Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The Afghan People Forgotten Again: Notes of a Young Man in Kabul

Yesterday marked the two year anniversary of Bush's dramatic and confident announcement that "Major combat" was over in Iraq. Exactly one day before Bush's hollywood style performance, Rumsfeld declared the same thing about Afganistan: On May 1, 2003, Rumsfeld announced that "Major Combat Activity" had ended in Afghanistan.

As Iraq continues to burn, hardly anyone believes that all has gone well or that major combat is indeed over.

But what about Afghanistan? Compared to what the occupation forces face in Iraq, it seems that foreign soldiers in Afghanistan have a walk in the park. But what are the lived realities of the Afghan people? What about the liberation and prosperity that was promised to them via daisy cutters and carpetbombs?

Do the warmongers tell us that the "average life expectancy in Afganistan is 44.5 years and It's education system is now the worst in the world"? How about the corruption that allows drug lords to do as they will with impunity? Or that women in "liberated" Afghanistan fare no better than they did under the taliban: "During the Taliban era, if a woman went to market and showed an inch of flesh she would have been flogged; now she's raped."

In short, the filtering of information on Afghanistan is really appalling. So I was extra-pleased when I came across the site Yaddashthayee az Kabul (Notes from Kabul). It is a blog in Persian maintained by young man living in and writing about his native Kabul. I've taken the liberty of translating portions of his latest post entitled "Karzai is Toying with the Future of the Nation, which i encourage you to read in its entirety if you know Persian. Here are the segments I translated:

When the system and the foundations of the government is based on false promises and threats, then what can you expect from that government?

Well, you shouldn't expect much from a government whose support comes from wolf-like outsiders... I don't know whether the author of these games [which play with the nation] is Karzai and his corrupt crew or whether behind these games are those same Americans who run private prisons in Kabul where they extort money from Afghans and rape forty Afghan Children?

...The lack of security in the capital, Kabul, is oppressive. The insecurity that rules in Kabul today cannot be found anywhere else in the world. You can find heavy and light weaponry in the homes and now and then lawless individuals commit crimes the onus of which falls only on the long-time residents of Kabul and those immigrants who have returned from exile. The majority of these armed men are members of trained gangs that were ruling before and still seek to tempt new members. Not so long ago, this past month alone, 250 crimes, the majority of which ended in murder, were recorded. In the other provinces and corners of Afghanistan hundreds of these crimes occur in a daily basis but they are not recorded. In those places there are neither radios nor journalists to report on the crimes. Crimes are not reported in Kabul itself, much less in the provinces. In a city where you can find a journalist under every stone, you wont find any news or reports that contain any truth. Because reporters know the line they cannot cross and the policy they have to follow and if they give first hand accounts there will be less food on their tables.

Just a glimpse of life in "liberated" Afghanistan.