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'Every year, it gets worse': Afghan-Americans have their say

By Samira Said, CNN
updated 4:52 PM EDT, Tue May 22, 2012
Afghan policemen stand next to the wreckage of a car used in a suicide attack April 16 in Kabul.
Afghan policemen stand next to the wreckage of a car used in a suicide attack April 16 in Kabul.
  • CNN spoke to Afghan-Americans in Chicago to get their take on the NATO summit
  • One restaurant owner says war isn't the solution: "People are upset, people are suffering"
  • Bring everyone together and let Afghans lead the peace process, one author says

Chicago (CNN) -- With NATO meeting this week in Chicago to discuss the war in Afghanistan, CNN reached out to some everyday Afghan-Americans to see what they think.

What should be the next step?

What do they hope will result from the summit?

And what is the key to restoring peace after 10 years of bloodshed?

Here are five perspectives from Afghans who live in different areas of the Windy City.

Nasir Ahmad Raufi
Nasir Ahmad Raufi

Nasir Ahmad Raufi owns a restaurant in northwest Chicago. He is from Puli Khumri in northern Afghanistan.

"I was (in Afghanistan) in 2002, 2004, 2007 and just last November. Every year, it gets worse. People are upset, people are suffering. ... Both sides (are) losing life.

"The war is not the solution. There is no way you can win the war by this kind of force. NATO has so many mistakes in Afghanistan. Innocent people died. On the other side, suicide (bombers), innocent people died. We are against that.

"(I'm hopeful), but at this summit I don't think NATO is going to pull out from Afghanistan."

Mohammed Daud Miraki
Mohammed Daud Miraki

Mohammed Daud Miraki is author of "Afghanistan After Democracy: The Untold Story Through Photographic Images." He is from Maidan, Afghanistan, 40 kilometers (25 miles) southwest of Kabul.

"(Under NATO), a few roads have been built, no doubt. But come on, these are nothing compared to the $500 billion we supposedly spent in Afghanistan.

"The solution (to the war) is an indigenous peace process. I call it the indigenous peace jurga. These are jurgas at the village level, at the district level, at the province level, at the zonal level all over Afghanistan. They include tribal leaders, they include insurgents and (foreign-educated Afghan expatriates). Let us lead the peace process."

Fazal Ahmedi
Fazal Ahmedi

Fazal Ahmedi owns a jewelry store on Chicago's north side. He is from Kandahar City.

"All the companies (NATO) hires, who owns the companies? Americans, Chinese, Indians, Pakistanis. Why don't you hire Afghans? If you want to stop them from war, give them jobs. ...

"My family, we have a lot of kids, no school. We need good schools, we need a system."

Hamid Ahang
Hamid Ahang

Hamid Ahang is a network engineer originally from Kabul.

"There's been certain progress, there are schools built. But at the same time, what they promised was stability and peace. After years of war, they haven't done as promised.

"If NATO pulls out, there will be civil war, there will be anarchy. If they don't, the violence will continue.

"NATO needs to focus on Pakistan, not Afghanistan. Pakistan is where the Taliban came from and where support (for it) comes from. (NATO) needs to have a greater debate that involves regional powers like Pakistan, Iran and Russia, which still has influence."

Sima Quraishi
Sima Quraishi

Sima Quraishi is executive director of the Muslim Women Resource Center, a nonprofit based in Chicago. She is originally from Kabul.

"There is a lot of money floating around (in Afghanistan). However, I believe the money should be spent to help the people of Afghanistan with education/schools, job development, health care and child care.

"It is vital that the people of Afghanistan develop skills and obtain the tools to move past 2014 and work independently toward the betterment of Afghanistan. With the proper funding and tools available to the people, I trust that Afghanistan can improve after 2014 and the lives of innocent Afghans would be spared."

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