Ashraf Ghani left a comfortable life as an anthropology professor at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore to help rebuild his war-torn homeland of Afghanistan after U.S.-led forces toppled the Taliban government. Now, he is a step away from becoming its president, expected to compete in a runoff election against the front-runner, Abdullah Abdullah.
Instead of moving civilians out of harm's way prior to a battle, the Taliban prefer they remain close to the fighting. In many cases, U.S. and coalition forces may not realize civilians are even present until it is too late.
To the right, 9/11 is a symbol for what we're trying to prevent through our involvement in the Middle East. Every militant group remotely affiliated with al Qaida in Iraq and Afghanistan — regardless of whether their goals include attacks on U.S. soil — has been thrown into a Qaida quesadilla and is immediately considered an enemy.
Lamenting about "civilian deaths" is an oversimplified argument for a Pakistani, just as "hunting down terrorists" is for an American. This oversimplified narrative is a gift of politicians from both countries, who seem to have taken an oath to tell the half-truth.