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Far more questions than answers

Much of the world in the period of a week experienced traumatic events that left even those with a keen knowledge of international events astonished — with far more questions floating about than answers, especially when Afghanistan after 20 years saw the Taleban retake the country in steamroller fashion after America’s decision to withdraw its military.

While the international media were trying to keep pace with what was nothing short of a stunning collapse of the Afghanistan Government, attention was also focused on a tragedy in Haiti, as a massive 7.2 earthquake shattered life in that country.

The disaster claimed many lives and caused damage so severe that it triggered memories of the 2010 quake, which left hundreds of thousands dead. The country is yet to fully recover from that.

There are still many questions over the assassination last month of Jovenel Moïse, the Haitian president, who was gunned down in his bedroom by a team of assassins believed to have international connections.

Haiti is described as one of the poorest countries in the world and recent events there have left its leaders with no choice but to declare a state of emergency for a month in order to come to grips with a situation that would challenge the most powerful nations.

It was a week that saw human suffering with people in one country scrambling to rescue those trapped in collapsed buildings, including a hotel, while in another people were trying to flee from invaders who each day took over much of their country, which for 20 years had been protected by the America military.

The Afghanistan president, amid the mounting chaos, made feeble appeals to the people to remain calm, even though he could offer no solution to halt the unstoppable takeover of the country by the Taleban. That takeover was at such a pace that the President decided to abandon attempts to engage the Taleban and fled the country — leaving the people at the mercy of the new occupants. This again left more questions than answers as to what their future would be like.

Escape from Afghanistan: Afghan citizens pack inside a US Air Force C17 Globemaster III, as they are transported from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Afghanistan last Sunday (Photograph by Captain Chris Herbert/US Air Force/AP)

The chaotic situation as American troops were ordered out of Afghanistan to ensure that their citizens, along with Afghans who worked for the US military, could be flown out of the country took on the appearance of the fall of Saigon in Vietnam in 1975.

While some US officials were reluctant to make a comparison, others felt there was little difference, if any, when it came to a mad scramble to get their people out of the country.

Perhaps one of the biggest questions of all will be whether the fall of Afghanistan to the Taleban opens the door to potential activity usually associated with terrorist groups. After all, the Taleban does not enjoy a reputation of embracing values cherished in most democratic countries, where freedom and justice are held as key in promoting peace and civil liberties.

An American general warns that unfolding is a situation where it is likely that beneath the surface terrorists groups could form under the umbrella of the Taleban, creating new alerts for the international community.

There will always be major questions, including why America wound up in Afghanistan in the first place. Even the Russians failed to win out in trying to take command of that part of the world.

Out of all of the chaos with so many unanswered questions, one thing seems very clear: those of us who value democracy, and the precious right to freedom of choice, laced with dignity and respect, should never take that freedom for granted. The price of protecting that freedom is never too high.

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Published August 21, 2021 at 8:01 am (Updated August 20, 2021 at 3:09 pm)

Far more questions than answers

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