Afghan community marks war anniversary in Fremont

October 10, 2011 10:32:25 AM PDT
It's America's longest war: The military operation in Afghanistan's 10-year anniversary came and went quietly on Friday. But on Sunday, one of the largest Afghan populations in the United States took to the streets of Fremont to mark the anniversary in their homeland.

About 50 people marched through Fremont on Sunday, calling for peace and acknowledging that even 10 years after the war in their homeland, there are still no easy solutions for an end.

"The Bay Area has one of the largest Afghan migrant communities in the United States," said Fatmia Mojaddidy, "Fremont is the hub, they even call it Little Kabul. So it's our families that are being directly affected by these wars."

Mojaddidy says the United States has been in Afghanistan far too long, and the military operations there need to end.

"The only solution that we see is a non-violent, peaceful approach to the problem in Afghanistan," Mojaddidy said.

Demonstrators changed and walked through the heart of Little Kabul in Fremont. The area is where Mohammed Kalimi runs his Marwani market, and has for more than 20 years. On a busy Sunday, customers seem more concerned about getting their bread than the demonstration down the street.

"No, this time is not for leaving," Kalimi said when asked if he thought the U.S. should exit Afghanistan.

Kalimi has family in Afghanistan and worries about what might happen to them if U.S. and coalition forces left too soon.

There are clearly plenty of perspectives within the Afghan community, and even within the demonstration.

"If America does stay, we're glad to have them," said Fremont resident Aisha Wahab. "We just want them to team up with the right people. We want them to not just drop the bombs with their drone planes."

President Obama ordered a troop reduction in Afghanistan of about 10,000 by the end of the year and 23,000 by September 2012.


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