Yep, seriously, it took a 6 year study by Robert Pape and CPOST to work that one out... but it's official, when you invade a country, kill citizens and don't keep your promises, people get mad and a few of them get so mad that they attack you, sometimes by blowing themselves up. Who'd have thought that possible! I mean, surely when you invade and liberate a country like Iraq of Afghanistan the people will welcome you and shower you with flowers and suchlike. Well, actually, they did, in Iraq the army laid down it's arms (or used them to blow up portraits of Saddam) and in Afghanistan men shaved of the beards the Taliban had forced them to grow, in both countries there was celebration and the people looked forward to a new future. However, 10 years down the line and things have understandably soured, there was no plan in Iraq of Afghanistan over what to do once the country was taken over, commanders like Colonel Tim Collins who took the initiative and set up ruling bodies based on local people in southern Iraq found great success, proving what could have happened, but for the the most, nothing was done and NATO and the UN wasted a golden opportunity to really fix both countries. Now, that golden period is far in the past and with broken promises and bodies littering the streets, understandably people fight back, and some will go to extremes, especially if they have seen their families killed.
All is not lost though, in both Iraq and Afghanistan it has been shown numerous times that given half the chance the people will turn on groups like Al-Queda and the Taliban, belive me those two are hated just as much as anyone else! In Iraq, the BBC documented how local militia leaders turned on their formaer Al-Queda allies and cleared them out of their neighborhoods with US help. Similar stories are common in Afghanistan as well, recent pushes by UN and NATO forces have found that locals will quite willingly show the locations of militants, minefields, weapon caches and so on to the soldiers.
So where to now? Well, I've been saying it for a long time but it's simple, UN and NATO forces have to prove that they are in this for the locals, win their trust (again) and create stability by providing jobs and education. An employed, educated people are the enemies of the Taliban and Al-Queda which is why both groups spend a lot of effort attacking schools. Educated people can see through their false logic, the lies that they tell about Islam and employed people are more satisfied and thus less likely to consider putting on a bomb vest as a good career move. It is possible, the locals want peace, but does the UN and NATO? Time will decide and I'll be writing more on this topic later, but for now, I want to see your thoughts.