 civilians have been killed in Iraq only in 2010 by coalition military action, Iraqi insurgency and excess crimes.

According to IBC, 106,072 civilians have been killed since Iraq was invaded in 2003. This is also an under estimated figure as the information was based only on those reported by media organisations. IBC project’s director John Sloboda has said earlier “We’ve always said our work is an undercount, you can’t possibly expect that a media-based analysis will get all the death.”

As witnessed in other countries, the US Embassy is investing money on lots of projects in the Maldives under the banner of promoting democracy, human rights and free media. But the reality is that there is a hidden agenda behind these investments.

The purpose is to influence and control the country through modern methods of colonialism. My answer to the messy writer is, if you (US and other coalition forces) leave Afghanistan, tens of thousands of lives would be saved, so leave Afghanistan and other Muslim countries.

All comment pieces are the sole view of the author and do not reflect the editorial policy of Minivan News. If you would like to write an opinion piece, please send proposals to [email protected]

25 thoughts on “Comment: What happens if we leave Afghanistan?”

  1. I'm guessing you wouldn't complain if you were the one offered free reconcstructive surgery after a few of YOUR external organs are chopped off.

  2. This is the typical double victimization of victim by denial of the issue at hand. There is nothing around it but stark naked truth a person has been mutilated. You are partly responsible for the acts of inhumanity when you deny that it happened and you try to deviate from the issue. Bottom line is no one has the right to harm anyone else, even lift a finger with the intention.

  3. tsk tsk! the fact that american forces have been responsible for some deaths in Afghanistan, does not in any way diminish the fact that what happened to this girl is disgusting and inhuman.

    In fact i find that its worse, cause its done in the name of Islam, my religion. It dirties the name of the religion and makes life hard for Muslims.

    I doubt if this happened to your sister or to your mom you would like to walk around interviewing the people who did it, to find out if they had any justification for it.

    Grow up and yes stop seeing the world through paranoid religion tinted glasses.


  5. Dear Ibrahim Mohamed,

    The said cover did strike me too. But I didn’t take the liberty to read it at all. As you said, it could be this or that. Why do I say that? Sensibly, I was able to make out one thing for sure. I saw a young woman violently abused. The rest of it was clear from the heading. Taliban and Al Qaeda has been the spot light of international media for the past decade or more. And the reasons are not unclear.

    All said, I felt you justified your not-so-professional journalism by including lots of ‘coulds’ in your extremism-defending oriented article. While reading, I thought, you ‘could’ claim that the oil businessman of Hoarafushi might still be alive. All the stories on the news ‘could’ have been fabricated to demean the President of Maldives – noontha? (No?). The story 'could' have been made up from funding by DRP. They ‘could’ have sponsored the boats for the news crews and the policemen that travelled to Hoarafushi – no?

    The word Islamophobia is about 30 years old, with a steep usage hike in the last decade. Islamophobia is not unreasonable. We didn’t have to remove our belts and shoes at airport 10 years ago. World economy didn’t have to spend millions on automatic safe-distance sensors on airplanes or full body scanners at airports 10 years ago. We are talking about Islamic terrorists during this time – our time. I hope you aren’t sick enough to justify it with a vision of Hitler’s or other genocides. We face the problem today and we need a solution today – not yesterday. Today’s terror is real and we live in today. Tell me then, do you want to defend the Taliban and Al Qaeda, Mr. Ibrahim Mohamed?

    When someone writes an article about Taliban, would you reject it and say “Don’t talk about it, it is defaming Islam?” – Hello? They are talking about extremists & terrorists, not Islam! Get the point?

  6. Its very likely that Taliban will have executed the husband who disfigured his wife under islamic sharia. However the wronged wife will get no such justice under any other law.

  7. A brain washed writer!!! Extremists are targeting the educated and talented people in the country, and misusing them. We should do something about it.

  8. This guy who wrote it is a big joke. Well, considering where he is from, good old Islamic Foundation of the Maldives as they call it, I am not surprised.

    What more can you expect out of an NGO formed by a terrorist who was jailed at Guantanamo Bay?

  9. No question that stories about abusive US military should be covered too, but you, Mr. Ibrahim Mohamed, are trying to defend the cruelties of the Taliban, yes you have been brainwashed, or are you defending Aicha's husband - whatever, such things happen very often there and whoever did it is to blame!

    You think this article was written to spread Islamophobia? Then why are such incidents happening "in the name" of the religion, or "in the name of Sharia"???


  11. I dont see any comments favoring the writer. This says a lot about the article!
    Were you mocking her when you mentioned her beautiful face? Or were you sympathizing with her before you credited the talibans who did this to her?
    You are sick!!

  12. I was informed that Mr Ibrahim Mohamed was a talented journalist who performed very well in journalism. But after joining Islamic Foundation, his performance went low. Finally leaving media after three years in the career. He has written very good articles earlier, even in Minivan News.

    I want to tell Mr Ibrahim Mohamed, please think about your life and get out from the extremist cave and use your gifted talent for the benefit of the people.

  13. @Aminath Arif
    “You are partly responsible for the acts of inhumanity when you deny that it happened…”

    I think your comment is inaccurate and misses the point. The writer says he was shocked to hear about the abuse and when he saw the picture on the magazine he couldn’t even look at it for long. There is no denial of what had happened and it is clear from his language that he believes such actions are abuses and atrocities (rightly so).

    I believe the point of the article is first to highlight the TIME journalist’s unprofessional approach in compiling the story (single sourced, no mention of the Taliban’s denial of the accusation), to point out her attempt to portray a certain picture (it’s the bad old Taliban who did this and will keep on doing this if the western forces leave) in order to sway public opinion towards a desired outcome (the western forces therefore have no choice but to stay), and to highlight the fact that the mainstream media ignores the atrocities committed by certain parties.

    I think the writer has a fair point. It’s quite obvious that the mainstream media conveniently ignores or even tries to justify the actions when atrocities are committed by certain forces. Numerous examples are seen in Iraq and Afghanistan (by the US led forces) and in Gaza and other Palestinian lands (by the Zionist forces). The mainstream media is not fair or balanced in reporting.

    However, it is encouraging to know that people all over the world and in the US are getting wiser about the tactics of the main stream media; more and more people are questioning the motives of the writer and editor before accepting a story. In fact a recent Gallup poll shows that a record-high majority of Americans have little or no trust in the mass media to report the truth: No surprise huh?

  14. Why does it have to be either/or. Why can't Ibrahim Mohamed judge both the American army and the Taliban fighters under the same principles.


    check these and then judge whos MORE cruel


  17. The writer is absolutely right to highlight that the media are not covering abuse by the US military as keenly, while it is common knowledge that vigorous attempts are being made to sweep such stories under the carpet. Case in point: consider what’s happening to the person who leaked the cover-up of civilian killings in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Another example is the attack by the Israeli military on the freedom flotilla in International waters and killing of nine humanitarian activists. While watching the news on BBC I was appalled at the pathetic attempt being made by the journalist covering the incident to almost justify the attack and shift focus away from the reason for international humanitarian groups to attempt such a trip in the first place – the plight and suffering of the Palestinians in the biggest jail in the world, Gaza. Palestinians have been suffering for decades and the utter callousness of the media and people in power to let this go on without batting an eye lid is beyond belief. The attitude of the media is also questioned by the late Rachel Corrie in one of her letters to her mother which reads:
    “When that explosive detonated yesterday it broke all the windows in the family’s house. I was in the process of being served tea and playing with the two small babies. I’m having a hard time right now. Just feel sick to my stomach a lot from being doted on all the time, very sweetly, by people who are facing doom. I know that from the United States, it all sounds like hyperbole. Honestly, a lot of the time the sheer kindness of the people here, coupled with the overwhelming evidence of the willful destruction of their lives, makes it seem unreal to me. I really can’t believe that something like this can happen in the world without a bigger outcry about it. It really hurts me, again, like it has hurt me in the past, to witness how awful we can allow the world to be. ….. So I think when all means of survival is cut off in a pen (Gaza) which people can’t get out of, I think that qualifies as genocide. Even if they could get out, I think it would still qualify as genocide.”

  18. I saw the pic on Hilath's blog. Shocked me.

    That woman is still really really beautiful... Something about the eyes, a gentle soul which no body can destroy. Goes to show, beauty is not skin deep. I could wish to tell her, hey, you are beautiful, no Taliban can take away the beauty of your soul. So please be strong

  19. I don't think those commenting have taken the right perspective.

    Worse atrocities than the nose and ear being cut off are being committed in the present Afghan war. To me the case sounds like the woman was on the receiving end of a personnel vendetta by the husband or relatives. Its difficult to beleive the Taliban had done it. Obviously pinning the blame on the Taliban carries great propaganda value for the west.

    I remember a similar case in Pakistan when a similar incident occured to a woman. The judge ordered the nose and ears of those who perpetrated the crime be cut off. An eye for an eye, a life for a life. But if you forgive Allah will grant recompense, says the Quran. Lets not make too much of an issue out of this without knowing the styand Islam takes on such issues.

  20. C'mon Ibrahim Mohamed. Days after we saw an article of you. Great work. Keep writing though you left journalism career.

  21. I don't think the United States should leave Afghanistan. Not until every last Taliban, Laskar-e-Taiba and the Crescent Druglords have been skinned alive and offered to the victims of the oppressive tyrants who dared to impose their cruelty in the name of islam.

    And now that the Islamic Foundation has revealed itself as a Taliban sympathizer, it is necessary to build a local gitmo camp and hold them there.

  22. @Ahmed Aliased

    Lets wait till we all die to see who is skinned alive and who gets what!! Aliased..u are no better than zionist, nazi's or American or misguided and oil money greed arabs who kill for money and blame it on god!! I have reason to believe u are a zionist agent commenting in Maldives or a rich filthy arab who is spoiled and kills for money! or u are a CIA agent who goes bombing and blame it on innocent citizens of any religious believe! i believe Ahmed Aliased is a terrorist!! Beware!!

  23. @Ahmed Aliased


  24. Extremist my foot!, people cannot come out in the open in the Maldives as say they are not Muslims because you barbarians will, most certainly, kill them. Preservation of one's own life is a human instinct unless one is a savage, suicide-bombing terrorist such as your close friends. Self-preservation is not lunacy or cowardice.

  25. COWARDS!!! SISY COWARDS!! @Wine and pork lover..we thought u guys had guts!! but i guess too sissy to openly protest for ur religion!! remember never in 1000 years u can practice ur deviant religion in Maldives!! cry baby cry!!


Comments are closed.