Kabul: 1:07 AM      
Welcome to Kabul:Reconstructions. You can follow the information below, which has been gathered from a number of sources by a number of participants (click on the names at left for bios), to reconstruct your own picture of events in Kabul since this site was launched on March 8th, 2003 and, in a sense, since the reconstruction of Afghanistan began somewhere in the winter of 2001-02.

Some of this information has been provided in response to specific questions submitted by visitors like you. Please note that this section of the project is now maintained as an archive and has not been updated since 2005. Click here to ASK A QUESTION.

Mariam Ghani
Zohra Saed
Massoud Hosseini
Nassima Mustafa
Bibigol Ghani
Arian Mouj Sharifi
Soraia Ghani

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Meanwhile, in the tent cities near Peshawar (Independent, Afghan Islamic Press)
The Independent (London) December 22, 2003, Monday CHRISTMAS APPEAL: PASHTUN EXILES STRANDED IN TENT CITY AS BANDITS AND WARLORDS KEEP A GRIP ON THEIR HOMELAND By JAN MCGIRK IN PESHAWAR JALOZAI CAMP was supposed to be temporary, a no-frills sanctuary of DIY mud huts where Afghan families could take refuge while war convulsed their own country next door. But nearly a quarter of a century after the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, this desolate camp, built on wasteland near the Peshawar city limits in Pakistan, has become a permanent fixture. An entire generation has spent their lives here in transition, while peace eludes Afghanistan and waves of new refugees arrive. Rahima left rural Paghman province in Afghanistan 14 years ago to shelter in Jalozai camp, an immense walled slum where her nine-member family continues to live. Runny-nosed youngsters with kohl-rimmed eyes play tag there in the narrow streets. Women walk in pairs to the shops, some wearing full burqas. All the residents share a Pashtun heritage, members of a tribe renowned as fierce warriors and lavish hosts who zealously guard their women and avenge any slight. "Living on handouts was so demeaning," Rahima told me, "but we came with absolutely nothing. After we were refused entry at the Pakistan border, we had to walk along a hilly track for two weeks and sneak in." On arrival in Pakistan, Rahima, one of an estimated 1.1 million Afghan exiles still living in refugee camps in Pakistan, received a tent and two quilts, plus one sack each of beans, flour, and rice. She had to build their basic hut from scratch. Electricity was installed much later, and most refugees pay exorbitant rates for power because the wiring in their dwellings is jerry-rigged and inefficient. Ockenden International, one of the three charities selected for the Independent's 2003 Christmas Appeal, distributes emergency relief at six camps in north- west Pakistan to Afghan refugees such as Rahima, but it offers more than a quick fix. The organisation also promotes self-sufficiency among these displaced communities by teaching vocational skills and management strategies. Rahima now supplies woven handicrafts to fair trade shops, working with her daughters, while her four sons are novice tailors. Arrullah, her eldest, left to open a tailor shop in Afghanistan because his new bride, Hamida, could not abide the cramped quarters with the in-laws in Jalozai. While one of Ockenden's goals is to ease the way to repatriation, many of the long-stay refugees in Peshawar are reluctant to uproot again. Journeying back to their homeland, carrying all the family jewellery and with their life savings stuffed in their pockets, the returnees are extremely vulnerable to robbery and often have no idea whether their abandoned homes are still standing after so many years away. Roads, electricity and water are scarce, and there is little chance of employment or decent health care outside Kabul. Yet some of the Jalozai families are trickling back across the border. You can see where they have dismantled the upper storeys of their mud huts, packing up door knobs, nails and even the support timbers. Wiring is stripped away, and light bulbs are carefully padded for transport. More than 32,000 families have left Pakistan's north-west frontier to try their luck again in Afghanistan since March this year. Some already have given up and returned for the winter, hoping spring will bring gentler temperatures and more secure roads. After an aid worker was murdered near Ghazni last month, the United Nations suspended its resettlement efforts. In Peshawar, there is little overt resentment of the camp-dwellers because their wretched history is common knowledge. By 1984, the Soviet army was poisoning wells, killing livestock and carpet-bombing the Afghan countryside. When Soviet fighter bombers struck even the border towns, half the civilian population of Afghanistan fled. At the end of a debilitating trek through the Khyber Pass, Afghans could find safety in Peshawar, the Pashtun metropolis in Pakistan. Afghans who stayed at home faced marauding warlords with private ethnic armies who rocketed the cities, then suffered five years of brutal Taliban rule, three years of acute drought and a resurgence of the warlords. Even two years after the American bombardment ousted the Taliban, security is illusory outside of Kabul. Cautionary tales about heading home make the rounds. One single mother with an only child returned to Kabul from a refugee camp last autumn, and promptly was robbed and stabbed by half a dozen assailants. The refugee testified to Human Rights Watch: "I had spent all of my savings to repair the house, and I didn't have much jewellery. They took all of that ... As they were asking me over and over where the money was, they took a bayonet and stabbed me. These wounds weren't too deep; they were just to scare me. At the end ... they stabbed me below my collarbone. It took eight stitches to close the wound." Some 1.9 million refugees have returned to Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban, an enormous influx in such a devastated country. But a sizeable middle-class emigre community of Afghan traders and businessmen thrives in Pakistani cities. Sympathy has its limits. There are frequent grumbles about Afghan refugees who are willing to labour for less than basic pay in order to eat. Mohammad Siddiqi, an office worker from Peshawar, said: "It is not as if the average Pakistani is rich. We want them to resettle in their country soon." Plans to isolate these exiles in makeshift holding centres in the tribal zone aroused the concerns of rights activists. Shalman camp is considered particularly hellish. Its inmates must return to Afghanistan by March or disperse to other refugee centres. Seeking sanctuary in Pakistan does not end the upheaval of exile.

A group describing themselves as the Centre of Black Flags has circulated a leaflet slamming the policy of the current Afghan leaders, US support and the Loya Jerga. ANTI-US LEAFLET SLAMS AFGHAN JERGA AND TRANSITIONAL GOVERNMENT Afghan Islamic Press (in Pashto) Peshawar, Pakistan December 15, 2003 16:05 gmt Peshawar: In recent days, a leaflet has been issued by a group called the Centre of Black Flags (Markazol Reyatol Sud) in certain Afghan refugee camps in Peshawar and its surroundings. This declaration is being sent to you. It should be said that the said group has distributed such declarations before, but at the end the declaration claimed that they issue these declarations from the mountains inside Afghanistan. [Start of flyer]: Two years of the ongoing global crusades and Afghanistan's second Islamic revolution have passed. It is clear to everyone that these battles are led by coward imperialists, bearer and mother of global terrorism America and the jackal Bush. And now America has completely got entangled in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Islamic nation is moving across sensitive and huge events of the history, and Muslims are facing such disgrace, imprisonment and crises in which they all have lost the way to get out of the current crisis. Some have accepted the slavery and those who demanded for freedom were imprisoned in Guantanamo prisons in Cuba. The devil and arrogant powers of the world and Christians have jointly started war and different conspiracies against Islam and the Muslims under the guise of war against terrorism, and they are seriously working on their conspiracies to achieve objectives of their Jews friends. They have occupied the land of Haramen (Mecca and Medina), they want to establish their global Jewish, Christian parliament in Bait-ol Moqaddas (Jerusalem) and they disgrace and sexually abuse the Afghan girls and innocent children. They shed blood of innocent Iraqis in Iraq. The devils of Egypt and Saudi Arab have imprisoned innocent youths. They (Americans) have directly or indirectly created mischief and problems in every Islamic land. Muslims are being sentenced everywhere because of Islam. Some of them have been martyred, while some have been exiled and are now living like lions in the mountains of Afghanistan. They have occupied the sacred and brave land of Afghan martyrs for the past two years. They do whatever and wherever they want without any restriction or condition. They are allowed to enter every house. No-one can ask them why or how. The coward imperialistic Americans have even managed to entrap the Afghan Mojahed nation in their slavery trap. Now they have also started dramas and conspiracies under the name of Loya Jerga, constitution and elections. They want to legally convince and conquer all Afghans and Muslims for their own thraldom and obedience. Jews and Americans believe that principally the entire humanity has been created for their slavery. They want to enforce their own laws and rules instead of Allah's in every country and region. Those who don't accept their slavery are being stamped with a certain name in order to provide a reason to attack them. And in this manner, they have enslaved the entire world one by one. The hypocrite and apostate government of Islamabad started the crusades and completely cooperated with the Americans, and thus lost its prestige and reputation in the history. It proved its hypocrisy and wickedness to the whole Muslim world and sold Afghanistan and Mojahedin to the Christians. Afghanistan was occupied first by Islamabad then by Washington. If Americans were not supported by Islamabad, even a single American helicopter could not land in Afghanistan. But besides all these things, the government of Islamabad, Iran, Syria and Saudi Arab should also wait for their turn after Iraq. Americans apply the words terrorism and terrorist to everyone who safeguards and defends his religion, country, dignity and wants to live a free life under the concept of humanity. America calls her slavery the freedom, in her view the justice means imperialism and righteousness means corruption, erosion and might. We by representing the whole Afghan Mojahed nation say that 'Loya Jerga is a huge conspiracy': Loya Jerga, elections and constitution are such deceiving topics by which they (Americans) beguile and convince foolish, coward and slave Afghans. Americans have come to Afghanistan to implement the system they want. They don't allow any one to choose what they want, and they don't give freedom to anyone. They form such showy Jergas to legalize their presence in the eyes of people and enslave them by legal means. Loya Jerga and elections are, in fact, Americans' huge conspiracy which also demonstrates America's objectives. In Loya Jerga, people are being elected and imposed on this nation by America and CIA. Everything has already been set up, and every one (Jerga delegate) has already been assigned to each task. They only make a showy film in order to gain a legal foundation and then impose it legally on the nation. Neither any Afghan is agreed with such Loya Jergas and constitution nor has the nation elected these people (Jerga members). If the right and opportunity of demanding freedom and speech is given to afghans, then you will see that whom the Afghans elect and which constitution they want? In fact, it is an imposed Loya Jerga and constitution which have been elected by the CIA. And Afghans and Muslims of the world are obliged to accept such conspiracies by the force of B-52. These are the great conspiracies and war that are being carried out. How can it be a National Army or National Police which are directly formed, financed by Americans? All posts are being formed by their own choice, and everything they order are being implemented. Then how can it be judged a National Army. How can it be National Army, National Police, Loya Jerga and national constitution which are being imposed on nation by use of force and wealth? Which freedom demands for such things? Wala Haula Wala Qwata (an Arabic expression) If it is a real National army, National Police or Loya Jerga and if the nation is happy with the puppet regime of Kabul, then America should stop supporting these puppets and we will see whether this regime stands on nation's power or on US feet and support. We believe the slave Kabul regime has very short life. You should bear in mind that the Kabul regime will collapse simultaneously with America's withdrawal. Kabul regime is, in fact, a system written on snow and doesn't have any effective concept or reality. It is an imposed servant regime, and even if it lasts long it will melt within four years. Afghans are not agree and happy with Americans and present system, and they are only waiting for an opportunity to revolt. They are looking for how to get out of current situation and how can they revolt? The constitution is a basic conspiracy and mischief: Formation of constitution is a fundamental way and conspiracy to permanently enslave all Afghans and give them a puppet constitution. They (Americans) want to enslave the Afghans legally under the light of this constitution. In connection with the constitution we will say that this constitution has been made by America and a few servant and apostate persons for benefits of America. It is a great conspiracy imposed on Afghans so that US could give a legal shape and status to its puppet regime and legalize its invasion and presence in Afghanistan. By playing such games, they want to beguile people and keep them engaged and away from them (Americans.) Those who believe on such subjects and their authenticity and genuineness are the most foolish, nonreligious and unconscious people. Such people have completely lost their Afghani, Islamic and even humanitarian identity, consciousness and distinction. They seem human beings, but in reality and with regard to faith, morality, spirituality and identity they are slaves, servants, apostates and like animals. In a situation when the country is occupied, Americans are searching and disgracing women and children in every home, martyrs are lying in the mountains with their bodies besmeared with blood and Bagram and Kandahar are full of prisoners, what does a Loya Jerga or constitution mean? There is need of a huge wonder and regret on such people and situation. Which conscience makes such judgments or demands for such things? Had a single view or opinion been taken during compilation of constitution? What do you think; are Afghans agreed with America's invasion and presence in their country? No never. Had there been consultations with any conscientious Afghan? No never. All these topics are being imposed by US and these are different American conspiracies and wars. There is no need to form constitution in Afghanistan. The constitution of our Mojahed Afghan nation is known from past which has been approved by God and has been revealed on Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) 1400 years ago for the prosperity, guidance and success of all mankind and which is effective till the Day of Judgment. Revolutions are going on everywhere in the world for sovereignty of this constitution and Allah's order. For the implementation of this constitution, we have had second Islamic revolution during last 20 years, and we have given 1.5 million martyrs for this sacred objective. For the sovereignty of this constitution, prisons of Guantonamo, Bagram, Kandahar, Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabs are full of prisoners. Thus how can Afghans accept any other constitution now? Drafting and approval of any other constitution in the presence of Holy Quran is no doubt blasphemy. It is neither acceptable for any one nor has it any meaning or concept. All articles of this US-made constitution are clearly contradictory and incompatible with Islam. Nationalism never requires Islamic laws, there are no borders of land in Islam, there is no democracy in Islam, and there is no mixed men and women system in Islam. In short, all these articles have been placed to end Islamic foundation. If it is not true, then why this constitution has been formed? Why is there any need for another law in presence of Islamic law? Every one who doesn't judge what has been revealed by Allah is infidels (Koran's verses). Every one who compiles and approves a single law and other people obey him in their acts then the obeying people are called servants of those who formed the constitution. The one who forms this constitution is called their lord. The former of this constitution is their Allah, and the way the fallow is considered to be their religion. As a principle, it is a common draft and every one should choose his life in the light of this draft and should recognize his identity, and should realize whom should he obey. The practical life of all existing humanity is included in this principle. So everyone who accepts constitution of Bush, America and their coward servants is America's slave and the one who accepts the constitution of Allah is the slave of Allah. It is of extreme regret and wonder that such people have been created by God, they live on his earth, and He gives them everything. These people will finally go to Allah's court and will soon face him to get their rewards. So, why don't they become the slaves (worshippers) of God, but instead they become the slaves and Americans and their slaves. Finally, it is repeatedly declared that Jehad is an obligation and parents' permission is not pre-requisite in this regard. There is need of choosing an independent, sacred entrenchment and a battle- array to fulfil this obligation (Jehad). And anyone who cooperates with Americans either by speech or by Loya Jerga and accepts the constitution has deviated from Islam and deserves to be killed and is excluded from Ebrahimi nation. Now America has lost its prestige as well as power by all means and has politically become alone. Financially, America has been sixty per cent shrunk. From military aspect, you can observe it in Iraq and Afghanistan in which US face intense resistance and casualties. They (Americans) have been restricted to their own caves. Their dreams are burning like petroleum, gas of Afghanistan and their all lusts are about to drown in Amu River. Muslims should never be worried and, God willing, America will soon collapse as USSR in Afghanistan and in the entire world. US collapse in Afghanistan is due and must. God willing, Afghanistan will become second Vietnam for America. Afghanistan will be their (Americans) third grave next to Britain and Russians. No imperialist has ever passed more than ten years in Afghanistan and has been not able to swallow that country and make Afghans slaves. Afghans can be hired but can neither be purchased nor can be enslaved. Ultimately, we tell America and Crusades neither compromise nor disgrace is acceptable for us. In the way of Islam, we consider imprisonment as austerity, exile as tourism and death as martyrdom. Be healthy anyone who is obedient of the right way. (Translation of Arabic verses) By: Centre of black flags from the mountains of Afghanistan.
Posted By: mariam   January 17th 2004, 2004 3:47 PM

Kabul: Partial Reconstructions is an installation and public dialogue project that explores the multiple meanings and resonances of the idea of reconstruction -- as both process and metaphor -- in the context of present-day Kabul.

www.kabul-reconstructions.net is an online discussion forum, information resource, and medium for the communication of questions and answers about the reconstruction between people inside and outside the city of Kabul itself.