What Ho Chi Minh can teach us about bringing peace to Afghanistan. Foreign Policy 15 August 2013 By Lawrence Korb
Talks aimed at ending the Afghan war got off to a rough start last month when the Taliban hung a plaque outside their Doha, Qatar office that read: "Political Office of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan." The brazen attempt to present themselves as a government in exile prompted Afghan President Hamid Karzai to call off the whole exercise -- even temporarily severing negotiations with the United States over a long-term security agreement between the two countries. (read more)
Taliban Attacks Highly Regarded Afghan Army Unit
Rod Norland and Azam Ahmed
April 12, 2013
KABUL, Afghanistan — Taliban insurgents dealt a serious blow to one of the Afghan Army’s most highly regarded units on Friday, killing 13 soldiers and overrunning their outpost in eastern Afghanistan.
It was one of a series of bloody attacks by the insurgents during their current spring offensive, which has helped drive the rate of government fatalities to the highest level of the war. Afghan soldiers and policemen are dying at a rate more than double the rate a year ago, according to military officials. (read more)
Villagers Take On Taliban in Their Heartland
By CARLOTTA GALL
March 20, 2013
PISHIN GAN SAYEDAN, Afghanistan — An uprising against the Taliban that began last month in this southern Afghan village has now spread through dozens of others, according to residents and Afghan and American officials, in the most significant popular turning against the Islamist insurgents in recent years.
Since early February, when villagers joined with police forces to begin ousting Taliban fighters from this region of rich vineyards and orchards southwest of Kandahar City, hundreds of residents have rallied to support the government. Nearly 100 village elders vowed at a public meeting Monday to keep the Taliban out as the new fighting season sets in, and Afghan flags are flying from rooftops in the villages, residents said. (read more)
11 Afghans Killed in Military Actions Near Pakistan Border
The New York times
By Alissa J. Rubin
February 13, 2013
KABUL, Afghanistan — International military officials are investigating two episodes in which as many as 11 Afghan civilians may have been killed in what appeared to be American-led military actions.
In the more lethal episode, 10 civilians were killed overnight in Kunar Province in eastern Afghanistan in a village where two know Taliban commanders were visiting family members, Afghan officials said.
“Ten civilians were killed last night in a joint Afghan and American operation that took place in Chogam Valley in Shigal District,” said Fazlullah Wahidi, the provincial governor. He said four women, one man and five children between the ages of 8 and 13 were killed; four teenagers were wounded, three of whom were girls. (read more)
Une frappe de l'OTAN tue dix civils, dont cinq enfants, en Afghanistan.
February 13, 2013
Une frappe de la Force internationale d'assistance à la sécurité (ISAF), sous commandement de l’OTAN, a tué dix civils dont cinq enfants, mercredi 13 février, selon des responsables locaux. L'attaque aérienne a eu lieu dans le district de Shigal (province de Kunar, dans l'est de l'Afghanistan). Elle a été confirmée par l'ISAF, qui ne s'est cependant pas prononcé sur l'annonce de décès de civils.
"Les forces étrangères ont perpétré l'attaque de leur propre chef, sans nous en informer", a dénoncé le gouverneur de la province. Il a précisé que la frappe avait eu lieu dans le village de Chawgam et que les dix civils tués appartenaient à deux familles du village. Quatre combattants talibans ont également été tués dans la frappe et cinq autres civils ont été blessés, a-t-il ajouté.
Le major Adam Wojack, porte-parole de l'ISAF, a déclaré avoir été informé d'un incident qui "correspondait" à celui de Kunar, mais n'a pas confirmé le nombre de victimes. "Nous prenons au sérieux toutes les accusations de victimes civiles et nous sommes en train d’examiner l'incident pour éclaircir davantage les faits", a-t-il déclaré. L'ISAF affirme régulièrement avoir diminué le nombre de victimes civiles ces dernières années en Afghanistan et estime que les insurgés sont aujourd'hui responsables de la majorité des décès.
Copyright Le Monde 2013
Government Panel in Afghanistan Confirms Widespread Torture of Detainees
February 11, 2013
The New York Times
An Afghan government panel on Monday acknowledged widespread torture of detainees, after a two-week investigation of a United Nations report citing rampant abuses.
At a news conference in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, the panel’s director said its inquiry had confirmed evidence that nearly half of the 284 prisoners interviewed in three provinces had been tortured during arrest or questioning. The inquiry also found that many of the detainees never had access to legal defense.
But even though the official, Abdul Qadir Adalatkhwa, noted that the findings were serious, he insisted that there was no evidence of “systematic torture.” (read more)
Fears of the future haunt a budding generation of afghan strivers.
The New York Times, February 11, 2013.
KABUL, Afghanistan — The landmarks of this capital city’s new middle class light up a once-restrained night sky — vast and glittering wedding halls with aspirational names like “Kabul-Paris,” streetlamp networks, come-hither billboards for energy drinks.
After the ouster of the Taliban in 2001, thousands of Afghan families returned from abroad, or came in from the countryside, to construct urban and increasingly Westernized lives. They built homes and careers based on an influx of foreign money, expanded bureaucracies and new educational opportunities. (read more)
Persecution of Women: Afghanistan
Afghanistan was first unified by domestic power in 1747 under Pashtun leadership. Control in Afghanistan was held by Britain until 1919, when independence was obtained and leadership reverted to a unified tribal council. Democratic reforms instituted from 1919-1929 created rifts in the highly religious and polarized country. Numerous tribal wars ensued.
A military coup ushered in a communist regime in 1973, prompting immediate support and invasion by the USSR. The People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan initiated the coup, backed by Soviet troops. The communist regime was unable to gain control of the country outside of the metropolitan areas where armed resistance groups had formed. The US and other outside powers provided assistance in training and arms to the resistance fighters against the Soviets. Afghanistan became a drain on Soviet resources and eventually prompted the Soviets to withdraw in 1989.
Taliban Islamist extremist groups took power after Soviet withdrawal and openly allied with Al Queda against the US, Saudi Arabia, and the West. The Taliban and Al Queda gained control over 90% of the country and eliminated all opposition. They implemented strict Sharia law and committed massive human rights violations against non-Muslims, ethnic minorities and women. During the reign of the Taliban, Afghanistan became home to the largest terrorist conspiracy network in the world, responsible for attacks committed in Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, New York City, Washington, DC and many other places.
After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, DC, the US invaded Afghanistan and drove the Taliban from power. Since the fall of Taliban rule and occupation by the US and other NATO forces, the newly elected government has been working to combat human rights abuses. But crimes against women are still being committed by traditional, local “jirgas” (an appointed council of community members and religious scholars) which often hand out convictions against women for “moral crimes.”
Crimes against women include forced marriage, arbitrary arrest and prosecution for “moral crimes” such as running away, sex outside of marriage or refusing to submit to a forced marriage. Many women serve jail time for being victims of domestic abuse or rape (which is considered sex outside of marriage). Those from abusive homes are especially susceptible to this fate because women are not allowed to obtain divorces. Women from abusive homes who cannot obtain divorces are the ones most likely to be convicted of having sex outside of marriage.
Lack of education is still a major barrier to women’s rights. Under Taliban rule, women were prohibited from obtaining an education. Although education of girls is now legal, Taliban terrorists still attack schools for girls. Women still face the threat of acid being thrown at them for appearing in public. Women are also used as payment for debts either by being married off as payment or involuntary domestic servitude that is performed to repay a debt to another family. This practice is known as Baad. “Honor killings” are still prevalent in Afghanistan as a continuing violation of women’s rights. The public execution of Sanam Bibi in 2009 for adultery, carried out by Taliban officials, demonstrates the gruesome nature of these types of sentences. Bibi was publicly whipped 200 times before being shot in the head three times. Her alleged partner paid a fine of about $3,300.
Arbitrary arrest, widespread official impunity and ineffective government investigations into abuses committed by local security forces are perpetuated by the systematic corruption in the Afghan government. These abuses against women and ethnic minorities demonstrate the necessity for a more accountable administration in Afghanistan and the need to establish a stronger national judicial system in which perpetrators are held responsible for crimes against women.
Afghanistan saw its first democratically elected administration come to power in 2009 after a substantial amount of international financial and military support. Afghanistan has made small steps to remedy human rights violations and has made great democratic strides in order to regain control of the country from the terrorist Taliban regime. Genocide Watch recognizes the continuing struggle and encourages the elected officials to address violations of women’s rights.
Afghanistan remains ethnically and religiously polarized. It is at Genocide Watch’s Stage 5, Polarization. Withdrawal of NATO forces could result in rapid deterioration of the human rights situation in the country unless the Afghan government is able to defeat resurgent Taliban forces.
Please send news, information, and comments to Afghanistan@genocidewatch.org.
An Afghan policeman brings out a skull and other human remains from a mass grave north of Kabul July 8, 2007. An underground prison containing hundreds of bodies has been discovered in the Chemtala area of Kabul, Alishah Paktiawal, head of Criminal Investigation department of Kabul police said on Friday. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood (AFGHANISTAN).