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