Dec 6, 2007

A Woman Among Warlords

From Safrang

It is not everyday that I get emails addressed “Dear Editor,” imploring me to use my large readership to spread the word about a new film. So when I got an email from WMM about Eva Mulvad’s film “The Enemies of Happiness,” and thought about the possible royalties that could flow from rendering similar services for studios and publishing houses, I decided to do this post.

Hear ye! Hear all ye left-leaning American voters with loose purse strings and heart strings:
The National Broadcast Premiere of “A Woman Among Warlords” based on “Enemies of Happiness: The True Story of A Young Woman Fighting for Changes in Afghanistan” will be aired on PBS at 9PM on September 11th.
For more information, visit WMM website.

On a housekeeping matter, this first ad will be done on a pro bono basis, because I recall having praised Ms. Joya as “a fearless voice” earlier on this blog. Potential advertisers may contact the sales and advertisement division of Safrang. Also, a review of the film is forthcoming on Afghanistanica.

While it has become fashionable among respectable and otherwise self-restrained bloggers -Farsi and English alike- who do not usually make it their business to approve or disapprove of other people’s behavior to write admonishingly of Malalai Joya, I am not hesitant to put myself down as one of her admirers. Mind you, I take this stance without necessarily approving of her methods, or those of her handlers. All the same, as I have said before, what she is doing now -regardless of her methods, and perhaps because of them- is “cathartic for our national soul.” I thought so before the French Elle Magazine got ahold of Ms. Joya, and before she was airbrushed and pampered and made presentable into the rather good-looking and chic freedom fighter that she is now, and I still think so.

joya farah

Nov 24, 2007

Public Awareness on Enlightenment, Human Rights & Social Interactions

By Seddiq Rahpoe Tarzi

Public Awareness on Enlightenment, Human Rights & Social Interactions
November, 2007

Executive Summary 1
Situation Analysis 2
Goal, Mission, Objectives 3
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats 4
Operation 5
Long Term Strategies 6
Conclusion 7


Our country Afghanistan in its very existence is one of those countries that have a vast diversity and variety within itself; in its population, languages, lifestyles, public opinions etc. Its cultural norms and practices are unique. However in the recent almost three decades of war and internal conflict has left its inhabitants far behind the modern life and advancements in all fields benefiting the human kind.
As being a perfect platform for everyone, every person has played their role through out the decades to cultivate seeds of ignorance, prejudice, violence, hatred, hostility and discrimination among the people of Afghanistan. Among the nation whose unification once would have frightened and left its enemies in fear in order to accomplish their malicious and mean goals Its enemies made every possible effort and used each and every possible tool to its own advantage, and religion and people’s religious beliefs were at no exception.

This community of volunteers (Serenity Campaign) aims to make every possible effort to show its people the path through shared knowledge, information and awareness of peace.
The persons contributing to the Serenity Campaign are those who feel for their country. For the people of this country who have no personal interest whatsoever in forming a community. Our aim is clear for the very cause mentioned and is free from any political and/or personnel opinion and/or influence whatsoever.

With the downfall of the Taliban, Afghanistan’s population has a tremendous opportunity to create peace and serenity that support the social structure of afghan community. The new government in Afghanistan supports this direction in its National Development Framework, with a strong focus on private sector development of peace and serenity. But the only thing that has not been changed that should be is poppy production of the farmers especially in south areas. Poppy production is one of the main reasons that we can not avoid, which has a strong relation with anarchy and insecurity. It’s the crop that all the benefits have been taking by terrorism and by people want to bring violence to the country; the producers just get addiction and sickness plus residents by this crop.

PAEHIRS will tell residents that the production and trafficking of poppy in Afghanistan poses a devastating threat to the stability of both Afghanistan and the surrounding region. While the transition to a licit economy may not be easy, it is only through the development of a licit economy that Afghans can be truly free and the next generation can have a better future. A poppy-dependent economy prevents prosperity and security; challenges the new democracy Afghans worked hard to establish; effect an environment of insecurity and fear; prevents foreign investment and participation as a respected member of the international community; and keeps millions of Afghans from improving their quality of life.

PAEHIRS want to cover most of the issues that residents need the awareness on in south Afghanistan. And one of them is gender and women issues that PAEHRSI want to cover through this campaign beside peace and poppy messages.
The PAEHRSI’s founder, M. Saleem Zmarial recognized this opportunity because of his work with Afghan community and his development background. Zmarial has worked as a Senior Administration and Finance Officer of United Nation Office for Project Services for first democratic Presidential, Parliamentary and Provincial Council Elections, in endeavors to practice democracy and a struggle for peaceful province right after he founded the first private FM radio station in Helmand to educate people in deferent fields of life and show them the positive effects of the democracy. He has also worked as a Public Information Officer in one of the Poppy Elimination Programs in Helmand and currently is the first time elected deputy director of Journalist’s Independent Association in Helmand. M. Saleem Zmarial wants to bring up all his experiences to promote peace in the province and country.

The PAEHRSI’s co-founder Basima Shah holds her bachelor degree from 12th class studied in Helmand province. Right after school she started working in a USAID funded program “Alternative Livelihoods Program/South as Public Information Assistant after one year she promoted as a gender officer in the same program. After working as a gender officer/manager for two years in Helmand province she acknowledged a lot more about gender issues and women situations in the province. Being as a medical student in Kandahar university plus part time job as a gender manager with ADP/S now she want to bring up all her experience with women issues and terrible situations of them to people and residents in stories, dramas and messages that will describe most of the history and current situations of the women throughout this campaign.

Afghanistan sits insecurely on a historic thoroughfare in the middle of Asia.
For centuries, it has been a crossroads of trade between northern and southern Asia, and for centuries, Afghans were considered among the best merchants in the world. However, after the Soviet invasion of 1979 the country faced a decade war followed by a civil war that opened the opportunity for the Taliban to take control of the nation. During these many years of war Afghanistan lost its standing as a developing country on its way to stability and prosperity. Basic infrastructures were destroyed pushing the population into a survival level of living. Prior to these conflicts, there were serenity among residents; even Lashkar Gah has been called Little America by other national parts of Afghanistan and so were other developmental works in progress throughout the country..

More than five years into the reconstruction process since the Bonn agreement, conditions for peace and serenity in Afghanistan, especially for those in the south, have remained virtually unchanged. The illiteracy rate is more than 85% in the south areas and more than 90% of the population lives under the poverty line. Corruption, serious breach of law and order and government’s growing inability to provide security and justice are creating severe inevitable dissection and tension between the populations. People are now losing hope on the improvement of the situation looking to what little the government has done to meet the challenges.

In Afghanistan particularly Helmand province the opium business has a strong role in everything security, administration, corruption, terrorist activities and etc... Afghanistan is the world’s top poppy producing country which produces 93% of world’s opium in 2007 (UNODC Report 2007) Helmand is the biggest poppy – producing province in Afghanistan responsible for 40% of world production. And this series have been continued up to now from Taliban but PAEHRSI want producers and farmers to think it’s the time to change back to the progress and development of their country as they used to be and they were living in with peaceful space with their families.

Same with gender issues, in many rural areas, especially in the more conservative tribal

belt, the situation of women has not changed to any degree since the removal of the Taliban. The majority of southern Afghan women remain housebound, unable to carry out the slightest decision without their husbands’ or other male member of the family’s permission; most of them are kept far from getting education their compulsory and Islamic right, many women dies during child delivery in homes they are not taken to hospitals. On the rare occasion they are allowed to leave their homes, they are required to wear the burqa.

PAEHRSI want to tell residents that till when the women won’t be able to get their fundamental rights.It is within this background that PAEHRSI wants to make an impact and grow peace that allows residents to inspire for brotherhood into their country.

The mission of Public awareness on Enlightenment, Human rights & social interactions is “To bring peace, brotherhood among residents by positive messages through out media outlets and Focus Group Discussions (FGD)”
With this in mind, the PAEHRSI campaign’s objectives are:

Public Awareness on Enlightenment, Human rights & Social Interactions
want to do a campaign naming peace to generate its meaning inside residents so that they feel their peaceful space as bond/base of development in their country.

We will let the people know about their rights as being residents of this country and as such their individual responsibilities towards this country and the present situation, we will let the people understand the present threats to their stability and brighter future of their children, we will encourage the people through our awareness campaign about the honorable way of living, and will directly & indirectly educate them on the high standard principles and ethics of humanity, we will through our program expand their knowledge on how different civilizations and nations have passed through these stages through out the history to attain the positions they have now and will strive to enhance their knowledge and analysis skills of differentiating between the good and the evil and let the people decide what way they want to live. [This way the message of peace would have been embedded in the programs itself])

This campaign will generate new thinking and new ideas among residents and will make them feel their responsibilities toward their country.

Public awareness on Enlightenment, Human rights & social interactions
Serenity campaign messages’ will inspire and encourage community to award hope and peace and will reach out its messages and ideas through out TV programs, radio broadcasts, posters, leaflets, news papers and focus group discussions with people in different part of the province.

Public awareness on Enlightenment, Human rights & social interactions
serenity campaign symbolizes the hope for economic prosperity that will arise from strong regional ideas and positive messages.

PAEHRSI will enhance the value of peace inside the residents through this campaign
PAEHRSI will raise awareness among residents of Helmand about the importance of peace to community and the importance of economics in the society at large;

PAEHRSI want residents to feel that by growing legal crops/stuff YOU and the rest of the community reap its benefits.
PAEHRIS want to explain its messages in ripple way to the community so that each of the them feel their importance in the community.

The farmer and producers think poppy the only alternative for their families’ lives but PAEHRSI want them to think differently by telling them that who grow agricultural products that are harmful for the human race never benefit from it. People should be made aware of the harmful effects of poppy and thus discouraged from growing poppy, even though the individual may get a better return in terms of monetary value but PAEHRSI will consider the long term effects of this situation as people can’t satisfy their hunger by consuming poppy by changing their minds with positive messages.

PAEHRSI will describe women issues from past, present and future situations in shape of stories, messages and announcements throughout media and print materials. PAEHRSI will alert people once again on the history of Afghanistan by this part of the campaign.

These efforts are designed to bring greater attention of the people toward peace and serenity in their society that will have the positive impact on their lives’.


With the strong aims and strong team of PAEHRSI this campaign will get success in the Region.

PAEHRSI believes and will make every effort that the resident will support this campaign since most of the residents are willing to have serenity and peace in their community.

PAEHRSI have access to the local community through one of the popular radio station radio Samoon in Helmand province which will convey the greater parts of the messages’ to the people.

Although many of the residents and people will be willing to see peace in the country/province but still this campaign will cost to send out messages up to the people and inform their mind positively.
There are logistical challenges including the high cost for both print materials and media outlets’ awareness.
Security on the ground serves as a major concern.
Considering PAEHRSI’s very nature of being a volunteer campaign obtaining and utilizing the time of the contributors that it would need to carry out the tasks remains a big challenge.
Efforts are needed to persuade and encourage expertise intervention to successfully carry out the campaign which may come at a cost.

At the moment in Helmand province most of the organizations want to play role in the campaigns that want to bring peace, stability and do public information campaign for human rights, women rights and legal crops cultivation especially in Helmand since it’s the most unsecured area and top poppy producing province in Afghanistan.
PAEHRSI may air its positive messages through the most popular radio station in Helmand province Radio Samoon.
Discussions will be organized between groups of different backgrounds to share knowledge and ideas/opinions on the issue.

Setup and how this will work:
The following diagram represents the basic format of the setup.


Admin/Finance Officer

Deputy Director

Media Officer

Mass Info/Liaison Officer

Security Advisor

Human Rights Officer

Political Affairs Advisor/Officer

Finance Assistant

Admin/Log Assistant

Women Rights Assistant

Children Rights Assistant

Ethnic Equality Assistant

Broadcast Assist.

Distribution Assist.

Liaison Assistant

Mass Information Assist.

Political Affairs Assistant

International Advisor

The position of each member in the setup is solely based on responsibilities he/she has in a particular situation and should be in no circumstances considered superior or inferior in comparison to the other members in the setup, and has equal right to express his/her feelings and suggestions.

Each member will volunteer at least 40 hours/week of his time to carry out the responsibility he/she has been assigned to.

The Steering Committee and the Community as a whole and all its members are free from any kind of political, personnel and financial influence and pressure. It should in no circumstances make any decision induced by any of these factors.


Year one

Obtain funding and establish campaign operations.

Year Two

Build out peace among residents

Year Three Start doing Monitoring and Evaluation plus campaign operations

Prepare a special program and allocate it time and days on when to air it. In the program you may ask the audience to send their opinions on security, on ideas of how to improve the situation. Etc.

Have a special theme for each of your program for example one day the programs theme could be Security, the next day it could be “Peoples’ role in security and stabilization of the country” etc..

This way you can create an interactive way of communication with the people and better know their ideas and concepts of the current situation in the country)

Search for seed funding to offset PAEHRSI financial support and in-kind service support

Generate new ideas of serenity among people of Helmand province.

Recruitment of volunteer staff members

Make contacts to supportive organizations

Generate press interest in moving with serenity messages/ideas

Give a specific time on the radio for this program for the audience interest

reach most of the messages by focus group discussion in the districts and city

Workshops for the residents awareness on serenity

Continue to build up serenity messages

Broaden the program on using the national media outlets for the campaign messages

Participate in trade shows

Continue FGDs and workshops plus trainings if needed

Recruitment of professional staff


In this incubation period many of the problems and challenges have been overcome. All the elements for success are in place. The final piece to ensure the success of PAERSI is the right financial support.

Nov 13, 2007

An Afghan journalist missing around with Koran


Ghows Zalmay is a media professional. I know him for quite sometime. He has published a new translation of the Koran. Zalmay has been arrested after complaints from religious scholars that the new edition was un-Islamic. He was arrested on the border on Sunday while trying to flee into Pakistan. Demonstrators protested in two Afghan provinces against the new translation of the Koran into Dari, the second most spoken language in Afghanistan. Religious scholars are outraged at Mr Zalmay's new edition of the Muslim holy book.They say that it is un-Islamic, that it misinterprets verses about alcohol, begging, homosexuality and adultery.

They also complain that it does not contain the original version in Arabic as a parallel text for comparison. I have no idea why zalmay would do this, I have known him as somebody who would go with the stream as long as it serves his purpose. I don’t see no benefit for him in misinterpreting Koran. Zalmai was the head of the so-called journalist union and at the same time the spokesperson for attorney general, two conflict positions, especially when the attorney general is an anti media crusader.

The Afghan constitution enshrines freedom of expression, but for many Afghans that freedom has clear limits. Religion is a taboo, there is zero tolerance to people who talk about religion.

Nov 4, 2007

Funny Staff Regulations!

New rules of engagment for staff :

SICKDAYS: We will no longer accept a Doctors sick note as proof of sickness. If you are able to get to your Doctor, you are able to come to work

Read the rest at

Oct 21, 2007

Karzai Ready to talk with Mullah Omar and Hekmatiar

From Afghan LORD

President Hamed Karzai announced on his return from the US back to Kabul that he is ready to talk with Mullah Omr, Taliban leader, and Gulbudin Hekmatia the leader of Hezb Islami. Karzai addressed in a press conference that his government started talks with the Taliban; this is welcomed by United States and United Nation.

Over the last months this is the third time that Karzai is talking about his government being in discussion with opposition insurgents, especially Taliban, but this is the first time Karzai utterly frank invited Mullah Omar and Hekmatiar for discussion.

In his first conference after returning from the US Hamed Karzai told the media that if he had the address of these two opposition leaders, he personally will send people to talk with them.
"If a group of Taliban or a number of Taliban comes to me and asks, "President, we want a department in this or that ministry or we want a position as deputy minister... and we don't want to fight anymore," ... If there is a demand or request like that to me, I will accept it because I want to end the conflicts and fighting in Afghanistan," Karzai said.
"I wish there would be a demand as easy as this. I wished that they would want a position in the government. I will give them a position," he said.

Because of the sensitivity of talks with Taliban in society and government he suddenly expressed the affirmation of his government, like with Mullah Omar and Hekmatia he will talk about specific circumstances to respect the constitution and the six years of his government results. He pointed out that he had started consultancy with his cabinet and leaders of parties.

He also pointed out that during his last visit to New York he has talked about this issue with Bush and some other world leaders.

Three weeks ago the Taliban announced they're ready to talk with the Afghan government, without any specific circumstances. On one hand, this was a very hasty reaction from rebels who had always wanted the international forces to withdraw from Afghanistan, but that this comes so simple also embarrassed the international community. On the other hand, Afghan government was not sure if the ones they were talking to represent the Taliban, or just a small group.

Every time when there were talks of negotiation with Taliban the Afghan government was challenged. For example, 'talks with Taliban' means talks with the leader of Taliban Mullah Omar? If so, it is also a fact that Mullah Omar is known as a terrorist key figure on the list of the United States of America. So, what will happen with him?

This always has been a serious question for the government, but the Afghan authorities always gave vague answers to media. They only say again and again: with anyone who believes in the Afghan constitutional law, the government would have no problem.

Oct 8, 2007

This story is about Gol Pary, a 12-year old girl, who is not enjoying her life...

Oct 2, 2007

A post ideological afghanistan

By Sanjar

I went to General Staff College the other day, senior army officers and generals go to GSC for specialized training and in service skill building. GSC is the most prestigious military academy in Afghanistan. Around twenty brigade and regiment commanders came to kabul from around the country to participate in two week seminar, telling them what is happening in the country and how things are developing. I thought it would be useful to talk with them and get them on our side.

I am happy I went there to talk with them, so I could give them a different perspective into issues. most of Afghan Armed Forces (AAF) general and senior officer undergo extensive training by Americans, security contractors such as Dycorps and other NATO mentors. AAF, especially police force is the public face of the government and the most important pillar of law enforcement. But AAF has been accused of corruption and low discipline. The government, Nato and international community haven’t thoroughly looked at the decision making process and judgment of commanders, and it’s connection with the kind of training they acquire as well as it’s significance in AAF performance.

The trainers in GSC and other AAF academies decent in the compound without much knowledge of where they are, an official in GSC who wanted to remain anonymous told me, a visiting American trainer after a few days in GSC found out that he was in Afghanistan. Foreign AAF trainers might have the best skill and knowledge but they are detached from Afghanistan and lack communication and language ability to pass optimal skills to Afghans and to learn about Afghanistan. Even if foreign trainers were willing to communicate more effectively and in a trust building manner they wouldn’t be able to do it because they rotate every three months and that wouldn’t give them a chance to learn much.

The time of communication in GSC is very persuasive and designed to reform social attitude of the Afghan officers, persistent seminars comprises social influences capable of producing substantial behavior and attitude change through the use of persuasion tactics, via interpersonal and group-based influences. this could be considered.

I am sitting there and waiting for my turn to tell them about Afghan media. Before me Colonel O’Brian from US army is telling them about the importance of media in covering the success of army. But he could not outline a single story afghan or international media on afghan army and it’s potential influence on public perception.

All the examples he give was either about WW II or Vietnam or Balkans or Cold war. O’Brian also mentioned the name of broadcasters and agencies, it was either CBS, BBC, NPR or some other western agency. I do think O’Brian was sincere in telling them media is important and the army should help media cover the war but the way he was telling has proved to be counterproductive. The commanders of Afghan army get to hear about western journalism and they start to respect western journalism. We have seen western journalist have been provided with information by the army that they would never offer to afghan media, western media has been extended especial courtesies while Afghan media has been restricted by the army. When a discussion started on the latest military stories in media, Afghan generals were of course talking what they have seen on Afghan broadcasters but O’Brian was saying “I can’t comment on that, but there was a story on BBC…..” since he was leading the discussion he went on to analyze the story. I think this is a great way to undermine Afghan media. If the significance of Afghan media is not stressed by O’Brian, an Afghan commander would less value it. O’Brian tells all sort of anecdotes about some little town paper and how they mobilized the town community, these sorts of anecdotes glorifies American way of living and indirectly misrepresent afghan media. Glorifying American way of reporting and journalism would negatively represent Afghan media in the eyes of army generals.

Colonel O’Brian continues his speech on media, the discussion comes to Aljazeera and the officers condemn the station for having links with Taliban and Alqaida. O’Brain says; Aljazeera is not the example of a good media, what kind of journalism is propagating the message of hatred. It’s bad media. They are showing footage of Taliban crimes. Medley a civilian media advisor to NATO adds; media professionals deny any link between media and violence, but there is, media has exacerbated a conflict to genocide in Rwanda in 1994. Taliban had a radio station, Radio Sharia, propagating their version of Islam.

Clearly, O’Brian and Medley, two senior Nato representative (one military and the other civilian) don’t understand that Aljazeera has a broader agenda which extends behind reporting. If Aljazeera gets exclusive footage from Alqaida and Taliban it shows they are doing a good job. Alqaida and Taliban are the hot topic and Aljazeera is a new channel which came up with format to get access to the hot topic and audience survey shows Aljazeera is growing. This is what media business is about. O’Brian and Medley also forgets that their media promotes violence to and it’s more graphically than Aljazeera. When I was studying in Poland I was attending physical exercise and i was asked, as one does, where I came from. When I said Afghanistan, the girl promptly responded; Oh, Rambo 3, this tells a lot. Since the 1980s and especially since 2002 Hollywood's depiction of Afghans has gradually shown signs of vilifying Afghans.

Western media and especially Hollywood not only portraits a violent picture of Afghanistan but it also slanders and humiliate Afghans too. A new Hollywood movie is, called Domino, about four gangsters, one of whom is an Afghan. The Afghan guy betrays his friends and steals their money and sends it to Afghanistan for the war against American, at the end of the movie the Afghan guy blows up a business tower in a suicide attack. In this movie Hollywood shows all sorts of stereotypes that are attributed to Afghans. Domino might be considered as one of the most subversive films released by a major studio since Fight Club.

Hollywood network productions such as 24, escape from Afghanistan, the Beast, September 8 shows Afghan villains. Hollywood misrepresents Afghans and their collective identity. Hollywood pictures showing Afghans holding hostage and bombing buildings and civilians only reinforces western stereotypes of Afghans being untrustworthy, irrational, cruel, and barbaric

The 2004 film Alexander by American director Oliver Stone, portraits a negative and inaccurate picture of Hindu Kush people. the movie portrayed Afghans as poor, gay, barbaric farmers that lives in caves and spends their time killing innocent neighbors. Alexander marries Rukhshana in Afghanistan; the movie shows that Afghans are so gay that Alexander and his army arrive to save their women.

A new Hollywood movie called "300" which shows a battle between Spartans and Persians. The movie portrays Persians as "deranged, ghastly, ruthless monsters."

The 2007 film 300 was widely criticized for its "racist” portrayal of Persian combatants at the battle of Thermopylae. 300 depicts the east and specifically Persians decadents sexually flamboyant and evil in contrast to the noble Greeks and the west in general. If 300 had been made in Germany in mid 1940s or earlier it would be studied today alongside ‘The Eternal Jew’, a movie with the central thesis that characterize the Jew as a wandering cultural parasiteas, a textbook example of how racist fantasy and myth can serve as an incitement to total war.

We are living in a post ideological era; neither Hollywood nor Aljazeera is considered inflaming. But I believe the American Colonel and the Afghan Colonels still lives in the cold war era and think in ideological terms.

Sep 13, 2007

Korean Hostage Deal

Taliban insurgents finally released the group of 19 South Koreans from their custody recently. This was the first time that the Taliban kidnapped a large number of foreigners in Afghanistan and it's a warning to all other foreigners working in Afghanistan to take more caution when they travel from one province to another., The kidnapping of the South Korean group sparked anger of many Afghan people.

Because they were innocent civilians and it's against our religion and culture to kidnap innocent civilians, especially women. But unfortunately the Taliban did not care about Afghan culture and prestige. Our great prophet Mohammed peace be upon him advised his forces to only kill those enemies who fight with you face to face on the battle ground - do not kill their women and children - do not kill the young and old men who work on their fields and those who are civilians. But the Taliban broke all the teachings of Islam and kidnapped civilians who were mostly women and came here to help us.

Although some people think they came here to teach Christianity but most Afghan people believe that they came to help us and they condemned Taliban for kidnapping the Koreans. Afghans want to have good relationships with all countries around the world so we hope that the people of South Korea do not think that all Afghans are like the Taliban insurgents. They must know that the Taliban is a rebel group that can do anything for their own benefit and that has nothing to do with the Afghan people. The Afghan people are brave and hospitable and would never do such an action to make a bad name for themselves.

I think it would have been better if the Afghan government had made a deal with Taliban instead of the Korean government. The Taliban demanded the release of one Taliban commander from the custody of the Afghan government which could have been better than the Korean government dealing with the Taliban. According to some reports, the Taliban got a ransom from the Korean government to release the Korean citizens. Even though the release of a Taliban commander is a big mistake, it would have been better than the $20 million deal and the withdrawal of the Korean troops from Afghanistan. 20 million dollars is a lot of money and the Taliban can buy weapons to use against the Afghan and coalition forces and they can increase and arrange more suicide attacks around the country which will kill dozens of innocent people. I hope in the future the Afghan government should be the one to deal with the Taliban not the other government.

The presence of foreign troops is very important for peace and stability of Afghanistan. Even though the South Koreans have a small number of their troops in our country, and we have already thousands of foreign troops in our country, the terrorists have not been completely defeated and our own army is not strong enough to fight our enemies by themselves. Therefor we will need the presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan for a few more years and it will be more useful if we have more troops from different countries.

If in the future any kidnap cases happen in our country then our own government is responsible to deal with kidnappers, not the 3rd country. If the other countries make deals with insurgents it will show the weakness and weak authority of our government and our people will lose their trust in their current government.

I advise foreign nationals not to travel anywhere, particularly to the south and eastern provinces, without a security escort, otherwise there will be a risk of kidnapping. The best and safest way for foreigners to travel to Kandahar, Mazar-e-Sharif, Herat and Jalalabad provinces is to travel by plane. It's cheap and safe. There are flights to these provinces 3 times a week. If they don't want to fly then they should talk with Afghan security forces before they travel. The security forces can advise them better about the situation on the motorways.

Our foreign friends should also keep in mind that if they came here for missionary activities then the Afghan people will not help them. They should know that Afghans will never accept those who are trying to carry out missionary activities. Afghans love their own religion and culture. They also love freedom but as long as it doesn't offend their religion.

Taliban is using this new tactic of hostage-taking to take advantages from the Afghan government and foreign countries that helps us in both security and reconstruction. After the successful official deal with the South Korean government, the Taliban demonstrated their wide presence in different provinces. This deal will encourage more kidnappings and the Taliban will try to kidnap more civilians to get more ransoms and advantages from the Afghan and foreign governments so we hope the foreigners will take more caution when traveling around the country. It will be safe for their own life and it will also stop the Taliban from getting ransoms and use the ransom back against the Afghan people government and foreign countries.

from Afghan Warrior

Aug 13, 2007

Encounters in Indian Cinema!

I was watching the final moments of an Indian movie called the shootout at lokhandwala last night and I was captivated by a strange practice by Indian police called The Encounter.
According to the movie the encounters are used by Indian police to apprehend the bad guys of society by killing them! Even if the bad guys agree to surrender the encounter police will not take the bad guys in, instead they will shoot them dead!
Apart from movies I wanted to check for myself if this practice is really happening in India or it is just another myth created by Bollywood.

Upon doing minor research it was clear that encounters are happening for real and the Indian police have used encounters extensively during the 90s to clear Mumbai (Bombay) of its criminals and gangsters.

Such encounters also goes by the name of staged encounters where police catch the criminals, kill them at a remote area and plant the evidence suggesting a shootout between police and the criminals.

Human rights groups in India have always criticized this practice and question the motives behind these encounters. Several cases have been filled against police officers in connection with staged encounters, but still no court has ruled against the police by accepting that the killings are staged by police. Even then it is widely accepted that staged encounters do take place and there are some critics who claim that the victims of the encounters are mostly common men who are innocent.

There are others who say that such tactics are needed against gangsters who are supported by the corrupt politicians and avoid arrest with their help. Criminals who have support from politicians, businessmen and sometimes the police never spend time in jail. Every time a gangster or Bhai as they call themselves is arrested for a crime as vicious as murder, they end up being freed against bail by the corrupt court system in India.

I am not sure with which group to agree, I would like to have something like this used against the Taliban, but I am also very much afraid that Afghan police would use this tool to kill innocent.
In the Afghan context the encounter could be an interesting subject. Presume that this tactic is picked up by Afghan police from their Indian counterparts what would be the positive and negative impact of it.

At least we will have a lot of movies about Afghan Encounters!

Aug 9, 2007

Protecting Westeners

Today 31st of July is another day off for foreign aid workers. After the explosion east of Kabul the situation was assessed critical by foreign embassies and NGO security organization. NGOs have recruited security contractors to provide them security and advice. The security contractors have advised four NGOs I managed to get hold to go home for the afternoon and keep low profile.

This is only limited to foreign aid workers and Afghans remain in the offices and are working.

The security contractor assessed the situation not that bad for afghans.

The security contractors are quick when it comes to making decisions about foreigners.

Journalists of an international media organization are being followed by unknown people. The chasers are in plane cloth and have two private cars, while journalists went to ask them who they are and why they are being followed they were treated badly and were told its an issue of national security.

The issue was reported to the media organization management ten days ago and it was repeatedly brought to their attention but no decision has been made yet.

This once again tells us the mission of foreigners in Afghanistan. It’s about them, an organization with 5 foreign employees spend a million dollar on security.

Read more at Sanjar blog

Picnicking Out of Kabul

Last Friday we went out of Kabul for a picnic. I was invited by my German friend Martin Garner.
In the early morning I went to Park-e- Share-e-Naw to watch partridge fighting in order to complete my articles about animal fighting in Afghanistan. After some murmurings the competition started. I witnessed two matches and interviewed the winners.

Later I called Martin and joined him after an hour that I passed in the heavy traffic. It was not only me who Martin and his friend were waiting for but another Kandahari guy coming from far away was expected too. We came out of the car and walked along side the area when I saw a motorcyclist stopping nearby and looking as seriously. Soon, he pulled out his cell-phone and started calling and looking. I was about to be afraid and noticed Martin and his Afghan friend who were talking in French. When he heard what I saw he was afraid more than me and started calling to his friends who had left us in the street.
After a while his friend came and we continued our journey to Wardak. We had multi problems, not only security, and this deteriorated over the last few days. The driver was careless and nearly crashed two to three times. After we insisted much, he started to drive a bit more slowly but still there was fear. We reached Maidan Wardak, where a tanker was set on fire just a few days before. I asked Martin to change his seat and sit in the back to avoid more attention. On the way we saw a school that was fired at and a road was ruined by a roadside bomb.
“This village is full of Taliban and I have no doubt that many bombs are planted at the road side”, the driver whispered slowly to his friend. Read more at

Aug 8, 2007
you can use of Afghanphoto for your subjects

Jul 15, 2007

Civilian Casualties

According to the news reports, dozens of civilians have been killed by coalition air strikes recently in the south-eastern and western parts of the country, and it has deepened the concerns of the Afghan people and human rights organizations.

Last week during heavy clashes between US-led coalition forces and insurgents in both western Farah and eastern Kunar provinces, coalition forces in both provinces called for air supports which killed a large number of civilians. According to the provincial officials, 108 civilians were killed in the Balabluk district of Farah province and 60 people were killed in eastern Kunar province. The first air strike killed 35 civilians in Kunar on Thursday including 9 family members of a man called Mohammed and 25 more civilians were killed on Friday while they were burying the bodies of those who were killed in Thursday's air raids. More here at afghanWarrior

Jul 13, 2007

Family Supporter


Every day her mother makes her some Bolani (Afghan fast food) and sells each one for 5 afg, almost ten cents.
She is 9 years old and wishes to go to school one day. She wishes that one day they’ll have food at home and a schoolbag for her brother. She wishes for the day when he will have shoes on his feet. She is tired.

I asked her if she likes to go to school.
“If I go to school who is going to take care of my little brother and sister? Who is going to feed my mother? We don’t have a home, we don’t have food, and we don’t have money. That is why I am coming to the street to sell Bolani and earn a little money, to buy food for my family”, she answered.
Read more here at Afghan LORD

Jul 10, 2007

Forget about life in Kabul, Let’s go to the Military Base

I was pleased to learn that Newsweek, one of the most widely read magazines in North America and globally, is putting the lighter side of Afghanistan back in the limelight through the installation of a new section - Afghan Diary.

But, it was rather disappointing to see the journalist leap after covering a single story about life in Kabul to life in the Bagram Air Base. This comes as no surprise though given Western media’s preoccupation with soldiers, military bases, and incessant violence. Read more at SunLeaf

Jul 9, 2007

Grand plans that dissolved into an update

I had grand plans for my next post. One is about the hijab and another is about color & race.

Y'all will just have to make do with this update-y post until about the end of the month. If I finish everything early (this would require magic), then I'll post.

I'm tired. I haven't prepared for the exam as well as I should have (I have a whole host of reasons, stuff I would've have chosen to do despite the slight panic I'm facing now). I have a paper to finish, family stuff to take care of, prepare for travel back to the watan (soon Inshallah!) and oh yeah, and I no longer have health insurance. Read more here

Jul 7, 2007

Afghan Association Blogwriters demands immediate release of Kamran Merhazar

Statement of Afghan association blogwriters demands immediate release of Kamran Mehrazar the editor of Kabul Press website

Afghan PenLog is express its concern about the detention of independent journalist Kamran Merhazar by Afghan special police agency NDS.

Kamran Merhazar was picked up on Wednesday, at 11:00 am by four plain clothed police who pretending to be Afghan police agency NDS. They pointed that Merhazar was picked up for questioning but within 24 hours he has been in custody with no phone and no legal representation. As far as we know no criminal charges have yet been made against him.

The NDS has not issued any kind of statement about why they have detain Merhazar other than they wanted to question him.

Speculation about why Merhazar was been detained varies from accusations he was “critical of government” in some stories he published, to being accused of “being a spy”. some media resources believe he has been detained because he published a story revealing salaries and conditions of senior government officials and ministers. The document he sourced securing this information is claimed to be confidential government information. Another theory is because he was connected to an article published in Kabul Press about an advisor to the government that the article suggested “may have links” to ISI, Pakistan’s secret intelligence agency.

Afghan PenLog is deeply concrerned that Merhazara has been illegally detained as no criminal charges have been laid against him. Afghan PenLog ugre NDS and government of Afghanistan to release Kamran Merhazar and follow legitimate legal process when investigating issues around freedom of information and the reputation of government and it’s officials.

the Association of Afghan Blogwriters
Afghan Penlog

Jun 11, 2007

Peace Jirga

Pakistan and Afghanistan reiterate their commitment to put up a joint front against the terrorists in the region during the Estranged South Asian Neighbors conference in Kabul. Afghan president Hamid Karzai and Pakistani prime minister Shaukat on Tuesday urged working together against the insurgents and terrorists along their common border. Addressing a joint news conference, both leaders expressed confidence towards the Peace Jirga slated to meet in the last week of June or early August in Kabul. Last week the Peace Jirga delegation from the Afghan side met President Musharaf in Islamabad and voiced maximum interest in a stable and prosperous Afghanistan. Both the Afghan and Pakistani delegation have agreed that the joint Afghan/Pakistani Jirga should be held after two months in Kabul and they are now busy with working on the Jirga agenda. Read more here

Jun 9, 2007

Six Million Children at Risk

Recently I heard shocking news from Noor Mohammad Wasil, the deputy minister of social work. Lately he visited an orphanage in Mazar-e-Sharif, northern Afghanistan. According to Noor Mohammad, 6 million children are at risk of sexual abuse, violence and harsh child labor. According to the deputy of minister of social work, 50% of these children are under 19. Since 6 million out of 12 million got the opportunity to go to school, the rest of the children are under exposure of different threats and abuse.
According to his estimation, children are exposed to addiction of narcotics, child abuse, marriage under the legal age and smuggling.
The government and international community must pay attention, since these are serious threats for the future of the children.
Read more at Afghan LORD

Adventures with the Attorney General

We've been having SO MUCH fun with the Attorney General in Afghanistan. There doesn't seem to be very much outcry in the U.S. but I think his case is an example of inept meddling and its repercussions...continued here

Jun 6, 2007

Khalilzad, Again

On a day when Zal appeared in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee seeking approval as the nominee for Permanent Representative of the United States to the UN, Jawad Zarif, Iran’s kind of Permanent Representative to the UN, went on record with this...continued here

Jun 1, 2007

Pak-Afghan relation: attempts to improve it

An Afghan journalist delegation visited Pakistan in May. In the course of the trip the delegation visited different Pakistani cities and talked with various Pakistani journalists, officials and activists. The delegation reveals its finding of Pak-Afghan crisis-hit relationship...continued here

May 9, 2007

Civilian Kidnappings

The Taliban insurgents have been kidnapping Afghan and foreign workers and journalists recently. They do this hoping to exchange these civilian journalists with their key commanders. As far as I am concerned, these kidnappings of the foreigners are the best and shameful way for the Taliban group to release their commanders from the Afghan government custody...continued here

Mar 13, 2007

CSIS Report | Breaking Point: Measuring Progress in Afghanistan

The CSIS PCR Project released its final report on Afghanistan entitled, Breaking Point: Measuring Progress in Afghanistan. Click here to download the report . Event audio is now available on PCR Podcast at the end of this post and more information about the event can be found here

Afghan women suffer domestic violence (8th March)

It is not now but a prolonged years especially a dark period of Taliban that Afghan women suffered of violence. Violence not only in out side house but inside. Though afghan men always look to their wives as possessed materials who owned by paying. In Afghanistan women are completely apart of daily live, what the husbands believe to them is too different than western men do. Sometimes Afghan men beating their wives for nothing just they like it to show their power and anger in his family member. When they feel to beat their wife they do it immediately. Many parents marry their daughters off to wealthy men aged 60 and 70. Read more here...

Freedom of the Press in Afghanistan: A Little Bit Pregnant

It certainly is refreshing to learn about “major successes” in Afghanistan. Except… well, what does it exactly mean to have a free press “in name”? That qualifier is a bit puzzling to us. Just to help put things in perspective, would it also be fair to boast of women’s rights in Afghanistan (see previous post), and then add “at least in name”? Ditto a functioning democracy “at least in name”? How does “at least in name” protect journalists from intimidation or women from violence? read more here....

Mar 9, 2007

Mar 7, 2007

Cover Ups and Collateral Damage

Unless measures are taken to prevent civilian losses of life from happening again -and a good place to start doing that is to find out why they happened in the past- it seems only certain the struggle in Afghanistan will be lost one incident at a time, and in the process, also bereft of its legitimacy.
(Continue on Safrang)

Mar 3, 2007

Karzai's Choice

After the infamous “Amnesty Bill” (officially christened the “National Reconciliation Law”) swept through both the lower and upper houses of Afghanistan’s parliament with uncharacteristic efficiency, the onus is now on the president to decide whether he signs the bill into law or not. And Mr. Karzai’s preferred course of action in matters as inflammatory as this (that is, to steer clear of the entire damn thing) seems just not to be an option here. (Continue on Safrang)

Feb 15, 2007

After a Year of Setbacks Afghanistan Sees Renewed Committment

Whether the renewed US and international committment to Afghanistan is genuine and long-term, or just a bracing up for the anticipated spring offensive by the Taliban remains to be seen. In the latter case, the temporary build-up of troops will merely amount to a Maginot Line: the enemy will only delay its offensive enough that the eager foreigners tire and leave once again before the ANA is up to the challenge -as they have unfailingly done in the past. And then it will be groundhog day all over. Read more at Safarang....

Most of aid gets pocketed by Afghan leaders

Nato forces in the south of the country say some Afghan police are guilty of corruption and will steal aid if it is handed out. Tribal and mosque elders have also been accused of seizing goods, including building materials and fuel, and selling them in markets. A Pentagon official said thousands of cars and trucks intended for use by the Afghan police had been sold instead. Read more here

Feb 3, 2007

Gaining Traction

hat perspective, that things are gaining traction, came up briefly in the dinner conversation tonight. Ironically, the conversation took place at a restaurant that may be losing traction after being here since 2002…had a chance to talk to the guy who runs the restaurant after dinner and he was bemoaning that, but noted that his restaurant on the ISAF base was doing well, quite well. And that, in itself, may be a good indicator of what one recent thrust has been, towards more militarization…”more”, of course, being relative to the past 2-3 years (absent the escalating previous year) of relative calm. Read more at Kabulog ...

After a Year of Setbacks Afghanistan Sees Renewed Committment

Not long after the start of the Iraq War the world became so embroiled with the many twists and turns of that fatal mistake that Afghanistan was relegated to the backburner -and soon came to be referred to as the “forgotten war.” more...