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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.
Arian Mouj Sharifi
Note: The speaker in the photograph isn't any of the following, but actually Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai.
Afghan delegate calls on government not to employ Pakistani nationals Afghanistan Television (in Pashto) Kabul, Afghanistan December 23, 2003 12:05 [Sehera] In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. With the permission of Loya Jerga's deputy chairman, with the permission of respectable sisters and brothers, I am a representative of women from the [southern] Khost Province. I will not speak on general issues because the views expressed for two days have been about the problems that Afghanistan is facing in general. Every Afghan province has been damaged in wars. I will mention only two specific points about education, because education, in my opinion, is the basic solution to all problems. About the education in Khost, I should say that we have only one so- called girls' high school in the capital of Khost Province which is indeed a high school in name. We have primary learners and teachers only. However, this does not mean there are no women teachers in Khost. We have people who have Master degrees and PhDs but unfortunately they have some problems. One of there problems is that they live in villages and have no means to come to the [provincial] capital. Secondly, they want to have a place to live if they come to the capital. There are government houses in the capital which need little repair. If the government authorities pay attention to either provide them with some means of [transport] or repair these houses with a minimum cost, the high school can be revived. I strongly request the education minister and other authorities to pay attention to revive and maintain this high school, because this is the only high school for the girls from where they can qualify for the Khost University, this is the only high school for all the affairs of women and every issue related with a woman life. Secondly, we have primary schools in many districts of Khost. The students graduate from these schools after completing grade six. After grade six, these students stay at their homes. This problem is again connected with this high school, because they have no transport or other means to continue their education. I draw the Education Ministry's special attention to this problem. Another issue is the same as one of our sisters mentioned this morning that respectable Karzai says there are 30,000 Pakistanis working in Afghanistan. Supporting this sisters comments, I say there are experts and professionals in the country who can replace these Pakistanis. These Pakistanis, on one hand work for us, but on the other hand they have political aims. I have heard it from respectable Karzai on Khost radio that a boy had been arrested who was given 2,000 Afghanis [currency] to plant explosive material. Had this brother been employed in his country, he would not have planted explosives to get 2,000 Afghanis. I urge them [authorities] to employ their own experts rather then foreigners. Thank you
Dr. Sima Samar, head of the human rights commission addresses the Loya Jerga Afghanistan Television (in Dari) Kabul, Afghanistan December 27, 2003 05:55 [Sima Samar's voice in Dari] In the name of God of brotherhood and equality. Sisters, brothers, cabinet members, chairman of the board and members of the constitution commission, good morning, and peace be upon you. I hope you are not tired and I hope my talks will not make you bored. I want to take this opportunity to inform respectable delegates about the Afghan Human Rights Commission and to tell them what we do. I also ask them to help us and give guidance to us in our task. The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission is part of the Bonn agreements. We first started our work on 9 March 2002, when Mary Robertson, the [former] UN human rights high commissioner, had come to mark the 8th March with us. Then we had our first workshop. In that workshop, we worked on the issue of how to establish the human rights commission in Afghanistan. [Passage omitted on the establishment of the commission] We are also working with the respectable Interior Ministry to train the police. We should train the police to observe the human rights. Unfortunately, it is common in our country that when police either rightly on wrongly arrests someone, it has the right to beat and torture him. Our newly trained police should be taught that they, as police and as defendants of law, they have no rights to beat and torture other human even if he is a criminal. However, this will take time. We also have a monthly publication in which we have published all the [human rights] conventions in Dari and Pashto languages so that the people can read them. We have fortnightly programmes on radio and television to promote public awareness. But you know that there still are a lot of difficulties in Afghanistan. Even if we increase our publications and broadcast, it is difficult to educate every area of the country. In fact, [defending] human rights is not only the responsibility of the commission with its 200 personnel, but also it is the responsibility of everyone in Afghanistan. The human dignity of all people living in Afghanistan should be observed. The term human rights is said to be a western or western oriented term. I think it is incorrect. We as humans living on this land have rights, the God gifted inalienable rights such as the right of freedom of speech, the right to live, the right to have education and health [facilities], the right to shelter, the right to food and water. These are all the human rights. No one has presented these rights to us. These are rights which are given to humans by God. Therefore, the humans must be given their rights. States and relevant organs must try to give people these rights. Second objective of our work is women's rights. We do not want unlimited and boundless freedoms for Afghan women. We want the human dignity of women to be observed. The Afghan women should no more be sold. Women in Afghanistan should no more be traded. Women in Afghanistan should no more be smuggled. Women in Afghanistan should no more be given to compensate a murder her father or brother has committed. These issues should be clarified in the constitution and the constitution must guarantee that if this happens, if a woman is given to compensate a murder, or if she is sold, the criminal is punished. This should be guaranteed in the constitution. It is not enough to just condemn it. [Third objective of the commission about the children rights is omitted] Forth objective of the commission is to investigate human rights violations. Besides promoting human rights and spreading awareness, the commission also investigates the human rights violations in Afghanistan. I regretfully mention that there are so many violations that it is difficult for the commission to investigate all of them. Therefore, I ask the delegates to help the commission to stop violations and to stop the culture of amnesty [Dari: Muafiat]. We receive reports and investigate the events, but the commission itself has no executive powers. We do not have police, we do not have jails and courts, and it is good we do not have them, so we refer the cases to government sources that follow the case. The government takes some of the incidents serious, but unfortunately, some cases remain unattended. When the cases are not followed and the criminal is not brought to trial, there continues to be amnesty culture and others [criminals] keep doing wrong deeds. The incident in [southern] Badghis [Province], for example, where there was a clash last spring in which a number of women and children dived into the river and were drowned to escape sexual assault and violence. Investigation was made and suggestions were given, but the criminal, the person involved in the incident was not brought to justice. There will be no peace in Afghanistan unless there is social justice in the country. Without social justice, there will be no peace, rather there will be despotism and violence and people will be forced not to raise their voice. The [results of] human rights investigations, both about the jails and other incidents, are declared on radio, television, and in publications. We request the government to take swift actions in this regard and end the amnesty culture in Afghanistan in order for the criminals to know that they will face justice, court and trials and they will be accounted so that they stop committing such actions. [Passage omitted on the fifth objective of the commission on forced marriages] The Afghan human rights independent commission has no hostility with any specific groups, political party, or individual. We are against anarchy, injustice and lawlessness. As an association struggling to get the country rid of lawlessness and lead it towards the rule of law and meritocracy [Dari: Shaista salary]. The people should finally have the right to live and breathe without any fear of their houses being robbed or children being kidnapped on the way to schools. We are working to bring such a situation. We do not oppose anyone in particular, but we do oppose any kind of despotic regimes. Thank you all. If you have any questions, I am ready to answer. [There were no questions]
USTAD SAYYAF PROPOSES METHOD TO SIMPLIFY DEBATE Afghanistan Television (in Dari) Kabul, Afghanistan December 28, 2003 11:10 gmt Text of speech by Abdorrab Rasul Sayyaf, an Afghan Jehadi leader, made in Afghan Constitutional Loya Jerga: (Abdorrab Rasul Sayyaf) In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. (Chairman of the Constitutional Loya Jerga Sebghatollah Mojaddedi) Brothers, Ustad Sayyaf wants to say something, let us listen) (Sayyaf) With the permission of respected Mojaddedi, the chairman of the Loya Jerga, I would like to say a few words about the activities (of the coordination committee) and I will then present my suggestion to the leadership (of the Loya Jerga). As you know, all the members of the Loya Jerga were divided into 10 committees and you were all members of these 10 committees. None of you were excluded. As Mr Mojaddedi mentioned earlier, what the coordination committee did was to collect the votes and suggestions of you, respected representatives. After that, the coordination commission worked to separate out the articles of the constitution which have been confirmed (by representatives) according to the draft (constitution). These articles do not need to be discussed here. Round about 100 articles have been confirmed to be the same as they were in the draft constitution. Amendments were proposed to a number of articles. If these suggestions for amendments were made by a minority of one or two committees, and the other committees confirmed the original text in the draft, (decisions adopted by) the coordination committee were based on the votes of the majority. The list of contents will tell you more about that later. A majority of committees proposed amendments to a number of other articles. The coordination committee has taken (the opinions of) the majority as reliable and the committee will present you with the amendments suggested by seven, eight or nine committees. In this case, you are the people who will make the final decision on confirming and approving these articles. Only one or two or a maximum of three articles will need your final decisions and suggestions. Therefore, everything has almost been completely organized and my suggestion is that the leadership of the Loya Jerga should first announce the breakdown (Dari: Taqsim Bandi). The leadership of the Loya Jerga should let you know which articles have been decided (and approved) by the 10 committees, so that you can put them aside. The leadership should inform you about the number of articles which have been amended according to the suggestions of the majority of committees. Only two or three articles were difficult for the (coordination) committee to take a decision on and opt for one group (of opinions) rather than another. Once you understand the process, then it is easy and all our discussions could possibly be concluded within three or four hours. My suggestion is that the respected leadership of the Loya Jerga should organize the process and let you know about it so that you understand that these, some 100 articles, do not need to be discussed as you have all confirmed them in your committees. Your representatives, chairmen, deputy chairmen and secretaries of your committees have held sessions chaired by Mr Mojaddedi and have agreed on one main point based on the opinions of the majority. Then you will realize there are two or three articles which have not yet been resolved. Once you know about this breakdown, you will have a general idea of your work and everything will be concluded within two or three hours. My suggestion is that (the leadership of the Loya Jerga) should let you know about the breakdown either by explaining or distributing papers (among the representatives). This would ease our work and remove differences of opinion between representatives. This was my suggestion and this is the point you should understand about the coordination committee. May peace and the blessings of God be upon you. (Mojaddedi) Thanks Ustad Sayyaf, that was kind of you.
My note: Sayyaf was one of the most notorious jihadi commanders during the civil war, who made a play to regain/consolidate his former power during the Loya Jirga to limited success.
QUOTES FROM AFGHAN PRESS The following is a selection of quotes from Pashto- and Dari-language newspapers:
Erada (Independent daily): "The more committees are established for the supervision of government activities, the more interference and criticism will arise. Then we cannot expect to be able to accomplish our duties independently as required. Furthermore, by having several committees and councils, the jobs not only cannot be accomplished effectively, but will also face obstacles..." (From editorial) (29 Dec)
Anis (Government-funded daily): "We never accept another authority under the title of advisory or guardian council. If such a council is approved, people will strike against it and the security of our system will confront danger yet again." (From an article by Abdul Hamid Mubarez) (29 Dec)
Eqtedar-e Melli (Independent daily): "It is more than five days that the Coordination Committee has become dubious and a question has arisen as to what difficulties and challenges the Coordination Committee has been faced with." "Some representatives in the Loya Jerga have expressed their concerns that the Coordination Committee describes its decisions as final and they will just announce the report of their work to the representatives in the Loya Jerga. On the contrary, others are optimistic -" (From editorial) (28 Dec)
Eqtedar-e Melli (Independent daily): "We want to be an advisory helping body to the government" (By jehadi leaders) (28 Dec)
Rah-e Nejat (Independent weekly): "In the Constitutional Grand Assembly, the most debatable issue is that of the parliamentary and presidential systems - the proponents of both systems exceed the limits and even accuse one another using words which are not in keeping with the respect and dignity of the assembly - It would have been much favourable had these two factions observed mutual respect and maintained a favourable atmosphere in the Loya Jerga." (From editorial) (27 Dec)
Rah-e Nejat (Independent weekly): "That woman (Malalai Juya) should
say sorry to me because her speech provoked such resentment that the
Loya Jerga was about to be disrupted. We recognize those who make such
attempts and would like to defame Afghanistan as well as a the leader
of the Loya Jerga." (By Sebghatollah Mojaddedi) (27 Dec)
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.