Now we pay the warlords to tyrannise the Afghan people:
the Taliban fell but - thanks to coalition policy - things did not get better
The Guardian (
BY Isabel Hilton
Diehard defenders of military intervention
There is a further point of consensus:
that the deterioration is a direct consequence of "coalition" policy.
Some 60 aid agencies have issued a joint statement pleading with the
international community to deploy forces across
It is not Karzai's
fault. He is a prisoner within his own government: a respected, liberal Pashtun who nominally heads a government in which former
In the country that is fantasy
The new national army is supposed to be 70,000-strong. Last year, only 4,000 men were trained. The new recruits were vetted for Taliban connections and drug trafficking, but not for past human rights abuses. The defence ministry is a Tajik fiefdom; arms and cash, including British taxpayers' money, continue to be funnelled to the warlords; and senior UN officials have publicly doubted whether the elections will happen at all.
The funds offered to
There is money in
Two million refugees have returned to
Development and reconstruction experts
agree that postwar reconstruction should begin with security and include the
early encouragement of labour-intensive
infrastructure projects which help the country and put wages into the pockets
of those who need them. But this has not been applied in
The Pentagon prefers to pay the warlords
to run the country outside
"...sexual violence against women, girls, and boys is both frequent and almost never reported. Women, girls, and boys are abducted outside of their homes in broad daylight and sexually assaulted. In some areas girls have been abducted on the way to school. Women and girls are raped in their homes, typically during the evening or night during armed robberies. One attack was seemingly intended to silence a women’s rights activist. Cases of sexual violence are also noted in other sections of this report in the contexts in which they occur."
* * *
In Laghman province in March 2003, witnesses told HRW, army troops under Ismatullah, the commander of a military base in Laghman, broke into the homes of two different women, and apparently raped one of them. A woman who talked extensively with the women afterwards said:
I asked her questions about what they did, and she cried and said, “When a woman’s hands and feet are tied, what can she do? If I tell you what happened, what can you do?” Two times I asked, and she said, “I want to keep it to myself.” Her wrists were black from being tied with ropes. She told me, “I am afraid. Please don’t say anything to the governor. I know each and every one of them, and I am afraid they will kill me.”
“Killing You is a
Very Easy Thing For Us”
Even straightforward reconstruction
projects fail to bring maximum benefit to the Afghan people. To give only one
example: road repair could be an opportunity to spend money usefully and to
provide employment. But on the key road from
What progress there has been is now threatened. The proportion of girls in school - never more than half - has begun to decline again: girls' schools have been attacked, and girls threatened and harassed on their way to classes.
A Human Rights Watch report published on Tuesday documents crimes of kidnapping, rape, intimidation, robbery, extortion and murder, committed not in spite of the government but by its forces - by the warlords and their police and soldiers, who are paid, directly and indirectly, by US and British taxpayers.
The British have been shipping cash to Hazrat Ali, the head of
If paying warlords had been an emergency measure, there would be room to hope that it would no longer be necessary once elections were held and a legitimate government in place. But this is a policy the consequence of which is that there is unlikely to be long-term peace or a democratic government.
The promised election date is less than a
year away. The choice is to allow these local tyrannies to be painted over by a
voting exercise conducted for propaganda purposes, or to challenge the
warlords. Is Nato, which
takes over ISAF in August, really prepared to do so? Somehow I doubt it.
Some of the opinions expressed within articles sent to our list,
may not necessarily be that of RAWA.
Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA)
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