In a long lasting conflict we paint the image of others, conflicts within the conflict mushrooms as it goes for too long; in Afghanistan after the invasion we experienced many different sorts of regional, ethnic, social, personal, and psychological conflicts. The psychological combat is a relief mechanism.
These acts protect the individual from things that would otherwise make him uncomfortable and anxious. One defence mechanism is projection on others –who is perceived enemy and pretty much everyone is an enemy – of feelings, characteristics and desires that we can’t admit exist in ourselves.
A major factor in projection is the creation of a scapegoat. An ‘enemy’ serves as a scapegoat when it is accused of bringing about an outcome that was actually perpetrated by another, perhaps even oneself. The accusation is used to justify ones’ own behaviour, which is similar to that foisted on the others. Everyone is usually seen as aggressive, seeking dominance and conquest and capable of evil and brutality. One can ignore ones’ own behaviour and preserve ones self image because no matter how badly one is behaving, the world is a bad place, others are even worst.
Kabulis experience this in the 90s when belligerent parties were making projection of each other and the outside world; almost everyone in the outside world was considered evil. As the conflict prolonged this became a social trend too, and individuals started to perceive others through a defensive mechanism.
Having an enemy allows one the satisfaction of recognising one’s own moral superiority and the rightness of one’s cause (if there is one).