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阿富汗战争

2017-04-10 11:49:09 优秀作文 0 评论

On October 7th, 2001, the first NATO airstrikes hit Kabul. A correspondent reflects on how the war has changed Afghanistan and its occupiers, and whether it was worth it

2001年10月7日,北约军向喀布尔发动了第一次空袭。晃眼10年已过,一名驻外记者写下这篇文章,来告诉我们这场战争怎样改变了阿富汗和阿富汗人民,以及它到底值不值得。

AS A general rule, the longer outsiders spend in Afghanistan the more depressed they become about the place. Though there are not many foreigners who can boast of more than a few years experience here, the West’s decade-long adventure has made the army of diplomats, aid workers and development people positively funereal.

一般来说,在阿富汗待的时间越长,外来人士就越没士气。尽管很少会有外籍人士会把自己在阿富汗的经历拿出来炫,但这10年里,西方国家派出的维和部队士兵、建设工人和开发商人全都失去了活力。

Hardly a conversation starts without a dark-humoured joke about the ultimate failure of the NATO mission. Everyone has their own particular reason to be glum. NGO types are disinclined to see glimmers of hope as they struggle to get anything done in a country where year after year the Taliban-led insurgency has strengthened and expanded, making it progressively harder to move staff around safely. There is rarely a week when human-rights officials don’t have some cause to tear their hair out—perhaps a Taliban stoning video or the discovery that the Afghan government is viciously abusing prisoners. And the diplomatic corps must deal with the daily frustrations of doing business with a government led by Hamid Karzai. It was his behaviour during the 2009 presidential election that seemed to tip many people towards despair: a million of fake ballots cast and a messy post-polling dispute that dragged on for months. The country’s four post-2001 elections have seen increasing fraud and falling participation. Western electoral experts are usually the most despairing of the lot.

现在,人们几乎每次聊天时都会把北约军的失败当作黑色笑话来开局。而且,每个人都有这么做的理由。外来的民间组织想做点什么都得殚精竭虑地去完成,他们实在看不到什么希望,因为塔利班武装一年比一年闹得欢,闹得广,他们越发难以保证员工的安全。而人权组织的官员几乎每个星期都是焦头烂额的——不是塔利班公开杀俘录象,就是传出阿政府虐待囚犯的新闻。而与阿富汗做生意的企业则被卡扎伊政府搞得灰心丧气,外交团不得不出面调解。在2009年的大选上,卡扎伊的行为让许多人绝望了:清票时发现一百万假票,而民意调查也是一团糟,这种现象持续了数月之久。从2001年起,阿富汗的四次选举一次比一次虚假,票数差距一次比一次大。西方国家的选举专家们应该是最失望的吧。

Many Afghans too are disinclined to see anything but a bleak future. The vast change that the last decade has brought to Kabul, a city that has experienced a ten-year boom and which now enjoys almost round-the-clock electricity, will not last, says the manager of a high-end shop selling

office computer supplies. He points out that when the torrent of money flowing through the Afghan capital in the wake of the foreigners stops, so too will the mad construction of grandiose concrete palaces that now encroach on almost every neighbourhood. Ditto the ludicrous rents and high prices for almost everything that has to be hauled up to this mountaintop plateau, making Kabul one of most expensive cities in the poor world. 同样,许多阿富汗人也不愿看到国家前景暗淡无光。过去10年里,喀布尔改变了许多,这个城市享受了10年的高速发展期,现在的喀布尔也算是不夜城了,但这却是最后的高潮。一家销售办公室电脑用品的高端商店老板如是说道。他指称,流向首都的资金是由外国人带来的,当(欧美撤兵)这一资金流不再流动时,摩天大厦在喀布尔四处矗立的疯狂劲也会停下来。正因为最后的高潮已来到,房租和各种商品的价格都被抬升到了离奇的地步,把喀布尔变成贫穷国度里物价最高的城市之一。

“The 9/11 kids,” he says, pointing to a gaggle of male teens sporting spiky gelled hair, the hippest of threads and flaunting mobile-phone technology that would have given the Taliban regime’s vice and virtue police heart palpitations. “They will all go back to wearing shalwar kameez.”

“那些9.11之子,都会换回长袍和头巾的!”他指一群打着啫喱水,衣着花哨,秀着手机的青少年男孩说道。因为塔利班政权的“缺点与美德”警察很不爽这些东西。(言下之意,美国一撤军,塔利班必然重新掌权。)

His business, which has thrived off contracts with commercial development companies who need computers and printer toners, is already feeling the squeeze as aid budgets are cut. He is resigned to having to do something rather more humble in the future. “I will sell bolani,” he suggests, picturing himself as a roadside vendor of greasy, potato-filled bread—which is what he was doing as a refugee in Peshawar in 2001 before the war started.

他是靠着和广告公司(对电脑和打印机油墨需求大)做生意发的财。可现在他已经感觉到了在援助预算被取消之后,生意变得难做了。他准备在将来辞职后去干一个相对卑微许多的行当。“我去卖热狗,”他说道,一边想象着自已在路边卖那些填满了土豆的油腻面包——这正是2001年时他在Peshawar当难民时干的职业,那时战争还没发生。

Although foreign soldiers tend to be much more upbeat, in recent years there has been a noticeable fading of their zeal. These days it is not hard to find American soldiers simultaneously doing some of the most ambitious and sophisticated counter-insurgency operations ever attempted, while failing to see the point of them.

尽管外国士兵看上去非常乐观,可实际上他们的激情在这两年已经明显消退了。这些天里,你不难发现美国士兵在执行一些熟练无比的“伟大”剿匪行动中同时频频失败,但你是看不出为什么的。

I got my first taste of this two years ago, on a rainy evening in Bala Murghab, an outpost of fierce insurgency in the otherwise relatively

Taliban-light north-west, from a couple of young US Army specialists (9/11 kids too), chatting as they manned a gun emplacement in a wide valley where their expensively carved out “security bubble” was merely a few kilometres wide. They understood that the point of the whole agonising business of endless foot patrols and engagement with the local community was to win them over to the Afghan government. But they did not think it had much to do with Americas national security. “The people here are no threat to me or my family,” one said, before explaining his reasons for joining up: a lack of other employment opportunities and a young man’s general enthusiasm for guns and violence.

2年前的一个雨夜,在与一群年轻的美军士兵的聊天中,我第一次察觉到了原因。地点是在塔利班控制相对薄弱的西北部,一个剿匪战争最激烈的前哨站——Bala Murghab。当时美国陆军中的技术人员(也是9.11之子)正在将火炮推到一个宽广的山谷里,那里是他们花大力气才弄出来的“安全防护罩”,其实也只有几千米宽。他们说他们也知道,没完没了的徒步巡逻以及帮助当地民众这些的烦人事都是为了将老百姓争取到阿富汗政府这边来。只是,他们觉得,这跟美国的安全有半毛钱的关系?“这些人对我或我的家人都不再是威胁了”其中有人这样说道,接着他又解释了为什么参军:一是找不到工作,二是年轻人对枪支和暴力普遍的狂热。

Older soldiers are often more willing to accept the logic of a grand strategy, in this case one that is supposed to keep America safe by preventing Afghanistan from once again becoming a jihadist free-for-all. But after three or four tours in Iraq and Afghanistan many say they are tired and fed-up with the strain that the 12-month stints put on their family lives.

年长一点的士兵们一般更容易接受“伟大战略”的解释,即为了维护美国的安全,要防止阿富汗再次成为圣战组织的乐园。但在伊拉克或是阿富汗打了三四场仗之后,许多人都说他们已经受不了一年的军役给他们的家庭生活带来的压力了。

With the mood apparently gloomier than ever, is there any reason to think the Afghan adventure may not end in failure? Sitting in his windowless office, a man who insists on being cited only as a “senior Western intelligence officer” thinks Kabul’s chattering class (not least the cohort of journalists who have realised the bleaker their copy the more prominent it is in newspapers back home) has become too depressed and is thus ignoring some areas of progress. He and his team of colleagues, including a German theoretical physicist, pore over vast quantities of data gleaned from soldiers spread across the country.

士兵们的士气比以往任何时候都低,这种情况下,阿富汗战争最后以失败收场很奇怪吗?一名军官坐在他那连窗户都没有的办公室里接受我们的采访,不过他一直坚持要我们把他写成“高级西方情报官”。他认为喀布尔那些喋喋不休的人太悲观了(很多记者都明白他的文章写得越是悲观,发回去后引起的关注就越多),没注意到某些方面所取得的进展。他和他的工作队伍,包括一名德国战略推策师,负责仔细甄选成千上万份由士兵从阿富汗各地搜集上来的情报。

The endless charts they use to track things show fighting seasons (the summers) becoming more intensive every year over the past decade. Only this year things were slightly different. This summer is set to be slightly less deadly that the last, for the first time: the level of violence in the south has plunged downwards. Although those gains have been partly offset by increases in violence the east, where NATO has turned its attention, across the country as a whole things are at last turning for the better. It may not look much, but the after so many years of relentless strengthening by the various insurgencies racking Afghanistan, this is a remarkable achievement.

大量用于追踪事态进展的图表表明,在过去的10年里战斗季(夏天)一年比一年来的猛烈。只有今年事态才有点不同,今年夏天比去年夏天死的人要少。这可是头一次南部的暴力事件的数量有所下降。尽管这些减少在一定程度上被东部暴力事件的上升所抵消(因为北约军的注意力不在那了),但把阿富汗国内所有事件当作整体看待的话,事态算是终于向好的一面发展。虽说看起微不足道,但这么多年以来,在无数的残酷暴乱中成长的阿富汗,终于迎来了可庆的成就。 “The numbers [of attacks] are still high, but the trending is unmistakable,” he says, waving a bar chart. “Every year we have seen dramatic increases in violence—now we are seeing that trend reverse.” He does not claim victory is nigh, and is careful to state the gains are fragile, but he’s maddened by the widespread failure to recognise the change. “This is our frustration: everyone says you have to get the violence down, and we get the violence down and then apparently for the media and sometimes some people in government it doesn’t matter, it is irrelevant.”

“数字(袭击次数)依然很高,但这个(减弱)趋势是显而易见的”他挥舞着一张柱状图说道。“每年暴力事件都有明显的上升——现在我们却看到了减弱的趋势。他并没有说胜利就在眼前,而且也很谨慎地表示这点成就是很脆弱的。可是各界人士对这一成果都不予以认可,这让他有点抓狂。“这就是我们最郁闷的地方:所有人都说你们要把暴力事件控制下来,而现在我们已经让暴力事件减少了。可对媒体,甚至有时候对某些政府官员来说,这是无所谓的事,不相干的事罢了。”

The transformation of the American mission in Afghanistan in the past few years certainly has been remarkable. Four years ago, when your correspondent first arrived, the NATO effort was drifting along with little American leadership. The headquarters of the NATO mission felt like a particularly cosmopolitan holiday camp, with a good bar. Wandering around were precious few Americans but Europeans from every conceivable nation, including countries with trivial troop contributions.

在过去的5年里,美军在阿富汗军事任务的转变十分明显。4年前,当记者刚来阿富汗时,北约军只是跟着一小撮的美军打酱油罢了。北约军司令部感觉他们的军队压根就是个在全球各地度假的夏令营,还有家不错的酒吧服务。在四处闲逛的很少有美国士兵,大都是欧洲国家的(只你叫得出名的都有),还包括那

些没什么战斗力的国家。

After the remarkably quick overthrow of the Taliban government in late 2001, and then the distraction of Iraq, the Americans felt comfortable having fewer than 30,000 troops in Afghanistan. The British made the intellectual running, producing daring plans for tribal defence forces, including teams incorporating former Taliban fighters, who, the British ambassador of the day thought, could be coaxed into swapping sides. The American general in charge wasn’t convinced and publicly squashed the idea of militias, while Washingtons ambassador persisted in believing the “only good Taliban is a caged Taliban”. And bold ideas were nothing without American firepower anyway. The commander of British troops in Helmand, a huge province that produces more opium than any other place in the world, admitted as much when he told me the efforts of his overstretched force were just a “holding exercise” until the Americans could re-engage themselves.

先是在2001年末迅速推翻塔利班政权,接着又掉头攻打伊拉克,这让美国人觉得在阿富汗布置不到3万人的军队就足够了。英国人负责情报机构运转,并大胆地制定计划利用部落武装,甚至包括一些吸收了前塔利班战士的队伍;因为在当时的英国大使看来,这些人是谁都可以去争取的。但当时的美军指挥官不认可这一计划,并公开打压建立民兵组织的想法。而美国的大使也坚持认为“只有关在笼子里的塔利班,才是好的塔利班”。再大胆的计划,如没有美军的火力支持也只是纸上谈兵。英军驻Helmand(阿富汗大省,全球最大的鸦片产地)部队的一名军官坦承,已经超负荷运作的英军只是努力在“维持局面”罢了,撑到美军能再次把兵力投放进来。

The Americans did get serious in 2009 with a new commander, Stanley McChrystal, and two troop surges.Special-forces operations, particularly night raids directed against mid-level insurgents, were greatly increased. “We have never been better at taking bad people off the battlefield,” says John Nagl, an American counter-insurgency expert. Extraordinary efforts, including restrictions on air power, were made to reduce civilian casualties—which are now overwhelmingly caused by the Taliban.

2009年美国更换了驻阿军事长官,换成斯坦利·麦克瑞斯脱将军上台。这之后美军的确开始认真起来,英美两军士气也大振。特种部队参战,尤其是直接针对中等程度叛乱的夜袭行动大量增加。“我们从没打过这样的顺风仗”约翰·奈格,一名美军剿匪专家。特殊行动,包括空禁,是为了减少平民死伤——现在,由塔利班带来的死伤已经让人受不了了。

Serious effort was put into trying to train up a half-competent Afghan Army and to overhaul the country’s prisons which, General McChrystal’s people soon discovered, were often taking in criminals and putting out insurgents. And plans remarkably similar to the old British idea were put in place for local defence militias. A team was set up to try to help persuade insurgents to lay down their weapons, so far to little effect. 现在美军正在极力训练一批半合格的阿富汗军,用来看守阿富汗的监狱。因

为麦克瑞斯脱将军的人发现,阿国的监狱常常偷梁换柱,把匪徒放走,关进一些普通犯人。另外,一份与英军原来的战略极为相似的“民兵计划”也开始实行。美国成立了一支队伍用来劝降匪徒,不过到目前为止收效甚微。

General McChrystal’s tiny headquarters in Kabul took on a very different feel. The notoriously ascetic generally personally lambasted European soldiers spotted idling in the garden. He also closed the bar. Privately he would point out that most insurgencies take about a decade to beat. In his view, Afghanistan was at year two of that effort, at best. He also said victories were usually impossible when the enemy enjoys the sort of sanctuaries that the Taliban have in Pakistan. Helmand has benefited the most from the full-bore counter-insurgency campaign that came with General McChrystal, as the classified charts and tables drawn up for the senior Western intelligence officer attest, marking the sharpest fall in attacks by insurgents.

麦克瑞斯脱设立在喀布尔的小型司令部看上去有不同的感觉了。这个臭名昭著的禁欲主义者亲自鞭笞了一帮整天在公园里游手好闲的欧洲兵。酒吧也被他关了。他私底下曾表示,叛乱想要基本平定大概需要十年。在他看来,若是在第2年执行此计划的话,对阿富汗是最好的。他还说,在敌人还能有各种避难所躲藏的情况下(塔利班在巴基斯坦有避难所),休想胜利。Helmand省成为了麦克瑞斯脱的“最大火力剿匪”行动的最大受益者,因为那些为“高级西方情报官”详细绘制的柱状图和表格证明,(这里的)叛乱袭击急剧下降。

The Afghan Army has also made remarkable gains. In many areas it is now logistics and resupply that worry its international mentors, not the Afghans capacity for fighting (which they are evidently rather good at). 阿富汗军队也有可喜的收获。现在,在许多方面阿富汗只是在后勤和补给方面让他的外国“老师”担心,而不是阿富汗军的战斗力(很明显,阿富人打仗是把好手)。

But these gains are not enough for the doubters. That’s partly because of a deep-seated distrust of anything said by the military commanders, who have announced too many turning points in the past. But it is also because they argue that military gains are ephemeral without improvements in governance, rule of law and the economy.

但对忧虑者来说这点成就还不够。一部分原因是源自他们心中对美国军方官员根深蒂固的怀疑,在过去美国军方官员多次宣称(战事)已经到了转折点了。但也同样是因为他们相信军事进展,如果没有管理上、法律上、经济上的成就来配合,终将是短暂的。

And yet there are plenty of other examples of poor countries that manage to bodge along, misgoverned by corrupt elites. They just dont have to live with a threat to their existence the size of the Taliban. In my first 24 hours in Dushanbe, the capital of Afghanistan’s northern neighbour, Tajikistan, my wallet was lightened more than four times by traffic police and border guards. I’ve never been asked to pay a bribe in Afghanistan. For all the complaints about Afghanistan being uniquely corrupt, the problem is not so much the government, which certainly is predatory at

times, and more that the dirty spoils of an out-of-control war economy are snapped up by factions or tribes, to the anger of other groups. 而且穷国在腐败的政治家统治下缝缝补补过日子的例子实在是够多了。相比阿富汗,他们只不过是没有像塔利班这样的组织来搞乱而已。我在Dushanbe(阿富汗邻国乌兹别克斯坦的首都)待的第一天里,我的钱包被交警和边境卫兵光顾了至少四次。我在阿富汗从来没被人索贿过。对那些抱怨阿富汗正以特殊的形式腐败的人来说,政府的问题倒还不大,虽说阿富汗政府有时也很贪婪,更多的是因为肮脏而失控的战争经济突然被小集团和部落的出现(指部落武装)中止了,而这引起了其他人的怒火。

The gloom might lift if the cynical observers of this war were to accept that the bar for success is now far lower. The rhetoric and aims of late 2001 evaporated long ago. The plan is no longer for a modern state with clean courts, a functioning bureaucracy and a commitment to human rights that would lead to the locking up of the warlords, as many observers still seem to hope. As David Petraeus said, no one is trying to create Switzerland. Ten years on, success will simply be the holding of ground in a grinding counter-insurgency that will increasingly be fought by Afghans and be paid for by Americans. What is often described as a “withdrawal” in 2014 is really a troop reduction. American troops will fall back to probably around the 30,000 level, with most of them involved in mentoring, training and supplying air support the Afghans lack. There will no doubt be quite a bit of special-forces activity. Most of the non-Americans will simply leave.

如果愤世嫉俗的观察家们能承认胜利已经越来越远的话,反倒是能解脱了。2001年未放出的豪言壮语和高远目标早已消褪了。现在的计划不在是建立一个拥有廉洁的法院,高效的官僚和保障人权的现代化国家,并以之为匣,尘封战争之剑。可许多观察家们还这么期盼着。如David Petraeus所说,现在没人想在这里建出个瑞士来。十年之期已到,现在的“胜利”只不过是单纯以剿匪行为来控制住战场,而且渐渐将会由阿富人自己来剿匪,美国负责买单。而现在常说的“2014撤兵”实际上只是裁军罢了。美国军队将重新回到3万的数量,大多数都是留下来指导,训练和提供空中支援的。毫无疑问,以后的特种作战会相当多了。大多数非美国军队都会离开。

A much expanded Afghan army and police, numbering around 350,000, will have to do most of the fighting against an insurgency that fluctuates between around 25,000 to 30,000 strong. Their mission for the army and police will be to hold on to the bits of Afghanistan that matter the most: the cities, where increasing numbers of Afghans now live, the north, and as much as the rural south as possible.

一支更为壮大的阿富汗军和警察队伍(大概在35万左右)将承担起和匪徒(数量波动在25万到30万之间)交战的主要任务。他们的任务是守住对阿富汗最为重要的据点:城市,现在有越来越多的阿富汗人生活在城市,北方,和尽可能多的南方农村地区。

Ten years on, the best Afghanistan can hope for is quite depressing. There will not be the happy ending that most people hoped for in 2001, but nor

will there be the total defeat that many now expect.

10年后的现在,阿富汗最好的蓝图也是让人无比沮丧的。人们在2001年所期待的幸福结局不会出现了,但现在许多人所期待的全面败退也不会出现。

fragile [frædʒail]

adj. 脆的;易碎的

nigh [nai]

prep. 近于

adj. 在附近的;直接的

adv. 在附近地;几乎

militia [miliʃə]

n. 义勇军;国民军;民兵组织;自卫队

squash [skwɔʃ, skwɔ:ʃ]

vt. 镇压;把„压扁;[口]使沉默

vi. 受挤压;发出挤压声;挤入

n. 挤压;咯吱声;壁球;南瓜属植物;(英)果汁饮料

persist [pəsist, -zist]

vi. 持续,固执;存留,坚持

vt. 坚持说,反复说

Overstrech 勉强维持 硬撑 超负荷运转

overhaul [,əuvəhɔ:l, əuvəhɔ:l]

vt. 分解检查,大修;追上并超过

n. 彻底检修,详细检查

ascetic [əsetik]

adj. 苦行的;禁欲主义的

n. 禁欲者;苦行者

logistics [ləudʒistiks]

n. 后勤;后勤学

ephemeral [ifemərəl]

adj. 短暂的;朝生暮死的

n. 只生存一天的事物

cynical [sinikəl]

adj. 愤世嫉俗的;冷嘲的

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