I felt good when I saw President Barack Obama on TV. Everyone here was so happy to see him win. Everyone admired his speech and said he would be better than the previous president. They said he would be smart about Afghanistan and end the war and the killing. I saw faces full of happiness and hope. The reason I want to meet President Obama is to share with him all the tears of my people. I know I can’t write about all our problems in one or two pages, and I know my letter can’t clean the tears from my people’s eyes. But I write it anyway.

Dear President Barack Obama,

We want to live without fear.

I will never forget this war, what we have lost and how our lives have been destroyed as a result of an American policy that doesn’t concern itself with innocent people. After you were elected, we hoped that everything would be all right. But it is worse than before.

One thing is clear: our people are tired of war. We have tried to explain our problems again and again, and yet the situation gets worse with every passing day. Why doesn’t an Afghan life have value? What did we do that we are the victims of first the Taliban, and now the US?

It is destroying us—especially women. Too many people die, or lose their homes. Too many children are homeless in our country. It may be the poorest country in the world, but who is responsible for this? Everyone thinks about politics, but no one thinks about human life.

Do you think that your army is useful here? Or that it will bring peace? You are wrong if you do. I witnessed a mother and son who lost their lives crossing the road. The American army thought they were terrorists, but they were trying to find money to support their family. This is how we lose members of our families. How many people will die? We don’t know.

Day by day, our country is destroyed. People can’t walk freely on the road or drive. The Kabul road is too difficult for passengers now. Everyone hates it when cars get stopped and people are prevented from going to work. We don’t feel comfortable in our own country. It is like we are strangers in our own home.

Don’t you want Afghanistan to become independent?

We need our own army; our own police. Even the youngest child wishes that one day he will be able protect his country from others. But everywhere we see the American army, or soldiers from other countries. So we don’t feel free.

Unfortunately, we don’t have a strong enough government to control the situation without wasting money. No one knows where this money goes and still we are in need. This our weakest point. We don’t have a president who thinks about the future of Afghanistan or about the generation that holds the future of Afghanistan in their hands.

We need to build our own country. We want to stand on our own feet. We want to be independent.

The presence of the American army, or any army from another country, does not bring peace. Never does it save our people’s lives from war or from suicide. It will continue. It will get worse. When an army comes from another country, our army gets lazy. They have no incentive to do their job. They think the government doesn’t believe in them.

What we really want is to make our people educated. Give them the chance to get a higher education and come back to serve their people. That is what would help the Afghan people: instead of sending an army to kill, send teachers. Show my people how to work together.

My wish, President Obama, is to make Afghanistan independent and the people hard-working and able to walk on the road without fear.  To be able to delete the word of “poorest” when describing my country. So send your people, if you must. But send them to inspire, and to teach in peace.

By Shogofa