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The signed copy of the agreement was posted by Abdullah in Dari on 18 May 2020.

In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Political Agreement

In order to meet the expectation of the people of Afghanistan, support defence and security forces, respect the continued and helpful efforts by national personalities and international community for resolving the political crisis resulting from the election in the country, to find a solution to end the political disputes, and respecting the difference of opinions of the country’s political leaders in this respect, realising that a continuation of the current political situation is not in the interests of the country and the people of Afghanistan and to get out of the impasse, the following themes were agreed:

  1. Supreme State Council (Shura-ye ‘Ali-ye Dawlat)
  2. In order to build political consensus, a Supreme State Council comprising political leaders and national personalities shall be established.
  3. The Council shall advise the country’s president on crucial national issues.
  4. Members of the Supreme State Council shall be given special government protocol and necessary security measures shall be provided for them.
  5. Chairmanship of High Council for National Reconciliation (Maqam-e Riasat-e Shura-ye ‘Ali-ye Mosaleha-ye Melli)

1. Rasmiyat (Official basis) and establishment

Upon signing of this document:

  • The High Council for National Reconciliation shall be established based on the political agreement between the sides.
  • Honorable Dr Abdullah Abdullah as the Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation shall lead the peace process.
  • The chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation shall have five deputies; the running-mates of [Abdullah’s electoral] Stability and Integration team shall serve as deputies of the Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation; other deputies of the High Council for National Reconciliation shall be introduced in consultation with the president. 
  • The Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation shall form this council in consultation with the president, political sides and leaders, the speakers of the two houses of the National Assembly, civil society and the country’s elites. 
  • The office of the High Council for National Reconciliation shall be based in Sapidar palace. 

2. Authorities:

The Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation shall have the following authorities:

  • Leading the national peace process affairs;
  • Leading meetings of the High Council for National Reconciliation;
  • Appointing officials and executive and administrative employees, including mansubin (officials) of the State Ministry for Peace.

3. Authorities of the High Council for National Reconciliation:

  • The High Council for National Reconciliation shall verify, approve and lead the affairs related to peace process.
  • The decisions and approvals of the High Council for National Reconciliation shall be taken based on majority votes taking the country’s national exigencies [interests] into account.
  • The decisions and approvals of the High Council for National Reconciliation shall be final and binding to be implemented in the light of the country’s constitution.
  • The negotiation team shall serve under the guidance of the leadership committee of the High Council for National Reconciliation, act in accordance with its approvals and guidelines, and report to the chairman and the High Council for National Reconciliation. 

The president of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan shall call consultative meetings of the High Council for National Reconciliation if needed. 

4. Duties of the High Council for National Reconciliation 

  • Build national, regional and international consensus on peace affairs;
  • Attract international aid and support for better advancement of peace affairs;
  • Attract international aid for the reconstruction after establishment of peace;

5. Protocol:

  • In all relevant ceremonies, the country’s second highest-ranking position in terms of security measures and protocol shall be considered for the Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation.
  • The deputies introduced by and senior advisor of the Chairman of High Council for National Reconciliation shall have government protocol, security and formalities.

6. Budget

  • The High Council for National Reconciliation shall be an independent budgetary unit.
  • The budget of the High Council for National Reconciliation shall be financed by the government of Afghanistan.
  • The High Council for National Reconciliation shall receive funding from international [donor] authorities for better advancement of peace affairs.
  • The execution of budget expenditure shall be in the full authority of the Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation and shall not be exempted from bar-rasi [government auditing].

7. Structure of the High Council for National Reconciliation:

  • The High Council for National Reconciliation shall be comprised of political leaders, national personalities, representatives of the National Assembly, representatives of different political and social strata, civil society, women and youths.
  • The High Council for National Reconciliation shall have two sections: 1) the general assembly and 2) the leadership committee. Authorities and duties of both sections shall be regulated in the internal procedures of the council.
  • The leadership committee of the High Council for National Reconciliation shall be comprised of the political leaders and national personalities.
  • In addition to other members of the leadership committee, the authorised representative of the president shall also participate in leadership [committee]’s meetings as a member.
  • The High Council for National Reconciliation shall have the necessary executive structure. The negotiation team and the state ministry for peace as the secretariat shall also be part of the structure of the High Council for National Reconciliation. 
  • If needed, the structure of the High Council for National Reconciliation shall be increased in consultation with the president.

8. Appreciation of previous leaders of the peace process:

The efforts of Shahid-e Rah-e Solh (the martyr on the path of peace) honorable Ustad Borhanuddin Rabbani, honorable Salahuddin Rabbani, honorable late Pir Sayed Ahmad Gailani and especially honorable Ustad Muhammad Karim Khalili, for their indefatigable and sincere efforts at achieving peace, shall be appreciated. 

9. Participation in the government:

  • General Abdul Rashid Dostum, former vice-president, shall be promoted to rank of marshal through a presidential decree; at the same time, he shall be a member of the Supreme State Council and National Security Council.
  • Introducing 50 per cent of cabinet [posts], including for key ministries.
  • Provincial governors shall be introduced based on a rule agreed by the two sides.
  • The candidates shall be introduced upon verification of qualification and legal requirements.
  • Change, replacement and dismissal shall take place with justified reasons.
  • In case of dismissal, change or replacement, the new candidate upon verification of qualification and legal requirements shall be introduced by the introducing authority [the authority that had introduced candidates for the same positions previously].

10. Reform:

  • Paving ground for [holding] provincial and district council elections as soon as possible in order to complete the membership of a Loya Jirga;
  • Holding elections for mayors as soon as possible in order to implement legal provisions [unspecified] and improve city affairs;
  • Appointing a commission to draft amendments to the constitution in order to change the government’s structure after holding district council elections;
  • Electoral reform, including legal, technical and cadre reforms, including standard use of biometric [voting system], shall be undertaken as soon as possible. The reform should be carried out to change the electoral system considering the discussion on MDR or other alternatives in agreement with experts and the constitution;
  • Amendment to the political in accordance with the electoral reform;
  • In order to create administrative facilities per the people’s demand, administrative requirements and government structure, new local administrations shall be established.

11. Oversight and implementation mechanism

  • Based on agreement of the sides, an oversight and mediation commission comprised of six national and political elders of the country shall be formed.
  • Based on this agreement, the mediation commission shall be authorised to prevent violation of the agreement.
  • UN representatives may attend the signing ceremony of this agreement as observer. 
  • A joint technical team with equal number of [members] from the two sides shall be established to identify instances of violation of the agreement.
  • In case of violation and breach of the agreement, the technical team shall try to prevent the violation of the agreement through understanding; if the effort of the joint technical team does not produce any result, the representative of the side affected by the [reported] violation of the agreement shall officially refer the issue to the mediation commission.
  • The decision of the oversight and mediation commission about the disputed issue shall be communicated to the president and the chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation.

The political agreement shall be valid till the end of the government’s term.

Dr Muhammad Ashraf Ghani                                          Dr Abdullah Abdullah

President of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan          Chairman of High Council for

                                                                                           National Reconciliation         

Date: 28 Saur 1399 (17 May 2020)

Venue: Delgosha Palace, Presidential Palace, Kabul, Afghanistan 

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US forces have already begun withdrawing after 19 years of war as part of an agreement signed with Taliban in February.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday renewed his desire for a full military withdrawal from Afghanistan but added that he had not set a target date, amid speculation he might make ending the United States’s longest war part of his re-election campaign.

“We’re there 19 years and, yeah, I think that’s enough … We can always go back if we want to,” Trump told a White House news conference.

More @ Aljazeera

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DERA ISMAIL KHAN/PESHAWAR, Islamabad (Reuters) – Several Pashtun ethnic rights activists were killed and at least 25 were wounded in a Pakistan tribal region on Sunday, when Taliban militants attacked their gathering and security forces opened fire on protesters during disturbances that followed.

The violence took place in Wana, the main administrative center for South Waziristan, one of the most volatile of the tribal lands on Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan.

Local tribesmen and one security official, speaking on condition on anonymity, said two people were killed and 25 wounded. But Manzoor Pashteen, the head of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), said in a posting on social media that at least 10 people died and 30 were wounded during Sunday’s violence.

In his Twitter post, Pashteen described how Taliban fighters had first attacked the PTM gathering. Later angry protesters threw stones, prompting “indiscriminate” firing by security forces, he said.

The PTM became prominent after the killing of a Pashtun youth by police in the southern city of Karachi in January. Since then it has held rallies across many towns and cities.

Ali Wazir, a PTM leader who was wounded in the attack, told Reuters that the militants wanted PTM to leave the area and were “dictating an end to PTM activities in Wana”.

Some PTM members said they suspected the gunmen who attacked them belonged to a Taliban faction that has covert support from Pakistan’s powerful military. The military, which denies fostering proxy groups, did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The PTM alleges that thousands of Pashtuns were targeted in state-organized killings after Pakistan joined the U.S.-led war on terror in 2001 and launched major military operations against militant strongholds in tribal areas between 2009 and 2014.

The military has been engaged in talks with PTM members to address some of their grievances.

Pashteen called for protests at U.N offices in response to the latest outrage.

“Pashtuns wherever should protest now and those who cannot should do it tomorrow in front of the UN offices because this state doesn’t listen to our voice,” Pashteen said.

PTM supporters in Peshawar protested outside the Islamabad Press Club late on Sunday evening.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) assembly on May 27 approved the merger of the province with the semi autonomous tribal areas and frontier regions, in a move aimed at bringing them into Pakistan’s political mainstream.

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منظور پښتین د پاکستان ادارو ته خبردارې ورکړېدی چې هغوي که هر ډول ظلم هم وکړي، د ناکامۍ سره به مخ کیږي.

د پاکستان د خیبر پښتونخوا د وزیرستان په سیمې کې طالبانو د پښتون ژغورنې د تحریک په یو مخکښ مشر علي وزیر او په عام ولس ډزې کړیدي چې تراوسه پورې پکې په لسگونو کسان زخمیان دي. د زخمیانو دقیق شمیر لا تروسه ندی معلوم خو منطور پښتین په خپله وینا کې ادعا کړې چې تروسه لس تنه وژل شوې او دیرش رخمیان دي.

ځایي سرچینو د امریکا غږ ډیوه راډیو ته ویلي چې طالبانو په واڼا کې نن د یکشنبې په ورځ د پښتون تحریک په مشر علي وزیر ډزې وکړې، دغه برید نیم ساعت دوام وکړ خو علي وزیر ترینه روغ وتلی دی. په دغه برید کې شاوخوا لس تنه زخمیان شویدي او ځایي روغتون ته انتقال شویدي.

د دغې پیښې نه وروسته منظور پښتین په خپل فیس بک په یوې لایو وینا کې د پاکستان ادارو ته خبردارې ورکړ چې “مونږ پوهه یو چې طالبان څوک دي، تاسو چې څه هم کوئ، ماتې به خورئ، شکست به ستاسو مقدر وي.”

منظور وویل د پاکستان ټولې ادارې په ترهگرۍ کې ککړې دي، هغه وویل “د دوي لاسونه د پښتونو په وینو ککړ دي. پي ټي ایم د امن لپاره تحریک شروع کړیدی چې د پاکستان اساسي قانون یې اجازه ورکوي. خو دوي ترهگر ترهگر کوي. د پاکستان ادارو خپل ظلم ته دوام ورکړیدی.”

هغه وویل چې نن په واڼا کې د خلکو په مخکې پوځیان د طالبانو شاته ولاړ و او په خلکو یې ډزې وکړی.

“د پاکستان د ټولو لویه اداره پوځ، دوهمه لویه اداره طالبان او بیا آی ایس آی او رینجرز دغه کارونه کوي. چې پښتنو د سولې لپاره مبارزه پیل کړه نو دوي ورته بیا دا چل شروع کړ.”

منظور پښتین د نړۍ د ټولو پښتنو نه یو ځلې بیا غوښتنه وکړه چې د وروستیو پیښو په ضد دې احتجاج وکړي.

له بلې خوا د پاکستان جیو ټلویژون رپورټ ورکړیدی چې په پیښور کې د نامعلونو کسانو په ډزو کې دوه تنه وژل شویدي.

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Min far kom tillbaka från Afghanistan för några dagar sedan och han har spenderat sin tid i de södra delarna av Afghanistan. Han menar på att läget är så illa att det är svårt att föreställa sig att det kan bli värre.

Sveriges Radio skriver följande:

I Afghanistan har flera parlamentsledamöter varnat regeringen för att säkerhetssituationen i landet nu riskerar att förvärras.

Flera provinser i landet riskerar att falla till talibanerna om inte regeringen agerar, hävdar parlamentsledamöterna.

Säkerhetsläget i Afghanistan är värre än vad regeringen låter påskina, menar flera av ledamöterna. Och de lägger skulden på landets säkerhetstjänster.

En av parlamentsledamöterna, Allah Gul Mujahid säger till nyhetstjänsten Tolo News att Afghanistans president, Ashraf Ghani, får felaktig information av antingen inrikesministern eller försvarsministern, rörande säkerhetssitationen ute i landet.

En annan ledamot, Rangina Kargar, hävdar att i tio distrikt i regionen Faryab så är det endast centralorterna och poliskontoren som för närvarande står under regeringens kontroll.

Försvarsministeriet har svarat på kritiken med att säga att flera operationer för närvarande pågår och att de olika motståndsgrupperna håller på att tryckas tillbaka.

Men säkerhetsläget på många håll i Afghanistan är fortsatt svårt. I måndags dödades exempelvis 25 personer i huvudstaden Kabul i ett attentat utfört av självmordsbombare tillhörande IS.

Bara några timmar senare, även det alltså i måndags, dödades elva barn i ett bilbombsattentat mot en Natokonvoj i Kandahar, i södra Afghanistan. Åtta rumänska Natosoldater skadades även i det dådet.

Enligt en amerikansk rapport som släpptes i april kontrollerade de afghanska myndigheterna i början av året endast 56 procent av Afghanistans yta.

Den afghanska militären är tillika fortsatt starkt beroende av amerikanskt militärt stöd. I förra veckan var det nära att huvudstaden i provinsen Farah föll till talibanerna.

Regeringsstyrkorna hade bedömt inte lyckats slå tillbaka talibananfallet om det inte varit för att USA snabbt skickade dit omfattande flygunderstöd.

USA:s strategi i Afghanistan har uppenbarligen inte lyckats. Och i linje med det meddelades det tidigare i veckan att Trumpadministrationen utsett en ny befälhavare för de amerikanska styrkorna i Afghanistan.

Generallöjtnant Austin Miller har tidigare varit chef för de amerikanska specialförbanden, och han har själv tidigare tjänstgjort i den så kallade Delta force.

Frågan är om han kommer att lyckas med det alla hans företrädare misslyckats med.

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Tens of thousands of Pashtuns are demanding an end to extrajudicial killings and abductions they blame on the Pakistani state – and a charismatic young man has become their spokesman.

A compelling, bearded tribesman in his early 30s, Manzoor Pashteen is the unlikely figurehead for protests that have now mushroomed into a wider movement that threatens to upset a precarious balance ahead of general elections.

He represents people who say they were brutalised during decades of war in the border areas Pakistan shares with Afghanistan. NGOs say thousands of people have been reported missing in regions such as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and Balochistan.

Over the weekend thousands of people attended a rally in Lahore, defying calls from the authorities to boycott the event, and despite officials briefly detaining some leaders of the movement in raids.

The Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM, Pashtun Protection Movement) is expressly peaceful, and its demands are within the limits of Pakistani law. But the pressure it has placed on the country’s leaders is telling.

Even army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa has become involved, calling the protests “engineered”, implying they are following a hostile foreign agenda, although they appear spontaneous.

‘Terrorists in uniform’
Secunder Kermani, BBC News, Lahore

“What kind of freedom is this?” the crowd chant. It’s the chorus of the anthem of this protest movement, and one that encapsulates the myriad grievances from Pakistan’s “war on terror”.

A common thread is a feeling that Pashtuns have been caught between the militants and the military for years. One man from the Swat Valley tells me how on a single road there would be checkpoints by both the Taliban and the army. If you were clean-shaven the Taliban would accuse you of being pro-government, if you had a beard soldiers accused you of being an extremist.

At a stall on the side of the protest, activists are writing the names of young men allegedly in the custody of the intelligence services, but never produced in court. It’s one of the most sensitive issues in the country – I’m surrounded by people wanting to tell me what happened to their relatives.

Resentment towards the powerful military establishment is expressed most boldly by the slogan, “The ones responsible for terrorism are the ones in uniform”. This kind of open challenge is more or less unprecedented in recent times, and seems to be growing.

So far there has also been an almost total media blackout of PTM rallies, which attract substantial support.

It is a notable contrast to the air time given on Pakistan’s increasingly controlled media to small bands of anti-PTM protesters. Those didn’t get much traction with the public and are suspected of links with the military.

Manzoor Pashteen speaks Pashto in his native Mehsud dialect. But unlike other young tribesmen he is educated, and can speak Urdu and English with the same ease.

He says he never realised he would get such support but he’s clear about what needs to change.

“People were oppressed. Their life had become intolerable. Curfews and insults by the army soldiers had stripped them of their pride,” he told BBC Pashto’s Khudai Noor Nasar in March.

Since February, he and his supporters have travelled across the Pashtun heartlands, from Quetta to Peshawar, attracting huge crowds and exposing never-ending stories of misery, death and destruction.

Many see the PTM as breaking new ground in the political landscape of a country where proxy wars have disenfranchised large populations not only in tribal areas and the north-west, but also in Balochistan, southern Sindh province and the northern areas along the border with China.

Mr Pashteen has said his movement won’t participate in electoral politics. But even then, one expects them to have a strong off-stage voice when elections are held this summer.

Well-known lawyer and columnist Babar Sattar has written that Pashteen’s social consciousness may be rooted in his Pashtun identity, “but the questions he is asking are relevant for all of us”.

The debate triggered by the PTM is about the “coercive relationship between a citizen and the Pakistani state; [about] the character, priorities and actions of our state that are undermining… their rights to life, liberty, dignity and equality”.

Despite the media blackout the PTM has been successful in getting its message over through social media, with the help of a growing number of activists, mostly from areas seen as marginalised.

In fact, Mr Pashteen says social media came to his rescue when he was arrested after protests against the army and its intelligence service, the ISI, last year.

“Our house had been surrounded by the army who picked up my father and uncle and detained them at a nearby checkpost,” he said in the BBC Pashto interview. “When I went there, they arrested me and put me in a room. They said protests against the army were detrimental to their morale.”

Soon, news of his arrest reached friends who spread the word, prompting protests in his support.

“So they [the military] took me out and brought me to a brigadier who said we are releasing you, but tell your friends to stop their campaign.”

Manzoor Pashteen was born and raised in South Waziristan, which was the earliest of the Pakistan Taliban sanctuaries in the post-9/11 period.

Like many other tribal districts and parts of the north-west, the local population’s freedoms and livelihoods were held hostage – either by the army or the militants, who were seen as the military’s proxies despite all the denials.

The son of a school teacher, he was lucky to have easy access to education which continued when his family left conflict-ridden South Waziristan in 2010. It was a time when families had to move from their villages and take refuge in faraway towns and cities like Bannu, Peshawar, Lahore and Karachi.

For that generation, political awareness was shaped by exposure to life outside Waziristan, and their experience of disempowerment when they moved back to their villages.

As one former senator, Afrasiab Khatak, puts it, “the lava accumulated through all these troubles and tribulations was waiting to erupt. It was only a matter of time”.

That time came when a young man called Naqeebullah from South Waziristan was killed by police in an alleged “staged encounter” in Karachi on 13 January. Police said he was a militant but his family say he was just an aspiring model.
This provided the spark for a demonstration outside the Islamabad press club in January. At first nobody took much notice, but then numbers began to swell. A shipping container turned up and they made it a stage with a sound system and began making speeches, some extremely critical of the security establishment.

After 10 days it had evolved into a wider movement for the “liberation of Pashtun people from the tyranny” of Pakistan’s security establishment.

People come from far and wide to the rallies, many with pictures of the missing in search of information.
“I only knew the conditions in my own area. But when we heard stories from other areas – from Swat, or Bajaur – we realised that it was the same all over,” Manzoor Pashteen says.

He relates one incident that led to protests two weeks before his arrest last October.

A bomb had killed a soldier in the village of Shamkai in South Waziristan.

“The army clamped a curfew in the area, and ordered all people to come out of their homes,” he says. “They made the women sit to one side and tortured the men one by one in front them. One epileptic boy died during torture while his mother and father were watching.”

The BBC put these claims to the military, but received no response.

But many say it is still fair to ask if Pashtuns could be partly to blame for allowing their youth to join militancy. It is a question that Manzoor Pashteen dismisses.

“The Pakistani state promoted militancy. It used Islam as a motivating factor,” he says.

“These are not my words. These are the words of Colonel Imam [a former ISI operative] who said he trained 95,000 youth; or the words of then army chief Pervez Musharraf, who said ‘we trained them, we brought mujahideen from all over the world, and they were our heroes’.

“When it suits them to bomb us, they’ll bomb us; when it suits them to send us rations, they’ll send us rations; when it suits them to set our people to kill others, they will train them and facilitate them,” Manzoor Pashteen says.

“Waziristan is their captured territory. It took us tribals 30 years to find out that we fought the Russians not for Islam, but for American money.”

 

Source:BBC News, IslamabadBy:M Ilyas Khan
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Within 48 hours of the Pentagon’s confirming the identity of the US soldier arrested for the massacre of 16 Afghan civilians, including nine children, there are mounting questions about the official explanation of the bloody events of March 11.

Nearly every fact asserted by US officials in Kabul and Washington has been challenged, either by the villagers where the massacre took place, by the Karzai government in Afghanistan, or by those acquainted with the arrested soldier, Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, 38.

The most important questions are those raised by the villagers who survived the rampage. They have been repeatedly quoted, both in Afghan government accounts and in reports published in the international press, as describing several uniformed American soldiers participating in the bloodbath, not the lone gunman described by the Pentagon.

In a meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai Friday, relatives of the victims reiterated their claims of multiple gunmen. Karzai told reporters, “They believe it’s not possible for one person to do that,” referring to the multiple killings in two adjacent villages in Kandahar province. “In four rooms, people were killed, women and children were killed, and they were all brought together in one room and then put on fire. That, one man cannot do.”

US embassy and military officials have refused to respond to these charges, and Afghan officials said the Americans were not cooperating with the Afghan investigation into the atrocity. Sergeant Bales was shipped out of the country before Afghan officials could interrogate him, and the Pentagon indicated that his trial would be conducted on US soil—making it unlikely that the Afghan witnesses can participate except by video testimony.

The New York Times admitted that despite the US claims that a lone attacker was responsible for the massacre, “most Afghans see it as similar to the night raids [by US special forces], including Mr. Karzai, who on Friday portrayed it as the latest in a long string of episodes in which coalition forces have killed Afghans.”

Karzai described the American forces as “demons” and the burning of Korans earlier this month as “Satanic acts that will never be forgiven.” He said the massacre in Kandahar province “was not the first incident, indeed it was the 100th, the 200th and 500th incident.”

He told a press conference, “This has been going on for too long. It is by all means the end of the rope here.”

Doubtless Karzai’s reference to the “end of the rope” was an expression of his own nervousness over the likely fate of his beleaguered and unpopular regime, entirely dependent on the American forces whose atrocities he is obliged to criticize.

In a further indication of the Afghan population’s hatred of the US-NATO occupation, the US military revealed that a 22-year-old Marine killed in Helmand province last month was shot in the back of the head by an Afghan soldier. This is the seventh acknowledged death of an American soldier at the hands of an Afghan “comrade” in the past six weeks.

The information on the alleged attacker released by US officials has been at least as dubious as their accounts of what took place March 11. For six days, the Pentagon sought to keep the name of the US soldier secret, an extraordinary and unprecedented act of political censorship that drew no criticism in the US media. Fox News finally made Bales’s name public on Friday, and the rest of the media then followed suit.

Initial accounts attributed to military sources claimed that Bales had been having marital problems, that he had suffered a traumatic brain injury during a previous tour of duty in Iraq, and that he had lost part of his foot there in the blast from an improvised explosive device. He was also described as under additional stress because his home had just been foreclosed on.

Many of these details proved to be false. Both Bales’s lawyer and local media in Seattle-Tacoma describe his marriage as apparently happy. There had been no “Dear John” letter from his wife Karilyn, as was initially suggested. The foreclosure was on a home that Bales and his wife were renting out, not the one in which she lived, although that home was put on the market for sale the week before the massacre.

Bales bought this home in 2005 for $279,000 and it was going on the market as a “short sale” that would have left he and his wife $50,000 in debt—a situation that is all too common for working class and middle-class homeowners in the United States.

The government account of the massacre was summed up by an unnamed official who told the New York Times, “When it all comes out, it will be a combination of stress, alcohol and domestic issues — he just snapped.” As Bales’s attorney John Henry Browne responded, “The government is going to want to blame this on an individual rather than blame it on the war.”

The Obama administration and the Pentagon want to dismiss the massacre in Kandahar province as an aberration, the action of a “rogue” soldier, someone who inexplicably carried out actions at odds with the US mission in Afghanistan. The truth is that the March 11 massacre is a concentrated expression of the role of the US military in Afghanistan, and in every impoverished country bombed, invaded or occupied by American imperialism.

Bales, if he committed the actions which he is accused of perpetrating on March 11, is a war criminal who deserves trial and punishment. But the more important war criminals are those in the White House, the Pentagon, the CIA and throughout the US political establishment who are responsible for more than ten years of war in Afghanistan, and who are plotting new wars in Syria, Iran and elsewhere.

Source: Global Research, By: Patrick Martin

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A good post that takes up the recent report from Human Rights Watch- “Today We Shall All Die”: Afghanistan’s Strongmen and the Legacy of Impunity.

Afghanistan officials sanctioned murder, torture and rape, says report
Human Rights Watch accuses high-ranking officials of allowing extrajudicial killings and brutal practices to flourish after fall of Taliban

Top Afghan officials have presided over murders, abduction, and other abuses with the
tacit backing of their government and its western allies, Human Rights Watch says in a
new report.
A grim account of deaths, robbery, rapes and extrajudicial killings, Today We Shall All
Die, details a culture of impunity that the rights group says flourished after the fall of the
Taliban, driven by the desire for immediate control of security at almost any price.
“The rise of abusive political and criminal networks was not inevitable,” the report said.
“Short-term concerns for maintaining a bulwark against the Taliban have undermined
aspirations for long-term good governance and respect for human rights in Afghanistan.”
The report focuses on eight commanders and officials across Afghanistan, some of them
counted among the country’s most powerful men, and key allies for foreign troops. Some
are accused of personally inflicting violence, others of having responsibility for militias
or government forces that committed the crimes.
Kandahar’s most powerful commander, the former head of the intelligence service and a
key northern governor are among those implicated. All of the accused have denied the
allegations against them.
Some have ties to the former president Hamid Karzai, who as early as 2002 warned that
security would be his first priority. “Justice [is] a luxury for now; we must not lose peace
for that,” the report quotes him saying soon after coming to power. While he was in
office, a blanket amnesty law for civil war-era crimes was passed.
There are also multiple links to America’s military and government, sometimes beyond
the liaisons that were essential for troops on the ground.
When Assadullah Khalid, the former head of the country’s spy agency, was badly injured
in a Taliban assassination attempt, Barack Obama and the former defence secretary Leon
Panetta both went to visit him in the American hospital where he was recovering.
In doing so they chose to ignore a long history of accusations of rape, torture, corruption
and illegal detentions, some of it from US diplomats or their allies, detailed in the HRW

A confidential Canadian government report from 2007 warned that “allegations of
human rights abuses by [Khalid] are numerous and consistent” and he was described as
“exceptionally corrupt and incompetent” in a leaked US embassy cable.
Khalid has previously dismissed the allegations against him as fabrications. “I know
there is nothing (in terms of evidence),” he said in 2012, when his nomination as spy
chief stirred up controversy about his past. “This is just propaganda about me.”
Another favourite of US forces, Kandahar’s police chief Abdul Razziq, was pictured last
year arm in arm with a beaming three-star US general, who credited him with improving
security in the political and cultural heart of southern Afghanistan.
Yet his rise to power he has been dogged by a trail of allegations of extrajudicial killings,
forced disappearances and torture, some described by HRW in gruesome detail. As early
as 2006, when still leading a unit of border police, he was accused of the abduction and
murder of 16 men, said to be in a revenge killing for the death of his brother.
“The acting commander of border police in Kandahar, Abdul Razzaq Achakzai [Raziq],
has acknowledged killing the victims, but has claimed (claims now proved false) that the
killings took place during an ambush he conducted against Taliban infiltrators,” a report
by the office of the EU envoy to Afghanistan said then.
Since he took control of the province’s police in 2011, the United Nations has
documented “systematic” use of torture in Kandahar’s police and intelligence units, and
the Human Rights Watch report lists multiple cases of men detained by Kandahar police,
whose mutilated corpses were found discarded days later. Raziq has repeatedly denied
all allegations of wrongdoing.
Raziq has categorically denied all charges of abuse, as attempts to undermine him.
“When someone works well, then he finds a lot of enemies who try to ruin his name,” he
told the Atlantic in 2011.
Last year he told the New York Times: “I don’t think people fear me … at least I don’t
want them to fear me.”
The report also details large-scale corruption, that is said to have eroded both security
and confidence in the government, while stuffing the coffers of abusive strongmen.
Lucrative contracts for logistics and security allowed some to maintain militias under
official cover, and pay off the Taliban instead of trying to defeat them, HRW said, while
other security officials were involved in drug production and trafficking.
Afghanistan is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, according to Transparency
International, and the compromised justice system also badly undermines
accountability, with little sense among ordinary Afghans that abusers will ever be held to
account.
“Initiatives ostensibly undertaken to curb corruption and other abuses have had
virtually no impact, for the same reasons there has been no progress tackling impunity in
other areas,” the report said. “Officially, the United States has backed anti-corruption
measures, while at the same time reportedly protecting officials accused of corruption
who have been deemed vital to the war effort.”

Atta Mohammad Noor, the influential governor of northern Balkh province is one of
those the report says profited from Nato projects to expand the security forces, using
them to absorb and fund his own militias, hundreds of men strong. They have been
accused of abuses for which HRW says Atta bears responsibility, even if he is not head of
a formal chain of command. Atta denies the allegations in the report.
“The informal nature of militias can make it difficult to establish who has ultimate
command responsibility for their actions,” the report says. “However, the available
evidence indicates that they could not operate without Atta’s consent and have been
effectively under his control, including at the time of the alleged abuses.”
It quotes him telling one villager who complained about killings by a militia group under
his command in 2011. “Please forgive [the killer], it was just a mistake.”
Atta in 2011 said that two of the militias he ran were needed to secure his province
because Karzai’s government refused to increase police and army ranks there. “The
people who complain about militia are people who have links with the Taliban,” he told
the Wall Street Journal.
Human Rights Watch called on the Afghan government and its international backers to
do more to hold the security forces to account. Despite meticulous documentation of
many cases of abuse, there has not been a single prosecution for torture.
Afghanistan’s new president, Ashraf Ghani, said his government would not tolerate
torture and thanked HRW for the report, but did not respond to the individual
allegations.
Source: The Guardian

Afghanistan’s new government should prosecute officials and commanders whose serious human rights abuses have long gone unpunished.

Read the whole report here: http://www.hrw.org/reports/2015/03/03/today-we-shall-all-die-0

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Paying Afghanistan’s Bills

By the end of the year, Congress will have appropriated more money for
Afghanistan’s reconstruction, when adjusted for inflation, than the
United States spent rebuilding 16 European nations after World War II
under the Marshall Plan.
A staggering portion of that money — $104 billion — has been
mismanaged and stolen. Much of what was built is crumbling or will be
unsustainable. Well-connected Afghans smuggled millions of stolen aid
money in suitcases that were checked onto Dubai-bound flights. The
Afghan government largely turned a blind eye to widespread
malfeasance. Even as revelations of fraud and abuse stacked up, the
United States continued shoveling money year after year because cutting
off the financial spigot was seen as a sure way to doom the war effort.
As the Pentagon winds down its combat mission there at the end of
the year, it’s tempting to think of the Afghan war as a chapter that is
coming to an end — at least for American taxpayers. But, as things stand,
the United States and its allies will continue paying Afghanistan’s bills for
the foreseeable future. That commitment was solidified Tuesday as the
American ambassador in Kabul and Afghanistan’s security adviser signed
a bilateral security agreement that will keep a small contingent of NATO
troops there for at least two years.
The United States and NATO partners recently agreed to spend $5.1
billion a year to pay for the army and police, until at least 2017. Western
donors are expected to continue to give billions more for reconstruction
and other initiatives, recognizing that Afghanistan won’t be weaned off
international aid anytime soon. In fact, the government appears to be broke.

A few weeks ago, Afghanistan’s Finance Ministry made an urgent
plea to the United States for a $537 million bailout, warning that it would
otherwise not be able to make payroll. That’s part of a broader,
worrisome trend. The International Monetary Fund estimates that
Afghanistan will face a financial gap of roughly $7.7 billion annually
between now and 2018.
If the flow of money is to keep going, the Afghan government has to
prove that it can be trusted. And, for its part, Congress should not
hesitate to cut off the aid if corruption remains unabated.
Afghanistan’s new president, Ashraf Ghani, who took office on
Monday, has pledged to stamp out graft. “I am not corrupt, and I am not
going to encourage corruption, tolerate it or become the instrument,” the
president, a former World Bank executive, told the BBC in an interview.
That will be easier said than done in a country where back-room
deals are the norm. Mr. Ghani can show he is serious by appointing and
empowering a new attorney general willing to take on unscrupulous
officials. His proposal to lead a new procurement board is commendable
because it would make him personally accountable.
Of the $104 billion that American lawmakers have appropriated for
Afghan reconstruction, nearly $16 billion remains unspent, according to
John Sopko, the inspector general who is overseeing the reconstruction
effort. As one of the poorest nations on earth, Afghanistan clearly has
plenty of needs. But the American agencies tasked with spending the
money must do a better job identifying priorities, setting realistic goals
and adopting stronger safeguards.
Delivering a speech at Georgetown University recently, Mr. Sopko
marveled at the Marshall Plan comparison. “What have we gotten for the
investment?” he asked.

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Ensamkommande flyktingbarn

migrationsverket_2012

Jag har tidigare skrivit om ensamkommande flyktingbarn från Afghanistan. Jag har fått en hel del negativa kommentarer kring ämnet då jag utmärkande pekar ut en specifik etnisk grupp från Afghanistan. Av de efterforskningar jag har gjort har det visat sig att över 90% av de ensamkommande “flyktingbarn” från Afghanistan utgörs av den etniska gruppen Hazara. Hazarerna är av mongolisk härkomst vilket gör det svårt att avgöra hur gamla dessa är.

Det har tidigare skrivits spaltmeter om hur just denna minoritetsgrupp är förtryckta i Afghanistan men i dagens Afghanistan är det tvärtom. Den etnisk grupp som har fått det bäst ställt både ekonomiskt, utbildningsmässigt är just Hazarerna. Områden där just Hazarerna bor är helt konfliktfria och där existerar inte ens Talibaner. Jag anser att de ensamkommande flyktingbarn från Afghanistan som i själva verket inte är flyktingbarn utan är vuxna män  ljuger om sin ålder för att få stanna i Sverige.  Det är organiserad flyktingsmuggling med färdiga mallar av “cases” som redovisas för Migrationsverket som blint litar på alla utsagor från dessa män.

Det hade varit intressant om Migrationsverket kunde sammanställa bättre statistik på dessa män så att även etniciteten kunde registreras för att lättare styrka min tes om att mer än 90% av ensamkommande flyktingbarn från Afghanistan är Hazarer som genom just organiserad flyktingsmuggling tar sig till Sverige. Samlar man på sig denna typ av statisk kan man med sunt förnuft ställa sig frågan varför just Hazarer utgör en så dominerande andel av ensamkommande flyktingbarn från Afghanistan? Är förtrycket mindre allvarlig mot övriga folkgrupper i Afghanistan?

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