It would have been great if, in 20 years, Afghanistan had developed into a democratizing, progressively prosperous country with almost 40 million inhabitants living without fear of violence.
The last Finnish soldiers serving in Afghanistan landed at Pirkkala Airport on 8 June. The return of a group of ten was rustic: the speech of the general, not the invited guests. The Defense Forces justified the modest ceremony with a corona situation. Why not.
Somehow it is still descriptive of that important operation – the last stage called Determined support – ended so modestly.
The operation was large in Finnish terms: two decades and 2,500 soldiers. By international standards, it was huge. Rarely has such a strong effort been made to appease and build one state.
The terrorist attacks of September 2001 provided the initial impetus for intervention. The United States invaded Afghanistan and overthrew the extremist Islamic regime of terror.
Afghanistan had to be corrected into a whole nation. That did not happen. President Joe Biden finally announced that now the rest of the troops are leaving as well.
Probably at least a million foreigners took part in the stabilization attempt in Afghanistan. They did not fail.
As far as is known, Finnish soldiers and civilians also did what could be done in Afghanistan. At least until 2024, Finland will continue to help with 30 million euros a year.
It would have been great if Afghanistan had developed over the years into a democratizing, gradually prosperous country with almost 40 million inhabitants living without fear of violence.
Violence is so pervasive in Afghanistan that virtually everyone knows the victims. I, too, felt even though I had only been in Afghanistan for short periods.
Kabul colleague Sardar Ahmad was in a restaurant with his family in March 2014. He was first shot by Taliban terrorists, then a six-year-old Nelofar girl, then a five-year-old son Omar, then a family mother, Humaira. Abu Zar, a two-year-old boy, survived.
Terrorist attacks are so frequent in Afghanistan that even the most shocking no longer want to cross the news threshold.
In May in Kabul, terrorists murdered about 85 students at a girls ’school with their bombs. The explosions were so intense that some of the teenage girls disappeared into existence.
It is immeasurably tragic that after 20 years of effort, this is the reality.
The author is an editor of HS.