Monday, March 04, 2013
Thursday, April 28, 2011
- April 27 - an Afghan pilot had an argument with his american mentors, left the meeting and then returned and forced 9 Americans to remove their weapons before shooting them with a U.S. provided M9 semi-automatic weapon. he then shot himself.
- 25 April - Taliban jailbreak from the Sarposa prison of kandahar, something out of a bad gangster movie. some 500 Taliban got away including prominent commanders and they police and afghan official said to be involved in facilitating it
- April 18 - An insurgent kills two Afghan soldiers and an officer at the Afghan Defense Ministry.
- April 16 - Six American troops, four Afghan soldiers and an interpreter are killed when an Afghan soldier detonates an explosive vest at Forward Operating Base Gamberi in Laghman.
- April 15 - A suicide bomber impersonating a policeman blows himself up inside the Kandahar police headquarters complex, killing the top law enforcement official in the southern province.
- April 4 - Two American military personnel are shot and killed by a man wearing an Afghan border police uniform.
- February - An Afghan solider shoots nine German soldiers, killing three and injuring six.
- January - One Italian soldier is killed and another is wounded after an Afghan soldier opens fire on them.
the afghan national security forces (ANSF) has been growing in numbers but continues to be greatly lacking in quality. Still plagued by widespread corruption, it continues to be deeply resented by the population for its abusiveness. It is still trained mainly as a light paramilitary force to hold off insurgents until the ISAF can arrive on the scene and has little ability to deal with ordinary crime, the daily scourge for Afghans. The lack of order on the street creates important inroads for the Taliban.
The stampede to create militia forces in Afghanistan further complicates the reliability of Afghan security forces. The local police set up by ISAF may have robust vetting and safeguard mechanisms, but the myriad of other militias created by ethnic politicians and local strongmen often don’t have any vetting at all. Their growth reveals the level of ethnic tensions and uncertainty in Afghanistan. Nor does the Ministry of Interior have any clear ability to control any such forces that go rogue.
Karzai, distrustful of and confused by Washington, operates an increasingly narrow patronage network and easily overrides the local officials whom he perceives as threatening, regardless of their performance. Many Afghans, not the least of whom are the Northerners and minorities, are deeply worried about negotiations with the Taliban. Even with quarter of a million Afghan security forces and 160 billion dollars spent in the last ten years, the current political situation in Afghanistan is unstable.
Monday, April 04, 2011
I don't think we should be blaming any Afghans, we should blame the one who burnt the Koran, he said addressing a news conference in Kabul on Saturday. Freedom of speech does not mean to offend culture, religion and traditions, he added.
it is not rocket science to realise that the concern of western politicians and Aid workers in kabul is not the truth but the politics of the riots. i followed the news again and noticed that according to Afghan and Western officials, taliban have exploited the ongoing tumult, using the riots as cover for attacks against Western and government targets and reaping propaganda benefits by allying themselves with popular fury over the desecration of the Muslim holy book.
Lindsey Graham, (R., S.C.), US senator said on “Face the Nation” that “free speech is a great idea, but we’re in a war. During World War II, you had limits on what you could say if it would inspire the enemy"
Saturday, April 02, 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
The late economist, historian and libertarian philosopher, Murray Rothbard, was right on the mark when he wrote:
"The great German sociologist Franz Oppenheimer pointed out that there are two mutually exclusive ways of acquiring wealth; one...production and exchange, he called the 'economic means.' The other way is simpler in that it does not require productivity; it is the way of seizure of another's goods or services by the use of force and violence. This is the method of one-sided confiscation, of theft of the property of others.
"This is the method which Oppenheimer termed 'the political means' to wealth. It should be clear that the peaceful use of reason and energy in production is the 'natural' path for man: the means for his survival and prosperity on this earth. It should be equally clear that the coercive, exploitative means is contrary to natural law; it is parasitic, for instead of adding to production, it subtracts from it.
"The 'political means' siphons production off to a parasitic and destructive individual or group; and this siphoning not only subtracts from the number producing, but also lowers the producer's incentive to produce beyond his own subsistence. In the long run, the robber destroys his own subsistence by dwindling or eliminating the source of his own supply."
The sooner the people "overthrow" the political means and reestablish the economic means of acquiring wealth, the sooner we will be rid of political corruption, high taxes, runaway government spending and onerous regulations. Until that day arrives, expect more bribes, shakedowns, and "waste, fraud and abuse."
the international community is struggling to find a way to stifle corruption in Afghanistan but too high stakes to take an objective look into the issue and the answer is very clear. less money for government and humanitarian organisations who are not answerable to redistribute through corrupt entities they have established. solution number one for the situation is; limiting government to a few well defined functions would liberate Afghans from self-serving, incompetent, and dishonest public officials. solution number two is making developmental organisations answerable. none of the Aid organisations such as IRD, UN agencies, ARD, Chomonics, and dozens others which receives more than 200 million dollar each every year to spend on developing afghanistan could be held accountable. the most transparent of all is UNDP which has over half a century experience in development and governance in over 160 countries. in theory they have a transparency and audit office http://www.undp.org/about/transparencydocs/OAI_Investigation_Guidelines_ENG. i know of a series of corruption cases in the UNDP and it was brought to their attention yet they have done little to look into it. all these developmental organisations are dealing with sums of money that they never want to give up and any serious look into their conduct might compromise the flow of money.
We need to end "legal plunder," as Frederic Bastiat called for more than 150 years ago. He wrote: See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.
the institutions of the state and the structures of large international development organisations are plundering tool for a few Afghans to benefit at the expense of others in the society.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
At dusk last Friday, four Taliban mortars crashed to the ground near the district center in Miri, a small town in eastern Ghazni province where a U.S. Army company is based. Shrapnel from one of the blasts injured two children in a residential area, a 12-year-old girl and one-year-old boy, who later died of his injuries. It was the second time in as many months that militants had killed local civilians, and U.S. forces were not going to let it be forgotten.
Within two hours of the attack, a message was drafted by the battalion's "information operations" team to be broadcast by its new on-base radio station. In the cramped confines of a steel shipping container-turned-studio, Karimullah, the Afghan announcer, broke the news that both children were taken to an area hospital by American soldiers "for the best possible care, but the little boy was too badly hurt. The insurgents," he lamented, "continue to harm their fellow Afghans and kill your children needlessly."
Words are now weapons in the fight for Afghan hearts and minds — but they must be deployed faster than ever to be effective. In recent years, the Taliban-led insurgency has evolved a vast propaganda machine with a full range of tools to spread their message. The once anti-media movement now operates websites featuring updated battlefield reports; it also mass-produces DVDs with raw video of attacks against coalition forces. Meanwhile, the Taliban's regional spokesmen communicate with domestic and foreign press in real time via cell phone.
But no medium is as powerful as radio in this poor, largely illiterate country with limited access to TV and the internet. On both sides of the Afghan-Pakistan border, Taliban-sponsored FM stations drive home the insurgents' messaging campaign, with the threat of physical punishment or worse reserved for those who don't tune in. Mobile clandestine radio stations and portable transmitters enable militants to tap and commandeer local airwaves almost at will.
Recognizing the Taliban's head-start on this critical front, NATO military officials have ramped up the spin cycle in the Afghan backcountry. Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, recently issued operational guidelines stressing that the "information war" must be fought aggressively to ensure insurgent propaganda is not just promptly challenged but also beaten to the punch. "Turn our enemies' extremist ideologies, oppressive practices and indiscriminate violence against them. Hang their barbaric actions like millstones around their necks," the guidelines say. "Be first with the truth."
U.S. forces in Ghazni have tapped into alternative funding streams to support the wider radio effort. Ever-popular hand-cranked radios are being distributed in larger numbers at the village-level to expand the audience.
The push has struck a chord. In some districts the Taliban has responded by collecting hundreds of radios and destroying them. Elsewhere, they've targeted radio towers. The Americans, in turn, have started jamming Taliban radio frequencies and going door-to-door with "reverse night information papers," their own version of the Taliban's notorious "night letters", turning an intimidation tactic on its head. The battalion commander, Lieut. Col. David Fivecoat, calls it a necessary measure to stay a step ahead of the militants, and the Afghan news cycle. "We are working hard to make sure the insurgents don't have the opportunity to blame us," he says. Indeed, as the fighting season winds down, the information war is still in overdrive.
Yet given the insurgency's long-standing chokehold over areas like Ghazni, old fears are proving difficult to shake. A day after the errant Taliban mortars claimed two innocent casualties, soldiers stationed in Miri went to assess the damage in a nearby neighborhood. According to Lieut. Philip Divinski, most people had already heard the Taliban was responsible from word-of-mouth or the radio. They could also assume as much, based on the previous militant mortar attack in October that killed two people and injured at least 10 more in the bazaar. Despite the deadly reprise, he was struck at how indifference exceeded anger among the victims' families and friends. "Sadly, it seems people have gotten used to this kind of thing," says the officer. "They understand who's at fault, but they're just too afraid to turn against them."
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
I just heard a big explosion near our house; it is around 8:10am. The explosion happened on darullaman road toward the ministry of rural development. The smoke is mushrooming in the sky and i can hear sirens. Trucks are rushing toward the scene. This part of town was quiet recently and not many explosion had happened in the last few years.
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
From: Leonard Fexton Chitekwe
Sent: 22 June 2009 07:45
To: International; National Staff
Subject: July 4th
July 4th is America’s Independence Day holiday. This is a public holiday for ALL staff. SPR offices in Kabul and Kandahar will be closed for business on this day.
A special meal for expats is being arranged and if you have ideas contact Johan Venter. Details will follow later.
Senior Director of Finance and Administration
International Relief and Development, Inc (IRD)
Ph: +93 (0) 796 110 003
I found this email quite disturbing. We are celebrating American national holiday in Afghanistan, but Afghans are not welcomed to fully celebrate the occasion. Special meal is only offered for expatriates. This resembles very much the colonial ages; rules and regulations are placed to compel locals to observe the dominant nation’s culture but they are not fully welcomed.
I am a fan of American culture and I think many IRD Afghan employees would enjoy American cultural occasions. Both Afghan and expatriates celebrating Afghan and American cultural occasions together could bridge the current distrust. Afghans generally are hospitable and welcoming to share happy occasion; although, I can not ask Leonard or IRD in general to invite me and Afghans to 4th of July special meal; but I think the email was ungenerous at best and rude, especially when it was addressed to both Afghans and expatriates.
I thought an invitation to a single occasion, particularly when it could be more special to expatriates than Afghans, could not make a difference in perceptions. I wanted to make a suggestion with longer term effect on attitudes. I suggested that Afghans and expatriates eating lunch together would be effective in improving relationships.
in response to leonard I sent this:
From: Sanjar Qiam
Sent: 22 June 2009 09:07
To: Leonard Fexton Chitekwe; Johan Venter
It is great that you are celebrating 4th of July; it is a great cultural exchange for Afghans and third country nationals.
I had a suggestion on a separate issue – lunch. I have been in IRD but I have rarely been to lunch; the quality of food, service and environment is poor and in some ways degrading. The food is served in basement packed with hundreds of IRD staff, white plastic chairs and tables and flies. The food is poorly cooked; most often super greasy. It is only one course and one item.
Segregation of Afghans is unpleasant. Working for Afghans and segregation – a system based on phobia - doesn’t go hand in hand; this raises questions about motives of IRD management.
My suggestion is to mix Afghans and foreigners lunch. Obviously, that would mean foreigners would lose some privileges but that is for a good cause – improvement of afghans lunch. It won’t be possible to have lunch in one location so staff has to be divided between several buildings and food should be cooked in each building with different menu so people can have a choice.
Looking forward to changes,
Frederick Chace IRD-SPR chief of party asked me to see him in his office at once. Nadir Abdullah, HR manager, and an IT officer were present too. Frederick Chace was very aggressive and rude; every other sentence contained the ‘F***’ word.
- ‘There is no difference between Afghans and expatriates in IRD. It is only in the narrow minds of people like you who make bigotry statements.’ Said Frederick.
- ‘what do you mean there is no difference? When I came to the gate of your building they wanted me to show my ID and they searched me thoroughly; when an expatiate is coming s/he is being escorted by a bodyguard and the door opens prior to his or her arrival. There is even special expatriate desk and there is afghan desk and it goes to many other little things. The system is through to segregate. This whole system of privileges places expatriate psychologically above equally qualified Afghan counterpart’ I said.
- ‘I was shot in my head by Taliban … but I came back… Expatriates leave everything they have and come to work in Afghanistan. They have a better life at home and they come to a very poor situation, this is not a privilege’ said chace. Frederick’s wife is the reporting manager while my departments’ manager appointed his wife as my direct supervisor. So they are not exactly leaving everything at home. Expatriates like Frederick are running IRD like their home.
- ‘Expatriates are paid several times more than equally qualified Afghans. In the last four months since I work in IRD I had no time off; my expatriate colleagues were paid at least two to three times for their holidays’ I said. here is IRD benefit package for expatriates http://docs.google.com/fileview?id=F.ab2b4c9a-5d29-4928-93ef-04886da60d2b . There are some 26 benefit packages; expatriates only receive 70% of their base salary in post differential and danger pay. The only thing I received as an Afghan was a salary and no paid leave let alone paying for holidays.
- ‘Expatriates have high expenses and they used to be paid better at home. Afghans are making 1000 – 1500 dollars a month. Nobody used to make this kind of money in this country… They don’t need that kind of money…’ said chace.
- ‘This is sick – Afghans don’t need money – this is the same thing told about the slaves – why do they need wages when they can have food and shelter. Everybody needs money but a sound social system allocates this scarce resource not based on our nationality and creed but by our excellence and hard work. Everybody should be paid based on their contribution and merits, not their nationality.’ I said.
- ‘expatriates are putting their lives at risk … and they are going to what is now home for some quite time and food… something narrow mind people don’t understand’
- ‘IRD only value the lives of expatriates, not Afghans. Foreigners are given half a dozen body guards and two armoured vehicles when travelling inside Kabul city and even more security when going to provinces. Afghans are constantly at risk. An Afghan colleague was made to resign because he had a family emergency and couldn’t travel to a province where he was provided no security. He was very concern about his safety and informed so his expatriate manager who asked him to resign if he is not prepared to go. When Afghans travel they take public transport. Yet, statistics shows Afghans are the victims than expatriates.’ I said. There have been at least three cases since I had worked in IRD where IRD staff or contractors were killed and they were all Afghans. In a couple of instances IRD-SPR concealed it from its funder USAID.
- ‘what statistics! I was shot in the head by Taliban… The person who you are talking about is an isolated case which I do not now about… IRD-SPR puts its staff, especially Afghans, safety at most importance.’ Said Frederick.
This conversation went on for an hour and then he told me he categorically can not accept such remarks and he has fired four employees before me for making such comments and he has to do the same with me. ‘I have to treat everybody the same’ he said. When I left his office with the IT and HR persons, both Afghans, were strangely quiet. Nadir walked around with his head hanging and said ‘I am sorry’. I said ‘don’t be. I don’t need this job; it is excruciating’. He said ‘not for that but for what he said and his attitude.’ But what can he do except being sorry along with thousands of other Afghans. They need their jobs and have to put up with people like Frederick.
I wonder if zero tolerance policy to suggestions about office lunch that challenges well trenched segregation policies could be considered discrimination.