I have to admit that the state organizations could not grow, cleanse themselves, get rid of corruption. They never reached as far as to respect the law and human rights.
When you left five years ago, did you feel that this was a country beyond hope?
I spent the final two years mostly in Kabul and may have remained to naïve. But I really had the feeling that maybe in another ten years I could visit the beautiful locations of the country as a tourist. Because some regions were already safer and more peaceful. Progress was apparent in several state structures – the police, for example. But as we can see, I was naïve.
The common people’s attitude towards the Western presence and aid remained dismissive. They did not accept it?
One cannot be that unequivocal. After all, it also depends on how educated one is, how much of the world he has seen. Among those we met there were many people who had received good education in some Western country and worked seriously and with hope… But eventually it is too complicated to say what the average Afghan resident understood or thought. It is a fact that general educational level, literacy and access to information are very limited in that country.
The Taliban is now attempting to make an impression that there would be no retaliation. That they take over peacefully.
We shall see. It is difficult to predict whether and when we shall hear about the horrors which may begin there.
The situation will become tough?
I do fear that it may become very tough there.
How worried are you about those who cooperated with you?
As for the ones who worked as interpreters or on other posts with our mission, I know no one who stayed in Afghanistan. They left for the Western countries over the past three years. The other category is certainly those who held various posts of the government – predominantly men over 50, relatively influential people. I have no idea what happened to them – maybe they escaped from the country or defected to the other side. I do not know…
Do you have direct personal contacts with the colleagues there?
I have communicated with several people we worked together during our mission. I cannot deny that I became friendly with several of them. Actually they are also shocked and worried about the relatives who remained in the country.
Therefore the whole Afghanistan action was a waste of effort?
One could say that the troops were withdrawn too early. It is my personal opinion that the organizations should have been given more time to become stronger. We should have monitored them for longer… But I have to say that during these years that region and the neighboring areas were generally safe. We did not hear much about serious terrorist acts in the world related to their terrorist organization. This matter was successfully suppressed.