A website for scholarship
in the theory and practice of nonviolence
in the USA.
NVUSA Global Hotspot:
Return to Global Index
Resources for nonviolent approaches to global conflicts.
Hot Spot! Afghanistan
Page 1 2
Supplement to Sept. 11 Links
- Why the US needs the Taliban
Ramtanu Maitra (July 30, 2003) Asia Times
Now, after a half-hearted effort that lasted for almost 18 months, the Bush administration has come to realize that it is impossible to keep Pakistan as a friend and simultaneously keep the Northern Alliance-backed government in power in Kabul. The "puppet" Pashtun leader in Kabul, Hamid Karzai, does not have the approval of Pakistan and the majority of the rest of the Pashtun community straddling both sides of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. So, either one has Pakistan as a friend with an Islamabad-backed Pashtun group in power in Kabul, or one gets Pakistan as an enemy. There should be no doubt in anyone's mind how the Bush administration would act when confronted with such a choice.
- Sharp Rise in Press Attacks in Afghanistan:
Security Forces Threatening and Arresting Journalists
News Release (May 2, 2003) HRW
"Press freedom in Afghanistan is under assault," said John Sifton, a researcher in the Asia Division of Human Rights Watch. "Army, police and intelligence forces are delivering death threats and arresting Afghan journalists, effectively silencing them."
Many of the threats and arrests have occurred after journalists have criticized certain cabinet members in the Afghan government, including Defense Minister Mohammad Qasim Fahim and Minister of Education Younis Qanooni; and leading political figures in Kabul such as the former president of Afghanistan, Burhanuddin Rabbani, and Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, a powerful former mujahidin leader.
- April 28 More Sinister and Shameful
Than April 27
email (May 1, 2003) RAWA
In light of the unmatched malicious acts of the "Northern Alliance" criminals from 1992 until 1996, RAWA raised the slogan "April 28 [1992 fundamentalist takeover] More Sinister Than April 27! [1978 Peoples Democratic Party takeover]", causing bodies to shiver, brows to knit and the "Northern Alliance", especially, to shell their verbal artillery against us for RAWA's daring to call this "glorious" day of the arrival of the "well-seeming" Mujahedden, after the collapse of puppet regime, as a black day!
The tragedy of our country in regard to this global anti-war movement is that once again no voice was heard from any organization except RAWA, which organized a rally and published multi-lingual statements of solidarity with the world wide anti-war movement. As its representatives in America and Europe explained, Afghanistan can not be summed up just with Jehadis, Taliban, Al-Qaida or CIA forces. Our nation, having suffered from the pain of war for the last quarter of the century is totally against war and aggression....
Just as we think that the U.S., Russia, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and others owe our nation an official and straightforward apology for creating and establishing the criminal fundamentalists in Afghanistan, we hope a day will come when a democratic government will be in power in our land which could ask forgiveness of the Iraqi people for this shameful decision of the current government
- Film: Afghan Massacre - Convoy of Death
Jamie Doran and Najibullah Quraishi (Feb., 2003) oneworld.tv
Thousands of Afghan prisoners were killed while travelling in sealed containers on their way from Konduz to a prison at Sheberghan. The bodies of the dead and some who survived were then buried in a mass grave at nearby Dasht Leile. US special forces were closely involved and in charge at the time. Were they involved in a war crime? The Pentagon denies the events. The eyewitnesses tell what happened.
- Don't Mention The War In Afghanistan
Robert Fisk (Feb. 5, 2003) via ZNet
Have any US troops retreated from their positions along the Afghan-Pakistan border? None, you may say. And you would be wrong. At least five positions, according to Pakistani sources on the other side of the frontier, only one of which has been admitted by US forces. On 11 December, US troops abandoned their military outpost at Lwara after nightly rocket attacks which destroyed several American military vehicles. Their Afghan allies were driven out only days later and al-Qa'ida fighters then stormed the US compound and burnt it to the ground.
- AFGHANISTAN: The nuclear nightmare begins
Davey Garland (Dec., 2002) Green Left Weekly
A startling new report based on research in Afghanistan indicates that our worst fears have been realised. The study, produced by the Uranium Medical Research Centre (UMRC), points to the likelihood of large numbers of the population being exposed to uranium dust and debris....
Those in Kabul who were directly exposed to US-British precision bombing showed extreme signs of contamination, consistent with uranium exposure and with some types of chemical or biological weaponry. These included pains in joints, back/kidney pain, muscle weakness, memory problems and confusion and disorientation. Many of these symptoms are found in Gulf War and Balkans veterans and civilians. Those exposed to the bombing report symptoms of flu-type illnesses, bleeding, runny noses and blood-stained mucous....
In October, Durakovic spoke on al Jazeera television, claiming that the amount of DU/uranium used in Afghanistan far exceeded that of past conflicts. He also warned that if the scale of the attacks in Afghanistan was matched or exceeded in a forthcoming war in Iraq, then the consequences would be of appalling proportions for both civilians and military forces alike.
- Agreement On US 3.2 Billion Gas Pipeline Project Signed
PNS (Dec. 28, 2002) PakNews via Truthout
Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan on Friday signed here a framework agreement for a US $ 3.2 billion gas pipeline project passing through the three countries....
According to a study by Asian Development Bank (ADB), the 1460 km pipeline would use gas reserves at Dauletabad fields in Turkmenistan, which has world's fifth largest reserves, while passing through Afghanistan into Pakistan.
- German TV airs documentary charging American war crimes in Afghanistan
Stefan Steinberg (Dec. 21, 2002) World Socialist Web
The US State Department has reacted angrily to the showing of a documentary on German television alleging that US soldiers were involved in war crimes in Afghanistan. The film, Massacre in Afghanistan—Did the Americans Look On?, was produced by Irish filmmaker Jamie Doran. It was shown December 18 on one of the main German public channels—ARD. The 45-minute documentary had previously been shown by the British Channel 5 and the Italian station RAI....
The film sets out to demonstrate that following the events at Qala-i-Janghi, in collaboration with its Afghan ally General Rashid Dostum, the American army command was complicit in the killing of a further 3,000 prisoners who were separated out from the total of 8,000 POWs and transported to a prison compound in the town of Shibarghan....
- Afghan Refugees Protest Human Rights Abuses
Press Clips (Dec. 10, 2002) via RAWA
The demonstrators handed a statement to the U.N. officials urging the international community to make its aid to Afghanistan contingent on action against violators of human rights. It also urged Afghan President Hamid Karzai to take action against the corrupt elements and Islamic militants in his government.
The protest comes as Afghan Refugees Minister Enayatullah Nazari arrived in Islamabad Tuesday to discuss the on-going repatriation efforts. More than a million Afghan refugees are still living in Pakistan and the United Nations is assisting with their voluntary return.
- Book: U.S. Paid Off Afghan Warlords
AP (Nov. 16, 2002) via RAWA
A new book says President Bush's advisers had grave doubts about the early course of the war in Afghanistan and suggests that the ultimate defeat of the Taliban was due largely to millions of dollars in hundred-dollar bills the CIA handed out to Afghan warlords to win their support.
"Bush at War," by Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, draws on four hours of interviews with Bush and quotes 15,000 words from National Security Council and other White House meetings in reconstructing the internal debate that led to U.S. military action in Afghanistan and the decision to aggressively confront Iraqi President Saddam Hussein....
The CIA spent $70 million in direct cash outlays on the ground in Afghanistan, a figure that includes money for setting up field hospitals....
- Afghan Police Fire on Student Protesters, Killing at Least Four and Wounding 30
AP (Nov. 12, 2002) via RAWA
Hundreds of students enraged over a lack of food and electricity in their dormitory clashed with police in violent demonstrations that carried into the morning Tuesday. At least four students were killed and dozens injured, witnesses and officials said....
"With my own eyes I saw the bodies of four students shot when they tried to march to the presidential palace," said Sher Mohammed, an army officer who witnessed the initial protests on Monday night. It was not clear whether any more students died in Tuesday's clash.
- ALL OUR HOPES ARE CRUSHED: Violence and Repression in Western Afghanistan
Summary (Nov. 5, 2002) Human Rights Watch
For many Afghans, the end of the Taliban's uniquely oppressive rule was indeed a liberation. Yet almost one year later, the human rights situation in most of the country remains grim; the hopeful future Afghans were promised has not materialized. This has happened not simply because of the inherent difficulties of rebuilding an impoverished, devastated country, but because of choices the United States and other international actors have made, and failed to make.
- Afghan Woman Fired for Meeting Bush Uncovered
Reuters (Nov. 2, 2002) via RAWA
The Afghan Supreme Court has dismissed a female judge for not wearing an Islamic headscarf during a meeting with President Bush and his wife last month, government sources said on Saturday.
- 'I Yelled at Them to Stop'
Colin Soloway (Oct. 1, 2002) Newsweek
The official story from both the 82d Airborne and the regular Army command is that Operation Mountain Sweep was a resounding success. Several arms caches were found and destroyed, and at least a dozen suspected Taliban members or supporters were detained for questioning. But according to Special Forces, Afghan villagers and local officials living in or near the valley, the mission was a disaster. The witnesses claim that American soldiers succeeded mainly in terrorizing innocent villagers and ruining the rapport that Special Forces had built up with local communities. “After Mountain Sweep, for the first time since we got here, we’re getting rocks thrown at us on the road in Khowst,” says Jim, a Green Beret who has been operating in the area for the past six months. Special Forces members say that Mountain Sweep has probably set back their counterinsurgency and intelligence operations by at least six months.
- WLUML Statement on the First Anniversary of Sept. 11
(Sept. 11, 2002) Women Living Under Muslim Laws
While the Taliban are no longer in power, the US led coalition has installed a government which is dominated by warlords whose record on human rights and treatment of women is little better. This was not a war to 'save Afghan women' as illustrated by the case of Sima Samar, the Minister of Women's Affairs of the Afghan Interim Administration. When a case of blasphemy was recently filed against her it was a clear warning that all those who spoke out for a peaceful, just and democratic Afghanistan would be silenced. Powerful forces continue to resist the creation of space for women's political participation and for the participation of those who do not have the backing of weapons.
The promised reconstruction of Afghanistan has not started. The combined impact of a continuing lack of security, local corruption and the disruptive effect of the UN and donor agencies flooding the local economy means that it continues to be in disarray. Children are not returning to school either because their teachers are not being paid or, for example, boys are contributing to their family's survival by washing UN cars. The lack of economic welfare may well lead to Afghans once again looking to other alternatives, including the Taliban. Furthermore, plans for the country's future economic development are entirely geared towards the exploitation of the country and its population by multi-nationals.
The prospect of an attack on Iraq is horrifying for a number of reasons. There is an ongoing humanitarian disaster in the country, condemned by Denis Halliday who in 1998 resigned as first UN Assistant Secretary General and Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq stating, "We are in the process of destroying an entire society. It is as simple and terrifying as that. It is illegal and immoral." Any military attack on Iraq will exacerbate the loss of civilian lives without achieving its purported aim. Moreover such a move would inevitably lead to a backlash among politico-religious groups across Muslim countries and communities. This will surely increase terrorism globally and worsen the condition of women locally.....
- RAWA Statement on the anniversary of the September 11 tragedy
(Sept. 11, 2002) RAWA
With their second occupation of Kabul, the "Northern Alliance" thwarted any hopes for a radical, meaningful change. They are themselves now the source and root of insecurity, the disgraceful police atmosphere of the Loya Jirga, rampant terrorism, gagging of democracy, atrocious violations of human rights, mounting pauperization, prostitution and corruption, the flourishing of poppy cultivation, failure of beginning to reconstruct, and a host of further unlisted evils, too many to enumerate.
- Karzai Survives Attempt on Life
Tini Tran (Sept. 5, 2002) AP via Truthout
An assailant dressed in the uniform of the new Afghan army fired on a car carrying President Hamid Karzai on Thursday, hours after an explosives-packed car tore through a crowded Kabul market, killing at least 10 people.
- The Death Convoy of Afghanistan
Babak Dehghanpisheh, John Barry, & Roy Gutman
(Aug. 26, 2002) Newsweek via Truthout
The dead of Dasht-e Leili--and the horrific manner of their killing--are one of the dirty little secrets of the Afghan war. The episode is more than just another atrocity in a land that has seen many. The killings illustrate the problems America will face if it opts to fight wars by proxy, as the United States did in Afghanistan, using small numbers of U.S. Special Forces calling in air power to support local fighters on the ground. It also raises questions about the responsibility Americans have for the conduct of allies who may have no --interest in applying protections of the Geneva Conventions. The benefit in fighting a proxy-style war in Afghanistan was victory on the cheap--cheap, at any rate, in American blood. The cost, NEWSWEEK's investigation has established, is that American forces were working intimately with "allies" who committed what could well qualify as war crimes.
- Two Items on USA Influence in Central Asia: Speed Bombers and Kazakhstan Cronies
(Aug. 5, 2002) OReadDaily
#1. American pilots in Afghanistan who have been bombing the Afghan weddings and shooting up their allies have been flying high and fast on "speed."...
#2. Other media outlets in Kazakhstan have reported crimes against their personnel and property. Alexander Levy of RWB says, "This is not an isolated case. It is part of a larger picture [characterized] by a general deterioration of human rights and working conditions for independent press."
Kazakhstan is an increasingly important energy producer for Europe and America and is a regional ally in the US-led fight against terrorism. "Nobody in Washington, London or Brussels is going to push too hard on issues like human rights here because [President] Navarbeyev has too much to offer the West," an Almaty-based diplomat commented. The diplomat's comments followed an announcement by American oil giant ChevronTexaco in the Kazakh capital Astana that it
would invest a further US $3 billion in the development of its projects in western Kazakhstan's major Tengiz oil and gas fields.
- Inside Pakistan and Afghanistan with RAWA
Anne Brodsky (July 29, 2002) CounterPunch
The people are cautiously optimistic, but this seems only because of the presence of the peace keepers and the continued hope that the international community will follow through on it promises of aid and that someone will actually stop the warlords. The presence of NA soldiers in dark unmarked cars is ominous. There are other types of soldiers and police in various uniforms, many ill fitting. It is hard to judge who will have a weapon and who not. Often young boys with the NA had weapons and older more mature and responsible looking men in Afghan army uniforms were unarmed. I saw taped interviews of Loya Jirga attendees in which they too were expressing their concern about the needs for peace and security and controls on the warlords, who were too evident in the Loya Jirga process.
- Bare Faced Resistance
Natasha Walter (July 20, 2002) Guardian via RAWA
"We aren't safe yet," says Suheila succinctly. This sense of insecurity is understandable. The mujaheddin and the Taliban weren't just a few maniacs who have now disappeared, but hundreds and thousands of "willing executioners" - men who gang-raped women as part of their wars, as the mujaheddin did, or who beat women savagely for showing their faces, as the Taliban did. These men have not gone away, and although in Kabul they are kept quiet by the presence of the international security force, if that departs, many women fear that the violence will start again.
- UNHCR trims aid programmes as record numbers return to Afghanistan
Press Release (July 23, 2002) UNHCR
The number of assisted returns to Afghanistan surpassed 1.3 million over the weekend, including more than 1.2 million from Pakistan, three times the total expected for this year. Some 100,000 have returned from Iran, and 10,000 from the Central Asian states. UNHCR and its partners have also helped some 200,000 internally displaced Afghans back to their home areas. Another 200,000 people have returned spontaneously outside the UN initiative.
- Qadir was key ethnic leader in Afghan government
AP Kathy Gannon (July 6, 2002) NandoTimes
The assassination Saturday of Afghan Vice President Abdul Qadir robs the new transitional government of its most significant member of the ethnic Pashtun community.
- After Deadly Air Attack, Afghans Begin Questioning American Role in Afghanistan
AP (July 4, 2002) ATTBusiness.Net
Having once seen Americans as liberators, a growing number of Afghans are beginning to question the U.S. military role here and wondering if the war against al-Qaida and the Taliban is taking too high a toll on civilians.
- Tariq Ali and Christopher Hitchens Debate the War on Terror
WBAI (July 2, 2002) Asia Pacific Forum
Pakistani-born author, editor, and filmmaker Tariq Ali, whose new Verso book The Clash of Fundamentalisms argues that the visible violence of September 11 was a response to the invisible violence that has been inflicted on countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Egypt, and Palestine, recently shared a Washington, DC stage with English-born Nation and Vanity Fair columnist Christopher Hitchens, who famously greeted the American war effort with the words “The United States of America has just succeeded in bombing a country back out of the Stone Age.” Tonight’s APF will present extended excerpts of the extraordinarily sharp, barbed debate between Ali and Hitchens.
- Kabul slams US over wedding party bombing
AFP (July 2, 2002) Times of India
Afghanistan on Tuesday condemned a US bombing raid which apparently killed 40 wedding guests at a remote village and demanded immediate safeguards to protect civilians during anti-terrorism operations....
Local Afghan officials quoted eyewitnesses as saying that US aircraft flew over the village twice and started the bombing during the third run....
"I don't know what was going on in this village, except there were people shooting at coalition forces with heavy calibre machine guns and they returned fire," [US military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Roger] King said. "Weapons were tracking them."
Officials in Uruzgan said more casualties were feared. "More villages were bombed that night (Sunday) and also during the day on Monday," Raz Mohammad, the brother of Uruzgan governor Yar Mohammad, told AFP by satellite telephone....
The B-52s and C-130s had been prowling around Uruzgan capital Tirin Kot, 30 km east of Dehrawad, where US special forces have based operations to hunt down the fugitive Omar, Raz Mohammad said.
- The Warlords Win in Kabul
Omar Zakhilwal and Adeena Niazi (June 21, 2002) NY Times
On the final night of the loya jirga, more than 1,500 delegates gathered for the unveiling of the new cabinet. Our hearts sank when we heard President Hamid Karzai pronounce one name after another. A woman activist turned to us in disbelief: "This is worse than our worst expectations. The warlords have been promoted and the professionals kicked out. Who calls this democracy?"...
This sentiment quickly grew into a grass-roots movement supporting the former king, Mohammed Zahir Shah, as head of state. The vast majority of us viewed him as the only leader with enough popular support and independence to stand up to the warlords. But our democratic effort to nominate Zahir Shah did not please the powers that be. As a result, the entire loya jirga was postponed for almost two days while the former king was strong-armed into renouncing any meaningful role in the government.
After that announcement, the atmosphere at the loya jirga changed radically. The gathering was now teeming with intelligence agents who openly threatened reform-minded delegates, especially women. Access to the microphone was controlled so that supporters of the interim government dominated the proceedings. Fundamentalist leaders branded critics of the warlords as traitors to Islam and circulated a petition denouncing Women's Affairs Minister Samar as "Afghanistan's Salman Rushdie."...
- British Forces Hand Over Afghan Command to Turkish Troops
Reuters (June 20, 2002) NY Times Online
Britain handed over control of a multinational peacekeeping force in Afghanistan to the Turkish military on Thursday in a colorful ceremony on a soccer pitch and at a crucial time in the war-battered country's history....
Turkey is taking command of the 4,650-strong ISAF for six months, receiving backup on communications, airlifting of troops and finance from allies. It is contributing 1,400 personnel.
The British presence will fall from nearly 1,500 to around 400 by July 2. The first contingent of 230 troops, including McColl himself, flew out after the handover on Thursday, an ISAF spokeswoman said.
- The Two Faces of the Afghan Loya Jirga: Did Democracy Prevail?
Dr. G. Rauf Roashan (June 19?, 2002) Institute for Afghan Studies
Now that the Jirga has wound up, the question remains of whether it provided for democratic process to prevail? It may be that the novelty of the experience of democracy in the form of secret ballots cast at the Jirga would be considered sufficient ground to call the Jirga truly democratic. But it remains with the few highly educated and enlightened members of the Jirga to play judge and give an objective answer to the question above. Based on reality of the situation the Jirga has now paved the way for further work, sacrifice, planning, and devotion to finding true national answers to many of the questions pertaining to the country’s today and tomorrow. The Jirga has given the transitional government the tool to do so.
- Loya Jirga under the shadow of guns and threats
RAWA (June 9, 2002)
In such a circumstance when the Chief Justice of a ruined country so shamelessly ignores the shedding of blood by Gulbaddin and Co.; when the fundamentalist bandits use guns and money in a show of power to ruthlessly, brutally and widely repress the people; when the UN envoy is encircled by vile-minded and biased advisors and there is no effective UN peacekeeping force how can we expect that the Loya Jirga would be comprised of well-respected, democratic, anti-Jehadi and anti-Taliban people?
- Fresh Memories of Troops
Kandea Mosley (May 25, 2002) Ithaca Journal
"We were told there were no friendly forces," said Guckenheimer, an assistant gunner with the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum. "If there was anybody there, they were the enemy. We were told specifically that if there were women and children to kill them."...
Because of the effectiveness of earlier U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, the number of Taliba soldiers killed during Guckenheimer's missions was minimal, he said. He knew of only about 10 enemy fighters who were killed, he said.
"Most of it (the difficulty of the missions) wasn't as much the enemy as it was the elements," he said....
- U.S. Troops Deploy Near Border of Pakistan
Reuters (May 1, 2002) NYTimes Online
The United States is deploying hundreds of troops and attack helicopters to the Afghan mountains near Pakistan to support British marines in pursuing Taliban and al Qaeda fighters, U.S. officials said on Wednesday.
- Is America Abandoning Afghanistan?
Barnett R. Rubin (April 10, 2002) New York Times
The position of the United States and its coalition partners — that they will train Afghan national forces rather than use international forces to maintain security — is disingenuous. An expanded international force is needed precisely to provide security during the reorganization of irregulars into a smaller, more disciplined force that will maintain security.
A recent Security Council resolution tried to replace expansion of the international force with economic incentives by promising that reconstruction aid will be provided only to local leaders who protect human rights and ensure security. But substituting offers of assistance for police and military action will fail here as elsewhere. Incentives work best when combined with sanctions. For now, local commanders still feel they can protect their interests best with guns.
Whatever explanations Washington offers, both Afghans and international officials see the refusal to expand the international force as the start of American disengagement, repeating the mistake of the 1990's despite promises to learn from that experience. Providing security for rebuilding Afghanistan is now the front line in the war against terrorism. Failure here will undermine all other commitments. Many fear that failure has already started. There is still time to prove them wrong.
- Afghanistan: From Ground Zero to Ground Zero
From Ground Zero to Ground Zero is the story of Masuda Sultan, a 23 year old Afghan-American woman who travels back to Kandahar, Afghanistan to see what has become of her country. Masuda is delighted to see the yoke of the Taliban lifted, but horrified to find out what happened to her family.