Dispatches

One Day in a Year: Afghan views on International Women’s Day

“The celebration of 8 March is a new concept, but Afghan women’s role in society has been respected for thousands of years,” President Ghani said in his speech for International Women’s Day on 5 March 2015, three days before the date. But if that is true, women’s rights activists asked after the event, why is […]

Photographer in Jail: An example of arbitrary Afghan ‘justice’

President Ghani’s spokesman has told AAN that jailed Afghan photographer Najib Musafer will be released from Pul-e Charkhi, although he gave no date. Musafer took a photograph of girls parading in an Education Day ceremony seven years ago and sold it to a production company which turned it into an image advertising Etisalat telephones. One […]

Impunity and Silence: The meagre reaction to the latest HRW report

Human rights abuses in Afghanistan no longer make big waves outside the really concerned circles. Yesterday (on 3 March 2015), Human Rights Watch released a hard-hitting piece of meticulous research looking at the ease with which gross human rights violations and war crimes are still committed by the powerful in Afghanistan: “Today We Shall All […]

“An attempt to wipe out history”: The destruction of the Bamian Buddha colossi in 2001

On 26 February 2001, the leader of the Afghan Taleban movement, Mullah Muhammad Omar, ordered from his headquarters in Kandahar that “all statues and non-Islamic shrines in the different areas of the Islamic Emirate must be broken” because they were worshipped by people of non-Islamic religious beliefs and were therefore ‘idols.’ This kind of worship, […]

Because of Impunity: UN reports Afghan forces still torturing Afghans

It is two years since UNAMA last reported on torture by Afghan security forces of detainees suspected of conflict-related crimes. In the wake of its 2013 report, former President Karzai was stung into investigating the matter and instituted steps to try to root torture out. ISAF also strengthened its monitoring of detainees it transferred to […]

Electoral Reform, or rather: Who will control Afghanistan’s next election?

President Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah, in the September 2014 agreement, agreed to electoral reforms “to ensure that future elections are credible.” The details of these reforms, when they should take place and who should design them are, however, proving contentious. Meanwhile, parliament has been working on relevant laws, while commissioners of the Independent […]

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