Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Afghans say the Orlando attack is an issue for Americans, not them - washingtonpost

 Still traumatized and broken by the fallout of another major terrorist attack on the United States 15 years ago, Afghans said Monday they weren’t about to get worked up about the latest one.

They have enough to worry about, they said, even though Sunday’s deadly rampage at a Florida nightclub has once again pushed their country back into the global headlines, perhaps unfairly.

Omar Mateen, the gunman who killed 49 people in Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, was born to Afghan immigrants. Mateen’s father, Seddique, is believed to have resettled in the United States about three decades ago but has tried to remain active in Afghanistan’s political affairs.

But the reaction of many Afghans to the shooting was relatively muted — and accompanied by a widespread sense that they are not about to take the fall for this one.

Fifteen years ago, after ­al-Qaeda attacked New York and Washington on 9/11, scared Afghan families huddled at night awaiting the U.S. response to the then-Taliban government’s refusal to hand over Osama bin Laden.

This time, as President Obama acknowledged Monday by attributing the attack to“homegrown extremism,” Afghans said they viewed Omar Mateen as the United States’ problem.

“He was born there, and raised there, and married there,” Jamshid Sardarzai, 26, said Monday night in Kabul, shortly after residents here broke their fast for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. “It’s a completely individual act.”

For much of Monday, as lucky Afghans slept through their daylight hunger and thirst while the unlucky ones reported for work, there appeared to be little discussion here of the massacre in Florida.

But as evening approached, Afghans began taking stock of the latest act of terrorism and what it meant for them and their Islamic faith.

Officials said they did not know when Seddique Mateen left the country for the United States, but noted that millions of Afghans fled after the Soviet invasion in 1979. Seddique Mateen appeared to maintain a strong affiliation to Afghanistan, hosting a television show broadcast from California that weighed in on the country’s political affairs.

“We very much expect and hope our American friends do not link the deed of a man to a nation, tribe, religion or country,” said Mohammad Musa, an engineer.

Such sentiment is driven by a widespread belief here that Afghanistan’s chronic suffering – including a record number of civilian and military causalities last year — can be partially traced to poor U.S. execution of the war.

“It’s a conspiracy plot against Muslims to apply even more restrictions on Muslims, not only in the United States but around the world,” Omid Shah, 25, said as he broke his fast while sitting on a sidewalk in Kabul’s Shar-E-Now neighborhood. - Read More

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