Explosions, gunfire and deaths have become the daily norm as have fear and anger. But after forty years of violence, peace is finally a possibility in Afghanistan. Many will recall the day a ceasefire is announced – when gunfire stops, complex attacks are not conducted and people celebrate in the streets.
Who is responsible for this historic opportunity? While many may claim responsibility for contributing to the complex effort that ended an 18-year war, the real unsung heroes are the men and women of the Afghan Security Forces. Despite a rising death toll among the security forces these men and women enlisted to serve their country and protect the people of Afghanistan with great pride.
Serving is not without sacrifices. They have lived on checkpoints in the far corners of the country, conducted operations in remote villages and provided security in densely packed cities. They have celebrated their battlefield accomplishments behind closed doors and faced instances of defeat in the media. They have flown their Afghan flags, worn their uniforms and saluted their Ministers with the pride only felt by one who has served. And while the battle with the Taliban played out on social media, they mourned their lost brothers – rendering prayers for their selflessness, courage and honor.
Days ago, the Herat Government Office posted photos of Herat Provincial Governor Abdul Qayoom Rahimi after he met with injured security force personnel. “Meeting with and supporting the personnel of the armed forces, especially the wounded will remain a top priority of mine,” said Governor Rahimi.
Some in the photos are missing a leg or arm. Some have scars on their faces. Look closely at their eyes and you will still see soldier – the heart of a policeman. Their crutches and bandages are the price of peace. No matter if the uniform is taken off, they remain the pride of our country.
This opportunity to end 40 years of violence is due to the bravery and sacrifice of the Afghan Security Forces. This opportunity is a victory for all Afghans who are ready for a better future.