Crime rising in Bush’s ‘new’ Afghanistan

This video from the USA is called Walk to End the Wars, Bill McDannell.

From the Washington Post in the USA:

As Crime Increases in Kabul, So Does Nostalgia for Taliban

By Pamela Constable
Washington Post Foreign Service

Thursday, September 25, 2008; Page A13

KABUL — Mirza Kunduzai, 58, a slight man with a short white goatee, had almost reached his house after a day of trading in the capital’s open-air currency market when his taxi was forced to stop by six heavily armed men dressed in Afghan National Army uniforms. …

Today’s problem, which experts say is intertwined with widespread official corruption, opium trafficking and the get-rich-quick boom of postwar aid and reconstruction, is threatening to destroy public confidence in the government of President Hamid Karzai and drive away what little investment the desperately poor country is attracting. …

In the streets and shops of this sprawling city, many residents say they have virtually stopped going out at night. Wealthy families and traders such as Kunduzai have reported dozens of kidnappings for ransom this year — often by gangs they believe to be members of the security forces.

The burgeoning drug trade, by which Afghan opium reaches international markets and provides more than 75 percent of the world’s heroin, has brought ever-more weapons and wealth into the criminal orbit, corrupting cooperative officials and eliminating scrupulous ones.

Two weeks ago, Alim Hanif, the chief judge of the country’s Central Narcotics Tribunal and a man known for rare honesty in a graft-ridden system, was assassinated in Kabul. Officials said he had received numerous phone and text messages warning him to acquit a suspected drug dealer or face death.

Another problem is the continued sway of militia bosses who fought Soviet troops in the 1980s and still command groups of armed loyalists in the capital and other cities. According to diplomatic reports, some of these groups are involved in private security forces that extort money from wealthy businesspeople; others are police or other public security officers who use their uniforms and weapons to abet a variety of crimes.

“The government is weak, and it has an enormously high level of tolerance for crime, abuse and corruption,” said Nader Nadery, an official of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission. “If you have power and money, you don’t have to account for your actions. Instead of the rule of law, there is a state of impunity, which is one of the factors contributing to the growth of the Taliban.”

Although Taliban fighters routinely hang and behead people in rural areas, the growth of crime and the lack of justice are the reasons most frequently cited by Afghans who support the reconstituted Islamist militia. More and more, people here look back to the era of harsh Taliban rule from 1996 to 2001, describing it as a time of security and peace.

One group whose lives and livelihoods now face constant danger from armed criminals are the truckers and bus drivers who ply the highways between Kabul and the major provincial cities of Herat, Kandahar and Jalalabad. Although vulnerable to Taliban attack, the drivers say they are just as often ambushed and robbed by well-armed thieves.

Mohammed Hussain, 40, was driving one of two passenger buses traveling together on a lonely stretch of highway from Herat to Kabul last week when heavily armed men attacked about 4 a.m. The gang shot at Hussain’s fleeing bus, leaving bullet holes in the windows, and stopped the second bus, forcing it off the road and into a village. There they searched every passenger at gunpoint, confiscating money and jewelry.

“I was lucky. I had 57 passengers, including women and children,” Hussain said. “The thieves wait for us in the dark, and they have powerful weapons. If we go to the police for help, they are either scared or involved in crime themselves. In the Taliban time, the roads were totally safe. You could drive anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day. Now, you take your life in your hands every time you leave on a trip.”

In the Taliban time, Afghanistan had theocratic tyranny. Now, in George W. Bush’s time, Afghanistan has a similar theocratic tyranny, plus a lot more violence, crime, and corruption.

6 thoughts on “Crime rising in Bush’s ‘new’ Afghanistan

  1. UN pays lip-service to civilian casualties — and reauthorizes their murderers
    [T]he U.N. Security Council on Monday . . . urge[d] the NATO-led force to make efforts to minimize such casualties. The body also voted unanimously to extend the mission in Afghanistan.

    Echoes of Vietnam war
    The strikes against Pakistan represent — like the decisions of President Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, to bomb and then invade Cambodia — a desperate bid to salvage a war that was never good, but has now gone badly wrong.

    U.S. tortured Afghan journalist for 11 months
    “I was tortured and jailed for 11 months and 20 days for doing nothing. They have destroyed my future, my soul. I’ll fight until they apologize to me and give me back what I have lost”.

    Police kill Pakistani protesters
    Pakistani police shot dead five people in the volatile northwestern Swat Valley during a protest against the alleged killing of children in a military operation.

    More resistance on the way
    “There’s going to be a winter offensive in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. It’s not just a war in Afghanistan. It’s a war in both countries.”


  2. GI Resistance: Iraq and Afghanistan are same war

    People internationally are looking to the U.S. antiwar movement to take up these demands and really fight to end the war in Iraq and end the war in Afghanistan, because the U.S. government is not going to stop in this agenda that it has. . . . To me, it’s the same war. It’s about the same things. The excuses that they’re using are as unjustified in Afghanistan as in Iraq.


  3. Afghan blow-back
    The escalating insurgency in Afghanistan is being spearheaded by a trio of warlords who came to prominence in the CIA-backed war to oust the Soviets but who now direct attacks against U.S. forces from havens in Pakistan. . . . “[W]e have assumed the place of the Soviets.”,0,7634578.story

    US-backed attacks force 20,000 Pakistanis into Afghanistan
    Tens of thousands of civilians have fled into other parts of Pakistan as a result of the 2-month-old offensive.,1,387804.story


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