Tag Archives: War

Thus a Thug Becomes an Afghan Hero

Marshal Fahim
Marshal Muhammad Qasim Fahim

 I will not mourn the death of Marshal Fahim for a moment let alone three days.

This idea of holding national mourning is absolutely ridiculous.  I have not seen a single positive achievement from Fahim to make his death a sad occurrence.

There is a saying in Dari, “Morgh kam Goish kam” which roughly translates, “The fewer the chicken, the less chickenshit.”
I am being very insensitive here but none of the warlords who brought death and destruction to Afghanistan has any right on people to hold three days of mourning. Frankly, this is embarrassing for the government to announce three days of national mourning for a person whose sole interest was his growing wealth. Will all government high ranking officials get three day national mourning? I doubt it.

Fahim was not a hero by far and not a man who deserves kindness and prayers from people.  Throughout his time, there have been several reports of human rights violations and corruption, including occupying land illegally.
In 2005 Human Rights Watch described Fahim as “one of the most notorious warlords” and implicated him of torture and murder. In recent years he was associated with Kabul criminal gangs that were involved in abductions and smuggling of weapons and drugs.
He has also been refereed to as “semi literate, self appointed field marshal, and one of the principal obstacles to Afghan unity because of his alleged ruthless threats, beatings and general thuggery, ” in The Essential Field Guide to Afghanistan.

His legacy a long with his friends, in addition to all deaths and destruction that he is directly and indirectly responsible, is also the invasion of Afghanistan by foreign forces.

In few days or weeks, they will probably name a street after him, if they haven’t done that and few year later a statue will be erected for him and he will be named a national hero.. and thus a thug becomes a hero.

Afghanistan: The blame game

از ماست که بر ماست – It is from us which is upon us

It is very rare for a country to get involved so deep in the affairs of another country without an ulterior motive. If NATO countries are fighting in Afghanistan, they are doing it only for their own sake. They are not the least bit interested in what happens to Afghans and Afghanistan. If in the process of their work, some Afghans benefit, they claim the credit but they don’t really give a fig either way.

Let’s face it, Pakistani government is not our best friend either. Fair enough, they let refugees in their country during the years of Soviet invasion and Afghans are still living there as refugees in somewhat peace of mind, but their intention is clear. They only want a government in Afghanistan that is more than just friendly neighbour. The same goes for Iran and even India.

Consequently, whenever there is a discussion about Afghanistan among Afghans, there is hardly a time when some outsider is not blamed for the miseries Afghanistan has faced and still facing. Some blame America, some blame Pakistan, some other blame Iran, and some blame all of them. While there is no doubt all these countries played us over the years, what people forget is a great deal of blame falls on us too. A puppeteer without his puppets is nobody. His art can only exist if he has puppets.

There is a saying in Dari, “Az maast ke bar maast” which translates to “It is from us, which is upon us.” Certainly external forces have been a big factor in the destruction of Afghanistan, but we as Afghans have done enough to 1. Directly by following their order, 2. Indirectly by creating unfortunate situations to benefit them. We have been more than accommodating to their demands for a few dollars.

If we keep a balanced view, we should notice that we share enough responsibility in making Afghanistan what it is now; either as a proxy for outsiders or for our very personal advantages. Next time when you get into a discussion about who is to blame for the bad fortune of Afghanistan, do not forget to mention “Afghans” along with other candidates.

Afghanistan: No Way Ahead

AFghan kid
Poor is getting poorer and rich is getting richer

First thing first, I do not like Karzai. I really don’t, but I can’t help feeling sorry for him at times. When he was offered the position of being a puppet of USA, he probably thought that he would go to Afghanistan, help NATO in capturing Osama and Mullah Omar, get some high-profile jobs and government contracts for his relatives, make some cash in the process from different sources, things will go better, US will leave and he would become the saviour of Afghans from whatever they thought they were fighting.

Didn’t work well for him, did it?! Well, he did most of those things, but now he is stuck in a situation that nobody likes him or trusts him. Northern alliance think he is helping Pakistan, Americans think he has a little too much sympathy for Taliban, Taliban know him as servant of America, people are sick of him because his government is very corrupt and incompetent. I would hate to be in his position right now!

He knows the issues and he knows that he is nobody’s favourite anymore. He tries to change things but it is too late for him. He constantly asks NATO to schedule a withdrawal of their troops, he encourages Taliban to make peace, he even once confronted his own brother about his illegal activities months before he was killed. But nothing seems to be going his way anymore. When I was in Kabul in 2002, I thought Karzai was doing some positive things and since he inherited a fairly peaceful Kabul city and surroundings, we didn’t believe American occupation would last this long.  At that time at least people in Kabul kind of liked him, because they copped it worst from Taliban’s social and recreational restrictions.

I am not a political analyst, but the way I see, the whole thing is one big mess. To be honest I do not see anything that is happening over there in a positive light. It is dim and grim; US  is supposedly staying until 2024 now, which by the way indicates how badly they have failed, insurgents have changed their strategy and are doing more targeted damage now and it is very clear from the recent assassinations that they are picking up momentum, corruption is through the roof, poor is getting poorer and rich is getting richer. Well, actually the last one is true about everywhere in the world.

Right now, I do not believe anyone has a solution for Afghanistan. It looks like they are letting chips fall wherever they may and nobody has a sense of direction. As a matter of fact there is no destination to have a sense of direction for. Walking blind and hoping the next step is the right one, or do we even care if the next step is the right one?

The future is bleak

Afghan kids
42% of Afghans live below national poverty line. Photo A.P

Afghanistan government estimates that 42 per cent of Afghanistan’s population live below the national poverty line and another 20 per cent just above the line in a position that they could fall below the line at any time. That is pretty sad, however you look at it.

There are probably thousands of organisations that are funded by their governments or through fundraising that have taken oath to help these people. But it seems that the money people so eagerly pay to these organisations do not reach the people who truly need it. Obviously when the field director of an NGO and other expats are paid so handsomely than most of us are paid over here, not much is left to reach to the poor.  Sure, there are some reputable agencies and they are doing the best they can, but obviously they are not enough.

At the moment there is no hope for sustainable future for people who have little to no income. Most of those if lucky are living on either charity or begging. It is also expected that this coming autumn, millions will be struck by hunger. UNWFP is short in funding for its Afghanistan mission and US Congress has proposals to cut funding for humanitarian projects.

In Kabul one Joraie (ie double) Naan costs 10.00 Afghanis, one kilo of potatoes about 20.00 – 30.00 Afghanis. To factor in other staff that are used to prepare a meal of potato and have it with bread for a medium size family will probably be around $2.00  (AU$1.00 ~= AF40.00).  With an average income of $30.00 per month, a man can barely feed his family.

The future looks bleak with little hope of improvement to the life of common man. Corporations are still trying to milk whatever is left from this country. Security is getting worse by the day with recent attacks and assassinations in sight. While US is trying hard to convince us that Afghans are better off now (than say 10 years ago), the statistics are against them. May 2011 was apparently the deadliest since 2007 in terms of civilian casualties.

So on one side, war is causing so much death to innocent civilians (we are not debating who is doing most of the killings here), on the other side, poverty.

When people come back from a trip to Afghanistan they all talk about development. I say to them, what development? Of course we have many TV channels now, but what percentage of population have access to electricity and TV to watch those channels? Sure there are booming shopping centres and modern buildings around Kabul, but who are in them? Obviously somewhere along the line, people have lost their sense of priority.

While we do not see anything in foreseeable future that can provide means of sustainable income to people who are below the poverty line, we can still help those in need to survive the coming autumn and winter. The summer is gonna pass, although it is hot and dry, but when cold comes and people not only have not much to feed themselves, they don’t have any means to stay warm either.
Through however way possible we have to assist those less fortunate. Whether you have family in Afghanistan, or know of a reliable agency whose aim is to help people and not make money on the process, you should help. Forget about computers and technology, people don’t have food and drinking water. Forget about sending computers to schools in Kabul, there are places where there is no school. There are children who do not have access to a pen to write with.

Let’s also pray that, this coming Ramadan, our Du’as are accepted and peace and security is established in Afghanistan so that people can start living again.