Next week Insight brings Afghan Australians together to discuss the planned troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and whether Australia’s mission there has been worth it.
Insight brings together a roomful of Afghans with diverse views and tribal backgrounds to talk frankly about what they think has been achieved, whether Afghanistan is now better off, and what they think might happen after the majority of the Australian troops leave by the end of 2013.
Haroon Chakhansuri is in Australia studying and fears for the safety of his wife and three kids back in Kabul. Although the Afghan school system has improved in recent years, Haroon says his children often have to stay home from school because of bomb threats. He wants the troops to stay longer and expects civil war to hit Kabul after the coalition troops leave.
Farida Rajab travelled to her parent’s hometown in Afghanistan’s Bamyan Province in 2010, aiming to relocate there from Australia. But while there, Farida says she met a group of Afghans who’d just had their villages burnt so she changed her mind. Farida’s brother’s in-law was killed in a suicide bombing last December in Kabul and she’s worried about her family over there. She thinks the troops should stay until the country is stable.
Wajma Zarifi thinks there have been big improvements in Afghanistan’s infrastructure, education and women’s rights and now feels it is time for the international troops to leave. But her husband, Ebad Amid, is anxious about what will happen after the forces withdraw. Wajma migrated to Australia in 2005. She and Ebad have family in Afghanistan and they worry every time they hear news about a bomb blast.
Nasir Andisha is Afghanistan’s Ambassador to Australia. He says Australia’s mission to Afghanistan has been worthwhile and many good things have been achieved. Before joining the Foreign Service, he worked with the Red Cross as a field officer, and previously taught international relations and economics at Al-Beruni University in Afghanistan.
Debbie Locke’s brother Matt was killed while on his second tour in Afghanistan in 2007. A Medal of Gallantry recipient, Sergeant Matthew Locke was serving with Special Air Service Regiment in Uruzgan Province. Debbie set up a not-for-profit organisation, the Grub Club, in his memory. She is concerned that if troops leave Afghanistan too soon, then the gains will be lost and her brother’s death will have been in vain. But her sister Belinda thinks it’s time for troops to come home.
Dallas Mazoori grew up in Australia and is married to Zabi, a Hazara Afghan who came to Australia in 2001 as an asylum seeker. Dallas has been living on and off in Afghanistan since 2005 with Zabi and their seven year old daughter. Last year her security concerns hit home when her colleague was killed in a bomb blast in a market where she used to do her shopping.
Tuesday at 8.30pm on SBS ONE.