Afghan antiwar MP Malalai Joya interviewed

This is a video of a demonstration in Australia against the war in Afghanistan.

By Steven Littlewood:

October 9, 2009 — Malalai Joya has been described as “the bravest woman in Afghanistan”. A long-term opponent of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) presence in her country, Malalai Joya first rose to prominence through a heartfelt and controversial speech in 2003 that was an indictment of the powerful positions gifted to Afghan warlords by the US-led coalition. She was elected to the Afghan parliament in 2005 and continued her campaign against war criminals and fundamentalists there until being suspended in 2007 for criticising fellow MPs. Activists Noam Chomsky and Naomi Klein are amongst those who have called for her reinstatement.

In spite of four attempts on her life and having to live under constant protection, Joya continues her campaign against the government of Hamid Karzai, its fundamentalist allies and its Western backers. I spoke to her during the recent presidential election, which is still in contention and has been condemned by international observers.

American troops in Afghanistan losing heart, say army chaplains: here.

Professor Noam Chomsky may be among America’s most enduring anti-war activists. But the leftist intellectual’s anthology of post 9/11 commentary is taboo at Guantánamo’s prison camp library, which offers books and videos on Harry Potter, World Cup soccer and Islam: here. And here.

Obama, Afghanistan and Vietnam, cartoon by Paresh Nath, The Khaleej Times, UAE

Japan said on Tuesday that it will end its support for the US occupation of Afghanistan and pull its naval ships out of the Arabian Sea in the New Year: here.

KABUL, Afghanistan — As experts pore over ballots to determine whether the fraud in this country’s presidential election was so big that a runoff vote was required, many Afghans interviewed here on Tuesday shared the same view: Why bother? Here.

Purnima Bose, writing for the September/October issue of Solidarity’s Against the Current, recounts the life history and unhappy ending for a uniquely American creation in Afghanistan, the Kabul Beauty Academy. Bose writes, “It is difficult not to read the ignoble demise of the Kabul Beauty Academy as a metaphor for U.S. policy in Afghanistan. With a great deal of fanfare, good intentions, and little actual knowledge of the local culture in spite of decades of meddling in the country’s internal affairs, American experts descended on Afghan soil. However long and deep the American commitment to rebuilding Afghanistan proves to be, and with what consequences for Afghans, remains an open question.” Read Bose’s article here.

Britain: Prime Minister Gordon Brown has run into hostile fire from MPs for sending 500 extra British troops to the killing fields of Afghanistan: here. And here.

Several reports from the frontlines of Afghanistan this month provide an insight into the growing demoralisation among US and British soldiers: here.

Dutch Afghanistan veterans in prisons: here.

The election crisis in occupied Afghanistan has intensified as the commission responsible for declaring final results refused to accept findings of a UN-backed investigative panel that would force a run-off: here.

The Obama administration and its European allies have stepped up pressure on Afghan President Hamid Karzai to reach a political settlement in order to resolve the crisis over the fraudulent August 20 election: here.

5 thoughts on “Afghan antiwar MP Malalai Joya interviewed

  1. Problems beset Afghan vote recount

    By ROBERT H. REID and HEIDI VOGT (AP) – 3 hours ago

    KABUL — Efforts to resolve Afghanistan’s fraud-marred presidential election suffered new setbacks Monday when one of two Afghans on the commission looking into alleged cheating resigned over “foreign interference” and U.N. officials acknowledged that errors and miscommunication had plagued the investigation.

    Allegations of widespread fraud in the Aug. 20 balloting threaten to scuttle the international strategy to combat the burgeoning Taliban insurgency at a time when public support for the war in the United States and Western Europe is waning.

    The U.S. and its international partners are anxious for a U.N.-backed commission to wrap up its investigation into fraud charges and determine whether President Hamid Karzai won or must face second-place finisher Abdullah Abdullah in a runoff.

    One of the two Afghans on the commission, Maulavi Mustafa Barakzai, said he was resigning because the three foreigners on the panel — one American, one Canadian and one Dutch — were “making all decisions on their own.”

    A spokeswoman for the Electoral Complaints Commission, Nellika Little, rejected Barakzai’s allegation, saying the Afghan commissioner “was an integral part of the commission” and took part “equally in all commissioner meetings.” She said the resignation “will not distract” the group from completing its investigation.

    Barakzai would not elaborate on his allegations against his non-Afghan colleagues, and it appeared the highly public resignation might be a bid by Karzai’s supporters to discredit the commission.

    Preliminary results released last month showed Karzai winning with about 54 percent of the vote. If the complaints commission voids enough ballots, Karzai could be forced into a runoff if his percentage falls below 50 percent.

    Reporters were told of Barakzai’s resignation and his news conference by members of the Karzai campaign. Barakzai was appointed by the Afghan Supreme Court, whose judges were named to their posts by the president.

    U.N. spokesman Aleem Siddique called the resignation “regrettable” but said the U.N. continues to trust that the group will produce a fair outcome.

    “We have full confidence in the ECC as the important work continues,” Siddique said, adding that the U.N. “stands by the work that they are doing on behalf of the Afghan people.”

    Barakzai’s resignation was the latest in a series of problems that have confounded the electoral process since the election, the first run by the Afghans since the war began in 2001.

    Last month, the top-ranking American in the U.N. mission in Afghanistan, Peter Galbraith, was fired after he accused his boss, Norwegian diplomat Kai Eide, of downplaying fraud in the August ballot. U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat who met Monday with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, told reporters in New York that it was a “very sad day when someone is dismissed for telling the truth.”

    Other problems have plagued the partial vote recount, which began last week.

    The chairman of the commission, Canadian Grant Kippen, told reporters Monday that it had misinterpreted the statistical analysis used to determine what percentage of votes for each candidate would be voided in ballot boxes deemed to have been faked.

    Kippen told reporters last week that each candidate would lose votes in proportion to the number of fraudulent ballots cast for them in a sampling of suspect boxes.

    But Kippen said Monday that each candidate would lose the same percentages of votes from suspicious boxes based on the number of fraudulent ballots found in the sample. That means votes legitimately cast for a candidate could be canceled if they were found in ballot boxes that were deemed to have been stuffed in favor of another contender.

    Kippen insisted that the rules had not been changed and were statistically sound. But confusion stemmed from miscommunication between statisticians who designed the mathematical procedure and commissioners whose role is to determine whether the individual boxes are fraudulent.

    “It hasn’t affected the process,” he said. “It has probably affected people’s perception of the process.”

    The commission has also been beset by language problems. When the commission first ordered Afghan election officials to audit and recount ballots last month, officials said there were problems in the translation from English to the Afghan language of Dari.

    New translations were issued and a system for counting a sample of the nearly 3,400 suspect ballot boxes was instituted. But Afghan election officials said many of the boxes earmarked for investigation did not meet the criteria set down by the commission. Scores of new boxes had to be examined, further delaying the process.

    Meanwhile, violence continues.

    NATO said Monday that its forces killed several militants the day before in southern Zabul province.

    The same day Taliban militants attacked a border police outpost in neighboring Kandahar province. At least 14 attackers were killed in the assault, according to Gen. Saifullah Hakim.

    Associated Press writers Rahim Faiez in Kabul, Noor Khan in Kandahar and Edie Lederer at the U.N. contributed to this report.


  2. Weapons Failed U.S. Troops During Afghan Firefight

    Source: (10-12-09)

    In the chaos of an early morning assault on a remote U.S. outpost in eastern Afghanistan, Staff Sgt. Erich Phillips’ M4 carbine quit firing as militant forces surrounded the base. The machine gun he grabbed after tossing the rifle aside didn’t work either.

    When the battle in the small village of Wanat ended, nine U.S. soldiers lay dead and 27 more were wounded. A detailed study of the attack by a military historian found that weapons failed repeatedly at a “critical moment” during the firefight on July 13, 2008, putting the outnumbered American troops at risk of being overrun by nearly 200 insurgents.

    Which raises the question: Eight years into the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan, do U.S. armed forces have the best guns money can buy?


  3. Abdullah: Karzai fixed resignation

    Afghanistan: President Hamid Karzai’s top challenger in disputed elections alleged on Tuesday that the head of state engineered the resignation of a chief fraud investigator.

    Maulavi Mustafa Barakzai resigned from the Electoral Complaints Commission on Monday.

    A spokesman for Mr Karzai’s rival Abdullah Abdullah said: “Barakzai’s resignation has direct connection to Karzai. It was Karzai’s idea,” Saleh Mohammad Registani said. “Karzai is trying to bring the work of the ECC into question.”


  4. (CBS/AP) Rampant government corruption might derail the fight against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan even if as many as 80,000 additional U.S. troops are sent to the war, the top military commander there has concluded, according to U.S. officials briefed on his recommendations.

    The conclusion by Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal is part of a still-secret document that requests more troops even as he warns that they ultimately may not prevent terrorists from turning Afghanistan back into a haven.

    McChrystal has outlined three options for additional troops – from as many as 80,000 to as few as 10,000 to 15,000, according to officials at the Pentagon and White House.


  5. Pingback: Against nuclear weapons, on our way to Trump in Brussels | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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