Tag Archives: Hamid Karzai

#Afghanistan: Over 500 Taliban prisoners released from jails

taliban2013.jpgWhy not? They’re not the enemy: “Last year, during my visit to Washington, in a very important briefing a day before I met U.S. President [Barack Obama], his national security adviser Tom Donilon, and senior White House officials, generals, and intelligence officials, the national security adviser met with me. He told me: ‘The Taliban are not our enemies and we don’t want to fight them.'” — Hamid Karzai, November 26, 2013

“Over 500 Taliban prisoners released from Afghan jails,” from the Pakistan Observer, December 25 (thanks to Kenneth):

Wednesday, December 25, 2013 – Kabul—The Afghan high peace council has released over 500 Afghan and Pakistani Taliban prisoners during the past one and half year.The militants were detained in connection to suicide attacks and other insurgency activities, and were released based on president Karzai’s decrees and on the request of the Afghan high peace council.

At least 536 Taliban militants have been released on presidential decrees during the past 15 months, local television network (1TV) reported.

According to the documents obtained by 1TV, at least 224 Taliban militants including Pakistani nationals, who were arrested in connection to suicide attacks, were released on presidential decrees and on request of the Afghan high peace council.

The militants were apparently released to help accelerate the Afghan peace talks with the Taliban group, however majority of those who were released by Afghan government, have returned back to battle field to fight Afghan and coalition security forces.

A number of high level Taliban leaders including close aides of the Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar were also among those who were released to assist Afghan peace talks.

However, the Taliban group in Afghanistan has continuously rejected to hold peace talks with the Afghan government and insist for complete withdrawal of coalition forces from Afghanistan to pave the way for reconciliation process.—Online

#Afghanistan: Alarm rises for women prisoners after Western troops leave

Afghan women prisoners stand in their room at Herat prison, western Afghanistan, Dec. 8, 2013. (Reuters)

After Farida’s husband sold their three-year-old daughter to support his drug habit of several years, she took a knife and stabbed him to death in their house in the western Afghan province of Herat.

The young mother of three then dragged his body into the street and called the police. Farida is now serving a 20-year sentence in Herat’s prison for women.

“I do not agree with the sentence,” she said, her gaze steady from beneath a green headscarf. “They didn’t consider the bad situation I was in.”

Farida, 31, expected the police to kill her rather than send her to prison where the first four years of her term have been relatively comfortable. Foreign aid donors have ensured regular meals, heating and healthcare.

But those arrangements are now at risk and fears that women like Farida may be abandoned are growing as the prison’s main benefactor, the Italian Provincial Reconstruction Team, winds down operations alongside most foreign troops.

The government has shown little interest in protecting hard-won rights for women and most of its limited funds will be devoted to fighting a growing Taliban insurgency.“If the government doesn’t feed them they don’t eat,” said Heather Barr, a researcher for Human Rights Watch.

“The government has an important role after the provincial reconstruction team leaves and it’s hard to imagine they will have the will, or the ability, to continue maintaining the conditions in prisons as outside funding declines.”

Learning experience

With 169 inmates, the Herat jail is Afghanistan’s second-largest prison for women after a jail in the capital, Kabul, that holds around 230.

The prison also offers training in English and computer classes, skills that inmates jailed for fleeing abusive or forced marriages might never otherwise have acquired.

The best hope for women in Afghanistan was for foreign aid donors to tie cash to progress, said Suraya Pakzad, who runs women’s shelters in several provinces.

“The budget allocated for women’s activities is nothing,” said Pakzad. “The year 2014 – everybody is talking about that. It creates fear among women in the community.”

She attributed the fear to the fact that many Afghans’ age-old attitudes towards women have not changed. The judicial process invariably punishes women, whatever their defence.

Farida, for example, said she killed her husband in reaction to years of beatings and watching him drain the family’s funds to feed his drug habit.

Many fellow inmates said they had fled abuse and been accused of “zina”, or sex between unmarried people, by angry husbands or family. Upon arrest, they faced intrusive virginity tests and imprisonment for attempted adultery even if the test results were negative, Pakzad said.

Left alone

Rape victims are also routinely jailed for “zina” and left to give birth in prison. Ten babies were born at Herat’s jail this year and more than 70 are growing up behind bars.

Concern about a future without foreign support is all the more acute now that the United States has threatened to pull out all its troops over a crucial security deal Afghan President Hamid Karzai has refused to sign.

“We still hope for more aid,” said Herat prison chief Sima Pazhman, who has worked there for more than 25 years, including during the harsh days of the Taliban regime.

But if the United States pulls out, others are expected to follow, along with the bulk of foreign aid.

Pazhman didn’t ask herself whether the women belonged in jail in the first place.

“I don’t question the courts,” she said. “I see the sentences as though the crimes had really been committed.”

Last Update: Thursday, 19 December 2013 KSA 14:01 – GMT 11:01

Why Are America and The West Funding Sharia Law?

How long is the West going to be bound to doing the impossible?

Prof. Phyllis Chesler

President Hamid Karzai’s government is considering bringing back stoning for adultery—and imposing 100 lashes (which is a death sentence) for unmarried people who have had sexual relations.

Thus, Afghan men can marry female children, keep male children as sex-toys, maintain four wives, and visit prostitutes from dawn to dawn.

But it is a capital crime if an Afghan man dishonors another Afghan man by having relations with his female “property;” and, if he has raped the poor wife, she is also to be stoned. Worse yet, if two young Afghans meet and fall in love on their own and have sexual relations, but do not marry—they, too, will be committing a capital crime.

Just imagine what it is like to live in a world where marriages are arranged, often to first or second cousins; where a woman cannot divorce a man, no matter how violent or cruel he and his family may be.

Imagine that if a girl is maritally raped, tortured or forced into prostitution by her mother-in-law (these things happen all the time in Afghanistan).

Understand that if a bride is bold enough to run away, she will be jailed—that’s if she is lucky. Otherwise, her family of origin and her husband’s family will kill her for dishonoring them.

This reality is surreal, actually worse than Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel “The Handmaids’ Tale”. Such customs are indigenous, tribal, and pandemic– and have not been caused by Western colonialism, imperialism, militarism or even Zionism!

In fact, Afghans are very proud of the fact that they have never been colonized, not by Great Britain and not by Russia.

Why are America and the West funding such a country which is so clearly headed back towards the darkest days of the Taliban in the 1980s and to the even darker days of the bitter battles between warlords which massacred so many innocent civilians in the 1990s? Do Americans really believe that we can wean the Sunni Afghans from gender and religious apartheid?

Why is America funding humanitarian projects and training an Afghan Army when Hamid Karzai, presumably America’s puppet, is in reality a quintessentially wily Afghan who needs to posture against the infidel West in order to keep his conservative countrymen from assassinating him; who breaks promises as fast as he makes them and considers this clever diplomacy, Afghan-style; whose family has grown very rich allegedly as opium dealers as well as bankers and landlords.

Karzai has just now even gone against the wishes of his own Loya Jirga (mass meeting of elders) by deciding that he would not sign the agreement with America that he promised to sign.I was once held captive in Kabul—the very country that sheltered Bin Laden as he hatched Al Qaeda and 9/11. Now, the entire civilian world is being held hostage by this style of terrorism and asymmetrical warfare i.e. a war in which soldiers are dressed as civilians and there is no “front.” A suicide bombing can happen anywhere and everywhere.

How eerie, how destined that I would know something about this particular country, the people, the customs, and could bring my hard-won knowledge to bear at this moment in history.

Author Rajiv Chandrasekaran tells a story about an Afghan farmer who observed American do-gooders at work in the 1950s. The farmer said: “The land upon which (the Americans) were standing was cursed because the infidel had touched the land.” The farmer predicted that the Valley would become “a wasteland because of the tinkering of the infidels.”

I work with Muslim and ex-Muslim feminists and dissidents and respect their enormous heroism. But I also know that they are marginalized by Western governments and represent only a small percentage of Muslims.

The fear, envy, and hatred of the infidel, especially the Jew, is pandemic and will not be easy to uproot and transform.

Please draw all the necessary parallel conclusions about Israel’s chances of transforming a heavily indoctrinated Palestinian Muslim population. I wrestle with the commandment that, as a Jew, I must bring light unto the nations—but I am also evaluating the high cost of doing so in terms of blood and treasure.

I know that if Western boots on the ground leave Afghanistan, that every humanitarian project will disappear overnight and the country will become a Living Hell. And yet: If the ideal cannot be translated into reality at this historical moment, how long are we morally bound to attempt to do that which is impossible?