"The New Face of Terror in Afghanistan How so-called Democracy"
Press for Conversion! Issue #59 September 2006 $8.00 The New Face of Terror in Afghanistan: How so-called “Democracy” Empowered our Allies; the Fundamentalists, Warlords and Drug Barons Abdullah Ahmadzai Al-Mas Arsala Dostum Fahim Hekmatyar Khalili Khan Massoud Mohaqiq Mojaddedi Karzai Muhsini Qadir Qanooni Rabbani “Rocketi” Sayyaf Sherzai Shinwari Press for The New Face of Terror in Afghanistan Conversion! Background Published by the The “New” Face of Terror in Afghanistan........................................................................3 Coalition to The Warlord Index.................................................................................................................5 Meet our Afghan Allies, the Northern Alliance...............................................................6 Oppose the 2001: Bonn Agreement Arms Major Powers Pulled the Strings at Talks in Bonn .........................................................8 Canada: “The House Should be Pleased” / Warlords, not Women Dominate new Regime...9 Trade 2002: Emergency Loya Jirga Top Warlords Controlled the Emergency Loya Jirga.....................................................10 Acknowledgements wledgements cknowledgement Fundamentalists Emerge More Powerful than Ever...........................................................11 The Loya Jirga was a Joke..................................................................................................12 Research, Editing, Design, Layout: Richard Sanders Stifled in the Loya Jirga ......................................................................................................14 Under the Shadow of Guns................................................................................................15 Mailing issue #58: Nick Aplin, The Warlords Win!............................................................................................................16 Hanna Clemann, Susan Fisher, June & Johnny Johnson, Peter Mix, Ros- Canada: “Strong Support” and “Congratulations” / HRW Statement......................17 alie Reynolds, Arthur & Richard San- 2003: Constitutional Loya Jirga ders, Peggy Tyson & Drina Wethey. Rubber-Stamping an Anti-Democratic Constitution.......................................................18 Computer support: Paul Gross Canada: Canadians Central to the Process............................................................19 Proofreading: Jennifer Tsun Malalai Joya, Afghanistan’s Youngest Revolutionary...................................................20 Hat Trick: Selling “Brand Karzai”......................................................................................21 Website: Richard Sanders Union Liaison: Len Bush, NUPGE 2004 - Presidential Election Structural Problems with the Election..............................................................................22 The Great Gamble.................................................................................................................23 Extra Special thanks Recipe for Electoral Fraud..................................................................................................24 to the The Motions of Democracy ..............................................................................................25 N ational Postcard From Kabul..........................................................................................................26 Canada: We Ensured that the Election met International Standards...............................27 Union of Vote Rigging and Fraud Ensured Karzai’s Victory..........................................................27 Ballots in Battlefields..........................................................................................................28 P ublic and Afghan Elections: U.S. Solution to a U.S. Problem........................................................30 Government Riddled with Drug Ties................................................................................31 G eneral 2005 - Parliamentary Elections U.S. Exporting Fake Democracy – By Force..................................................................32 Employees Serious Flaws Marred the Wolesi Jirga Elections...........................................................34 A List of Voting Problems...................................................................................................35 for donating paper Not All MPs are “Warlords, Drug Lords & Smugglers”................................................36 and photocopying!! Canada: Martin Applauded “Successful Elections / Warlords take Elections...............37 2005-2006 - Life in Parliament Canada Post 40008371 Joya Causes Uproar on the First Day of Parliament.......................................................38 Joya’s Goal as MP is to Expose the Sham Parliament....................................................39 Power Politics MP Attacked in Parliament for Denouncing Warlords!.................................................40 T he December-2001, Press for Drug Trade Reaches right up into Afghan Cabinet........................................................41 Conversion! (subtitled, “Oil, Major Bloc in Parliament Controlled by Hekmatyar?.....................................................42 Terror and the War Against Af- Canada: The Fundamentalist Nonsense of “Canadian Values”..................................43 ghanistan”) examined some of the real Canada: Killing “Detestable Murderers and Scumbags,” the Canadian Way................44 economic and geopolitical reasons for O the Afghan war. One reason this war was Much has happened since issue #46 was pub- R fought–and why it was necessary to estab- D lished. A phoney democracy–dominated by lish a “stable,” internationally-palatable gov- E warlords and drug barons–has now been im- R posed upon Afghanistan by the major west- ernment in Afghanistan–was to secure a much-coveted, pipeline route. The transAf- B ern powers, including Canada. The current A issue of Press for Conversion! (#59) outlines ghan pipeline will transport the multibillion C dollar, oil/gas resources from the Caspian Sea K the key steps in that supposedly “democratic” to the Persian Gulf for shipment to Asian mar- process. Thanks to our military, financial and I diplomatic efforts Afghanistan’s most violent kets. Afghanistan will also serve as a stag- S ing ground for future wars to be fought to S and dreaded terrorists are now in power. U See the back-cover coupon for control the region’s strategic resources, and E to counter nations that rival U.S. interests. bulk prices and other details. S 2 Press for Conversion! (Issue # 59) September 2006 Background The “New” Face of Terror in Afghanistan By Richard Sanders, coordinator, Coalition to Oppose the tion” was to drag Afghanistan out of its feudal existence. Arms Trade, and editor of Press for Conversion! In his classic book on CIA wars, Killing Hope (2001), former U.S. State Department official, William Blum, outlined A fghanistan is once again being ruled by a govern- some of the actions of this fledgling, socialist government: ment dominated by warlords and drug barons. In “[It] declared a commitment to Islam within a secular state, fact, many of the most powerful religious funda- and to non-alignment in foreign affairs.... They pushed mentalists in the current regime are the self-same warlords radical reforms, they talked about class struggle, they used who stalked Afghanistan’s halls of power during the horren- anti-imperialist rhetoric, they supported Cuba, they signed dous reign of terror that devastated the country between a friendship treaty and other cooperative agreements with 1992 and 1996. These warlords have been returned to power the Soviets and they increased the number of Soviet civil- thanks in very large part to financial, logistical, diplomatic ian and military advisers in Afghanistan.... In May 1979, and “moral support” provided by the governments of West- British political scientist Fred Halliday said ‘probably more ern Europe and North America. has changed in the countryside over the last year than in Military backing from NATO and individual warfight- the two centuries since the state was established.’” ing nations, including–most significantly–the U.S., Canada Some of their more significant initiatives were to: and Britain, has been essential in securing this regime change ü cancel the debts of peasants to their landlords, and in helping to ensure that the new government can retain ü build hundreds of schools and medical clinics, and increase its control over the entire country. ü outlaw child marriage, Perhaps the biggest difference between this current ü outlaw the exchange of women for money/commodities, collection of ruling warlords and previous ones, is the pho- ü legalize the formation and work of trade unions, and ney aura of respectibility given to them by western govern- ü promote women’s literacy and education. ments and the corpo- rate media. The trap- The CIA’s Biggest pings of western-style Covert War Ever democracy are now be- The U.S. was determined to ing used to cloak Af- crush this socialist experi- ghanistan’s most ne- ment, and allied itself with farious warlords. large landowners, tribal The goal of this chiefs, businessmen and Press for Conversion! royalty. Within two is to expose the Big Lie months, the new govern- about Afghan “democ- Zbigniew ment was under violent at- racy” spouted by our By early 1979, the U.S. was aiding governments and re- various bands of fundamentalist, Brzezinski tack by various ultracon- servative groups of Islam- peated ad nauseum un- Afghan terrorists in a deliberate effort to draw ist guerillas, called the der the slick guise of the Soviets into the war to help their besieged allies. mujahideen. objective news. William Blum cites a Before providing details about how real progressive classified, U.S. State Department report (August 1979) which change has been thwarted at every stage of the supposed said that America’s “democratic process” that has been imposed on Afghani- “larger interests would be served by the demise of the stan since the U.S. began bombing the country five years regime, despite whatever setbacks this might mean for ago, it would be useful to present some historical background. future social and economic reforms in Afghanistan.” In 1998, Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor, A Fledgling Socialist Regime Zbigniew Brzezinski, revealed in a Le Nouvel Observatour In 1973, Afghan’s monarch–King Zahir Shah, who had ruled interview (Jan. 15) that the president had signed an agree- the country for forty years–was finally overthrown. The new ment to arm the mujahideen at least six months before the government, led by Mohammad Daoud–one of the king’s Soviet invasion in late 1979. In fact, since at least early 1979, cousins–was supported by leftist organizations and politi- the U.S. had been meeting with mujahideen warlords, assist- cal parties, such as the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). ing their terrorist efforts and using them as cold-war pawns. The U.S. government quickly pressured Daoud to According to Brzezinski, the purpose of covertly aid- sever all ties with the Soviet Union, offered $2 billion in aid ing these contras (as their drug-smuggling, counter-revolu- and urged Afghanistan to become an American client state, tionary equivalents in Nicaragua were called) was to pro- like Iran, Pakistan and Turkey. The Daoud regime began mov- voke the Soviets into sending troops to support their ing into the U.S. orbit by killing a PDP leader, arresting many beseiged, Afghan-government allies. Brzezinski proudly de- others and purging hundreds of PDP sympathizers from gov- fended this strategy saying: ernment positions. In April 1978, the PDP, with military sup- “What is most important to the history of the world? The port, deposed Daoud. The stated goal of this “April revolu- Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred- September 2006 (Issue # 59) Press for Conversion! 3 Background “From 1992 to 1996, the Northern Al- liance was a symbol of massacre, sys- Kabul photo: Didier Lefevre, Panos Pictures tematic rape and pillage. Which is why...the U.S. State Department welcomed the Taliban when they arrived in Kabul. The Northern Alliance left the city in 1996 with 50,000 dead behind it. Now its members are our foot sol- diers. What–in God’s name–are they going to do in our name?” Robert Fisk, The Independent, Nov. 14, 2001. up Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe and the ting in the Afghan parliament, and holding top cabinet posts, end of the cold war?” are battle-hardened mujahideen fighters once tied to the ISA. Supplying these “stirred up Moslems” became the It was during this horrendous, four-year reign of ter- largest CIA covert war in history. The U.S. spent untold ror, that the ISA’s president, Burhanuddin Rabbani, welcomed billions arming, training and supplying various ethnically- Osama bin Laden and his network of jihadists into Afghani- diverse bands of fundamentalist fighters who hated each stan. They were given safe refuge for their military/terrorist other almost as much as they hated the schools, health clin- training camps, which had begun under U.S. tutelage. ics, co-ops and other government facilities that they attacked. Just as the CIA, during its covert operations in south- Taliban envoy in east Asia and Latin America, had helped fund their dirty Pakistan, Mulla wars with hidden profits from the multibillion-dollar drug Abdul Salam trade, America’s mujahideen footsoldiers were on the Zaeef, in his frontline of opium production for export. Opium poppies pro- second, known vide the raw material for the manufacture of heroin, of which meeting with 90% of the world’s supply now comes from the Afghanistan. William Milam, U.S. Ambassador Soviet Occupation and Mujahideen War to Pakistan. Carter’s administration was finally successful in drawing Soviet troops into the Afghan theatre. They entered the fray in late-December 1979, and a Vietnam-like quagmire ensued. A U.S.-led media campaign quickly turned world opinion against this Soviet intervention. But, in a typical example of double standards, the U.S. escaped criticism for its role in November 2, 2000. building up the other side in that war; the various factions of Taliban, the Ultra-Fundamentalists right-wing, mujahideen terrorists, like Osama bin Laden. In response to the ISA’s much-despised, warlord-based re- The war was also successful, from the U.S. stand- gime, the Taliban movement spread like wildfire across Af- point, in depleting Soviet finances (bled almost dry by the ghanistan. To dfefend themselves from the Taliban, the be- decades-long U.S. arms race and, before that, by their costly sieged ISA government relied on a network of militias called war against fascism). The Soviet’s Afghan war also created the National Islamic United Front for the Salvation of Af- strong internal dissent, thus further aiding America’s goal. ghanistan, now simply called the Northern Alliance. Based After Soviet forces withdrew in 1989, the Afghan re- largely in Afghanistan’s north, these warring fundamental- gime of President Mohammad Najibullah held on for three more ist groups were unsuccessful in protecting Rabanni’s ISA. years, fighting the foreign-backed, terrorists on their own. In 1996, when the Taliban seized control, many–in- cluding the U.S. government–welcomed their victory. One Fundamentalist Infighting and the ISA of their first acts was to overrun the UN compound and After the fall of Najibullah’s government, the various funda- hang former-president Najibullah, who had taken refuge there. mentalist militias and their leaders, or warlords, became locked The Taliban were then quick to establish a strong, in a brutal war against each other. As they vied to see who central government and military, to rule the country under would control Afghanistan, its people and resources, much their own strict, Islamist interpretation of sharia law. Being of Kabul was reduced to rubble and some 50,000 innocent open to U.S. business, they made a much-coveted deal with civilians were massacred in the indiscriminate crossfire. America’s Unocal to build a trans-Afghan oil/gas pipeline, The fundamentalist regime that these mujahideen to help connect Caspian Sea reserves to the Arabian Gulf. fighters finally established in 1992, was called the Islamic America’s top man in Afghanistan, president Hamid State of Afghanistan (ISA). Many of the warlords now sit- 4 Press for Conversion! (Issue # 59) September 2006 Background Karzai, is a former, oil-industry consultant and was the Taliban’s foreign minister in 1996. And, a Unocal consultant, Zalmay Khalilzad, who was America’s ambassador to Af- Name Index Abdullah 1,9,13,16,19,37 1,7,9,13,16,29 ghanistan (2003-2005), is now the U.S. ambassador in Iraq. Afghan National Liberation Khalilzad, Zalmay He was an unabashed apologist for the Taliban until the U.S. Front 18,28 5,10,12,13,15,18,21,25,27, tide finally turned against them after September 11, 2001. Ahmad, Qazi Nazir 40 28,32,33 However, despite their closeness to U.S. power bro- Ahmadi, Shukria Paikin 40 Khan, Ismail kers, the Taliban soon became a liability to American inter- Ahmadzai, Ahmad Shah 1,26 1,10,13,15,29,32,42 ests. In the eyes of global public opinion, the Taliban were Al-Mas, Haji 1,33,36 Massoud, Ahmad Shah Arsala, Hedayat 1,2,9 6,7,9,16,17,29 pariahs. Their misogynist treatment of women was espe- Barakzai, Shukria 36, 40 Massoud, Ahmad Zia 1,29 cially offensive and was the target of many international Brahimi, Lakhdar 8,10,12,18 Mohaqiq, Haji Muhammad campaigns. In what was perhaps a futile effort to clean up Dostum, Abdul Rahim 1,7,9,28,32,34 their image, the U.S. funded a Taliban effort in 2000 which 1,7,9,10,11,24,28,31,32,42 Mojaddedi, Segbatullah 1,18,20 virtually erradicated the country’s opium crop. But it was Durranai, Parwin 40 Muhsini, Muhammad Asif 1,7 too little, too late. With the so many people around the world Fahim, Mohammad Qasim Najibullah, Mohammad 4,6,7 rejecting the Taliban, and with the international PR onslaught 1,9,12,13,14,16,36 Niazai, Saifoor 40 against them gaining momentum, the U.S. turned course in Hekmatyar, Gulbaddin Pedram, Abdul Latif 25,30 midstream and rejected their new allies in Afghanistan. A 1,12,13,15,42 Qadir, Haji Abdul 1,9,10,13,16 Hizb-i Wahdat-i Islami-yi Af- Qanooni, Younis newly minted batch of Afghan warlords was then needed, ghanistan 6,7,9,11 1,9,12,13,15,16,28,29,32, and they needed international “legitimacy.” Ishaqzai, Malali 40 33,34,40 The 9/11 attacks of 2001, conveniently supplied the Ittihad-i Islami Bara-yi Azadi Rabbani, Burhanuddin U.S. administration with a pretext to falsely justify their inva- Afghanistani 6,7 1,4,6,7,8,9,12,14,15,17,18, sion of Afghanistan. Catching bin Laden, stopping the Jalal, Masooda 25 19,25,27,33,34,39,40 Taliban’s flagrant violations of human rights (especially their Jamiat-i Islami-yi Afghanistan Rocketi, Mullah Abdul Salam abuse of women) and building democracy in Afghanistan, 6,7,11,15,27,40 1,33,36 never were–and still aren’t–the real reasons for this war. Joya, Malalai 20,21,38,39,40 Samar, Sima 13 U.S. warplanes started bombing Afghanistan on Oc- Junbish-i Milli-yi Islami-yi Af- Sayyaf, Abdul Rasul ghanistan 6,7,11 1,6,7,13,27,32,33,34,36,40 tober 6, 2001, and by March 2002, their relentless attacks Karzai, Hamid Shah, King Zahir had killed 3,000-3,400 innocent civilians. By mid-November 1,5,8,9,11,12,13,14,16,18, 8,9,10,11,12,14,15,17,25,33 2001, America’s proxy warriors–the terrorist Northern Alli- 19,21,22,25,26,27,28,29, Sherzai, Gul Agha 1,10 ance–with much support from the U.S. military had taken 30,31,32,36,39,41,42,43,45 Shinwari, Mulavi Fazal Hadi Kabul and were the defacto rulers of Afghanistan, again. Khaksar, Mohammed 32 1,9,11,13,15 All that remained was to make their reign seem demo- Khalili, Abdul Karim Sirat, Abdul Satar 25 cratic. That was done over the next five years, in a multi- Note: Page numbers in bold indicate photos. stage process outlined in this Press for Conversion! Would you be willing to serve in the military and possibly go into Google ranks us #3 for zones of conflict and war? “Peace and Activism” in Canada If not, why are you willing to pay for it? Visit Canada supports the rights of consci- entious objectors (COs) to not serve in COAT the military. In the modern world, it is our money on the that goes to war and military through taxa- tion. COs think of this as “fiscal conscrip- WEB Diane Holmes tion.” If you would like more information City Councillor/ about the movement to allow Canadians Conseillère municipale to redirect their military taxes to peaceful Quartier Somerset Ward purposes, please contact us. 110, av Laurier Ave. O.W., Conscience Canada Inc. Please link to our site: Ottawa ON K1R 1J1 901-70 Mill St., tel: 580-2484 fax: 580-2524 Toronto ON M5A 4R1 http:// coat.ncf.ca Diane.Holmes@ottawa.ca email@example.com September 2006 (Issue # 59) Press for Conversion! 5 Background Meet our Afghan Allies, the Northern Alliance I n 1996, when the Taliban captured Taliban. Children, including those un- March 1995: Commander Massoud’s Kabul, groups opposed to the der the age of fifteen, were recruited as forces, the Jamiat-i Islami, captured Taliban formed an alliance called the soldiers to fight against Taliban forces. Kabul’s Karte Seh neighborhood and National Islamic United Front for the The Northern Alliance amassed a de- according to the U.S. State Depart- Salvation of Afghanistan. It was then plorable record of attacks on civilians ment’s human rights report, “went on a commonly known as the United Front between the fall of the Najibullah re- rampage, systematically looting whole [Editor’s note: It is now usually refered gime in 1992 and the Taliban’s capture streets and raping women.”? to as the Northern Alliance]. of Kabul in 1996. February 11, 1993: Forces of Jamiat-i The Northern Alliance sup- Islami and Abdul Rasul Sayyaf ’s ported the government that was ousted Ittihad-i Islami, raided west Kabul, kill- by the Taliban, the Islamic State of Af- ing ethnic Hazara civilians and commit- ghanistan (ISA). The ISA’s president, ting widespread rape. Estimates of Burhanuddin Rabbani, remains the titu- those killed range from 70 to 100+. lar head of the Northern Alliance. His Northern Alliance factions com- headquarters was established in the mitted other serious human rights vio- northern town of Faizabad. The real lations. In 1994 alone, an estimated power was, until his assassination on 25,000 were killed in Kabul, most of September 9, 2001, the Northern them civilians killed in rocket and artil- Alliance’s military leader, Ahmad Shah lery attacks. One-third of the city was Massoud, the ISA’s Minister of De- reduced to rubble, and much of the rest fense. was seriously damaged. There was virtually no rule of Human Rights Record law in Northern Alliance-controlled ar- Throughout the civil war in Afghani- eas. In Kabul, Jamiat-i Islami, Ittihad stan, the major factions on all sides re- and Hizb-i Wahdat forces engaged in peatedly committed serious human rape, summary executions, arbitrary ar- rights abuses and violations of inter- rest, torture and “disappearances.” national humanitarian law, including In Bamiyan, Hizb-i Wahdat com- killings, indiscriminate aerial bombard- Burhanuddin Rabbani manders routinely tortured detainees ment and shelling, direct attacks on ci- for extortion purposes. vilians, summary executions, rape, per- Violations of International secution on the basis of religion or Humanitarian Law include: Accountability and ethnicity, the recruitment and use of chil- Late 1999 - early 2000: Internally dis- the Cycle of Impunity dren as soldiers, and the use of anti- placed persons fleeing villages in and Not a single Afghan commander has personnel landmines. Many of these around Sangcharak district recounted been held accountable for violations of violations were “widespread or system- summary executions, burning of houses international humanitarian law. Nor has atic,” a criterion of crimes against hu- and widespread looting. Several execu- the Northern Alliance indicated any manity. Violations involving indiscrimi- tions were reportedly carried out in willingness to bring to justice any of nate attacks, or direct attacks on civil- front of victims’ family members. its commanders. To the contrary, the ians, are increasingly recognized inter- September 20-21, 1998: Several vol- representative of the ISA (and the nationally as war crimes. leys of rockets fired at northern Kabul. Northern Alliance) in the U.S., Moham- Abuses committed by factions One hit a crowded market. Estimates of mad Eshaq, remarked in Washington, of the Northern Alliance are well docu- people killed range from 76 to 180. The D.C., on October 2, 2001, that Northern mented. Many violations of interna- attacks were generally believed to be Alliance atrocities have been “exagger- tional humanitarian law committed by carried out by Massoud’s forces. The ated,” and while their forces date to 1996-1998 when they Red Cross (September 23, 1998) de- “criminals should answer to a controlled most of the north and were scribed the attacks as indiscriminate court…it should not be a demand within artillery range of Kabul. and the deadliest in three years. that all the heads of the United Front The Northern Alliance was then Late May 1997: Some 3,000 captured [i.e., Northern Alliance] should be pushed back into defensive positions Taliban soldiers were executed in and taken to court.” in northeastern and central Afghani- around Mazar-i Sharif by Junbish forces This, he said, would not be “practical.” stan. There were reports of abuses in under Gen. Abdul Malik Pahlawan. This failure to hold its command- areas held by Northern Alliance fac- January 5, 1997: Junbish planes ers to account for past atrocities raises tions, including summary executions, dropped cluster munitions and other the prospect that if its political fortunes burning of houses and looting, princi- bombs on residential areas of Kabul. turn, with U.S. or other external sup- pally targeting ethnic Pashtuns and Several civilians were killed and others port, their past record of abuse and im- others suspected of supporting the wounded in this indiscriminate air raid.? punity gives no reason to believe that 6 Press for Conversion! (Issue # 59) September 2006 Background abusive commanders will feel discour- not condoned, would embolden these states assisting the Afghan opposi- aged from committing further abuses. very same commanders. Such support tion–must take responsibility for how The provision of unqualified may feed rather than break the lethal this assistance is used. Failure to do so material and political assistance under cycle of impunity that has brought so would entail complicity in abuses com- such circumstances, rather than send- much suffering to Afghanistan. mitted, and they should be held ac- ing a signal that human rights abuse is The U.S, Russia, Iran–and other countable for these abuses. The Northern Alliance includes: Islamic Party of Afghanistan The Jamiat-i Islami-yi Af- ghanistan was established in the 1970s by Kabul Uni- versity students whose leader, Burhanuddin Rabbani, was a lecturer in the Islamic Law Faculty. Al- though Rabbani remains of- ficial head of Jamiat-i Islami, the party’s most powerful figure was Ahmad Shah Abdul Rashid Dostum Massoud. [He was assassi- National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan A h m ad S. M a s s o u d nated on Sept. 9, 2001.] Junbish-i Milli-yi Islami-yi Afghanistan brought together northern, mostly ethnic Uzbek, former militias of the commu- nist regime who mutinied against President Najibullah in early 1992. It also included mainly Persian-speaking former lead- ers and administrators of the old regime from various other ethnic groups, and some ethnic Uzbek guerrilla command- ers. In 1998, it lost the territory under its control and many of its commanders defected to the Taliban. Its founder and principal leader was Abdul Rashid Dostum, who rose from security guard to leader of Najibullah’s most powerful militia. This group took control of the important northern city of Mazar-i Sharif in early 1992. A coalition of militias, the Junbish was the strongest force in the north from 1992 to H a j i M . M o h a qi q M. Karim Khalili 1997, but was riven by internal disputes. Islamic Unity Party of Afghanistan Islamic Afghanistan’s principal Shi’a party, Hizb-i Wahdat-i Islami- yi Afghanistan, supported mainly by the Hazara ethnic com- Movement munity, was formed to unite eight Shi’a parties before the of collapse of the communist government. Its current leader is Afghanistan Muhammad Karim Khalili. The leader of its Executive Council This Shi’a party, the of the North, Haji Muhammad Mohaqiq, commanded the Harakat-i Islami- party’s forces in Mazar-i Sharif in 1997. yi Afghanistan, which never joined Islamic Union for the Hizb-i Wahdat, is Liberation of Afghanistan led by Ayatollah This party, the Ittihad-i Islami Muhammad Asif Bara-yi Azadi Afghanistan, is Muhsini. It was al- headed by Abdul Rasul Sayyaf. lied with Jamiat-i During the war against the Soviet Islami in 1993-1995. occupation, Sayyaf obtained con- Its leadership is siderable assistance from Saudi mostly non-Hazara Arabia. Arab volunteers sup- Muhammad Asif Muhsini Shi’a. ported by Saudi entrepreneurs Source: Human Rights Watch , October 5, 2001. Abdul Sayyaf fought with Sayyaf’s forces. www.hrw.org/backgrounder/asia/afghan-bck1005.pdf September 2006 (Issue # 59) Press for Conversion! 7 2001 - Bonn Agreement Major Powers Pulled the Strings at Talks in Bonn The Bonn conference was not meant to meet the democratic aspirations of Afghanis but to satisfy the requirements of major powers, above all the U.S. The whole affair was reminiscent of the gatherings of political stooges staged from time to time by European powers in the 19th century to give their colonial rule an air of legitimacy. By Peter Symonds U.S. war in Afghanistan, is in the stron- influence in Afghanistan. Islamabad gest position. Following the Taliban’s has been desperate to prevent the NA, T he UN-sponsored talks on the collapse, NA troops seized large backed by its arch-rival India, from gain- political future of Afghanistan swathes of territory in the north and ing a dominant position. It has there- opened on November 27, 2001, west, including Kabul. Headed by Bur- fore backed U.S. moves for a “broad- in the Petersberg Castle, a luxury hotel hanuddin Rabbani, the NA consolidated based” administration and an interna- just outside Bonn, Germany. its grip on power, set up a Kabul police tional “peacekeeping” force in Kabul. The gathering was billed as an force, took over ministries and doled The CIA has been actively at- opportunity for Afghanis to decide their out official positions. tempting to recruit allies among the own fate. UN officials have repeatedly The delegations present in- Pashtuns. In the midst of the opening stressed that a solution would not be clude the so-called Rome Group–rep- sessions of the Bonn conference, the imposed on Afghanistan from outside. resenting the 87-year-old former king, organisers broadcast a live call via sat- The whole affair is reminiscent Zahir Shah, exiled in Italy since 1973. ellite phone from Hamid Karzai who of the gatherings of political stooges There are two other much declared that the conference was “the staged from time to time by European smaller delegations: the Pakistani- path to salvation.” Karzai was unable powers in the 19th century to give their backed Peshawar group and the Cyprus to attend because he was collaborat- colonial rule an air of legitimacy. The group, reportedly supported by Iran. ing with the U.S. military and CIA in Bonn conference is not to meet the The Peshawar group was formed only orchestrating the fall of Kandahar, the democratic aspirations of Afghanis but a month earlier at a Pakistani meeting Taliban’s last remaining stronghold. to satisfy the requirements of major of about 700 Pashtuns–mullahs, former Afghanistan’s political future powers, above all the U.S.. Who could Mujahideen fighters and tribal leaders. has already been mapped out by the attend, the size and composition of the Pompously titled “a Conference for UN Security Council and UN envoy delegations, the agenda, timing and Peace and National Unity,” it was nomi- Brahimi. An interim administration will even location were all dictated by Wash- nally convened by Pir Sayed Ahmed be established. It will, over the next six ington and its allies. Gailani, a religious and tribal leader, busi- months, convene a hand-picked assem- None of the four Afghani fac- nessman and supporter of the king, who bly (loya jirga) of several hundred to tions taking part have any popular man- like Rabbani and others was armed and choose a quasi-legislative body of date. They are loose alliances of tribal funded by the CIA in the 1980s to fight about 120 to 150. It will establish an- leaders, militia commanders, warlords the Soviet-backed regime. The meeting other interim regime and draw up a con- and exiles, who are based on ethnic and was so obviously staged by the pow- stitution for elections–possibly in two religious loyalties and completely reli- erful Pakistani military intelligence years time. ant on foreign backers. The real deci- agency, that the king declined to send All that is left for the Bonn meet- sions have been taken already in the any representative lest he be tarred ing is to rubber-stamp the process and flurry of preconference diplomatic ac- with the same brush. haggle over who will fill the positions. tivity, or will be made by “foreign ob- Having been instrumental in cre- They have three to five days to decide servers” watching over their proxies. ating and backing the Taliban since its Afghanistan’s political fate and to form The Northern Alliance (NA), formation in 1994, Pakistan now finds an interim administration. It is hardly which provided the foot soldiers for the itself without any substantial means of enough time in any vaguely democratic 8 Press for Conversion! (Issue # 59) September 2006 Bonn Agreement - 2001 body to decide on the agenda and to ‘The House Should be Pleased’ begin to discuss the complex issues of a country ravaged by more than two “The agreement reached...in Bonn...is decades of war. But it should be long very important.... It opens the way for a enough for the major powers to bully transition to a new government that is their Afghani surrogates into agreeing representative in nature. It includes to the plan’s outlines. women, which is one of the issues that The main sticking point re- ported so far is NA opposition to hav- members of the House [of Commons] have ing a so-called international peacekeep- been raising with concern.... This is one of ing force in Afghanistan. Clearly, the the first items of good news in that poor NA would prefer to maintain a position country in a long time and the House should be pleased.” where its militia are the only sizeably- John Manley, Foreign Affairs Minister and Deputy PM armed force within the country. The NA is under considerable Source: Hansard, Canada’s House of Commons, December 10, 2001. www.parl.gc.ca/37/1/parlbus/chambus/house /debates/128_2001-12-10/han128_1440-E.htm pressure to fall in line. The U.S. and its allies have warned that US$6-$10 bil- Warlords, not Women, Dominate New Regime lion in reconstruction aid is contingent on agreement to the UN plan. By Richard Sanders, COAT coordina- and held top posts in King Zahir Shah’s If economic blackmail is not tor, and editor of Press for Conversion! government in exile. (Arsala can be seen A enough, then other methods will be lthough, Afghan representatives, in the Bonn photo opposite: fourth from used. A Washington Post editorial re- handpicked by Western powers the left, in the back row.) cently spelt out a blunt warning: for the Bonn meeting, included almost Mohammad Qasim Fahim: This senior “The prospect of international recon- no women (see photo opposite), John military commander of the Northern Al- struction aid can be used as lever- Manley and the Canadian government liance, continued to command his own age; so can eventual Western and proudly vested great import in the Bonn personal militia until late 2003. In 2004, UN recognition for an Afghan gov- Accord’s stipulation that women be in- Fahim was elevated to Marshal, for life, ernment, which is something the cluded in Afghanistan’s transitional the highest rank in the Afghan military. Taliban never achieved.” government. Who were they kidding? In 2006, Karzai brought him back into The Post went on to insist, how- The men who crafted this agree- government as an advisor. ever, that the NA had to: ment did indeed stipulate that women Abdul Karim Khalili: As a warlord in “accept the political primacy of the be included in the interim authority, two the military party, Hizb-e-Wahdat Islami southern Pashtuns, while retaining to be exact. And that is exactly what Afghanistan, Khalili commanded a mi- a significant role in the national gov- Karzai–their man in Kabul–delivered. litia estimated at between 15,000 to ernment... It’s worth giving our Af- His administration of 30 ministers, in- 30,000 war-hardened fighters. He was ghan allies that chance to be reason- cluded Suhaila Seddiqi (Public Health) the Economic Minister (1993-1995) dur- able. Yet...if reason fails, stronger and Sima Samar (Women’s Affairs). ing Burhanuddin Rabbani’s repressive, steps should not be ruled out.” Samar was charged with blas- fundamentalist regime. It does not take much imagina- phemy by Supreme Court Chief Justice, Security Advisor tion to work out what “stronger steps” Fazul Hadi Shinwari for saying she Younis Qanooni: This warlord joined the paper is referring to. The ruthless- didn’t believe in Islam’s sharia law. The the mujahideen in 1979 and was a close ness with which the Bush administra- Afghan penalty for this can be death. advisor to Ahmad Massoud. Qanooni tion has ousted the Taliban is meant to Within three months, Samar resigned. was the joint defence minister in the serve as a warning that the same meth- brutal mujahideen-led government of ods will be used against anyone who Warlords and more Warlords president Burhanuddin Rabbani. When stands in the way of U.S. interests in At least 18 members of Karzai’s interim it fell to the Taliban in 1996, Qanooni Afghanistan or internationally. government were men with close affili- helped found the Northern Alliance. Just as the Bonn conference ations with Northern Alliance warlords. was about to begin, the U.S. military Indeed, the most important of these Ministers landed more than 1,000 marines and positions were filled by the brutal war- Karzai appointed various warlords as seized control of Kandahar airport. This lords themselves. interim government ministers, includ- delivered a clear message to the del- Vice Presidents ing the following, who will be discussed egates: we will do what we like in Af- in this issue of Press for Conversion!: Hedayat Arsala: Much of his adult life ghanistan, whether you agree or not. Defense: Mohammad Qasim Fahim was spent in the U.S. where he worked for the World Bank (1969-1987). After Deputy Defense: Abdul Rahid Dostum Source: World Socialist Web Site, No- Foreign Affairs: Abdullah returning to fight the Soviet-backed vember 29, 2001. Interior: Younis Qanooni Afghan government, he was a senior www.wsws.org/articles/2001/nov2001/ advisor/member of the Supreme Coun- Planning: Muhammad Mohaqiq afgh-n29.shtml cil of the Afghan Unity of Mujahideen Urban Development: Haji Abdul Qadir September 2006 (Issue # 59) Press for Conversion! 9 2002 - Emergency Loya Jirga Top Warlords Controlled the Emergency Loya Jirga U nder the Bonn Agreement, a spe- cial commission of the Interim Authority was set up in to convene a loya jirga–or grand council–in June, 2002. The loya jirga was to choose a head of state for a second interim government, approve pro- posals for this government, and appoint key ministers. Selection Process The selection process for G u l A g h a S h e r z a i Haji Abdul Qadir Ismail Khan the loya jirga took place in These Warlord Governors Manipulated the Loya Jirga Process May and June. Local au- thorities were to choose a set Zalmay Khalilzad (U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan) and Lakhdar of candidates, using a “tra- Brahimi (UN representative), pressured the Loya Jirga Commission ditional manner” (i.e., local to allow regional governors and military commanders to attend. councils known as shuras). Then, these candidates travelled to re- and their supporters. Pashtun repre- cedures. Other governors also at- gional centers to vote for a smaller sentatives from several areas accused tended, in violation of loya jirga proce- group of final representatives (from Khan of arresting Pashtuns standing dures, including the governor of among themselves) who would attend for election to the loya jirga, threaten- Kandahar, Gul Agha Sherzai, the gov- the loya jirga in Kabul. ing and beating most of them. Support- ernor of Nangahar, Haji Abdul Qadir, These stages were to be seen ers of the former king–Zahir Shah–were and Herat’s governor, Ismail Khan. as “free and fair” by regional Loya Jirga also intimidated. Just before the loya Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. spe- Commission observers; otherwise it jirga, Khan arrested Rafiq Shahir, a cial envoy to Afghanistan, and Lakhdar could void the elections and appoint prominent member of the Herat profes- Brahimi, the special representative of delegates themselves. All concerned sional shura, a local civil society group U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, parties agreed that the overall aim of comprised of doctors, teachers, artists pressured the Afghan Loya Jirga Com- the loya jirga was to create a “broad- and intellectuals, holding him for sev- mission to allow regional governors and based, multi-ethnic and fully repre- eral days, inflicting severe beatings and military commanders to attend. sentative” Afghan government. threatening him not to participate. In Many delegates and partici- The loya jirga selection process another province under Khan’s control, pants in the loya jirga process were so and the meeting itself (June 10-21) were three candidates were killed during the afraid of local warlords that they re- marred by manipulations and abuses selection process. HRW confirmed that fused to speak openly with HRW re- by Afghan warlords, who interfered one of these killings was carried out by searchers. UN observers confirmed that with the decision-making of more legiti- commanders loyal to Khan. a climate of fear was pervasive through- mate representatives. During the early In the south, HRW also docu- out the elections. stages of the selection process, Human mented a pattern of intimidation by lo- Rights Watch (HRW) documented sev- cal leaders that resulted in several can- At the Loya Jirga eral cases in which local warlords im- celled elections and led to some del- There were more problems at the loya posed themselves into decision-mak- egates withdrawing their nominations. jirga itself, including: ing and voting processes, directly or Throughout the country, war- • a widespread and systematic pattern indirectly intimidating voters and del- lords and regional military command- of intimidation and threats by war- egates through threats and the heavy ers were selected for the loya jirga. Gen- lords and regional leaders, presence of armed troops. Many loya- eral Rashid Dostum, the deputy defense • covert and overt surveillance by in- jirga delegates were little more than minister in the interim authority and re- telligence agents allied with certain puppets of local commanders, while le- gional leader of northern Afghanistan, parties and gitimate representatives of Afghan so- had himself elected to the loya jirga de- • a general failure by the Loya Jirga ciety were in many cases afraid to speak spite the fact he was serving as a mili- Commission, UN officials and other or vote freely during the loya jirga. tary commander and was accused of international actors to enforce Bonn In almost every western prov- complicity in human rights violations. Agreement provisions and loya jirga ince, warlord Ismail Khan intimidated, Both factors made him ineligible for the procedures meant to sideline military arrested or beat loya jirga candidates loya jirga under the agreed-upon pro- leaders and those with records of se- 10 Press for Conversion! (Issue # 59) September 2006 Emergency Loya Jirga - 2002 rious human rights abuses. their frustrations with the process. a cabinet which was approved by a Numerous delegates com- In addition, a general sense of vague “voice” vote. And, the loya jirga plained of explicit threats from warlords chaos and poor management marred never approved any plan or proposal warning them not to vote in certain the loya jirga. Voting for Hamid Karzai’s for the design of the government. ways or interfere with their backdoor presidency proceeded by secret ballot The loya jirga chair, Mohammad political dealings. One was threatened and was largely uncontroversial. Some Ismail Qasimyar, failed to exercise ef- for a speech about women’s rights in delegates were disappointed by the fective control over the proceedings, the Koran. The husband of the only seemingly U.S.-imposed arrangement and the UN failed to assist the Loya Jir- female presidential candidate was to have the former Afghan king, Zahir ga Commission in preparing for a more threatened by intelligence agents allied Shah, withdraw as a candidate. orderly meeting. Warlords were hand- with the Jamiat party. There were many Votes taken on the arrangement ily able to manipulate the process and, instances of intelligence agents threat- of the transitional government and its as a result, most legitimate participants ening delegates who wished to speak key personnel, were highly irregular. were thoroughly disillusioned with it. in debate, and many instances of agents There was no debate or proper vote on Source: World Report 2003. Human taking photographs and writing the names the composition of the next transitional Rights Watch. hrw.org/wr2k3/asia1.html of delegates who spoke openly about government. Instead, Karzai nominated Fundamentalists Emerge More Powerful than Ever By Vikram Parekh President Karzai named Fazul Hadi A fghanistan’s warlords emerged Shinwari, chief justice of the Supreme from the emergency loya jirga with greater power and a new claim to Court, a post he held under the funda- legitimacy. mentalist regime of the mid-1990s. Many delegates representing civil Shinwari has said that under the society said they were excluded from any legal system of the new government: real decision-making. As the loya jirga ü adulterers would be stoned to death, neared its end, they expressed fears about the resurgent power of the warlords who ü the hands of thieves amputated, were active and abusive participants in the ü consumers of alcohol given 80 lashes, loya jirga process. ü Christians could be threatened, ex- “Afghanistan’s warlords are strong- pelled or, as a last resort, beheaded. er today than they were before the loya jirga Decorating his office are two started,” said Saman Zia-Zarifi, senior re- searcher for Human Rights Watch (HRW). grisly symbols of harsh sharia justice “Short term political expediency has clearly that were left there by the Taliban, a triumphed over human rights.” sword and a leather lash for flogging. The cabinet named by Hamid Karzai, head of the transitional government, differs only slightly after the collapse of the Taliban, would include warlords from that of the interim administration. The predominantly who had reestablished their authorities in most of the coun- Tajik Jamiat-e Islami party holds three key cabinet posts while try during the fight against the Taliban. However, the transi- the Shi’a Hazara party, Hizb-e Wahdat, gained a seat. Both tional government to lead Afghanistan during reconstruc- have been implicated in attacks on Pashtun civilians in the tion, selected by delegates of the emergency loya jirga, was north following the Taliban’s collapse. Jamiat has also been supposed to reflect the voice of civilians, not warlords. involved in an ongoing conflict with General Abdul Rashid HRW’s Zia-Zarifi said: Dostum’s Junbish party in northern Afghanistan, where the “Instead of creating the space for civilian leadership to fighting and general insecurity has imperiled humanitarian emerge during the six-month interval...warlords used that aid operations. time to rebuild their military and political networks.” The appointment of Fazul Hadi Shinwari to the post A delegate from Kabul said of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court also raises serious “Warlords who bombed Kabul are not supposed to be human rights concerns. Shinwari was quoted in press inter- here in the loya jirga. People who are contaminated with views in January 2002 saying that Shari’a punishments in- the blood of Afghans should not be elected as ministers.” cluding stoning and amputation would be retained, albeit One group of delegates planned to submit a slate of with stricter due process guarantees than under the Taliban. candidates at the loya jirga who were not warlords, or affili- His position contradicted Karzai’s assertion during a U.S. ated with them. However, before they could do so, at least visit that Shari’a punishments could only be imposed in so- three members of the group received death threats. cieties where social justice and freedom from hunger prevail. The framers of the Bonn agreement decided that Af- Source: June 20, 2002. ghanistan’s interim administration, established immediately hrw.org/english/docs/2002/06/20/afghan4051_txt.htm September 2006 (Issue # 59) Press for Conversion! 11 2002 - Emergency Loya Jirga The Loya Jirga was a Joke By Gary Leupp, associate professor, crude, New England Town Meeting- History, Tufts University and coordi- style, democratic debate about the fu- nator, Asian Studies Program. ture of the Afghan nation. So this par- ticular loya jirga, the mother of loya O n November 12, 2001, barely a jirgas, was closely followed by west- month after the U.S. started its ern news agencies from beginning to bombing campaign, the North- end (June 11-19). It was designed to ern Alliance took Kabul. The U.S. power legitimize Karzai’s administration, was structure seemed genuinely surprised itself accorded in western reportage the at the lightening success of “Operation legitimacy of native tradition. Enduring Freedom” and the weakness In fact there was little traditional L a k h d a r B r a h i m i, of the Taliban resistance. or legitimate about it. The warlords cur- UN envoy to Afghanistan While the U.S. (and Pakistan) rently enjoying U.S. support largely de- had opposed the Alliance forces’ entry termined the selection of delegates. “Voting for the loya jirga into Kabul before a nationwide confer- Lakhdar Brahimi, UN envoy to Afghani- has been plagued by ence could determine the nature of the stan, told reporters that: violence and vote-buying.” post-Taliban government, their Tajik- “Voting for the loya jirga has been dominated militia forces occupied the plagued by violence and vote-buy- ground coaching Karzai throughout. capital, to the dismay of most of its in- ing. There were attempts at violence, Zalmay Khalilzad. This is the habitants, and reestablished the hated manipulation, unfortunately. Money gentleman who, while employed by Burhanuddin Rabbani regime. The Rus- was used, threats were used.” (ABC, Unocal and involved in oil pipeline ne- sians and Iranians immediately em- June 12). gotiations with the Taliban, argued as braced the warlord clique, but the Bush recently as 1998 in a Washington Post regime withheld diplomatic recognition, op-ed piece that in part to avoid antagonizing the Paki- “The Taliban does not practice the stanis who have, since November 1994 anti-U.S. style of fundamentalism (when they broke ties to CIA practiced by Iran. We should...be Frankenstein Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, willing to offer recognition and hu- blamed for some 50,000 civilian deaths, manitarian assistance and to pro- in favor of the Taliban), been on hostile mote international economic recon- terms with the Northern Alliance. struction. It is time for the U.S. to With some help from Russia and reengage [the Afghan regime].” Iran, the U.S. orchestrated the meeting Then he wrote a book about Afghani- in Bonn (Nov. 27-Dec.4, 2001) that pro- stan as a “rogue state.” A real man of duced a bogus new government domi- principle, here. So, what were his con- nated by the Panjshiri Valley thugs. (Of tributions to Afghan nation-building? the 30 government members, 18 were (1) He pronounced a U.S. veto on the from the Northern Alliance.) The chair- appointment of Zahir Shah, the former man of the interim administration, king, as head of state and (2) he obliged Hamid Karzai, an English-speaking, Karzai to seek loya jirga approval of at longtime U.S. resident, is a Pashtun least some of his cabinet appointments. who had been a deputy foreign minis- On June 9, between 800 and 900 ter in Rabbani’s government in the mid- of the 1600 delegates assembled in Ka- 1990s. (And, although it’s probably im- bul signed a petition asking that Zahir polite to bring it up now, Karzai was the Shah serve as head of state. Taiban’s foreign minister in 1996.) Mohammed Fahim, an ethnic The Bonn meeting resulted in Warlord Younis Qanooni Tajik and the defense minister, fearing an agreement that a loya jirga (Grand became Education Minister that a major role for the Pashtun former Council) would be held in June to de- Disproportionate representa- king would undercut his own faction’s termine the composition of a more per- tion was given Uzbek and Tajik regions position, warned Karzai late that day manent government structure. The term controlled by the Northern Alliance (The that delegates representing the North- “loya jirga” has such an exotic sound Nation, May 11). At the meeting, the ern Alliance would withdraw from the to it. There have been loya jirgas for U.S. was much in evidence, and calling loya jirga unless Zahir Shah agreed to centuries–gatherings involving wise all the shots. Afghan-American, Big Oil seek no political post. He also threat- and powerful men from all the tribes man Zalmay Khalilzad, the State Depart- ened to place his troops on alert (New and clans, engaged (or at least this has ment’s chief envoy to Kabul and York Times, June 12). Since the Alliance been the mainstream press spin) in Donald Rumsfeld intimate, was on the is the dominant military presence in the 12 Press for Conversion! (Issue # 59) September 2006 Emergency Loya Jirga - 2002 after all, had already told him he was capital, these were serious threats. president). He was indeed elected on The U.S. position in Afghani- June 13th, overwhelmingly, challenged stan is thoroughly dependent on its only by two little-known candidates, alliance with the Northern Alliance. So one of them a woman ridiculed and one-time Taliban apologist Khalilzad threatened by the fundamentalists. resolved the situation, pressuring the aging, former monarch to bow out, while The puppet’s legitimacy was thus assured. We will probably be told softening the blow by persuading the time and again that he was the clear interior minister, Tajik warlord Younis choice of the Afghan people in this Qanooni, to step down in favor of the Pashtun, Taji Mohammed Wardak. AsGrand Council. Even so, his position is shaky. “If the president does not fol- the meeting opened belatedly, under a low the Islamic values,” warned war- grand tent on June 11, delegates learn- ing of the backdoor deal expressed out- lord Abdulrab Rassoul Sayyaf, “then Mohammad Fahim the Prophet advises us to follow him rage. “This is not a democracy, it is a remained Defence anywhere, to oppose, protest and strike rubber stamp,” declared Minister of Minister and became against him.” Women’s Affairs Sima Samar. “Every- thing has already been decided by the The next item of business was Deputy Pr esident. powerful ones.” to select the new cabinet, and in this, tion party has accepted the Minister of Another delegate, Asella the dreaded warlords had final say. Sit- Education portfolio and (perhaps more Wardak, protested, ting in the front seats, they weren’t even significantly) has agreed to serve as in- supposed to be there. “We were told “Everything seems to have been de- ternal security advisor. (His successor that this loya jirga would not include cided. We don’t need anyone to de- as Interior Minister, Taji Mohammed all the people who had blood on their cide for us. We have had enough of Wardak, has met with violent opposi- hands,” complained one delegate, Safar foreign interference in our country.” tion from Qanooni’s thugs while merely Mohammed, to his fellows, drawing ap- Confusion reigned as Karzai attempting to settle into his office.) plause: misinterpreted his nomination as presi- A son of Herat’s warlord Ismail “But we see these people every- dent as confirmation. (The Americans, Khan was brought into the administra- where. I don’t know whether tion. The suave, English-speaking this is a loya jirga or a [military] Abdullah, remains Foreign Minister. commanders’ council.” (Inde- Mulavi Fazal Hadi Shinwari was pendent, June 13). appointed Chief Justice; an earnest pro- Even in the loya jirga’s intimi- ponent of sharia punishments (includ- dating atmosphere, Karzai was ing stoning and amputation). He’s a fan unable to win ready acceptance of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. of his cabinet nominees, and on In a word, the loya jirga has June 17, half of the delegates empowered monsters, while excluding walked out, some protesting for- the more progressive forces; Sima eign manipulation of the proceed- Samar was intimidated into resigning ings and warlord intimidation. as Minister of Women’s Affairs. As Karzai announced he would se- Ahmed Rashid said in Eurasia Insight lect a cabinet without loya jirga (June 24): approval, but, outside the grand “Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s tent Khalilzad informed him that new cabinet configuration should the Bonn agreement of 2001 yield even greater political and mili- specified that loya jirga approval tary powers to the already dominat- “This is not a democracy, it is a was required. ing faction of Tajiks from the Panjshir rubber stamp,” declared Sima Two days later, the loya jirga Valley, as well as to other warlords.” Samar, the Minister of Women’s concluded, its delegates having Assadallah Wolwaliji, a member approved Karzai’s cabinet of the independent commission over- Affairs. She was forced to resign choices for most cabinet posi- seeing the conference with UN assist- after receiving death threats tions. Mohammad Fahim remains ance, said: “We cannot say this was a from fanatical fundamentalists, Defense Minister, and is ap- democratic loya jirga.” including Afghanistan’s Chief pointed deputy president. It was, in any case, clearly a be- Justice of the Supreme Court, Meanwhile, warlords Haji Qadir trayal of the expectations of the Afghan and Karim Khalili were also people, a joke of a jirga achieved under Fazul Hadi Shinwari. He had her named deputy presidents. U.S. auspices. charged her with blasphemy, a Qanooni after some hesitation Source: Counterpunch, June 27, 2002 crime that can result in execution. and a threat to form an opposi- www.counterpunch.org/leupp0627.html September 2006 (Issue # 59) Press for Conversion! 13 2002 - Emergency Loya Jirga Stifled in the Loya Jirga By Omar Zakhilwal I am a member of the loya jirga’s si- lent majority–or rather, silenced ma- jority–who came to Afghanistan’s capital expecting to shape our nation’s future but instead find ourselves being dragged back into the past. We came from all parts of the country to claim our freedom and de- mocracy. Instead, we are being met with systematic threats and intimidation. We came strengthened by international declarations on human rights, but now Interim president Hamid are facing international complicity in the Karzai bows before former denial of our rights. We came to repre- King Zahir Shah, who ruled sent the diverse interests of the entire Afghanistan from 1933 to 1973. nation, 1,500 delegates for 25 million Many loya jirga delegates thought people, but are being pressured to sup- port the narrow agenda of warlords and that returning Shah to power might help their foreign sponsors. We came to in- curb the control of Afghanistan’s warlords. augurate an inclusive and professional However, representatives of transitional government, but instead are the U.S., the UN and Karzai’s being compelled to rubber-stamp the interim government quickly Bonn Agreement’s unjust power-shar- ing arrangements. pressured the king to decline. The fundamental question we tablished. Rather than address the issue demo- face is this: Will the new government The same consensus holds in cratically, almost two days of the six- be dominated by the same warlords and the loya jirga. At least 80% of delegates day loya jirga were wasted while a pa- factional politics responsible for two favor excluding all warlords from gov- rade of high-level officials from the in- decades of violence and impunity, or ernment. The 200 women delegates are terim government, the UN and U.S. vis- can we break with this especially outspoken on this. In a spon- ited Zahir Shah and “persuaded” him legacy and begin to taneous display of democracy, they to renounce his political ambitions. establish a sys- publicly rebuked two powerful symbols When the loya jirga recom- tem of law and of Afghanistan’s violent past– menced, the delegates were surprised professional Burhanuddin Rabbani, president of the to be greeted by Afghanistan’s 30 pro- governance? mujaheddin government from 1992 to vincial governors, none of whom was The Af- 1996, and General Mohammed Fahim, elected to the grand assembly. They ghan people former intelligence chief and defense served as arm-twisters for the interim have spoken minister in the interim government. government, which is dominated by clearly on But because of behind-the- Northern Alliance warlords. The gov- this issue. I scenes pressure, our voices are being ernors leveraged their local military and participated silenced and the warlords empowered. financial power to pressure delegates in a U.N.-com- When the loya jirga opened, from their provinces to support hand- missioned as- support for the former king, Moham- picked candidates allied to the North- sessment mis- med Zahir Shah, was extremely strong. ern Alliance. At a gathering I attended, sion by the Center for Economic and “When I complained about our re- King Zahir Shah Social Rights. Our stricted role, a top UN political ad- report documents widespread agreement among all Af- viser told me in no uncertain terms ghans, from urban professionals to lan- that the loya jirga was not intended dless farmers, that there should be no to bring about fundamental political role for warlords in the country’s fu- change, such as ridding the government ture, and that international aid will be wasted unless the underlying condi- of warlords.” tions of peace and security are first es- Omar Zakhilwal, loya jirga delegate 14 Press for Conversion! (Issue # 59) September 2006 Emergency Loya Jirga - 2002 one governor made his threat explicit: “You are all with me. You will do what Under the Shadow of Guns T I tell you to do. If you dare disobey, he majority of our wounded and When violence against women and girls ends, I will... we all go back to our province after bewildered people, who have this, don’t we?” borne the constant blows of the Such threats are enhanced by scores past ten years, look at the loya jirga of Interior Ministry agents circulating with disappointed eyes. It was con- in the loya jirga compound and openly vened under the patronage of guns, intimidating outspoken delegates. threats and the corruption of funda- Equally discouraging is the role mentalists. At least eight candidates for played by international organizations. the loya jirga were killed during the elec- When I complained about our restricted tion process. role, a top U.N. political adviser told me According to the Loya Jirga in no uncertain terms that the loya jirga Commission, those involved in war was not intended to bring about fun- Photo: Joyce Tenneson crimes and human rights violations damental political change, such as rid- were not qualified for membership in ding the government of warlords. Mean- the loya jirga. Many well-respected while, Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. special candidates who were clean of the shame envoy on Afghanistan, has caused dis- of affiliation with any fundamentalist appointment in the loya jirga through party were rounded up and pushed pressure tactics to undermine popular Zoya aside. Such displays of power were support for Zahir Shah. more pronounced in Herat under the In reality, the loya jirga is being Revolutionary Association of domination of warlord Ismail Khan. treated as a ratification tool for back- the Women of Afghanistan The composition of the Loya room political deals. The media have Jirga Commission is itself unfair. How reported on the “voluntary” decision visors and there is no effective UN could Musa Tawana, a leader of Jamiat- of Interior Minister Younis Qanooni to peacekeeping force, how can we expect e Islami, with close ties to Rabbani, drop his candidacy. But it is reporting that the loya jirga would be comprised think of anything other than infusing that he may become prime minister in of well-respected, democratic, anti- more of his band of traitors into the loya the new government, or that his in- jihadi and anti-Taliban people? jirga? He and others like him could only tended replacement is also member of It is undoubtedly clear that the have been real members of the Com- Qanooni’s Northern Alliance faction. loya jirga has been polluted by the filth mission if they had exposed the whole I asked a taxi driver what he of the fundamentalists. By no means is truth about the crimes and treasons of thought of the loya jirga. He shrugged it what our people were hoping for. insane fundamentalist gangs and cut his shoulders and pointed at Kabul’s As the Revolutionary Associa- off affiliations with them. ruined landscape: “The same people tion of the Women of Afghanistan Meanwhile, the so-called Chief who destroyed these buildings are sit- (RAWA) has reiterated, unless the Justice Mulavi Fazal Hadi Shinwari, ting in the front row of the loya jirga.” pathogen of fundamentalism is elimi- who runs a madrasa (fundamentalist On the loya jirga’s first day, we nated from the government, no devel- school) in Dara Adam Khil, has said this: were filled with hope and enthusiasm. opment, no institutions and no deci- “Gulbaddin Hekmatyar and his sup- Most of us stayed up past midnight in sions will be untainted. porters played a great role in the spirited debates about the country’s fu- Despite all these bitter facts, Afghanistan jihad and therefore de- ture. By the third day, a palpable de- some are of the opinion that the partici- serve to be considered in the com- moralization had set in. Our time is be- pation of democratic and anti-funda- ing government. Neither Gulbaddin ing wasted on trivial procedural mat- mentalist forces is still possible. We nor any other body committed ters. We feel manipulated and harassed. hope it would be so. The importance of crimes and hence there is no reason Our historic responsibility to the Af- their presence will be most felt when to impose restrictions on them.” ghan nation is becoming a charade. they strongly expose the real nature of Thus, from this Chief Justice’s point of We are in Kabul because we the fundamentalists with whom they sit view, the killings of 50,000 people–in believe that participation and democ- and who want only to give legal status Kabul alone between 1992 and 1996– racy are more than words on paper. We to their heinous crimes. must have been done by birds in the are not asking for much, after all: sim- RAWA will be in agreement with sky! ply the right to determine our own gov- loya jirga members who confirm their When the Chief Justice of a ru- ernment and future in accordance with loyalty to democracy by taking a ined country so shamelessly ignores the human rights ideals so loudly trum- staunch stand against all the jihadi and the shedding of blood by Gulbaddin peted by the international community. Taliban bandits. and Co.; when fundamentalist bandits Source: Washington Post, June 16, use guns and money to ruthlessly re- Source: Revolutionary Association of 2002. www.rawa.org/loyajirga2.htm press people; when the UN envoy is the Women of Afghanistan, June 9, encircled by vile-minded and biased ad- 2002. www.rawa.org/loyajirga-en.htm September 2006 (Issue # 59) Press for Conversion! 15 2002 - Emergency Loya Jirga Abdullah, who joined the mujahideen in 1986, was The Warlords Win! an advisor to Ahmad Shah By Prof. Omar Zakhilwal, Economics, tries of defense and Massoud, and became the University of Ottawa and Adeena Niazi, foreign affairs re- Northern Alliance Afghan Women’s Assoc. of Ontario. mained with Muham- foreign minister in 1998. mad Qasim Fahim O n the final night of the emer- and Abdullah, both He was Karzai’s Foreign gency loya jirga, more than from the Northern Al- Minister (2001-2006). 1,500 delegates gathered for liance. Younis Qa- the unveiling of the new cabinet. Our nooni, of the same faction, was resident asked us. hearts sank when we heard President switched from the interior ministry to While the Bonn Agreement and Hamid Karzai pronounce one name af- education. The powerful Northern Alli- the rules of the loya jirga entitled us to ter another. A woman activist turned to ance commanders–Fahim, Haji Abdul choose the next government freely, we us in disbelief saying it was: Qadir and Karim Khalili–became vice delegates were denied anything more “worse than our worst expectations. presidents. These are the very forces than a symbolic role in the selection The warlords have been promoted responsible for countless brutalities un- process. A small group of Northern Al- and the professionals kicked out. der the former mujahideen government. liance chieftains decided everything Who calls this democracy?” As the loya jirga folded its tent, behind closed doors and then dis- Interim government ministers we met with frustration and anger in patched Karzai to give us the bad news. with civilian rather than military creden- the streets. “Why did you legitimize an This is not what we expected tials were dismissed. The key minis- illegitimate government?” one Kabul when we gathered to participate in one of the most extraordinary events in Af- Warlords had Front Seats at Loya Jirga ghan history. Delegates from all back- grounds–Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras and “I was amazed to Uzbeks; urban and rural; Sunni and see in the first and Shiite–sat togetheras if we belonged to a single village. Men and women min- second rows those gled openly and comfortably. In toler- so-called warlords ant and lively exchanges, we discussed sitting together.” the compatibility of women’s rights with Klaus-Peter Klaiber, Islamic traditions. Women played a European Union leading role. We were living proof special representative. against stereotypes that Afghans are Agence France Presse, divided by ethnic hatreds, that we are June 13, 2002. backward and not ready for democracy or equality. Within a day we had developed a common wish list focused on national Loya Jirga Quotes “When I heard [Karzai’s] speech I real- ised he can’t solve the problems of Af- ghanistan. He only mentioned the lead- ers of the armed factions. They all sup- port him. If you see who has destroyed Kabul, killed tens of thousands of peo- Tajwar Kakar, a loya jirga delegate ple, how can it be possible for them to be in power again?” “I told the country these men are responsible for the Mir Mohammed, destruction of the country, for the widows and orphans a loya jirga delegate from Kabul who have nothing to eat. They should be in jail, The Independent, June 14, 2002. not sitting in the front seat in the loya jirga.” “The Northern Alliance are the ones Tajwar Kakar, the deputy minister of women’s affairs, was a delegate at the now warning us not to forget to wear emergency loya jirga where she stood up to powerful warlords and called for our burqas.... They threaten to throw their removal. Many of the warlords now in control of the provinces are the acid in our faces if we don’t.” mujahideen (or so called “freedom fighters”) who fought against the Soviets Shahla Mahindost, [and, later, each other]. Some are now fighting hard to subjugate women. a loya jirga delegate from Badakhshan Source: Fariba Nawa, WEnews.com, June 30, 2002. Scotsman.com, June 16, 2002. 16 Press for Conversion! (Issue # 59) September 2006 Emergency Loya Jirga - 2002 unity, peace and security. We also em- phasized access to food, education and “Strong Support” and “Congratulations” health services in neglected rural areas. The one issue uniting delegates above “We expressed our strong all others was the urgency of reducing support for the emergency the power of warlords and establishing loya jirga currently underway a truly representative government. in Afghanistan, and offered After the former king, Moham- our congratulations to Hamid med Zahir Shah, was strong-armed into renouncing any meaningful role in the Karzai for his election today government, the atmosphere at the loya in Kabul. We commend Chair- jirga changed radically. The gathering man Karzai, his cabinet and the was now teeming with intelligence Afghan people for the extra- agents who openly threatened reform- ordinary progress they have minded delegates, especially women. Access to the microphone was control- made in the last months in led so that supporters of the interim rebuilding the Afghan state. government dominated the proceed- The loya jirga is a vital step ings. Fundamentalist leaders branded in the creation of a represent- critics of the warlords as traitors to Is- ative, inclusive and effective lam and circulated a petition denounc- Bill Graham, ing Women’s Affairs Minister Samar as transitional authority and a Foreign Affairs Minister “Afghanistan’s Salman Rushdie.” critical step towards demo- (2002-2004) Aware that in our country po- cratic elections due in 2004.” litical intimidation can turn quickly into Source: Statement at the G8 Foreign Ministers Meeting, Whistler, B.C., June 12- violence, many delegates lost the will 13, 2002. www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/g8fmm-g8rmae/chair_statement-en.asp to demand their democratic rights. A leading activist for women’s rights, Human Rights Watch Statement S who prefers to remain anonymous due to these threats, explained: everal delegates, including some “should not have been involved in “Today we are loya jirga delegates, women, reported threats when … abuse of human rights, war crimes, but tomorrow we go home as indi- they complained about the war- looting of public property… [or] in- viduals. Who will protect us if we lords’ participation in the grand na- volved indirectly or directly in the continue to express our views and tional assembly. Others reported alarm killing of innocent human beings.” fight for our rights?” at the heavy presence of agents from A woman delegate, who asked Of course we are discouraged the Afghan Intelligence Service. to remain anonymous, said “We are that our experiment in grass-roots de- Senior researcher for Human hostages of the people who destroyed mocracy was suppressed. We are dis- Rights Watch, Zia-Zarifi, said: Afghanistan.” As a result of a public appointed that our leaders are not will- “After subverting the voting proc- complaint, she was threatened by men ing to recognize women’s rightful par- ess in many regions... the warlords associated with one of the warlords. ticipation. Above all, we regret that they are now trying to hijack the loya jirga Other delegates were troubled and the international community aban- itself.... If the by the intru- doned any commitment to democratic w a r l o r d s After subverting the voting process sive presence rights as soon as we sought to exercise succeed in in many regions... the warlords are of Afghan in- those rights. their nefari- now trying to hijack the loya jirga. telligence serv- The course of the loya jirga dem- ous quests, ice agents and onstrated that powerful forces inside the security of the Afghan people their obvious efforts to monitor discus- and outside the country remain cat- will be put squarely in the hands of sions. This spy agency is widely be- egorically opposed to democratic ac- those most likely to threaten it.” lieved to be dominated by a party countability. The dangers of challeng- According to some delegates, a founded by former president Burha- ing the power of the gun, especially in number of the most prominent warlords nuddin Rabbani and the late Northern the absence of genuine international gathered on the evening of June 10 to Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud. support for the rule of law, are substan- divide power in the next government. Their party holds the key cabinet posts tial. But the reactions we saw on the Several women delegates com- of defense, interior and foreign affairs. streets of Kabul showed that the popu- plained publicly about the presence of lar will of Afghans will not tolerate a figures widely held responsible for Af- Source: “Afghanistan: Loya Jirga Off retreat into the past. ghanistan’s devastating decade of civil to Shaky Start: Delegates Coerced, war and ensuing atrocities. Threatened, Spied On,” June 13, 2002. Source: New York Times, June 21, 2002. Rules governing the loya jirga hrw.org/english/docs/2002/06/13/afghan www.rawa.org/loyajirga2.htm state clearly that delegates: 4039.htm September 2006 (Issue # 59) Press for Conversion! 17 2003 - Constitutional Loya Jirga Rubber-Stamping an Anti-Democratic Constitution By Peter Symonds editor and Karzai critic, 251 votes to 154. From the outset, the entire proc- T he loya jirga, or grand tribal coun- ess was carried out behind the backs cil, is a thoroughly cynical po- of Afghans. The framework was de- litical exercise. For all the hype cided at a UN-sponsored conference about consulting the Afghan people, a in Bonn, Germany, in December 2001, select group of 500 delegates has been shortly after the collapse of the Taliban convened to endorse an undemocratic regime. While the UN organised the constitution and to consolidate the po- affair, it was the Bush administration sition of Washington’s political pup- that called the shots, insisting Karzai pet–President Hamid Karzai. be installed as interim president. The gathering is taking place in The hand-picked delegates in a large tent in the grounds of Kabul Bonn also rubber-stamped the proce- Polytechnic Institute, heavily guarded dure for drawing up and approving a by army units with tanks and machine constitution and for national elections. Karzai’s choice to chair the gun posts. Soldiers from the 5,500- Whatever their factional differences, all constitutional loya jirga was strong International Security Assist- present traced their origins to the vari- Segbatullah Mojaddedi. He ance Force are patrolling nearby hills ous right-wing Mujaheddin militia that had lead the Afghan National to prevent rocket attacks. were financed, trained and equipped by The loya jirga was postponed the CIA in the 1980s to fight the Soviet- Liberation Front and was the for a day and opened on December 14, backed regime in Kabul. Karzai devel- founder and first president 2003. Karzai and his backers used the oped an especially close relationship of the fundamentalist regime time to consolidate support for his with Washington when he ran the Pa- of feuding warlords and drug choice of chairman–Segbatullah kistani office of the group headed by barons that ruled Afghani- Mojaddedi–and for the proposed con- Segbatullah Mojaddedi. stitution that concentrates enormous In June 2002, to provide a demo- stan from 1992 to 1996. ministration applied the same anti- democratic methods to the constitution. A carefully-selected committee drafted it in secret. The much-vaunted public consultative process, which involved stage-managed discussions with “fo- cus groups,” began in June and was completed in late July 2002, before the draft constitution was even available. When it was finally published on No- vember 3, 2002, it clearly reflected the desire of Karzai–and Washington–for an autocratic presidency. This loya jirga rubber-stamped a new constitution that The final draft eliminated a pro- gave extraordinary powers to Afghanistan’s President. posal, contained in earlier versions, for establishing a prime minister as head power in the hands of the president. cratic veneer for the arrangements made of government. Instead, the president Former president Burhanuddin in Bonn, an emergency loya jirga was will have extensive powers, including Rabbini, a key Northern Alliance leader, convened in Kabul. Some 1,600 heav- the appointment and dismissal of min- has been one of the main figures criti- ily-screened delegates were bullied, isters, the attorney general, the central cising the proposed constitution. On threatened and bribed into approving bank governor, judges, officers of the Saturday after a flurry of high profile Karzai as president as well as his pro- armed forces, police and national secu- visitors, including Karzai, U.S. ambas- posals for three vice-presidents, the rity, diplomats and other high ranking sador Zalmay Khalilzad and UN spe- chief justice and cabinet. Even at this officials. The president will also appoint cial envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, Rabbani in- stage-managed affair, there was bitter one third of the members of the upper dicated that he would accept a presi- criticism of the standover tactics, par- house of the national assembly. dential system “with certain checks.” ticularly those used by Zalmay Khalil- The president will be the desig- The behind-the-scenes deal zad, the U.S. special envoy to Afghani- nated commander-in-chief of the armed making was evident on the first day stan [Editor’s note: Khalilzad is now the forces, with the power to declare war or when Mojaddedi was elected chair, de- U.S. ambassador to Iraq.] a state of emergency and to dispatch feating Abdul Mansoor, a newspaper Karzai and his transitional ad- troops to foreign countries. He or she 18 Press for Conversion! (Issue # 59) September 2006 Constitutional Loya Jirga - 2003 will preside over the government as from his nominal allies as well as his ences between the delegates, it is highly chairperson of the cabinet and have the enemies. Until now, he has had to coex- likely that a majority will approve the power to issue decrees. The president ist with a cabinet in which the Northern draft constitution with minor amend- will be able to convene loya jirgas–de- Alliance–composed of ethnic Tajiks, ments. In part, this reflects the fact that clared to be “the highest manifestation Uzbeks and Hazaras–holds the key those present have either been ap- of the will of the people of Afghani- posts of foreign affairs and defence. pointed directly by the president or stan”–that will have the power to amend Under the new constitution, the have been “elected” by carefully vet- the constitution and override the na- president will have significantly more ted groups of district representatives. tional assembly. He or she will also be powers than any of his ministers, in- It is also a product of the enormous able to call a referendum, which can be cluding the right to dismiss them. This clout that Washington wields behind used to sidestep parliament. is the main reason for the opposition the scenes. On December 13, 2003, The two houses of the national from Rabbani and sections of the North- Karzai insisted that he would only assembly will have very limited means ern Alliance, who view the proposed stand in next year’s presidential elec- to constrain the president. While both constitution as a threat to their own tion if the presidential powers were will have to approve laws, they will not power bases. Their criticisms also ap- passed intact. His statement only car- be able to delay government bills in- pear to have behind-the-scenes sup- ried any political weight because all the definitely. The lower house may ques- port from the European Union, whose powerbrokers in Kabul were well aware tion and impeach ministers, but presi- representative Frances- dential impeachment needs a two-thirds co Vendrell, argued that The European vote in the lower house to convene a the regional warlords Union represent- loya jirga, a two-thirds loya-jirga vote, had to be given a parlia- ative, Francesco and approval of a special court, making mentary avenue in order Vendrell, said such an eventuality all but impossible. to convince them to dis- Afghan warlords The draft constitution is dress- band their military forces. ed up with a list of fundamental rights The only other had to be allowed for citizens. All of these are routinely opposition inside the into parliament flouted, not only by warlords, military loya jirga to the draft so they might commanders and tribal chiefs who con- constitution came from disband their trol most of the country outside Kabul, fundamentalists who in- military forces. but by the U.S. military. U.S. troops con- sist that it does not go duct operations, often with terrible con- far enough to entrench reactionary Is- that behind the non-entity Karzai sequences for civilians, free of any con- lamic law. They demand restrictions on stands the Bush administration. straints. Whatever the loya jirga de- the basic rights of women and a form of cides, it is certain that basic constitu- retributive justice that is not so differ- Source: World Socialist Web Site, De- tional rights will not apply to prisoners ent from that imposed by the Taliban cember 18, 2003. held indefinitely without charge or trial, regime before the U.S. ousted it. www.wsws.org/articles/2003/dec2003/ interrogated and tortured at U.S.-run Whatever the factional differ- afgh-d18_prn.shtml detention centres in Afghanistan. The U.S. actions have gener- Canadians “Central” to the Process ated widespread opposition to its oc- “When we were pursuing the Bonn agenda.... we cupation of the country. In the leadup to the loya jirga, the U.S. military con- had to... ensure that the country hosted the loya ducted a massive sweep involving jirga to fashion a new constitution – Canadians 2,000 U.S. troops along the border with were central to that.” Chris Alexander, Pakistan, in part to preempt attacks on Canada’s Ambassador to Afghanistan (2003-2005) the assembly in Kabul. Washington’s tenuous position in Afghanistan is the prime reason it has insisted that the con- O n September 27, 2003, shortly be fore the constitutional loya jirga, Afghan interim president Hamid Karzai PM Chrétien meets Karzai in Ottawa stitution concentrate power in the (and his Foreign Minister, Abdullah) did hands of its stooge Karzai, even at the some photo ops in Ottawa at the invita- expense of the Northern Alliance, its tion of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. main military ally in ousting the Taliban. Source: www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/department/ For his part, Karzai is completely focus/karzai_visits_canada-en.asp dependent on the U.S.–politically, fi- Turkmenistan’s notoriously authoritarian nancially and militarily. He has no sig- Chretien in Central Asia president Saparmurat Niyazov, to dis- A nificant base outside a limited one year later, on September 3, 2004, cuss a multibillion dollar trans-Afghan among his own Pashtun tribe. So pre- former-PM Chrétien, then-“Special pipeline, needed to transport Turk- carious is his position that the U.S. is Advisor on International Relations” to menistan’s vast Caspian Sea oil and gas providing a special guard to protect him Calgary’s PetroKazakhstan Inc., met with reserves to South Asian markets. September 2006 (Issue # 59) Press for Conversion! 19 2003 - Constitutional Loya Jirga Malalai Joya, Afghanistan’s Youngest Revolutionary By Sonali Kolhatkar O n December 17, 2003, a 26-year- old woman named Malalai Joya joined hundreds of oth- ers in a large tent in Kabul, Afghani- stan, to adopt a new constitution for their war-torn nation. The traditional gathering, called a loya jirga (grand as- sembly), was dominated by U.S.- backed warlords responsible for mass slaughter and violence in the 1980s and early 1990s. Malalai Joya was present as an elected delegate from Farah prov- ince in western Afghanistan. Like the rest of the independent delegates in the tent, she despised the warlords. When Joya was granted per- mission to address the assembly, she did what no one expected by publicly and unequivocally denouncing them: “My criticism on all my compatriots An Interview with Malalai is: Why are they allowing the legiti- In February 2005, Sonali Kolhatkar in- They said some things against me. macy and legality of this loya jirga terviewed Malalai Joya at her office in For example, “Die Malalai, she is not to come under question with the Farah City, Afghanistan: telling the truth,” “We are against presence of those felons who Kolhatkar: When you were at the Malalai.” They called me a prostitute, brought our country to this state?... loya jirga in 2003, did you plan on say- an infidel, a communist, etc. The chairman of every committee is ing the words you said? I promise that while I am alive and already selected. Why do you not Joya: I wanted to ask our govern- have energy, I have decided to work take all these criminals to one com- ment and the countries that helped Af- more and more for my people and strug- mittee so that we see what they want ghanistan, especially the U.S., “Why gle until we achieve rights for the for this nation? These [men] turned did you replace the Taliban with the women of Afghanistan. our country into the nucleus of na- Northern Alliance?” They destroyed Kolhatkar: How did people of Af- tional and international wars. They our country from 1992 to 1996. ghanistan show their support for you? were the most anti-women people in When I went to the loya jirga, I saw Joya: I am honored and proud. I re- the society . . . who brought our the situation becoming worse each day. ceived a lot of warm messages. I am a country to this state, and they in- This was not a democratic situation. I servant of my people. Now I accept this tend to do the same again. I believe finally went to the chief of the loya jirga, risk because of my people. that it is a mistake to test those al- Mojaddedi, and told him that I wanted They [warlords] killed a lot of demo- ready being tested. They should be to make a speech on behalf of the cratic people. Maybe one day they will taken to national and international young generation of Afghanistan. kill me. But I will never be afraid. court. If they are forgiven by our Before the loya jirga, I made a speech Kolhatkar: What did you think people, the bare-footed Afghan peo- in Farah. Some told me, “Your speech about the clause in the constitution ple, our history will never forgive is very dangerous. The warlords are in that makes Islamic Sharia law the su- them. They are all recorded in the power and they will kill you.” I said, “I preme law of the land? history of our country.” will never be afraid. Because I spoke Joya: The warlords are using the Her microphone was cut off be- the truth and I’m sure that if they kill name of Islam for their own benefit. fore she could finish, but the two-minute me, my people are with me.” They are not real jihadis. They are the speech changed Malalai Joya’s life. She Kolhatkar: What kind of threats did enemies of our countries that used Is- became a heroine of the Afghan people you receive? lam for about 25 years of war. After the and a target of the warlords’ wrath. Joya: After the loya jirga my life com- Russian puppet regime they committed Since 2003, she has had her home and pletely changed. That night the Na- all kinds of crimes under the name of office ransacked by warlord support- tional Army escorted me because they Islam. Now our people know very well ers, and has survived four assassina- knew I was not safe. All of the criminals that they are not Muslim. But the peo- tion attempts. The BBC has called her were very emotional. They attacked the ple are afraid of them. They have to “the most famous woman in Afghani- place where I was staying, the special obey them. stan.” place for women at the loya jirga. Kolhatkar: After the loya jirga, the 20 Press for Conversion! (Issue # 59) September 2006 Constitutional Loya Jirga - 2003 then U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, en’s rights?” now wear a “suit of democracy.” They Zalmay Khalilzad, wrote in the Wash- Kolhatkar: George Bush and his ad- have learned to speak about democracy. ington Post that the fact that you were ministration have told Americans that Some of them are now in the new cabi- able to make that speech at the loya Afghanistan has been liberated, that net of Afghanistan. Our people are jirga was an example of democracy. Afghan women are now free and that afraid even of their shadow. How do you respond to that? there is democracy and elections. How Also, our people requested of the Joya: Why didn’t he say what hap- do you respond to these claims? government of Afghanistan, “Please pened after the speech? Now, nobody Joya: It’s just a slogan. There is no change these policies–do not make knows! Now what kind of life does fundamental change in Afghanistan. In compromises with the warlords.” In the Malalai have? Every step of my life is a the capital, it’s true that women can presidential elections, our people once risk of death. Now I have to be in the have jobs and go to school. But in fara- again trusted Mr. Karzai because they house with bodyguards! I hate guns! way provinces they have many health wanted to show their hatred for war- The guns destroyed our country. But and educational problems. They have lords. He promised: “I will never com- now I have to wear a burqa! I have to local warlords that have ideas against promise with warlords.” I met with Mr. take care of my security women and girls. Karzai. He also promised me that he I want you to tell the American peo- We have two kinds of problems. Our wouldn’t work with the warlords but ple, “Why don’t you ask why they at- country is a male-dominated. But the he appointed them to his cabinet. tacked this girl in the loya jirga? Does it other problem, which is even more im- mean democracy? Does it mean wom- portant, is warlords. Some of these men Source: Clamor, June 10, 2006. Hat Trick: Selling “Brand Karzai” By Marc W. Herold reporting that Karzai was pleased with his fame as a “fashion plate.”2 Georgie T he centrality of image over sub- Anne Geyer added, stance as regards Karzai was re- “The Washington Post’s congeni- vealed in the first weeks after tally snippy Style Section went fur- the Taliban was bombed out of power thest in falling all over itself, when in December 2001. Besides being a writer Robin Givhan wrote breath- known and compliant asset of the West, lessly of Karzai, ‘there is a lot of Hol- Hamid Karzai could be marketed to the lywood’ in the man. ‘Many are cap- general public as a man of taste, chic tivated by his signature hat and bil- and aristocratic heritage. Within a lowing cloaks in vivid shades of month after the Taliban had abandoned emerald green or exuberant ribbon Kandahar, the western press was pro- stripes,’ she went on. ‘They like his moting Af- flowing shirt with its banded collar.... g h a n i s t a n ’s Karzai is an alpha male with a pea- “Mr. Chic.” cock’s flamboyance. Might other Karzai was said men follow? Designers can only by the poised dream.’”3 BBC to have, By mid-2002, he was touring “broken new Western capitals establishing himself sartorial “as a well-educated, westernized ground by and stylish [leader]...He won marrying clas- ...praise from the Gucci fashion sic tailoring house for his trademark green-and- with ethnic white traditional Uzbek coat and his fashions.... Mr. ceremonial karakul hat.”4 Karzai has a The western press had success- Gucci’s creative director knack for com- fully leveraged Karzai’s fashion style Tom Ford calls Karzai bining classic into statesmanship. But many Afghans the world’s “most chic man.” The pre-makeover and ethnic. well knew that “Karzai is not the presi- Karzai One of his dent of Afghanistan, B-52 is president.” than Good Fashion Sense,” trademarks is Uexpress.com, February 1, 2002. to layer Nehru-collar shirts, waist- Endnotes: 4. “Hamid Karzai: Shrewd Statesman,” 1. See “Picture Gallery: Afghanistan’s ‘Mr. BBC News, June 14, 2002. coat and jacket. He is also well Chic’,” BBC News, January 17, 2002. known for sporting Astrakhan 2. “Aghan’s Karzai Aims to be More than a Source: “Hat Trick: Selling Brand hats.”1 ‘Fashion Plate’,” Reuters, Jan. 21, 2002. Karzai,” March 10, 2006. By January 2002, the press was 3. “Karzai’s Colorful Clothes Show More www.cursor.org/stories/emptyspace3.html September 2006 (Issue # 59) Press for Conversion! 21 2004 - Presidential Election Structural Problems with the Election Human Rights Watch (HRW) uncov- HRW, as well as other observ- voting will be the marking of voters’ ered significant shortcomings in the ers and journalists, have found that in hands with indelible ink when they vote. registration and election administra- most provinces it is easy to find men There may be ways around this safe- tion process, as well as with interna- and women who admit they have regis- guard as well–from bribing officials to tional monitoring efforts. tered more than once. allow voters with marked hands to vote UNAMA, JEMB and AIHRC again to various methods allegedly Registration had numerous complaints of people available to remove the ink from vot- T he registration of voters in Af- registering multiple times believing ers’ hands. [Editor’s note: See pp. 27, ghanistan is being widely they could sell their cards to political 28, 29 and 37 for information about “in- touted as a success, as up to 11 parties, who would then presumably delible” ink that was easily washed off.] million people are expected to register photocopy them for nominating candi- by election day, including refugees in dates (potential presidential candidates Monitoring and Election Iran and Pakistan. But overall numbers need 10,000 photocopied voter cards; Administration are almost certainly inaccurate. As the parliamentary candidates need 500). The presidential election is going for- Afghanistan Research and Evaluation The Afghan government has ward with inadequate international elec- Unit noted in a recent report, the number publicly underplayed the problem. tion monitoring and staffing for polling of registered voters in several prov- When asked about multiple registration sites. The election is certain to be af- inces is significantly larger than the es- at a press conference with U.S. Secre- fected by a serious shortfall in staffing timated population of known eligible tary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in for the approximately 5,000 polling voters.1 Kabul on August 11, 2004, Karzai said: sites. It was originally estimated that While population estimates in “As a matter of fact, it doesn’t bother 125,000 staff would need to be hired. Afghanistan are a source of contro- me. If Afghans have two registration As of a month before the elections, al- versy, the phenomenon of over-regis- cards and if they would like to vote most 100,000 poll workers still had to twice, be hired and trained–an essentially im- “If Afghans have two well, possible task. registration cards and if w e l - One senior international NGO come. official working on election monitoring they would like to vote This is issues told HRW in late August: twice, well, welcome. an exer- “We are 100,000 staff short. The elec- This is an exercise in cise in tions are only six weeks away and democracy. Let them democ- there is no polling manual. It is a poor exercise it twice.... If racy. Let process. You need knowledgeable them ex- officials in the polling stations. If somebody gives me three ercise it they get a challenge, will they have cards, I will take it and twice. the knowledge and authority to re- will go and vote... We are But it solve it? Lots of people are complain- beginning an exercise. will not ing that their voter registration cards We cannot be perfect.” have an were taken from them…. 10 million impact voters registered, how many will tration has occurred in several differ- on the elections. If somebody gives show up? 8 million, 4 million? We ent areas in Afghanistan and exists me three cards, I will take it and will don’t know.... Are these elections re- even when measured against the high- go and vote. But my choice in vot- ally legitimate?”3 est population estimates for those ar- ing will be the same. We are begin- By late September, hiring had eas. No data is yet available to estimate ning an exercise. We cannot be per- accelerated, but election officials admit- the number of multiple registered vot- fect.” ted to HRW that it was likely that sig- ers, but many officials in UN Assist- At the end of the same press nificantly fewer staff would be hired ance Mission in Afghanistan conference, he correctly noted that than the planned 125,000.4 (UNAMA), the Joint Electoral Manage- voters’ hands would be marked with an There are certain to be serious ment Body (JEMB), the Afghanistan indelible ink when they voted, and that problems at all polling sites that are Independent Human Rights Commis- persons with ink on their hands would understaffed or have poorly-trained sion (AIHRC), and Afghan and inter- not be allowed to vote again. staff. The staffing problem is especially national NGOs told HRW that they be- It is not clear how much multi- acute with women. Each polling site is lieve the overall number of registered ple voting may occur on election day. supposed to have separate stations for voters is vastly inflated. Several elec- Voter registration is one safeguard women, staffed by female poll workers. tion officials in Kabul told HRW that against voter fraud, and the voting card In September, the JEMB gave up on the the number of Afghans expected to vote one of the tools. But now the only re- goal of recruiting the adequate num- could be as low as 5 to 7 million.2 maining safeguard left against multiple bers of female staff (half of whom must 22 Press for Conversion! (Issue # 59) September 2006 Presidential Election - 2004 be literate under election laws), and are dation, various NGO observers, and now training and appointing elderly representatives sent by various foreign The Great men to serve at some of the voting sites embassies in Kabul. Afghan observers for women, on the theory that sensi- from registered political parties will also Gamble tivities about women mingling with monitor polling sites. A coalition of Af- By Christina Bennett, Shawna men, in more conservative areas, will ghanistan-based NGOs are also at- Wakefield and Andrew Wilder, Af- thereby be assuaged. Nevertheless, tempting to organize and train hundreds ghanistan Research and Evaluation given those same sensitivities, the of domestic poll-watchers. In any case, Unit. shortfall in female staff could seriously the observers can only cover about 10 J undermine women’s ability to exercise to 20% of the approximately 5,000 poll- ust as elections have the potential their right to vote and participate ing sites and 25,000 polling stations. to be a catalyst for positive equally in the election. The majority of stations will not be ob- change, there is also significant Monitoring efforts are also served by independent monitors–Af- risk that if held before key conditions anemic. UNAMA and AIHRC launched ghan or international. Thus, the overall are in place, they will actually do more a project for “verification of political international election-monitoring effort harm than good. There is a real danger rights” and will monitor the political will be severely shorthanded, and none that the enormous, human and finan- process through the October 9 election of the monitoring teams will be able to cial resources spent on getting a presi- and next year’s parliamentary elections. make a comprehensive evaluation. dent elected will be at the expense of This project is not comprehensive, it A senior JEMB official said: the more important task of reforming involves less than one hundred staff. “There will be major flaws in the and strengthening state institutions. The Organization for Security process, and everyone knows it. The In the absence of effective meas- and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), context of this election means that if ures to disarm local militia commanders which was asked by the Kabul govern- a real up-to-snuff election observ- and regional warlords throughout the ment to help monitor the elections, de- ing mission were...monitor, this elec- country, as well as to tackle the narcot- cided in late July that it could not send tion would be seen as flawed.”6 ics trade, it seems likely that elections an observation team. An OSCE Explora- The implications of this lack of will be won by candidates with the most tory Mission Report by the Office for monitoring are clear: In the absence of power to intimidate or buy voters. Democratic Institutions and Human a proper evaluation, the election may It will indeed be a cruel irony for Rights (ODIHR) concluded that the be seen–erroneously–as a success. No Afghans if their first experience of cast- “present conditions...are signifi- election in a country in transition, with ing a ballot in national elections is be- cantly below the minimum regarded such an international profile and so ing forced to vote for those who have by OSCE/ODIHR as necessary for much international involvement–such been responsible for so much of their credible election observation.” as in Cambodia, El Salvador, South Af- misery during the past two decades. Remarkably, the report recom- rica–has ever had such an anemic moni- There are real risks in allowing mended that the OSCE should avoid toring effort. foreign agendas to become the driving observing the election because it was force pushing for elections within a likely that the monitoring process Endnotes timeframe that may jeopardise Afghani- would uncover substantial flaws and 1. Afghanistan Research and Evaluation stan’s future. At present, the U.S. is one “challenge public and international con- Unit, “Free, Fair or Flawed: Challenges of the strongest advocates (and the fidence in the process.” In essence, the for Legitimate Elections in Afghanistan,” September 2004. largest donor) for the 2004 elections. OSCE concluded in advance that it 2. HRW interviews with UNAMA and There is a widely-held percep- would be critical of the process and NGO observation team officials, Kabul, tion that this enthusiasm for the elec- therefore decided not to send a moni- September 22 and 23, 2004. tion is a result of the Bush administra- toring team because the criticism might 3. HRW interview with D.L., Aug. 26, tion’s need for a foreign policy and not be “fair, helpful or constructive.”5 2004. ”war-on-terror” success ahead of the The European Union also de- 4. HRW interview with JEMB officials, U.S. presidential elections in Novem- cided against sending monitors for the Kabul, September 21 and 22, 2004. ber 2004, particularly as Iraq appears to elections, although it will, like the OSCE, 5. Report of the OSCE/ODIHR Explora- be less of a success by the day. send a smaller representative team to tory Mission to Afghanistan, July 21, 2004, on file with Human Rights Watch. Afghan elections could well le- observe a few posts in urban areas, and 6. HRW interview with senior JEMB offi- gitimise the very individuals deemed to not make a comprehensive report. cial, Kabul. be the most illegitimate by the majority There is a lack of will and lead- of Afghans. ership by the JEMB, UNAMA and among U.S. and international actors in Source: “The Rule of the Gun: Human Rights Abuses and Political Repression Source: “Afghan Elections: The Great Kabul, to take the lead on organizing a in the Run-up to Afghanistan’s Presi- Gamble,” Briefing Paper of the Afghani- monitoring and observation effort. In dential Election,” HRW Briefing Paper, stan Research and Evaluation Unit, October, the final monitoring effort will September 2004. November 2003. consist of a patchwork of international w w w. h r w. o r g / b a c k g r o u n d e r / a s i a / www.areu.org.af/publications/areu% observers sponsored by the Asia Foun- 20elections%20brief.pdf afghanistan0904/afghanistan0904.pdf September 2006 (Issue # 59) Press for Conversion! 23 2004 - Presidential Election Recipe for Electoral Fraud By Andrew Reynolds and Andrew leaves considerable scope for the ma- Wilder, Afghanistan Research and nipulation of ballots and the intimida- Evaluation Unit. tion of voters. Doubts about the Afghan elec- L ocal police and particularly their toral process meeting international “deputised” substitutes (who standards have created a dilemma for are often militia or former militia international organisations that usually members), are open to both manipulat- send substantial electoral monitoring ing the vote and themselves being ma- missions to observe and judge the qual- nipulated by powerful local or regional ity of elections. For example, the Or- commanders–some of whom are presi- ganisation for Security and Coopera- dential candidates. tion in Europe (OSCE), in the July 2004 In many areas, it is likely that Mission Report of its Office for Demo- hastily-recruited polling staff from lo- cratic Institutions and Human Rights, cal villages will be guarded by local po- stated its concern that the election proc- lice and observed by local monitors (if ess might be so flawed that there are any monitors at all), all under “scrutiny of the election could chal- Warlord Abdul Rashid the watchful eye of the local warlord. lenge public and international con- Dostum, Minister of De- This is a recipe for electoral fraud. fidence in the process, in the event At this late date, the security that observation identifies substan- fense, voting for himself in plan for protecting marked ballots and tial failings, as conditions described the presidential elections. moving them from polling stations to in the report could envisage.” regional counting centres remains un- The report goes on to note that on the elections could be that it would clear. The safe and secure movement “election observation can only lend leave western governments and insti- of marked ballots, and stringent secu- credibility to an election process if tutions in the awkward position of hav- rity measures during the counting of indeed the process is a credible one.” ing to question the credibility of the the ballots, must be made a top priority. Based on this concern, the electoral process they have pushed, In the lead up to presidential OSCE will not send a “monitoring and and potentially undermine the victory elections, the UN Assistance Mission observation” team, but a small “sup- of the candidate they would like to see to Afghanistan was outspoken on the port team” of between 35-45 individu- win. The apparent lack of interest and need for disarmament, demobilisation als. Similarly, the European Union will importance being given to monitoring and reintegration of combatants as a send a “Democracy and Electoral Sup- the elections, however, risks sending a precondition for free and fair elections. port Mission” consisting of 25 individu- message that the international commu- While some progress was made, much als. There will also be 36 observers from nity is not actually interested in the qual- more remains to be done. the Southeast Asia-based Asian Net- ity of the process, only having an end work for Free Elections supported by result. This could prove to be tragically Election Observation The Asia Foundation. Recently, the UN short-sighted if it ends up detracting and Monitoring put out a call requesting volunteers to from the long-term credibility of elec- An important way to minimise the worst assist in elections monitoring across the toral politics in Afghanistan. incidents of election fraud and intimi- country, but it is unlikely that at this The Free and Fair Elections dation, not to mention being able to late stage many internationals will be Foundation of Afghanistan initially ascertain the legitimacy of the result, is able to be engaged. This means that planned to observe 60% of polling sta- to flood a post-conflict election with the total international observer pres- tions, but with limited resources and international and domestic observers ence for the presidential elections will capacity it now estimates it will be able for the campaign period, vote and be less than 150. to observe only 12%. These will only count. This strategy was used in Cam- The position of international be in Kabul city and Kabul province, bodia, South Africa, East Timor, Haiti, observer missions, all of whom have as well as in the 33 other provincial capi- Bosnia, Mozambique and Namibia, and made clear that they will not be issuing tals. Most of Afghanistan’s approxi- for many other post-conflict elections. public statements on the quality of the mately 400 districts will therefore have Because of security considera- election process or the legitimacy of the no independent monitors. tions, and more dubious issues of po- final results, amounts to nothing less Source: “Free, Fair or Flawed: Chal- litical will, the Afgan presidential elec- than a damning vote of no confidence lenges for Legitimate Elections in Af- tions will not be adequately observed in the electoral process. All have ap- ghanistan,” Briefing Paper Series, Af- by independent groups. The lack of parently adopted the position that if ghanistan Research and Evaluation credible and comprehensive observa- you can’t say anything nice, don’t say Unit, September 2004. tion is a serious threat to a legitimate anything at all. Of course, an un-stated www.reliefweb.int/library/documents/ electoral process in Afghanistan. It reason for not making a pronouncement 2004/aeru-afg-13sep.pdf 24 Press for Conversion! (Issue # 59) September 2006 Presidential Election - 2004 a population of about 28 million have The Motions of Democracy been registered to vote. Afghanistan watchers say that more than 30% of the electorate registered their names many The only woman can- times. The names of children also found didate in the presi- their way onto the list. In the areas un- dential elections was der the influence of the Taliban such as Dr. Masooda Jalal, a Zabul province, registration was paediatrician. around 55%. Only half the Afghan population She refused to cast is of voting age. Many of the voting her vote saying that the cards were issued just before the elec- election was massively tion, stoking suspicions about the elec- rigged and that people toral process. When it was pointed out could “vote ten times.” to Karzai that many people were regis- tering their names more than once, he In December 2004, said it reflected the growing interest in she was appointed the electoral process. Minister of Women’s Both Karzai and Khalilzad, Affairs. known as the American “Viceroy in Kabul,” were employees of Unocal, the American energy giant. Both are also By John Cherian Karzai made a mockery of the election known to have strong links with U.S. as it “denied a level playing field” for intelligence agencies. Khalilzad is a F rom all available indications, the all the candidates. naturalised first-generation American of 2004 presidential election in Af- Another candidate [Abdul Latif Afghan origin. Until September 2002, ghanistan was deeply flawed, Pedram] told the media that October 9, the Bush administration was seriously though U.S. President George W. Bush 2004, was “a very black day” and said negotiating with the Taliban for a gas claims it as one of his more notable for- it marked “the occupation of Afghani- pipeline through Afghanistan. Unocal eign policy successes. stan by America through election.” was keen on a pipeline from Turkmen- The only woman candidate run- Many observers believe that the istan to Pakistan, through Afghanistan. ning for the election, Masooda Jalal, voters’ list itself was flawed. A re- Speaking to Indian journalists in Kabul refused to cast her vote saying that the searcher on Afghanistan working for in October 2004, Khalilzad talked about election was massively rigged. She said Human Rights Watch (HRW) said there the pipeline, predicting that stability that the ink could be rubbed off peo- was “widespread/multiple fraudulent was around the corner in Afghanistan ple’s hands in a minute and that people registration so the numbers are highly and so India should once again start could “vote ten times.” She said that unreliable.” HRW finds it impossible to giving serious thought to the trans-Af- the Bush administration’s support for believe that 10.5 million Afghans out of ghan pipeline from Turkmenistan. Khalilzad is widely perceived as the “eminence grise” behind Karzai. He Uzbek presidential is credited with persuading Burha- candidate Abdul Satar nuddin Rabbani, a leading light in the Sirat, a former aide to Northern Alliance, to switch to Karzai’s Afghanistan’s last king camp. One of Rabbani’s sons has been Zahir Shah, said: assured of a senior position in the new Karzai dispensation. Both were likely “Today’s election is not to be accommodated in senior posi- a legitimate election. tions. It should be stopped UN-approved “poll facilitators” from the Organisation for Security and and we don’t recognize Co-operation in Europe have conceded the results.... This vote that there were shortcomings in the elec- is a fraud and any tion but said that nullifying the results government formed would amount to a great injustice to from it is illegitimate.” the people of Afghanistan. Source: Paul Haven, “Afghan Source: Frontline (India), October 23 - Opposition Alleges Election November 5, 2004. Fraud,” AP, October 9, 2004. www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl2122/stories/ 20041105001405300.htm September 2006 (Issue # 59) Press for Conversion! 25 2004 - Presidential Election Postcard From Kabul By Christian Parenti lots, still others ran out of ballots or space in ballot boxes. On top of that, D espite a large voter turnout in there were numerous allegations of in- Kabul and other major cities, timidation. One presidential candidate the Afghan presidential elec- claimed his observers saw the police in tion has been a farce. Instead of Taliban Kabul telling people to vote for Karzai. violence, the balloting was besieged by By noon most of Karzai’s oppo- a wave of fraud and technical errors. nents, or their deputies, had gathered All of Karzai’s opponents denounced at the home of one candidate, Satar the vote as illegitimate, triggering a lo- Sirat. A crush of journalists soon de- cal and perhaps international credibil- scended. In came the UN and EU repre- ity crisis for the U.S.-appointed Presi- sentatives. The U.S. Ambassador was “We have all sworn not to dent Hamid Karzai and the international said to be on his way, but cancelled. join Karzai’s cabinet. Just occupation of Afghanistan. When candidates emerged after hours Real trouble began at dawn on in seclusion, Sirat addressed the throng let him try and govern,” October 9, 2004, when voters found that of reporters. He denounced the elec- said presidential candidate the indelible ink used to mark their tions as a fraud and reeled off a list of and warlord, Ahmad Shah thumbs and prevent repeat voting was irregularities. “This is not a legitimate Ahmadzai, a former prime washing off. This, combined with the election. We call for a boycott of the minister of Afghanistan proliferation of fake voting cards, meant election.... Karzai should resign.” that many people were able to cast Other candidates added their (1995-1996) during the votes multiple times. own comments. “We should postpone fundamentalist regime. sanctum of the classy, but slightly run- down, presidential palace, we met Karzai. The exchange that followed was at times surreal and sadly comical. “The commission will look into all of these problems but I am sure the vote was free,” said the cloak-draped Karzai after a few jokes and greetings. “Who is more important, these 15 candidates, or the millions of people who turned out today to vote?” Karzai went on to say: “Both myself and all these 15 candi- dates should respect our people, be- cause in the dust, snow and rain, they waited for hours...to vote.” “I voted three times,” said an Afghan soldier guarding At several points, Karzai, sounding increasingly defensive, in- the presidential palace. “But I can’t tell you who voked the image of “a poor hungry, cold I voted for, it’s a secret,” he added with a straight face. Afghan woman waiting to vote. She “I voted three times,” said an and vote again after Ramadan,” said cannot be intimidated.” Afghan soldier guarding the presiden- Ahmad Shah Ahmadzai. “We have all When pressed with specific ex- tial palace. “But I can’t tell you who I sworn not to join Karzai’s cabinet. Just amples of allegations that his campaign voted for, it’s a secret,” he added with a let him try and govern,” threatened the used fraud and intimidation, the presi- straight face. old mujahideen veteran. dent grew visibly irritated: “I saw a man vote six times, I A serious crisis had emerged. “What report? Human Rights swear,” said a female election observer Despite the candidates’ lunch- Watch? They do not understand at a poll across town. A few Western time call for a boycott, the UN decided Afghan culture. Tribal culture, it is journalists watched as their drivers to carry on with the vote. Then, in the very democratic. Tribal elders can- voted three and four times. late afternoon, Karzai held a restricted, not be intimidated. They do not When news of the vanishing ink invitation-only press conference. Some know what is really going on.” spread, some polls closed, then reo- of us uninvited journalists talked our Source: The Nation, October 9, 2004. pened. Other polls ran out of ballots, way in, through layer upon layer of www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl2122/stories/ others had no pens for marking the bal- DynCorp security guards. In the inner 20041105001405300.htm 26 Press for Conversion! (Issue # 59) September 2006 Presidential Election - 2004 Vote Rigging and Fraud Ensured Karzai’s Victory By Khalid Bhatti them. Money was provided to differ- main candidates used their force in their ent tribal chiefs and elders. Many of strongholds. Almost two million votes H amid Karzai won the first presi- them said that they received US$10,000 were falsely registered. These were used dential election in Afghani- to US$80,000 to buy votes for Karzai. to show a high turnout. Many people stan, with American help, Khalilzad also used his influ- confessed that they had cast more than money and rigging. ence to ensure that some Pashtun can- one vote. In Paktia, 100 voters were in- People had no choice in this didates withdrew from the contest. He terviewed by one Pakistani TV reporter. election, except to choose a ‘lesser promised to give important positions Sixty-five confessed that they cast be- evil.’ All the candidates represent one to many warlords in the future govern- tween two and five votes. This was the or another section of the elite. All the ment if they supported Karzai. It was case in many areas. A more realistic es- candidates were part of the U.S. hand- Khalilzad who persuaded all the candi- timate of the turnout was given at picked, interim government. Most are dates to accept the results of the elec- around 58% – among Afghan refugees warlords and ex-guerrilla leaders tion and to end their boycott. in Iran, 40%. Only 32% of women reg- istered. And in many areas they were not allowed to vote by local fanatic groups and tribal elders. It is not possi- ble to get a high turnout without fraud, multiple voting and rigging. Karzai promised a better life if he was elected. He also warned people that if he lost, reconstruction would end, with the so-called ‘international com- munity’ would not give any more money. Many who voted for him be- lieved that. The reality is quite differ- ent. Karzai has failed to solve any of ...and, thanks to a little help from his friends... the fundamental problems faced by the Afghan masses. Education, health, em- Karzai won the presidential election in Afghanistan, ployment, electricity, clean drinking thanks to substantial U.S. help, financing and—of course— water, land irrigation and a free and se- the widespread vote rigging and fraud also helped. cure life are still just a dream, after three years of American rule. Zalmay Khalilzad Vote Rigging and Fraud The previous record of Karzai Afghan-born American ambassador in The allegations of vote rigging, fraud has shown that he is just a puppet of Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, played and irregularities were made by all the U.S. imperialism. He has no interest in the most important role in Karzai’s vic- defeated candidates. The main issue solving the problems of the people. His tory. In fact, he was in charge of the was the use of ‘indelible ink’ on the vot- rule is completely dependent on U.S. campaign and holds the real power. Ac- ers’ thumbs. It could be washed off! and NATO forces. cording to leading Pakistani newspa- That provided the opportunity for many Source: “Democracy in Afghanistan,” pers, like Dawn and the Daily Times, to cast more than one vote. Fake regis- Socialism Today (London, England), the U.S. spent US$195 million to get tration was also reported. December 2004-Jan. 2005. Karzai elected. This money was paid to There is no doubt that all the www.socialismtoday.org/88 different warlords and local command- ers to secure their support. Burha- Canada had to Ensure Election nuddin Rabbani’s party, Jamiat-i-Islami, got US$1 million. Abdul Rasool “met International Standards” Sayyaf’s party, Ittehad-e-Islami, got “When we were pursuing the Bonn US$1.3 million. One local commander agenda....we had to... ensure that the from Jalal Abad said that he got interim President Karzai, competed in an US$30,000 to buy votes for Karzai. Afghan refugee camps in Paki- election that met international standards, stan witnessed the same tactics. In one which he obviously did with great gusto camp near Peshawar, US$10 were given and great success.” for each vote. Karzai hired 700 people in Pakistan to run his campaign. Each Chris Alexander, Canada’s Ambassador to Afghanistan (2003-05) of them was paid US$100 per day and Source: Canada’s Role in Afghanistan, August 2005. www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/ 150 luxury jeeps were also given to cip-pic/current_discussions/afghanistanbackground-en.asp September 2006 (Issue # 59) Press for Conversion! 27 2004 - Presidential Election Ballots in Battlefields By Farooq Sulehria torn apart in the last quarter century. the Los Angeles Times, Khalilzad met The National Assembly of Afghanistan, so many candidates and potential can- H amid Karzai won the election. a coalition of over 100 nationalist, secu- didates to “persuade” them to with- That was hardly a surprise. lar political groups, lent support to draw, that warlords from the Northern None of Karzai’s 14 rivals, as Karzai, despite all their criticism of him, Alliance met to discuss Khalilzad’s was expected, posed any serious chal- in order to block a complete Northern “arm-twisting.” lenge. The main challenger and runner Alliance victory. Khalilzad began with friendly up, warlord Younis Qanooni, a North- The Afghan left, on the other offers of road-building or ministerial ern Alliance leader and ethnic Tajik, hand, was too weak to form a united posts, but if that didn’t work, he’d turn could hardly secure 16%, while Hazara front and present a candidate. Rem- to more “muscular” measures. “He told warlord Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq and nants of the old Peoples Democratic me to drop out of the elections,” said notorious Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Party of Afghanistan and the Maoist presidential contender Mohammed Dostum got 11% and 10%, respectively. Afghan Liberation Organization (ALO) Mohaqiq, “it was like a request.” But Karzai was initially recruited by are in the process of re-organizing. when Mohaqiq’s demands for a gover- Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence Most of Afghan’s left gave critical sup- norship or cabinet position weren’t met, (ISI) for the Afghan National Liberation port to Karzai. Said ALO’s Tahir Khan: he insisted on running. Khalilzad “left, Front (ANLF) in 1982. The ANLF was a “None of the candidates were desir- and then called my most loyal men, and CIA-ISI project to co-ordinate ‘jihad’ able for us, but since the people’s the most educated people in my party activities. Son of a Kandahar-based struggle is centered against funda- and told them to make me–or request Karzai tribe, Karzai since has been in mentalism, and most people were me–to resign,” Mohaqiq said. the service of the CIA. afraid that once again a fundamen- “It’s not only me. They have been Karzai even lent help to the talist person might come to power, doing the same thing with all candi- Taliban, supplying it with arms when it and therefore preferred Karzai dates. That is why all people think seized control of Kabul [in 1996]. The among all other candidates. Consid- that not only is Khalilzad like this, U.S. imposed him as an interim presi- ering the lack of an independent and but the whole U.S. government is dent in violation of the loya jirga. Be- democratic candidate and preferring the same. They all want Karzai–and ing a U.S. choice and an old CIA agent, the worse than the worst, the ALO this election is just a show.” he was quite unpopular, because the also favored Karzai.” Despite Khalilzad’s, efforts, however, U.S. is hated in Afghanistan, as in the Arif Afghani, leader of the Af- only two candidates withdrew. rest of the Muslim world. The Afghan ghan Solidarity Party, a component of The next problem for Khalilzad people want to see U.S. troops leave as the National Assembly of Afghanistan, and Karzai was that all fourteen of soon as possible. But by voting for said “It is an historic tragedy that the Karzai’s rivals declared a boycott of the Karzai, Afghans [believed they were] left had to lend support to Karzai.” election. This would have cast a voting against warlords of all hues. Behind the scenes, the U.S. shadow over these first-ever Afghan Karzai was seen as a lesser evil. At least Ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, may presidential elections. However, he had not been running a militia and have been the busiest person in Af- Khalilzad managed to woo all candi- committing atrocities, looting and plun- ghanistan during the election cam- dates back into the electoral arena. dering like the other candidates. paign. A former consultant to the U.S. The basis for the boycott was In addition, many voted for oil firm Unocal, Khalilzad first tried to the charge of election rigging. These Karzai in the hope of peace. persuade Karzai’s electoral rivals to charges were not baseless, but candi- But, above all, it was a vote to withdraw from the race. According to dates denouncing such fraud were also reject warlordism. Although the run- ners-up, all notorious warlords, also U.S. War Ambassador, managed to garner a big chunk of votes, Zalmay Khalilzad: their votes remained limited to their Afghanistan (2003-05) fiefdoms. Guns, money and ethnicity, Iraq (2005-present) all played a role in securing their votes. The landslide for Karzai not only showed Afghani frustration with warlordism, it was also a question of lacking any alternative. The 25-year-long civil war has impoverished and disempowered the Afghan masses and civil society. The tribal structure, political parties, trade unions, student unions–in short every component of civil society–has been 28 Press for Conversion! (Issue # 59) September 2006 Presidential Election - 2004 on warlords as a transitional phase in which he needs to depend on them until he is strong. This was a paradox Af- ghan voters had to face. They voted for Karzai to reject warlordism, despite Karzai’s dependence on warlords. “On winning elections, Karzai will get rid of Northern Alliance,” hoped Afghan Solidarity Party leader Arif Afghani, trying to clarify this paradox. Will Karzai be able to use the legitimacy obtained from his electoral victory to control the all-powerful warlords? That’s close to impossible. The war- lords command militias comprising 40,000 to 60,000 men. In 2004, the com- Ahmad Zia Massoud Karim Khalili bined strength of the Afghan police and Afghan National Army (ANA) did not The policy of Karzai’s regime is that of appeasement and match the militias’ strength in either accommodation to warlords. In fact, Karzai and his U.S. men or material. Karzai has the backing masters depend on warlords to run the government. One of of around 18,000 U.S.-led troops and his two vice presidents, Karim Khalili, is an ethnic Hazara 8,000 NATO-led troops. By contrast, Karzai’s fledgling army has 14,000 warlord. The other, Ahmed Zia Massoud, is the brother of troops. No reconstruction is possible revered Northern Alliance warlord, Ahmad Shah Massoud. unless the ANA and the Afghan police disarm the warlord’s militias. doing the same thing. All the powerful me if Afghans have two registration But the policy of the U.S./Karzai warlords either bought votes or coerced cards and if they like to vote twice, regime has been that of appeasement people in their fiefdoms to vote for well welcome.... This is an exercise and accommodation. Not only have them. Sahar Saba, a leading member of in democracy and let them exercise warlords been accommodated, an at- the Revolutionary Afghan Women’s it twice.” tempt has been made to woo sections Association, said: And many voters did indeed “exercise” of the Taliban. With one group of war- “Qanooni’s men were standing out- democracy in this way, in some cases, lords on his side, Karzai will not be able side polling stations for immigrants half a dozen times on election day. to disarm another group of warlords. in Pakistan with dollars in their hands Many Afghans, particularly Karzai’s decision to remove to buy votes.” men, registered many times. The rumor Ismail Khan as governor of Herat prov- Prior to the elections, UN elec- that one could sell a voting card for a ince, just weeks before election, won tion officials scrambled to explain why hundred U.S. dollars drove poor Af- Karzai widespread support. It also de- more than 9.9 million voter cards had ghans to make some quick bucks. And, veloped an illusion among Afghans that been issued, given that they had origi- as a result, 5.63 million male voters reg- Karzai would disarm the warlords as nally estimated only 9.8 million voters. istered, although the number of eligi- soon as he strengthens his grip on One example of gross disparity oc- ble male voters was only 5.12 million. power. It remains to be seen whether curred in the province of Panjshir, This means there were at least half a Ismail Khan’s removal was merely an where more than 124,000 voting cards million fake male voters. election stunt or whether Karzai is seri- were issued although the original voter The future of Afghan democ- ous about disarming warlords.* Is estimate was only 49,573. racy depends, above all, like everything Karzai’s Washington master serious The explanation was simple: the else in this war-torn country, on the about democratizing Afghanistan? Or, voters’ lists were fake. “We know that security situation. Karzai must expand was this a one-time show for a Bush multiple registration has happened,” an undersized army and police force “foreign policy” success on the eve of UN spokesperson Manoel de Almeida and persuade 40,000 militiamen to give the U.S. presidential election? e Silva confessed. up their weapons in a bid to dilute the Afghan President Hamid Karzai power of warlords. But he himself and * Editor’s note: Karzai’s removal of acknowledged that between 1,000 and his U.S. masters depend on warlords to warlord Ismail Khan as Herat governor, 100,000 people had more than one vot- run the government. was indeed an election charade to de- ing card. But instead of being apolo- One of his two vice presidents, ceive the electorate. Once elected, getic for this grave mishandling, he jus- Karim Khalili, is a warlord from the Karzai made Khan the minister respon- tified it. At a Kabul press conference Hazara minority. The other, Ahmed Zia sible for water and energy. with U.S. Secretary of Defence Donald Massoud, is the brother of revered Source: ZNet, October 31, 2004. Rumsfeld beside him, Karzai said: Northern Alliance warlord Ahmad Shah www.zmag.org/content/print_article.cfm? “As a matter of fact, it doesn’t bother Massoud. Afghans see his dependence itemID=6531%20§ionID=49 September 2006 (Issue # 59) Press for Conversion! 29 2004 - Presidential Election Afghan Elections: U.S. Solution to a U.S. Problem By Jim Ingalls and Sonali Kolhatkar, co- directors of Afghan Women’s Mission. J . Alexander Thier, a former legal ad- viser to Afghanistan’s Constitu- tional and Judicial Reform Commis- sions, is one of the few commentators who has dared to utter the simple fact that elections do not equal democracy: “Elections themselves are only a small part of democracy.... Effective Photo: Christopher Anderson government service, protection of in- dividual rights, accountability - these are the true fruits of democ- racy. Holding elections without the rule of law can undermine democ- racy by sparking violence, sowing cynicism and allowing undemocratic forces to become entrenched.... [Elections are merely] the end prod- Women line up to vote during the presidential elections. uct of a successful democracy.” Regardless of who wins the elec- population but only 43% of registered nesty International (AI) reveal that tions and by what means, civil society voters. Additionally, sharp differences sexual violence has surged since the in Afghanistan is anything but demo- in literacy between men and women put fall of the Taliban, and there has been a cratic. Foreign influence, particularly women at a huge disadvantage. Only sharp rise in incidents of women’s self- U.S. influence, has ensured that inse- 10% of Afghan women can read and immolation in western Afghanistan. AI curity, warlordism and a severely cur- write. While school attendance of girls also documented an escalation in the tailed media are entrenched features of has increased to about 50% nation- number of girls and young women ab- the political landscape. wide, it is too early to affect women vot- ducted and forced into marriage, with ers. Furthermore, collusion from the state. (Those who On International Women’s under Karzai’s resist are often imprisoned.) Day 2004, Hamid Karzai presidency, mar- U.S. policy has empowered ex- implored men to allow their ried women were treme fundamentalists who have further wives and sisters to register banned from at- extended women’s oppression in a tra- tending schools ditionally ultra-conservative society. In to vote, assuring them, in late 2003. a public opinion survey conducted in “later, you can control who W h i l e Afghanistan in July 2004 by the Asia she votes for, but please, let much mileage Foundation, 72% of respondents said her go [to register].” was squeezed that men should advise women on their out of the notion voting choices and 87% of all Afghans Women as Pawns in Election that the U.S. “liberated” Afghan women, interviewed said women would need The Bush administration constantly only US$112,500 out of US$650 million their husband’s permission to vote. calls attention to the fact that 4 million of U.S. financial aid sent to Afghani- On International Women’s Day of those who registered to vote in Af- stan in 2002 was actually given to wom- 2004, Hamid Karzai only encouraged ghanistan were women. Just as the “lib- en’s organizations. (That’s one dollar such attitudes. He implored men to al- eration” of Afghan women was used to out of every US$5,000.) justify the bombing of Afghanistan In 2003, according to When presidential can- three years ago, women’s participation Ritu Sharma, Executive didate Abdul Latif in U.S. imposed election is again used Director of the Wom- to justify the U.S. approach. While the en’s Edge Coalition, Pedram, went so far as administration deals in broad statistics that amount was re- to suggest that polygamy to paint a rosy picture, a closer look duced to US$90,000. was unfair to women, he reveals that the Afghan political envi- M e a n w h i l e , was barred from the ronment, controlled by U.S.-backed women have increas- election and investigated warlords and a U.S.-backed president, ingly been the targets remains extremely hostile to women. of violence. New stud- for “blasphemy” by the Women comprise 60% of the ies by groups like Am- Afghan Justice Ministry. 30 Press for Conversion! (Issue # 59) September 2006 Presidential Election - 2004 low their wives and sisters to register “Afghanistan is now at a stage where to vote, assuring them, “later, you can control who she votes for, but please, democracy has taken root and is paying let her go [to register].” Most of the dividends, in particular in terms of candidates running against Karzai have building the confidence and pride of mentioned womens rights in some form Afghans in their country. Both the or another as part of their campaign plat- adoption of a constitution and the forms. While this is obligatory in post- Taliban Afghanistan, it is little more presidential election last October are than lip service. Latif Pedram, a candi- watersheds in Afghanistan’s transition.” date who went slightly further than oth- Source: “Statement to the UN Security Council on ers by suggesting that polygamy was Afghanistan,” August 23, 2005. unfair to women, was barred from the www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/canada_un/new_york/statements/ election and investigated by the Af- unsc_statements-en.asp?id=5941&content_type=2 ghan Justice Ministry for “blasphemy.” Just like the Afghan constitu- Allan Rock, Canada’s Ambassador to the UN (2003-2006) tion signed earlier this year, which gives concern, followed by reconstruction afraid of disobeying them.” equal rights to women on paper, this and economic development.” The intimidation tactics of Abdul election will probably have little bear- To 65% of respondents, “warlords and Dostum and others are no secret. ing on the reality of Afghan women’s local commanders are the main sources But the wider context of the lives. Denied an education and of instability in the country.” warlords’ power is rarely mentioned. As underrepresented in voter rolls, with lit- While most women may need part of Bush’s “War on Terror,” the U.S. tle control over the patriarchal justice permission from their husbands to vote, made deals with Northern Alliance war- system and sexist family attitudes, their choices will be extremely limited, lords in his crusade against the Taliban. women are once more simply pawns since most Afghans are being intimi- Warlords were appointed to high-level within the U.S.-designed, Afghan po- dated by U.S. backed warlords into vot- government posts and allowed to re- litical structure. ing for them. According to Brad Adams, gain regional power. A recent countrywide survey of Asia Director at Human Rights Watch: Afghans by the International Republi- “Many voters in rural areas say the Source: CommonDreams, Oct. 7, 2004. can Institute found that more than: [warlord] militias have already told www.commondreams.org/views04/1007- “60% cited security as their primary 31.htm them how to vote, and that they’re Government Riddled with Drug Ties By Scott Baldauf and Faye Bowers, staff writers, The Chris- tian Science Monitor. T he post-Taliban boom in opium production means that drug money now permeates every stratum of Afghanistan’s society–from farmers cultivating pop- pies to the highest levels of the government, according to senior Afghan and European officials working here. “We are already a narco-state,” says Mohammad Nadery at the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commis- sion, which has studied the growing impunity of former mili- tary commanders and drug dealers working in government: “If the governors...are involved in the drug trade, if a min- warn that this fledgling democracy is being undermined as ister is directly or indirectly getting benefits from drug Afghan officials make decisions based on what’s good for trade, and if a chief of police gets money from drug traf- the drug trade, rather than the electorate. fickers, then how else do you define a narco-state?” Ursula Müller, political counsellor at the German Em- Abdul Karim Brahowie, Afghanistan’s minister of bassy in Washington, has said: “Those guys...in the drug tribal and frontier affairs, says that the government has be- business are in all levels of Afghanistan’s government.” come so full of drug smugglers that cabinet meetings have Many regional warlords and opponents of the Taliban become a farce. “Sometimes the people who complain the are now top officials in the Karzai government. One of the loudest about theft are thieves themselves,” he says. most complicated tasks is to get corrupt officials to turn The UN reports that poppy cultivation increased by away from the drug trade as a source of personal income. two-thirds in 2004 to 323,708 acres. Afghanistan now pro- duces 90% of the world’s opium. Most of it ends up on the Source: The Christian Science Monitor, May 13, 2005. streets of Europe and Russia as heroin. European officials www.csmonitor.com/2005/0513/p01s04-wosc.html September 2006 (Issue # 59) Press for Conversion! 31 2005 - Parliamentary Elections U.S. Exporting Fake Democracy — By Force By Sonali Kolhatkar and Jim Ingalls W arlords, most of whom have past or present U.S. back- ing, still rule much of the countryside and will play a big role in the 2005 elections. A survey by the Human Rights Research and Advocacy UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan Consortium found that most Afghans are fearful that the elections will be used by the “commanders” [i.e., the warlords] to cement their power.1 According to election rules, those commanding private armies are to be disqualified. In July 2005, the Elec- toral Complaints Commission “black- listed”208 candidates with ties to ille- gal armed groups. But by mid-Septem- ber, only 45 low-profile candidates were actually disqualified. Meanwhile, war- A Voter Searches for his Candidate on the Ballot lords like Abdul Rasoul Sayyaf, whose criminal past has been documented by strongmen is a wise policy.” What Will Change? Human Rights Watch, are openly run- Karzai’s government also prom- Many analysts suggest that the Sep- ning for Parliament. So are former ised former Taliban fighters immunity tember 2005, elections will probably re- Taliban officials, like ex-deputy interior from prosecution for war crimes. Under sult in very little change. There will be minister Mullah Khaksar. [Sayyaf won, this U.S.-initiated program, even Mullah 5,800 candidates running for 249 seats but Khaksar did not. The latter was as- Omar, the notorious Taliban chief, in the Wolesi Jirga (House of the Peo- sassinated in January 2006.] would receive immunity if he recants.2 ple), and 34 representatives on provin- U.S.-backed president Hamid Particularly relevant to the par- cial councils. Rules set up by Karzai, Karzai defended the right of warlords liamentary elections, a recent report by with the approval of the U.S., allow po- to run for parliament, in the interests of the Kabul-based Afghanistan Justice litical parties, but don’t allow party af- “national reconciliation.” This was just Project, concludes that filiations to be printed on electoral bal- one in a series of conces- lots. Joanna Nathan of the International sions that Karzai made to Crisis Group predicts that the assem- warlords. In October bly will be a “weak and fractured, pos- 2004, he ran for president Former Taliban sibly even paralyzed body.” Barnett on an ostensibly anti- officials, like Rubin of New York University says that warlord platform, saying, the ex-deputy the elections won’t make much differ- “Private militias are the interior mini- ence because: country’s greatest dan- “Until Afghanistan has a function- ster Mullah ger.” To back up his ing, legal economy and basic insti- rhetoric, Karzai sacked Mohammed tutions, there’s nothing for a parlia- two warlords in his cabi- Khaksar, were ment to do except act as a kind of net and pretended to fire allowed to run in puppet platform for people’s views.” warlord Ismail Khan by the parliamentary In a recent trip to Afghanistan removing him as gover- we interviewed Noorani, editor of Ka- election. nor of Herat. After he bul’s weekly paper, Rozgharan. He de- won the elections, Karzai scribed three groups that will be repre- appointed Khan Minister sented in the parliamentary elections: of Energy, and brought in the feared “U.S. forces have jeopardized pros- “Firstly, Karzai and his technocrats, warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum, former pects for establishing stable and ac- another group belonging to Qa- Defense Minister and presidential can- countable institutions in Afghani- nooni, Dostum and Mohaqiq [war- didate, as Army Chief of Staff. stan, have undermined the security lords] and the third, a group of intel- The U.S. ambassador to Af- of the Afghan people … and have lectuals, who are unhappy with the ghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad endorsed reinforced a pattern of impunity that failure of Karzai and the warlords.” Karzai’s decision, saying in March 2005 undermines the legitimacy of the Noorani complained that the that giving “a role to…regional political process.”3 third group has no support from the 32 Press for Conversion! (Issue # 59) September 2006 Parliamentary Elections - 2005 world community. In addition, they secular society, a disarming of the Endnotes have little economic power and are un- country, and freedom of the press.” 1. “Afghan Voters Worry ‘Guns and der threat from the warlords. Between 30% and 40% of SPA’s mem- Money’ Will Affect Election,” In this third group, there are nu- bers are women. Engineer says the Soli- Noticias.info, September 13, 2005. merous parties organizing against fun- darity Party is not alone–but are part of 2. Paul McGeough, “Old Ways Linger Be- damentalism and for social justice and a forum of 16 anti-fundamentalist par- neath a Veil of Votes,” Sydney Morning ties throughout the country. Herald (Australia), September 10, 2005. democracy. The Solidarity Party of Af- 3. Casting Shadows: War Crimes and ghanistan (SPA), for example, criticizes Washington likes to highlight Crimes Against Humanity, 1978-2001, both Karzai and the warlords. SPA rep- its contributions to Afghanistan’s Afghanistan Justice Project, July 2005. resentative, Wasay Engineer, said his progress toward “democracy,” but U.S. party’s platform is based on actions in the name of democracy un- Source: Foreign Policy In Focus, Sep- “women’s rights, democracy and dermine real democracy-building. tember 16, 2005. Zalmay Khalilzad’s Career Parliamentary 1979-89: Worked with Zbigniew Brzez- inski, Carter’s National Security Advisor. Elections 1984: Accepted Council on Foreign Relations fellowship to State Department. 1985-89: Senior U.S. State Department E lection authorities declared that in the parliamentary elections, only 53% of registered voters participated, official advising on the war in Afghani- as compared with over 75% of voters stan and Iran-Iraq war, and Special Advi- in the presidential elections of 2004. sor on Afghanistan, promoting a mujahi- Although there were no secu- deen-led government. Special assistant rity problems in Kabul, only 36% of the to Reagan and Bush (senior) for South- registered voters showed up at the polls. west Asia, Near East and North Africa. Human Rights Watch (HRW) found that 1991-92: Senior U.S. Defense Depart- voters were put off by the complexity ment official for policy planning, and a of the ballots, disenchantment with the counsellor to Donald Rumsfeld. Khalilzad performance of the government and in- viewed the Taliban as a potential force ternational community, and the pres- for stability and a counter balance to Iran. ence of too many candidates with He only changed these views after 9-11. records of serious human rights abuses. Mid-1990s: Worked for Cambridge En- HRW documented attempts by ergy Research Assoc. (an oil-industry/ warlords to subvert the elections. Regu- gov’t think tank) doing risk analyses for lations barring candidates associated UNOCAL’s proposed 1,400 km, US$2-bil- Rumsfeld and Khalilzad with armed factions from running for lion natural gas pipeline from Turkmen- The Biggest Warlords office were poorly enforced, and armed istan through Afghanistan to Pakistan. factions supported their candidates by 1993-99: Director of the Strategy, Doc- in Afghanistan threatening independent candidates trine and Force Structure program of the RAND Corporation’s “Project Air Force.” and intimidating voters. Women candi- 2001: Special Assistant to the President and the National Security Council’s dates, who were guaranteed at least Senior Director for Gulf, Southwest Asia and Other Regional Issues. 25% of parliament’s seats, faced par- 2003-05: U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan. Received a U.S. Department of ticular challenges in reaching out to Defence (DoD) medal for outstanding public service. (See DoD photo above.) voters and campaigning. 2005-present: U.S. Ambassador to Iraq. Among the more infamous, suc- Source: Zalmay Khalilzad, Wikipedia, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zalmay_Khalilzad cessful candidates, implicated in war crimes and crimes against humanity that Khalilzad’s Oil and Gas Connections occurred in Kabul in the early 1990s were: Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, Burhanuddin T o assure that the natural gas pipeline would proceed, the Afghani-American Zalmay Khalilzad, who had been a member of the CentGas project, became the President’s Special National Security Assistant. Khalilzad then became Presi- Rabbani, Mullah Taj Mohammad, Younis Qanooni, Haji Al-Mas and Mullah Ezatullah. Even Mullah Abdul dent Bush’s Special Envoy for Afghanistan. Salim “Rocketi,” a notorious Taliban Khalilzad is the son of a former government official under King Zahir Shah. commander, ran and won in Zabul prov- Khalilzad was a special liaison between U.S. oil-giant UNOCAL and the Taliban ince. government. Khalilzad also worked on various risk analyses for the pipeline project under the direction of National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, a former mem- Source: World Report 2006. Human ber of the board of another oil company, namely Chevron. Rights Watch. Source: Dr. Norman D. Livergood, “The New U.S.-British Oil Imperialism.” w w w. u n h c r. o rg / c g i - b i n / t e x i s / v t x / www.oilcompanies.net/oil1.htm print?tbl=RSDCOI&id=43cfaea029 September 2006 (Issue # 59) Press for Conversion! 33 2005 - Parliamentary Elections Serious Flaws Marred the Wolesi Jirga Elections S ignificant problems marred the parliamentary elections for the Wolesi Jirga (WJ, or House of the People). There were allegations of intimidation and vote rigging on elec- tion day, and widespread reports of fraud during ballot-counting. The elections were also a victim of Afghanistan’s weak judicial institu- tions as well as a preference to accom- modate rather than confront many can- didates with the potential to cause trou- ble. The resulting lax candidate-vet- ting process enabled many candidates with links to illegal armed groups, nar- cotics trafficking, criminal gangs, as well as some facing war-crime allega- tions, to contest and win seats. These factors undermined the perceived cred- ibility of the elections and tarnished the Younis Qanooni not only won his seat, he then defeated image of the new National Assembly in the eyes of many Afghans several other top elected warlords (Mohammad Mohaqiq, The Joint Electoral Manage- Burhanuddin Rabbani and Ismail Sayyaf), in the ment Body (JEMB), which consisted of subsequent race to become the Speaker of Parliament. nine Afghan members and four inter- national members [including one Cana- About 133 of the 249 WJ mem- 60% in the capital Kabul have links dian] plus the Chief Electoral Officer, bers fought in the jihad, which suggests to armed groups.”4 had overall authority for the elections. a conservative outlook. About 113 be- The ECC disqualified 17 candi- The Electoral Complaints Com- long to, or are affiliated with, parties dates during the candidate challenge mission (ECC)–the official, independ- that could be classified as conserva- process, and 37 more who actually ap- ent body established by law to handle tive/fundamentalist or moderate/tradi- peared on the ballots. Of these 54 can- electoral grievances–was inundated tionalist Islamic parties. didates, 34 were disqualified for hav- with 5,397 registered complaints, which ing links to illegal armed groups, 12 for delayed the announcement of the final Law Makers or holding a prohibited government posi- election results until mid-November.1 Law Breakers? tion, five for having insufficient valid Most of the allegations were not The unsavoury reputations of a large signatures to support their candidacies, sufficiently substantiated to be consid- number of newly elected WJ members and three for violating the election ered by the ECC, and the JEMB did not are tarnishing the image of the WJ be- Code of Conduct or law.5 believe that the level of fraud affected fore it has even convened. The inter- However, the vetting of candi- “the integrity of the elections.”2 national and national press have pub- dates was not always a transparent However, research conducted lished numerous stories on the war- process or one that was uniformly ap- for this study, and interviews of voters lords, drug lords, human rights viola- plied. In Ghor Province, for example, and candidates appearing in the press, tors and plain criminals that won seats considerable evidence existed to dis- suggest that public perceptions of in the National Assembly. According qualify a candidate with well-known these elections are considerably less to one well-informed analysis, the ongoing links to an illegal armed group. positive than the JEMB’s assessment. newly-elected WJ will include 40 com- However, the name of the candidate was manders still associated with armed reportedly not submitted to the ECC as Election Results groups, 24 members belonging to crimi- there were concerns that his disqualifi- Not surprisingly, a predominately con- nal gangs, 17 drug traffickers and 19 cation would be “destabilising.”6 servative society has elected a pre- who face serious allegations of war These political considerations dominately conservative parliament. crimes and human rights violations.3 help explain why, according to one elec- Several religious scholars and leaders An even more pessimistic as- tion official’s estimate, 207 candidates were elected, including Professor sessment was given by the Deputy with links to illegal armed groups made Rabbani and Professor Abdul Rasul Head of the Afghan Independent Hu- it through the vetting process.7 Sayyaf, and 17 other candidates with man Rights Commission, who stated: It is clear that electoral bodies religious titles attached to their names, “more than 80% of winning candi- like the ECC should not be expected to such as mawlawi, mullah, Qazi and Qari. dates in the provinces and more than take on the role of courts and make de- 34 Press for Conversion! (Issue # 59) September 2006 Parliamentary Elections - 2005 cisions on crimes against humanity and links to armed groups.8 However, the A List of Voting Problems diminished reputation, moral authority agents inside polling centres, as offend- Technical Problems T and legitimacy of the WJ could be one ers sought to influence outcomes or to he Afghanistan Independent of the many consequences of the inat- disrupt the electoral process. Human Rights Commission tention to transitional justice issues by the government and the international (AIHRC) identified the follow- x At some polling centres in Logar, ing technical problems on election day Parwan and Kabul provinces some community for the past four years. Sev- (September 18, 2005): JEMB staff violated voters’ freedom of eral interviewees expressed concerns x Delays in opening of polling sta- expression by marking ballots them- that the prestige previously associated tions, ranging from half an hour to two selves, claiming that as the voters are with being an MP would be lost due to hours in some places. This showed that illiterate, they were helping them. the bad reputations of so many newly- elected members. A WJ candidate from Joint Electoral Management Body x Polling stations were not pro- Kandahar questioned the return that (JEMB) staff were ill-prepared. This vided in prisons, detention centres or will be given on the major investment caused frustration among voters. Some hospitals, and people with some types in elections at this point in time: left without voting. of disabilities could not vote. The po- “There will be three groups in par- x Electoral staff at many poll- litical rights of many Afghans liament–smugglers, commanders ing centres did not have suf- were denied. This was a [warlords] and educated people.… ficient training. Some cen- systematic offence They should not have spent this tres were disorganised throughout the elec- much on elections. They should and staff were unaware toral process as have just selected some people from of their duties and JEMB ignored rec- the provinces and districts. Now what steps to take ommendations to we’ve spent lots of money only to when confronted with address these is- send warlords and criminals to par- difficulties. sues. liament. Human rights organisations x Insufficient xSome JEMB staff in other countries are taking war quantities of indelible ink entered polling booths criminals to court, but in Afghani- were provided and indel- allegedly telling voters stan, war criminals…are being al- ible ink was washable. AIHRC who to vote for. lowed to contest and win elections. x Information advising voters x JEMB staff directed Elections shouldn’t have been held about disqualified candidates was not children and women to vote for certain yet–people are still scared of war- provided. Some voters therefore likely candidates. lords and couldn’t vote freely.”9 voted for ineligible candidates. Even x Candidates were observed cam- JEMB staff did not know which candi- paigning inside polling centres, particu- Endnotes dates had been disqualified. larly in the south of the country. 1. Media release, Nov. 10, 2005, “Com- plaints Process Promotes Rule of Law.” x Closing of the polling stations x Candidate campaign posters were 2. AFP, Oct. 16, 2005, “First Results Fi- was marred by confusion among JEMB seen at several polling centres. nalized after Afghanistan Vote.” staff as to what the final procedure was x Large numbers of candidate 3. Personal communication with interna- and whether ballot boxes should be agents were observed at many polling tional official, Kabul, Nov. 10, 2005. transferred, and where to. booths. 4. IRIN News, Oct. 18, 2005, “Rights body warns of warlords’ success in elections,” x In most areas, monitors and ob- Afghanistan Research & Evaluation servers for political parties and candi- Electoral Fraud Unit. dates were not clear about their respon- x Men were found to be voting sev- 5. ECC media release, Op. cit. sibilities and duties. Their lack of un- eral times “on behalf of” the female 6. Interview, Herat, September 26, 2005. derstanding and coordination caused members of their family. 7. “Afghanistan votes: A Glass Half Full, panic among voters, while in some other x The ballot box in a women’s poll- An Opportunity Wasted,” The Econo- cases they were very provocative. ing station was full of votes, despite mist, September 15, 2005. very few women actually coming to the 8. See the OSCE report, “Election Support Repeated Electoral polling station. In other polling centres, Team to Afghanistan: Recommendations on 2005 Parliamentary Elections,” Oc- Offences Observed children were observed voting. tober 6, 2005. x Voter intimidation included: x At others, broken ballot boxes and 9. Interview with WJ candidate, Kandahar, (1) Lack of security in certain re- irregularities in the numbers of ballot October 6, 2005. gions resulted indirectly in the intimi- boxes were recorded. dation of people in general, and women Source: Afghanistan Research and in particular away from polling centres. Source: AIHRC Media Release, “Af- Evaluation Unit, Briefing Paper: “A (2) Women as a group were in- ghan Parliamentary Elections,” Septem- House Divided? Analysing the 2005 timidated from voting in some districts. ber 19, 2005. Afghan Elections,” December 2005. (3) There was direct intimidation www.aihrc.org.af/press_parliman_ www.areu.org.af/publications/A%20House by some JEMB staff, and by party elec_19_09.htm %20Divided.pdf September 2006 (Issue # 59) Press for Conversion! 35 2005 - Parliamentary Elections Not All MPs are “Warlords, Drug Lords & Smugglers” By Declan Walsh Conflicting Faces in Parliament A rich cast of characters will fill the 249-seat Wolesi Jirga par- liament that was elected in September 2005. For some legislators, just sitting together will be a major feat. Grizzled warlords will sit near fresh-faced young women. Former guer- Photo: Declan Walsh rilla commanders and retired army gen- erals from the 1980s conflict against the Soviet-controlled Afghan government will also sit side-by-side. And to reach their seats, some may have to squeeze past a retired Taliban fighter or a re- cently-returned Afghan American. Mullah Abdul Salam, At a training session for MPs, or “Rocketi,” is a former Mullah Abdul Salam “Rocketi” of Zabul province shook hands and cracked Taliban fighter named for jokes with fellow legislator Shukria his skill at aiming rockets. Barakzai. “She is my new friend,” smiled Rocketi, a bearlike former Taliban fighter Shukria Barakzai, Editor-in-Chief and founder of named for his skill at aiming rockets. Aina-E-Zan (Women’s Mirror), a weekly Kabul newspaper. “If people want to change their “The failed policies of the last three years...do not protect ideas, we should give them a chance,” said Barakzai, one of 68 women elected the security of Afghanistan but are obstacles to it. The under a gender quota. “But they must support of armed groups and outlaws does not support the remember the past is the past.” people and has slowed down the democratic process. Human Rights Watch (HRW) In many provinces and villages...there is no difference estimates that 60% of the new legisla- between before the Taliban regime, the time of the Taliban, tors have links to warlords. HRW sin- gled out Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, a power- and now. Child marriage, forced marriage and violence ful militia commander whose guns rav- against women are still common and accepted practices.... aged Kabul residents in the 1990s, and It is still a great risk to be a journalist. Journalists are Mohammed Fahim, a former defense often jailed and their lives threatened.” minister accused of war crimes. Sam Zarifi, who heads the Asia for the Afghan national airline, he “A war criminal is someone who division for HRW, said: sought asylum 25 years ago after di- killed innocent people,” said Haji Al- “There is widespread cynicism verting a DC-10 jet to Germany. He then Mas, a former commander [warlord] in about this parliament. How can peo- moved to California to earn US$22,000 Kabul. “But those who fought against ple trust a government which allows a month as a United Airlines pilot. He terrorism and the Taliban are not war- warlords and notorious human said the prospect of sitting beside men lords. They are holy warriors.” rights abusers into power?” notorious for Afghanistan’s worst Another concern is corruption. A European diplomat, who asked bloodshed was “stomach churning.” The parliament’s first task will be to not to be named, said that about 20 leg- Some analysts say it’s anyone’s elect a speaker–a race that has already islators still have active private militias guess whether such a diverse group– been marred by allegations of vote- and that at least 20 more have been in- an estimated 20% is illiterate–will be buying at up to US$600 per vote. volved in drug smuggling. Afghanistan able to work together to pass legisla- Many MPs appealed to critics produces 87% of the world’s heroin, ac- tion. A fractious parliament might suit not to write them off. “Don’t forget cording to a recent U.N. study. Karzai, who still wields most political this is not just a collection of warlords, But the parliament also has power. But a weak assembly could dam- drug lords and smugglers,” Barakzai many political newcomers who say they age his reform credentials and breed said. “We have good people as well.” are determined to make a difference– widespread disillusionment about long- including one from Southern California. promised reconstruction. Source: Chronicle Foreign Service, Daoud Sultanzoi left his Malibu One of the first issues new MPs December 19, 2005. beachfront house in October 2005 to might have to confront is whether to www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/ sit in the new parliament. A former pilot bring human-rights abusers to justice. 2005/12/19/MNGOEGA9T81.DTL 36 Press for Conversion! (Issue # 59) September 2006 Parliamentary Elections - 2005 Bush Congratulates Afghans Warlords take Elections for “Successful Elections” A hmad Fahim Hakim, deputy H ere is U.S. President George W. Bush’s official response to parliamentary elections in Afghanistan: “I congratulate the Afghan people and Afghan govern- chairman the Afghan Inde- pendent Human Rights Commission, reported that: ment for today’s successful parliamentary elections, which “More than 80% of winning can- are a major step forward in Afghanistan’s development as didates in provinces and more a democratic state governed by the rule of law.” than 60% in the capital Kabul Source: “Bush, Rice Congratulate Afghanistan on Success- have links to armed groups.” ful Elections,” Office of the Press Secretary, Sept. 18, 2005. He added that some of the new MPs usinfo.state.gov/sa/Archive/2005/Sep/18-118686.html were themselves notorious warlords. Horia Mosadiq, country di- JEMB says Elections were Fair rector for the Human Rights Re- T he Joint Electoral Management Body (JEMB) announced that it had completed the certification of all final results from this year’s historic Wolesi Jirga and Provincial Council search and Advocacy Consortium, Ahmad F.Hakim said one of the main reasons for the low voter turnout was the presence of candidates linked to elections. Bissmillah Bissmil, Chairman of JEMB said: illegal, armed groups. “With the certification of final re- Electoral law barred anyone with links to armed sults for Kandahar and the groups seeking election, but many warlords involved in the country-wide Kuchi con- bloodshed of the past quarter-century slipped through a stituency, we have now UN-backed review. completed certification Local analyst Qasim Akhgar warned that having war- of all final results for lords in parliament would disappoint many Afghans seeking both the Wolesi Jirga an arms-free society after more than 20 years of war and and the Provincial destruction: “If warlords infiltrate the parliament, the parlia- Council elections. To- ment would lose the support of people…and it will deceler- day marks an impor- ate the process of democracy.” tant milestone in Af- At least 50 [JEMB] electoral staff were fired for al- ghanistan’s transition to leged fraud, following accusations of irregularities that a stable and strong democ- sparked protests across the country. racy. The newly elected mem- Electoral officials said about 680 ballot boxes (3% of bers will go on to represent and the total voteswere taken out of the counting process be- serve the people of their provinces and cause of the fraud allegations. the hopes and aspirations of the people are with them as Source: IRIN News, October 18, 2005. Integrated Regional they work to help rebuild our country.” Information Networks, UN Office for the Coordination of Source: “JEMB certifies all final results for Wolesi Jirga and Humanitarian Affairs. Provincial Council elections,” Government of the Islamic www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=49623&Select Republic of Afghanistan, November 12, 2005. Region=Asia&SelectCountry=AFGHANISTAN www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWB.NSF/db900SID/RMOI-6J53DK Martin Applauded “Successful” Elections P rime Minister accountable institu- Paul Martin is- tions of government. sued an official Canada con- statement praising the gratulates the Afghan Afghan parliamentary government and eve- elections and Cana- ryone who worked so da’s role in them: hard to make these “These successful elections a success: P ierre Pettigrew, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister (2004-2006) met with Afghanistan’s Foreign Affairs elections represent a major step for- elections officials and everyone who partici- ward on Afghani- pated on the Joint Minister Abdullah, in Montreal on May stan’s path to Prime Minister Electoral Manage- 30, 2005. This was Abdullah’s second greater stability and ment Body, as well as visit to Canada since his appointment peace. Canada will Paul Martin (2004-2006) national and interna- to the post in 2004. continue to support democracy in tional observers.” Source: www.canada-afghanistan. Afghanistan by helping to keep the Source: Media Release, Office of the gc.ca/afhg_for_visit-en.asp peace and to build responsible and Prime Minister, September 19, 2005. September 2006 (Issue # 59) Press for Conversion! 37 2005 - Life in Parliament Joya Causes Uproar on the First Day of Parliament “I offer my condolences to the people of our country for the presence of warlords, drug lords and criminals [in Parliament].” “Those with money, power and backed by foreign countries came into parliament. Their presence pollutes our parl- iament as a legislative source.” “President Bush owes us an apology for supporting extrem- ist warlords, the Northern Alliance criminals.” A mong Afghanistan’s legislators are some accused of human rights abuses and many are unhappy at the M alalai Joya is one of the most out- spoken critics of the makeup of the new parliament, whose members in- M alalai Joya was the only discord- ant voice on December 19, 2005, at a very consensual ceremony [to open preponderance of such figures in par- clude warlords, militia commanders and Afghanistan’s new parliament]. liament. Malalai Joya, known for her former Taliban officials. She said: Denouncing the presence of war outburst against them at the constitu- “I’ll try to introduce legislation that lords in parliament, she asserted that tional convention, again denounced will protect the rights of the op- “the men and women of Afghanistan their presence in the National Assem- pressed people and safeguard wom- are like pigeons who have been freed bly. en’s rights... Those who came here from Taliban cages, but whose “I offer my condolences to the under the name of democracy should wings have been cut off and who people of our country for the presence not be given the chance to continue are in the claws of vampires who of warlords, drug lords and criminals their crimes under the slogan of de- suck their blood.” [in Parliament],” Ms. Joya said at an mocracy... I will continue my strug- She added that “most of those vam- impromptu news conference after the gle against warlords... especially pires are to be found in parliament.” swearing-in ceremony. The people of against those parties who destroyed Directly attacking the American Afghanistan have recently “escaped our country.” godfather, she added: the Taliban cage but still they are Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, De- “President Bush owes us an apol- trapped in the cage of those who are cember 20, 2005. ogy for supporting extremist war called warlords,” she said. lords, the Northern Alliance crimi- Hers was the only angry voice of the day. The New York Times, December 19, 2005 M alalai Joya has vowed to stand up against warlords elected to parliament: nals.” Le Monde, December 20, 2005. M alalai Joya said the cycle of vio- lence in her country would not “Our people are concerned that the election took place in an armed en- vironment, and that is why our peo- A debate erupted over the poten- tially explosive issue of warlords sitting among the elected representa- end until those who commit violence ple and the international community tives. are punished, rather than being allowed should not have expected democratic Malalai Joya called for all of Af- to sit as members of parliament. But she elections, which didn’t take place.... ghanistan’s human rights abusers and was not optimistic that this would hap- Those with money, power and “criminal warlords” to be brought to pen anytime soon: backed by foreign countries came justice. Delegates responded by “How can our people be hopeful that into parliament. Their presence pol- pounding their fists on the tables to the parliament will arrange a way to lutes our parliament as a legislative demand that she sit down. She refused, put the war criminals of our country source. But...some real and true rep- shouting that it was her right as an in international or national courts resentatives of people also came into elected official to speak. when some of the most famous crimi- this parliament. But, unfortunately, USA Today, December 20, 2005. nals in the country are in parlia- they are in a minority.” ment?” Golnaz Esfandiari, Radio Free Europe Source: Website, Defense Committee Asia Times, December 21, 2005. / Radio Liberty, December 19, 2005. for Malalai Joya. 38 Press for Conversion! (Issue # 59) September 2006 Life in Parliament - 2005 Joya’s Goal as MP is to Expose the Sham Parliament Sonali Kolhatkar: Why did you run cannot conclude that people elected painful and disgraceful way. The U.S. for parliament? their killers as their representatives. It is relying on the killers of tens of thou- Malalai Joya: Hundreds of people was a fraud and an unfair election proc- sands of Kabul residents and allowing from Farah and other provinces insisted ess that made them MPs. representatives of these killers to enter that I run. I was intending to decline Kolhatkar: What is the U.S. posi- and dominate the parliament and impor- because I believe parliament will never tion on warlords today? tant posts in the government. bring anything positive for the nation. Joya: As the U.S. administration re- Kolhatkar: How can you change the But my supporters kept saying “Your vived the warlords in the first place, it political status quo with so many war- voice at the loya jirga gave us hope continues to support and rely on them. lords in parliament alongside you? that there is at least one who under- The U.S., as before, is not bothered by Joya: I think that such a claim would stands our suffering. Now we want you which criminal band rules the country be too much for me, or any other pro- to be the voice of voiceless at parlia- as long as it is obedient to Washing- people MP. But, as I’ve promised to my ment.” I couldn’t help but accept the ton, no matter how cruel, corrupt and people, I’ll never get tired of unmask- honor to be the voice of my oppressed anti-democratic it is. Many in Afghani- ing the criminals in the parliament, gov- nation in a parliament dominated by stan are of the opinion that America’s ernment or judiciary. criminal warlords. highly-trumpeted “war against drugs I feel my presence in the parliament I will feel satisfied if I succeed in ex- posing the real nature of the current “The criminals sitting there [in parliament and informing the Afghan Parliament] are making laws for people from within the parliament that the benefit of the rich, the drug the criminals sitting there are making traffickers, warlords and high- laws for the benefit of the rich, the drug traffickers, warlords and high-level bu- level bureaucrats.” reaucrats, and against the aspirations “America’s highly-trumpeted of the down-trodden masses. Kolhatkar: If the warlords are so un- ‘war against drugs and terror- popular, how is it that so many of them ism,’ and its campaign to were elected to the parliament? ‘promote democracy,’ are bogus Joya: Afghanistan is still a country because the U.S. has forged a strangled by the hands of the Northern unity with the most infamous, Alliance. These are fundamentalist bands notorious for their terrible crimes anti-democratic, religious between 1992 and 1996. After 9/11, Malalai terrorists and drug-mafia America and its allies helped these Joya forces in Afghanistan’s history.” criminals oc- cupy Kabul Burhanuddin Rabbani was “The warlords have not been and dominate the president of Afghan- elected by the people but by the entire istan during the mujahe- the killing machine, political country. In a country under deen’s fundamentalist power, billions of dollars and the such religious regime (1992-1996). intimidation of fundamentalists fascists, hold- He was elected to parl- supported by the U.S. and ing free and iament as an MP in 2005. numerous NGOs.” democratic elections is out of the question. Elec- and terrorism,” and its campaign to will lead to a small increase in political tions in such conditions are widely “promote democracy,” are bogus be- consciousness. If that does not hap- rigged. It is unbelievable, but still a re- cause the U.S. has forged a unity with pen, then I will definitely resign. I would ality, that regarding the issue of multi- the most infamous, anti-democratic, re- like the world to know that the Afghan ple voting, Karzai himself openly justi- ligious terrorists and drug-mafia forces parliament is another instrument in the fied it by saying “This is an exercise in in Afghanistan’s history. hand of fundamentalists to try to legiti- democracy. Let them exercise it twice!” The U.S. government has its own mate and perpetuate their bloody rule The warlords have not been elected strategic agenda in our country. The in the country. by the people but by the killing machine, U.S. ambassador and secretary of state Source: “If I Arise: Talking with Malalai political power, billions of dollars and have claimed that the U.S. will not re- Joya, Afghanistan’s Youngest Revolu- the intimidation of fundamentalists peat its past mistake of supporting fun- tionary,” Clamor, June 10, 2006. supported by the U.S. and numerous damentalists. However, the U.S. is re- www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm? NGOs. It was not a free election, so one peating that “mistake” in a much more ItemID=10406 September 2006 (Issue # 59) Press for Conversion! 39 Life in Parliament - 2006 MP Attacked in Parliament for Denouncing Warlords! This report was written by an Afghan journalist in Kabul, who–for security reasons–wishes to remain anonymous. O n May 7, 2006, Malalai Joya re- sponded in parliament to a warlord who referred to the brutal and criminal atrocities of the mujahaeen regime as “mistakes.” Joya said: “There is a big difference between mistakes and crimes.” She then said: “There were two types of mujahi- deen, one who were really mujahi- deen, and the second who killed tens of thousands of innocent people and used the holy war of Afghans against the Soviet Union as a motive to gain power and destroyed our country.” When her speech finished, some MPs hurled bottles at her, including: • Parwin Durranai, a woman MP who– with the help of Saudi Wahabis–was P.Durranai Q.N.Ahmad S . Ni a z a i M.Ishaqzai granted a seat in parliament to repre- Those supporting Joya have received death threats because of the sent Afghan nomads. also received death threats. Mr. press conference they held for Joya • Qazi Nazir Ahmad, a commander of Qazizada, an MP from Herat, told Joya after she was attacked by warlords. Rabbani’s Jamiat-e-Islami gang, an that if he is killed, it would be by war- Islamic party in power (1992-1996). lord Ismail Khan’s followers. A Kabul- Source: May 9, 2006. Malalai Joya • Saifoor Niazai, an executive member based journalist’s association said they website: www.malalaijoya.com of Jamiat e Islami in Mazar e Sharif (a northern Afghan city). Some Women MPs Walk Out in Protest • Malali Ishaqzai from Qandahar, the unofficial capital of the Taliban. By Jean MacKenzie and Wahidullah Some well-respected MPs Amani. quickly formed a human ring around Joya and called for security forces. However, other warlords imme- T he attack against Joya in parliament sparked a walkout of female mem- bers. On May 9, 2006, they boycotted diately began insulting her with foul the parliamentary session for several language, calling her a prostitute and hours, until the speaker, Younis ordering their followers to rape her. Qanooni, himself a prominent figure Some warlords yelled at Joya, calling from the mujahedin era, apologised. her a communist and accusing her of “There were about 30 or 40 of being a member of the Revolutionary us,” said Shukria Paikan Ahmadi, a Association of Women of Afghanistan. deputy from Kunduz. [Editor’s note: Shukria Barakzai, a woman MP That is about half of the women MPs.] from Kabul, later confirmed during an “The mujahedin are always intimi- interview with Tolo TV, that warlords dating us and we can’t say what we had threatened to rape and kill Joya. want. When a women was speaking, Shukria Paikan Ahmadi According to another MP, a fa- a commander [warlord] from Herat mous warlord–Rasul Sayyaf–ordered “We cannot accept this... We just do told her to be quiet, otherwise they’d someone to wait by the door and knife not have the patience. It would be do to her what they did to Malalai Joya as she walked out. better to leave parliament forever.” [Joya].... The warlords are a majority [Burhanuddin] Rabbani and in parliament. And even though they Source: “Afghanistan’s Buzkashi Par- Sayyaf, two gang leaders [warlords] are all from different factions, in this liament,” Afghan Recovery Report, who had committed atrocities under the they are together. They are all May 17, 2006. Institute for War and name of Islam and jihad, unsuccessfully against us, against the women.” Peace Reporting. tried to use Joya’s speech as a reason Ahmadi described as “savage” www.afghanwomensmission.org/ to discuss her status in parliament. the behaviour of those attacking Joya: news/index.php?articleID=60 40 Press for Conversion! (Issue # 59) September 2006 Life in Parliament - 2006 Drug Trade Reaches right up into Afghan Cabinet By Toby Harnden Some Afghan cabinet ministers are S ome Afghan cabinet ministers deeply implicated in the drug trade are deeply implicated in the drug trade and could be di- and could be diverting foreign aid into verting foreign aid into trafficking, trafficking, said Habibullah Qaderi, said Habibullah Qaderi, the coun- Aghanistan’s anti-narcotics minister. try’s anti-narcotics minister, on Feb- ruary 4, 2005. The admission will dismay Western governments, which just pledged US$10.5 billion in aid to help fight poverty, improve security and crack down on the drugs trade. It raises the prospect that money being donated by the West could be used indirectly to kill Brit- ish soldiers, 3,300 of whom will be stationed in anarchic Helmand prov- ince, where corrupt officials, insur- gents and drug lords overlap. “I don’t deny that,” said Qaderi in a Sunday Telegraph inter- view, when asked whether corruption ing. We all know the names. But I tion. But there are legitimate targets– linked to the £2.7 billion-a-year drug have never seen any direct evidence mobile labs and stockpiles–which trade went right up to the cabinet. and I don’t know anyone who has.” only drug lords, rather than ordinary Such high-level criminality, he Ali Ahmad Jalali, who resigned poppy growers, are involved with.” said, would help account for why “a lot as Afghanistan’s interior minister last A British official said that some of trafficking through different parts of year, said: Afghan MPs are linked to the drug trade the country” was being conducted with “Sometimes government officials al- and that some officials had to be cir- apparent impunity. low their own cars to be used for a cumvented because they were cor- But Qaderi declined to name fee. Sometimes they give protection rupted by drugs: names and said Afghanistan’s weak to traffickers. “There are plenty of people in the justice system, itself bedevilled by cor- In Afghanistan, corruption is a national assembly who are very ruption, meant that it was difficult to low-risk enterprise in a high-risk en- dodgy. Corruption is endemic so I convert allegations and rumours into vironment. Because of the lack of in- have to be careful with some figures fact. “The question is how to find evi- vestigative capacity it is very diffi- in the Afghan set-up who might not dence against these people.” cult to get evidence. You always end be 100% committed to eradicating In Kabul, the houses of several up arresting foot soldiers.” drugs.” senior politicians resemble small pal- But he accused Western gov- The World Bank recently casti- aces with marble corridors, painstak- ernments of exaggerating the problem gated Western governments for failing ingly manicured lawns and dozens of to justify limiting their long-term com- to channel money through the Afghan armed guards. Even in a provincial town mitment to rebuilding Afghanistan. The government, leading to vast amounts such as Helmand’s capital, Lashkar Gah, “drug problem in Afghanistan is de- of cash being spent on exorbitant sala- ostentatious homes stand in stark con- mand-driven” from the West, he said, ries, security guards and fortified ac- trast to the surrounding poverty and with 90% of profits being made outside commodation for aid workers. are known as houses of “smugglers,” the country. NATO policies, moreover, The Kabul Weekly, an Afghan a euphemism for drug traffickers. had helped to consolidate the drug newspaper, summed up the dilemma: Western aid officials and sev- lords because they had focused solely “If aid is given to NGOs, huge eral European diplomats named the on fighting Taliban and insurgent amounts go into their own expendi- same high-ranking politicians and offi- forces rather than attacking the trade. tures. If it’s given to the Afghan cials, including one with close links to Jalali urged British troops in government, the poor bureaucracy Afghan president Hamid Karzai, as drug Helmand not to ignore narcotics, 90% and corruption waste it.” lords. A veteran European diplomat in of which end up in Europe: Kabul said: “I understand NATO’s argument Source: The Telegraph (UK), February “The problem, as ever, is the smok- that if they eradicate poppy fields 5, 2006. www.rawa.org/drugs2.htm ing gun. We all know it is happen- then that antagonizes the popula- September 2006 (Issue # 59) Press for Conversion! 41 2006 - Life in Parliament Major Bloc in Parliament Controlled by Hekmatyar? By Wahidullah Amani Hekmatyar is currently in hid- ing. Observers say he continues to have H ezb-e-Islami is back, green flag broad popular support, especially in the and all. The most radical and Pashtun-dominated south. An ethnic powerful of Afghanistan’s Is- Pashtun, he appeals to many who want lamic movements is an officially-recog- a strong Islamic statein Afghanistan, nised political party which now claims and who condemn what they see as the to be one of the largest blocs in parlia- corrupting influence of the West. ment. His supporters say he has been Party leaders say they will unfairly excluded from power. They sweep to power in future elections now point to other former mujahedin lead- that they can campaign openly. ers and militia commanders who have They also say they have bro- been accepted into the new govern- ken ties with the man most closely iden- ment, and ask why Hekmatyar’s alleged tified with Hezb-e-Islami, its founder crimes are deemed worse than those Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, whom the U.S. ascribed to General Abdul Rashid lists as a terrorist. Dostum, the former strongman of the Many political analysts, how- north who is now chief of staff of the ever, are sceptical of the party’s claim armed forces, or of Ismail Khan, who that it has reformed. ruled the western province of Herat Hekmatyar, one of the major with an iron hand until being made en- Gulbuddin Hekmatyar commanders [warlords] in the resistance ergy minister in December 2004. to the Soviet occupation of the 1980s, political landscape, with 81 parties, this Abdul Gheyas Eleyasi, head of is an unrepentant mujahedin. He has represents a significant achievement. the political parties department at the called repeatedly for a new holy war Wahedyar says the party would have justice ministry, acknowledged that of- against the foreign occupiers and those been even more successful if it had ficials were initially reluctant to grant who cooperate with them–including the been allowed to register earlier: Hezb-e-Islami an official license. Eleyasi current Afghan government. “The justice ministry did not want explained: He has publicly vowed that his to let Hezb-e-Islami conduct politi- “We registered them only after we supporters will never join the present cal activities.... They wanted us to received confirmation from the min- regime. change our name and flag. But we istries of defence and the interior, as “Hekmatyar does not represent resisted.” well as the security organs and Hezb-e-Islami,” said Sayed Rahman It took repeated negotiations UNAMA [the UN Assistance Mis- Wahedyar, a Kabul member of the fac- with President Hamed Karzai, and one- sion in Afghanistan] that the party tion. “We have cut all ties with and-a-half years, to overcome the gov- no longer had links with Hekmatyar.” Hekmatyar.” ernment’s reluctance to see the sym- But many suspect that According to Wahedyar, the bols of Hekmatyar’s once-formidable Hekmatyar is still running the show. current Hezb-e-Islami party supports power officially displayed. Political analyst Fazul Rahman Orya the country’s ongoing peace process, Hekmatyar has a host of en- said: and even tolerates foreign troops, view- emies among those now in power. He “Hekmatyar has played many such ing them as necessary in the currently- engaged in a vicious civil war with many games and he has always won unstable, security environment. of them after the collapse of commu- them.... Hezb-e-Islami is certainly Wahedyar added that MP nist rule in 1992, when mujahedin com- here with Hekmatyar’s agreement. Khalid Farooqi, a powerful Hezb-e- manders destroyed Kabul and much of They are behaving according to Islami commander in Paktika province the rest of the country in a fierce power Hekmatyar’s wishes, so as to accom- during the mujahedin years, is the par- struggle. He was twice prime minister plish his goals.” ty’s new leader. between 1992 and 1996. But the new-look Hezb-e-Islami When the Taliban came to power Source: “Have Hekmatyar’s Radicals does not appear to have deviated far in 1996, Hekmatyar went to Iran, where Reformed?,” Afghan Recovery Report, from its fundamentalist roots. he continued to run Hezb-e-Islami. April 6, 2006. Institute for War & Peace As a result of the September His outspoken condemnation Reporting. 2005 parliamentary election, Hezb-e- of the invasion of Afghanistan and of www.iwpr.net/?p=arr&s=f&o=260881 Islami has 34 members in the lower the interim government established in house of parliament, making it one of the wake of the September 2001 attacks A powerful faction in the new Afghan the largest groups in the 249-member on the U.S. got him expelled from Iran parliament may still be controlled by a body, according to Wahedyar. and earned him a place on the U.S. gov- man regarded as a terrorist, even by the Given Afghanistan’s chaotic, ernment’s list of most-wanted terrorists. U.S. government. 42 Press for Conversion! (Issue # 59) September 2006 Life in Parliament - 2006 The Fundamentalist Nonsense of “Canadian Values” By Richard Sanders, coordinator, Coa- lition to Oppose the Arms Trade and editor, Press for Conversion! J ust as Prime Minister Jean Chretien CP photo: Tom Hanson had done (in October 2003), Prime Minister Stephen Harper made a surprise, “morale-boosting” visit to Afghanistan (in March, 2006). After narrowly winning Canada’s January elections, Harper was soon off on his first foreign trip. The destination? Af- Prime Minister Stephen Harper gives the thumbs-up to ghanistan! While there, Hamid Karzai became the first foreign head of state media from a U.S. “Blackhawk” helicopter gunship after to shake Harper’s newly-elected hand. visiting Canada’s military base in Kandahar. March 13, 2006. As U.S. helicopter gunships cir- Source: CTV. www.ctv.ca/generic/WebSpecials/canadian_forces/gallery5/image15.html cled noisily overhead, the two smiling Indeed, the spouting of child- speechwriters–seem to have a natural leaders exchanged political pleasant- like truths is a near-glorious pastime in propensity for simplicity in both speech ries. Karzai, whose election owed much which our great, political leaders so of- and thought. They can easily gush to Canada’s diplomatic, military, log- ten excel. Unfortunately, exposing their praise upon Canadian troops for “tak- istical and financial support, dutifully myth-making talk cannot be challenged ing a stand” to promote democracy expressed thanks to Canada for giving: in polite company, such as the media abroad or for carrying on that other ap- “the lives of your sons, for contrib- companies that regularly parrot our parently great national tradition, which uting in money, for contributing in politicians’ utter nonsense. To people Harper, while in Afghanistan, called soldiers and for being one of the big- “doing good when good is required.”2 gest helpers in Afghanistan.”1 In a similarly-simplistic vein, Lt.- During his photo-op laden jour- Col. Tom Doucet, Canada’s “team com- ney to rally public support for the Lib- mander” in the Afghan war zone, eral-initiated war in Afghanistan, summed it up for docile media like this: Harper–like Chretien before him–was “Once we get rid of the bad people, filmed speaking to Canadian soldiers. we can carry on with full force...the He thanked them for “defending Cana- reconstruction and development.”3 da’s national interests,” for “demon- However, neither Doucet nor strating an international leadership role Harper–or, for that matter, the Liberal for our country,” for building democ- “do gooders” who set the whole stage racy, promoting women’s rights and for this horror–ever wonder how Af- To fundamentalists behind protecting Canada from the “threat of ghan’s will ever get “rid of the bad peo- terror [and] the threat of drugs.” Canada’s peacekeeping ple” who now run their government. To Using the kind of Cold War myth, Afghan’s ruling war- the fundamentalists behind Canada’s rhetoric we expect from U.S. presidents, lords are the ‘good guys’ peacekeeping myth, these Islamic ter- Harper said our war in Afghanistan was empowered by rorists and drug barons are the “good “vital...to the free world.” Saying Ca- people” who our blessed democracy our blessed nadians don’t “cut and run,” Harper has empowered to rule Afghanistan. served Canada’s warfighters with a democracy. medley of folksy, sports idioms, talking like Chretien, Martin and Harper, the ar- References: of “stepping up to the plate”and say- dently-held, but sadly-naive, belief in 1. “PM rules out parliamentary vote on ing “you can’t lead from the bleachers.” “Canadian values” amounts to a kind Afghan mission,” March 14, 2006. And, according to Harper, “carp- of sacred doctrine. It is, in effect, a reli- www.cbc.ca/story/world/national/2006/ ing from the sidelines” is also a no-no. gious fundamentalism; the expression 03/14/harper_afghanistan 060314.html It’s just not part of that great “Cana- of an all-too-literal take on the widely- 2. “Address by the Prime Minister to dian tradition” of talking loudly about accepted, official PR line that Canada the Canadian Armed Forces in Af- peace while quietly profiting from wars. is a global force for peace. (Ironically, ghanistan,” March 13, 2006. Apparently though the reduction of our support for “world peace” is more- www.pm.gc.ca/eng/media.asp?id=1056 complex political, economic and and-more being proudly recognized as 3. “Canada committed to Afghan mission, geostrategic issues into simple, black- a function of our military prowess.) Harper tells troops,” March 13, 2006. and-white idiomatic expressions is as Those keepers of the political www.cbc.ca/story/world/national/2006/ Canadian as a good old hockey fight. faith, like Harper–or, at least, his 03/13/harper_afghanistan060313.html September 2006 (Issue # 59) Press for Conversion! 43 Killing “Detestable Murderers places that are unstable and there- fore have acted as hotbeds for sup- and Scumbags,” the Canadian Way porting terrorism.” To use military language, Hillier By Justin Podur and Sonali Kolhatkar. Hillier was explicitly trying to created an “opening” that Major Gen- dispel this image, and not merely with eral Andrew Leslie then exploited at a O n July 11, 2005, with great nu- the tactics of demonization (“detestable conference in August 2005 called ance and tact, Canada’s Chief scumbags”), fear and racism (“they “Handcuffs and Hand Grenades”: of Defence Staff, General Rick detest our freedoms”), and repetition “Afghanistan is a 20-year venture Hillier, described those arrayed against (“they detest our liberties”). Hillier also [but] there are things worth fighting the NATO mission in Afghanistan as: wanted to dispel perceptions of the for. There are things worth dying for. “detestable murderers and scum- Canadian military as a peaceful, humani- There are things worth killing for.” bags, I’ll tell you that up front. They tarian force in world affairs: “We are Explaining why Canada had to be in Af- detest our freedoms, they detest our the Canadian Forces, and our job is to ghanistan for 20 years, Leslie said it society, they detest our liberties.” be able to kill people,” he said. was because “every time you kill an an- This was not Canadian official- Hillier continued the fear cam- gry young man overseas, you’re creat- dom’s typical line on operations abroad. paign: “Osama bin Laden, some time ing 15 more who will come after you.” Canada’s foreign policy is usually pre- ago, indicated Canada was a target.” It doesn’t take a military genius sented publicly as “peacekeeping,” or “As a responsible citizen of the to recognize that Hillier and Leslie are helping “failed states” to build “capac- world, we have been involved in the making self-contradictory statements. ity.” Even Canadian military operations campaign against terrorism and, of If every time Canada kills someone over- are somehow presented as peaceable. course, we try to bring stability to seas it’s creating 15 “angry young Meet Lt. General Rick Hillier, Canada’s Chief Warlord By Richard Sanders, coordinator, Coa- lition to Oppose the Arms Trade and Canada’s editor, Press for Conversion! Rick C anada’s highest-ranking mili- Hillier tary officer says he “never was the wanted to be anything other Deputy than a soldier.”1 “I knew right from the Commanding start what I wanted to be,”2 says Hillier, General whose overwhelming desire to join the armed forces began in early childhood. of the A Globe and Mail puff piece U.S. Army’s presents Hillier as both (a) “a fresh “III Corps.” breed of ‘tell it like it is’ leader [that] the country needs to face the realities of a new world” and (b) a “typical” Canadian: Quotations from General Hillier: “Gen. Hillier’s roots couldn’t be much more Canadian. On Canada in Afghanistan... He began sending earnest letters to the Canadian “These are detestable murderers and scumbags.... They Forces at age 7.... The military wrote back in an effort want to break our society. I actually believe that... It to recruit him.... His imagination just went wild at the doesn’t matter whether we are in Afghanistan or any thought of enlisting in the army.... place in the world. We are going to be a target in their He was in many ways a typical teenage boy, who sights. They detest our freedoms. They detest our soci- would get together with friends to drink beer and ety. They detest our liberties... We’re not going to let shoot a .22 around town.”4 those radical murderers and killers rob from others and Although it’s not clear when this supposedly we’re certainly not going to let them rob from “typical” Canadian teenager began to “drink beer” and Canada...We’re not the public service of Canada, we’re fire a rifle “around town,” we know he was 17 when he not just another department. We are the Canadian Forces left Campbellton, Newfoundland, to join the army.5 and our job is to be able to kill people.”9 The rest, as they say, is history. During his rise to the top of Canada’s military, Hillier even served as the On being a soldier... Deputy Commanding General of the U.S. Army’s “III ”I’m a little uncomfortable with the term warrior. I’m Corps.”6 Nicknamed the “Phantom Corps” and “Ameri- even more uncomfortable with the term peacekeeper.”10 ca’s Hammer,” it is described as “offensive in nature.”7 The Third Corps is based at Fort Hood, Texas, which is On being himself... “billed...the largest military base in the free world.”8 “I’m not smart enough to be anybody else but myself.” 11 44 Press for Conversion! (Issue # 59) September 2006 able scumbags” creates 15 more en- da’s more aggressive posture. emies, should that really be considered The idea is that there are “failed a goal “worth killing for?” states” from which danger “leaks out” Hillier and Leslie’s comments into other areas. Afghanistan fits into can be understood as media operations this scheme as a country with an intended to legitimize a more aggres- “unfortunate history of war and mis- sive military role for Canada in the rule... culminating in the rule of the world. That their speeches sound like Taliban, their support for al-Qaeda warmed-over propaganda scripts of and their attack on New York.” American neoconservatives should not While there may seem to be a be surprising, since the U.S. is the only large space between Graham’s “help- possible contemporary model Canada ing” approach and Hillier/Leslie’s “kill could have for aggressive militarism. people” approach, Canada’s real for- But the comments by the generals are eign policy path is rather narrow: it in- more aggressive than Canada’s official volves supporting and legitimizing U.S. Lt. Gen. Rick Hillier foreign policy doctrine. That doctrine foreign policy, whether through “failed men,” does that make those 15 people was more systematically expounded by state” rhetoric, military support or prof- “detestable scumbags?” If killing is so Canada’s then-Foreign Minister Bill itable arms exports. Canada’s Afghan incredibly counterproductive, does it Graham in a September 2005 speech on mission fits the bill on all counts. make sense to proudly announce that Canada’s Afghan Mission. Source: Excerpt, “Detestable Murder- “our job is to be able to kill people?” In that speech, Graham de- ers and Scumbags: Canada in Afghani- And if every killing of these “detest- scribed the ideology motivating Cana- stan.” www.zmag.org On being “very close friends” How Politicians Responded to with Afghan warlords... Hillier’s “Scumbags” Comment “I was enthralled by the Afghan people.... You “He’s starting to give the pub- had to experience their version of friendship lic an idea that the troops are to understand it. I experienced it from nor- about to go in a dangerous mal people..., right through to President Karzai area and he’s trying to explain himself, and including many of the warlords. why they’re going there in the pursuit of terrorists.” They weren’t necessarily malicious, so we Gordon O’Connor, worked with these folks.... Many of these folks Canada’s Conservative were incredible leaders. Many of them had one Minister of Defence goal: a stronger Afghanistan.... Others went “Controlled anger, given what’s down the road of personal greed, into the drug happened, is an appropriate re- trade.... Some of them became very close sponse. We have a very commit- friends.”10 ted, level-headed head of our armed forces, who isn’t afraid References: to express the passion that un- 1. Gloria Kelly, “Assuming the Top Post,” The Maple Leaf, February derlies the mission that front- 16, 2005. www.dnd.ca/site/community/mapleleaf/vol_8/vol8_07/ 807_03.pdf line personnel are going to be 2. Daniel Leblanc and Shawna Richer, “He’s Armoured, But He’s Not taking on.... A bit of strong lan- Thick,” Globe and Mail, July 30, 2005. guage in the circumstances, I www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/freehead lines/ don’t find that to be wrong.” LAC/20050730 /COVER30/comment/Comment Jack Layton, NDP leader. 3. Wire service interview, July 14 2005. 4. Op. cit., Globe and Mail. “General Hillier is not only 5. Ibid. a top soldier, he...has 6. Chief of Defence Staff. www.cds.forces.gc.ca/pubs/bio_e.asp served in Afghanistan. The 7. U.S. III Corps, Wikipedia point he is simply making is en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._III_Corps we are at war with terror- 8. Fort Hood, Wikipedia en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Hood ism and we’re not going to 9. Op. cit., Wire service interview. let them win.” 10. “Q&A with chief of defence staff Lt.-Gen. Rick Hillier,” MacLeans, April 11, 2005. www.macleans.ca/topstories/canada/ Paul Martin, then-Liberal article.jsp?content=20050407_143846_1476 Prime Minister. 11. Op. cit. Globe and Mail. Source: Canadian Press, July 12. Op. cit., MacLeans. 16, 2005. September 2006 (Issue # 59) Press for Conversion! 45 Putting the “fun” in fundamentalism! A lthough this is not exactly a real photo of President George W. Bush, Extr a! E xtra! Please Order Extra Copies for: he actually did make these • journalists statements: • politicians • teachers “We...discussed the • co-workers importance of a demo- • libraries cracy in the greater • activists Middle East in order to • students leave behind a peaceful • friends tomorrow,” May 10, • clergy 2005. • family, e t c . “The public education system in America is one of the most important foundations of our democracy.... 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