Why Afghan-Australians fear troop withdrawals
Most from Afghanistan’s ethnic and religious minorities, and especially Afghan women, welcomed the intervention and applauded Australia’s role in removing the Taliban regime. It was notorious for its suppression of minorities’ and women’s rights.
Even for Afghans who opposed the intervention, the fall of the Taliban and the prospect of a new democratic Afghanistan instilled renewed hope that it could become a stable democracy, where human rights, justice and accountability would prevail. This newfound optimism relied on the promises offered by the members of the international coalition, including Australia, who assured Afghans at every opportunity that their presence was to protect them and to promote democratic freedoms, human rights and the rule of law.
However, despite the progress in some areas, almost two decades later, Afghanistan remains one of the most dangerous places in the world. The Afghan government is ranked as one of the most corrupt in the world, government and democratic institutions remain weak, and warlords and strongmen have maintained and, in some cases, increased their power.
The announcement to withdraw our remaining troops must not take any focus and momentum away from investigating and prosecuting any allegations of war crimes against Australian personnel over the past two decades.