ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan

The Taliban’s Approach To Sexual Relations.

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This is what will happen if the Taliban ever take over, again.

AP reports:

“KABUL, Afghanistan — Taliban militants in northern Afghanistan stoned a young couple to death for adultery, which a rights group said was the first confirmed use of the punishment here since the hardline Islamist regime was ousted in 2001.

The Taliban-ordered killing comes at a time when international rights groups have raised worries that attempts to negotiate with the Taliban to bring peace to Afghanistan could mean a step backward for human rights in the country. When the Islamist extremists ruled Afghanistan, women were not allowed to leave their houses without a male guardian, and public killings for violations of their harsh interpretation of the Quran were common.

This weekend’s stoning appeared to arise from an affair between a married man and a single woman in Kunduz province’s Dasht-e-Archi district.

The woman, Sadiqa, was 20 years old and engaged to another man, said the Kunduz provincial police chief, Gen. Abdul Raza Yaqoubi. Her lover, 28-year-old Qayum, left his wife to run away with her, and the two had holed up in a friend’s house five days ago, said district government head, Mohammad Ayub Aqyar.

They were discovered by Taliban operatives on Sunday and stoned to death in front a crowd of about 150 men, Aqyar said.

First the woman was brought out and stoned, then the man a half an hour later, Aqyar said. He decried the punishment, which he said was ordered by two local Taliban commanders.”

Update 1: Amnesty International on the Taliban’s actions and how they constitute War Crimes:

“The Taleban and other insurgent groups should be investigated and prosecuted for war crimes, Amnesty International said today, following the release of a United Nations report showing a rise in targeted killings of civilians in Afghanistan by anti-government fighters.

Civilian casualties in Afghanistan leapt by 31% in the first half of 2010, driven largely by the Taleban and other insurgents’ rising use of improvised explosive devices, and their increased targeting of civilians, according to the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). Attacks by the Taleban and other anti-government forces accounted for more than 76% of civilian casualties and 72% of deaths. “

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17/08/2010 at 23:30

Taliban Murder Medical Workers.

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Another example of the Taliban’s real attitude, which should cause their Western supporters, apologists and excuses a moment’s thought, AFP has more:

“Kintoz said they were shot by armed men in a remote area of Badakhshan province, according to the testimony of “Saifullah”, an Afghan who survived.

The group of eight ophthalmologists had been travelling with three Afghans between Badakhshan and Nuristan provinces and spent a few nights in the forest, he reported Saifullah as saying.

“On the last day they were confronted by a group of armed men who lined them up and shot them. Their money and belongings were all stolen,” said Kintoz.

He said that according to Saifullah’s testimony he had escaped death by reading verses of the Koran, prompting the men to realise he was a Muslim and release him in neighbouring Nuristan province.

The police chief said local villagers had warned the group not to enter the dangerous forested area, but they had insisted they would be safe because they were doctors, according to Saifullah’s statement.

He said the bodies had been found in Kuran wa Minjan district, an area on the border with Nuristan province, one day’s drive from the provincial capital Faizabad.”

Update 1: The BBC with sweeping naivete seems to take the Taliban at their word, when they state:

“Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, said bibles translated into Dari had been found.”

Even if they had carried copies of Playboy, they should not have been murdered.

They were doctors and aid workers trying to help ordinary Afghans, that should be enough.

Update 2: Another part of the Beeb has at least covered the human side of their murder:

“Blog posts written by Briton Dr Karen Woo, named as one of 10 medics shot dead in Afghanistan, offer a human insight into the aid mission to the war-torn country.

The BBC understands that Dr Woo gave up a well-paid job with private healthcare provider Bupa to work in Afghanistan for minimal financial reward.

She died alongside six Americans, a German and two Afghan interpreters who had been working with Christian charity the International Assistance Mission to provide eye care in remote villages.

Her blog posts reveal that she was driven by a desire to improve the lives of ordinary Afghans – and spread the word about their plight.

On the blog-hosting website Bridge Afghanistan, Dr Woo described the effect on her of a 2009 visit to Kabul, and told of her plans to make a documentary.

“The things that I saw during that visit made me, as a doctor, want to bring back the human stories both good and bad,” she wrote.

“The access that a doctor or healthcare professional has to a community is unlike that available to a journalist; the trust and conversations are different.

“The insight is through the lens of birth and death, of loss and disability, and reflects every aspect of the consequences of conflict on individuals and on their community.” “

Update 3: Dr Woo’s blog is here.

Update 4: Dr Woo followed this particular blog, Thru Afghan Eyes and it is good.

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07/08/2010 at 12:35

Unreported Afghan Civilian Deaths.

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Wikileaks has released a mass of documentation on Afghanistan into the public domain, it should be welcomed.

I assume that this comes in the wake of McCrystal’s dismissal, whatever the reason, it should focus us on how Afghan civilian deaths have been conspicuously underreported in the Western media.

This is Wikileaks and here’s the Afghan war diary.

Update 1: More concerning the leaks can be found on the New York Times’ At War blog.

Update 2: Spiegel’s coverage:

“A total of 91,731 reports from United States military databanks relating to the war in Afghanistan are to be made publicly available on the Internet. Never before has it been possible to compare the reality on the battlefield in such a detailed manner with what the US Army propaganda machinery is propagating. WikiLeaks plans to post the documents, most of which are classified, on its website.

Britain’s Guardian newspaper, the New York Times and SPIEGEL have all vetted the material and compared the data with independent reports. All three media sources have concluded that the documents are authentic and provide an unvarnished image of the war in Afghanistan — from the perspective of the soldiers who are fighting it.
The reports, from troops engaged in the ongoing combat, were tersely summarized and quickly dispatched. For the most part, they originate from sergeants — but some have been penned by the occasional lieutenant at a command post or ranking analysts with the military intelligence service.

The documents’ release comes at a time when calls for a withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan are growing — even in America. Last week, representatives from more than 70 nations and organizations met in Kabul for the Afghanistan conference. They assured President Hamid Karzai that his country would be in a position by 2014 to guarantee security using its own soldiers and police. “

Update 3: Again at the NYT, Pakistan Aids Insurgency in Afghanistan, Reports Assert.

Update 4: Afghanistan: the war logs from the Guardian. The selected list of deaths makes grim reading.

Update 5: Key incidents as a spreadsheet at the Guardian.

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26/07/2010 at 08:58

Taliban Retribution.

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Next time you’re discussing Afghanistan and someone tells you that the Taliban are the “resistance” and that for the sake of “anti-imperialism” they should be supported, please remind them of this sad event:

“A seven-year-old boy was murdered by the Taleban in an apparent act of retribution this week. Afghan officials said that the child was accused of spying for US and Nato forces and hanged from a tree in southern Afghanistan.

Daoud Ahmadi, the spokesman for the provincial governor of Helmand, said that the killing happened days after the boy’s grandfather, Abdul Woodod Alokozai, spoke out against militants in their home village.

Mr Ahmadi said: “His grandfather is a tribal elder in the village and the village is under the control of the Taleban. His grandfather said some good things about the Government and he formed a small group of people to stand against the Taleban. That’s why the Taleban killed his grandson in revenge.”

The attack happened in Heratiyan, in Sangin, near where insurgents shot down an American Pave Hawk helicopter on Wednesday, killing all four crew. The helicopter was swooping over the town to suppress attacks on a grounded air ambulance, which was picking up British casualties.

Shamsuddin Khan Faryie, an elder in Heratiyan, said that the boy, identified as the son of Abul Qudooz, was seized as he played in his garden. He was found hanged from a nearby tree.”

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12/06/2010 at 13:20

Anti-imperialist’s Poison?

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The Taliban will do anything to attack girl pupils and female students in Afghanistan, from indiscriminate shootings to acid attacks and the destruction of badly needed schools. Even gas attacks.

The Taliban has done that and much more.

Yet they may be sinking to a new low, the poisoning of girls, as the BBC reports:

“In May 2009, Afghan authorities launched an investigation after about 90 schoolgirls fell ill in Kapisa province.

Although officials suspected deliberate poisoning, the results of the inquiry were inconclusive.

In recent years there has been an increase in attacks on schoolgirls in Afghanistan, mainly in the south and east of the country where several acid attacks on schoolgirls have been reported.

Girls were banned from attending school during the rule of the Taliban, who were overthrown in the American-led invasion of 2001.”

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26/04/2010 at 01:45

Not My View.

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This post from Left Foot Forward is not my view, but as there is a poverty of anything meaningful elsewhere, it will have to do:

“President Barack Obama will announce his plan for Afghanistan in a national address to the US next Tuesday, and it is reported that the plan will include sending as many as 30,000 additional troops to the region.

From the beginning of his now weeks-old consultation process with his diplomatic and military advisors, Mr Obama has made it clear that he was looking for a solution beyond the one requested and recommended by the top US regional commander, Stanley McChrystal, which called for an additional 40,000 US troops and increased focus on population-protection based counterinsurgency.
…”

Later on it discusses the various options, I’d suggest that a decentralised government might be more workable. The problem I have with many of these articles is that they look at Afghanistan almost purely from a Western point of view, whereas I, as an anti-Taliban type, think that the defeat of the Taliban should be the end goal, if possible, as that will ensure better conditions for the majority of Afghans. Any way plenty to think about.

Update 1: Terry Gavin often has good stuff on Afghanistan, he’s well worth a read.

Update 2: Some related links, The Afghanistan Analyst’s list of links.

Update 3: The Canada-Afghanistan Solidarity Committee at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

Update 4: The Canada-Afghanistan Solidarity Committee.

Update 5: Afghan women and what would happen if the Taliban return to power:

“Like many of her female colleagues, Wazhma believes women will be the first victims of the chaos and civil war that will ensue if troops withdraw in the near future. And they are in no doubt as to who will fill the power vacuum. ”Look at all the international troops in Afghanistan, and yet still the Taliban is getting stronger ever day,” Hamida says.

The greatest fear about a return to Taliban control – be they ”old”, ”new” or ”moderate” Taliban – is that women will inevitably be thrust back into the dark ages, again forced to submit to the most draconian rules and human rights abuses ever imposed on women anywhere in the world. It was only eight years ago when Afghan women couldn’t work, go to school, or leave their homes without permission and a male escort.

Right now it’s not only women’s rights and freedoms that are at stake. It’s their lives.

Until 2001 women like Hamida and Wazhma kept their activism well hidden. But the post-Taliban freedom has given rise to a growing movement of women who are politically active and visible. As such they are sitting ducks if there is a return to lawless patriarchy. ”They will not leave me alive for a minute,” Wazhma says. Most of the women I talk to know they are on assassination lists.”

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27/11/2009 at 06:13

Civil War or Not.

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In relationship to Afghanistan I asked the question what are the possible outcomes of a precipitous withdraw of NATO troops?

Few people like answering it, but here’s a fair summary of possible events, not comfortable reading:

“The Nineties Afghan Civil War on Steroids:

Even if the international community gave up on Afghanistan and withdrew, as it did from Somalia during the early nineties, it is inconceivable that the Taliban could triumph in the country completely and provide a regime (however perverse) of stability.

About half of Afghanistan’s population is non-Pashtun, from where the Taliban draw their strenth, and most of that non-Pashtun population is ardently anti-Taliban. In the humiliating circumstances that would attend American failure, those in the West who now promote “counterterrorism,” “realist,” and “cost-effective” strategies in the region would probably endorse, in effect, a nineties redux—which would amount to a prescription for more Afghan civil war.

A rump “legitimate” Afghan government dominated by ethnic Tajiks and Uzbeks would find arms and money from India, Iran, and perhaps Russia, Europe and the United States. This would likely produce a long-running civil war between northern, Tajik-dominated ethnic militias and the Pashtun-dominated Taliban.

Tens of thousands of Afghans would likely perish in this conflict and from the pervasive poverty it would produce; many more Afghans would return as refugees to Pakistan, contributing to that country’s instability.”

[My emphasis].

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16/11/2009 at 23:59

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