Kuroyanagi forced to end Afghanistan school visit prematurely
HERAT, Afghanistan, July 23 (Kyodo) - Japanese actress Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, a U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) goodwill envoy, was forced to give up chatting with a group of children attending an illicit girls' school on Monday after Taliban guards objected photographers taking pictures of the girls in study.
The Taliban, Afghanistan's fundamentalist Islamic rulers, bans women in Afghanistan from receiving an education.
Kuroyanagi, on a mission to Afghanistan on behalf of UNICEF, dropped in at a villager school in Barnabad, one of many teaching outposts run secretly by families and local communities, bringing along with her a group of journalists.
Kuroyanagi's trip to Barnabad, a village about 65 kilometers from Herat, was meant to give her an opportunity to talk with the teacher and students at the school, which opened last November on the second floor of a villager's house.
At the time of the visit, about 20 girls were listening to lessons being taught to them by a female teacher clad in chador.
''No pictures,'' a Taliban guard barked as photographers pointed their cameras at the children.
Why take pictures of girls taking lessons, the guard wanted to know.
Following a heated argument, the Taliban guards demanded that the Kuroyanagi mission leave the premises.
The one-room schoolhouse at Barnabad is one of many illicit community schools -- estimated at more than 800 -- in the Herat region providing some kind of education to more than 25,000 girls in the area.
UNICEF supports these neighborhood schools by providing textbooks and undertaking teacher training programs. The teachers' salaries are paid by the local community.
While officially banning Afghan women from attending schools, the Taliban apparently turns a blind eye on small schoolhouses in the countryside.
In big cities, teachers and local authorities are said to run personal risks if they are found breaking the Taliban ban.
WHO confirms Afghanistan cholera outbreak - BBC
The World Health Organisation says a cholera epidemic in northern Afghanistan has killed 56 people since it began some three weeks ago.
A WHO spokeswoman, Laranona Graber, said a team had just returned from Balkh province and had confirmed nearly 1,000 cases of disease so far.
She told the BBC that the death rate had dropped once the WHO team was operational, adding that many of the victims were children and old people.
Another team has gone to the area. The heart of the outbreak is in the Agkupruk district of Balkh - close to the frontline where Taleban and opposition forces are fighting for control of the province.
Dr Graber said some cholera cases had also been reported in the western province of Herat.
Taliban Launch Fresh Attack on Takhar
July 19: The Taliban resumed the second phase of their attack against the Mujahideen in Takhar. There are more than 4000 foreign fighters from the Pakistani army and Pakistani volunteers belonging to religious schools as well as fighters affiliated with Usama Bin Laden coming from various countries. Uzbek terrorists under the command of Tahir Yaldash and Juma Namangani are also taking part in this operation. The Taliban's initial attack on Farkahr Gorge was repulsed.
Taliban Agents Captured in Parwan
A group of Taliban infiltrators, who carried out sabotage work in Parwan Province and provided military information to the Taliban were captured by the security forces of the Islamic State of Afghanistan.
Among other tasks, they directed the Taliban air force in its bombing missions in the area. Two women and two children were killed and several houses were destroyed as a result of one of these aerial attacks. The criminals have admitted that they were working for the Taliban and they will be tried in a court of law.
Cholera Kills 45 People in Balkh
A Mujahideen source reported that 40 people, mainly children, were killed as a result of cholera which has spread in Aaqkoprok District, Balkh Province.
The source said eight people died in Sokhta, four in Chakaana, four in Saraab, four in Baampusht and 20 in other villages of Aaqkoprok, south of Mazar-e-Sharif.
Lack of medicine and clean water are the main causes of the epidemic in an area affected by war and drought. It is believed that the number of dead will rise if medical supplies do not reach the affected area soon. It is said that the Taliban, who control the entrance to this valley, prevent the arrival of medicine and food supplies brought by the international relief organizations based in Mazar-e-Sharif.
PESHAWAR: Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban are going to establish new camps inside Afghanistan for returning Afghan refugees from Nasir Bagh, Jalozai, Shamshato camps and other parts of Pakistan.
According to details, after recommendation by Taliban Islamic movement leader Mulla Mohammed Omar, the Taliban ministers council as well as Taliban government security high commission held a meeting at Kabul and decided to establish new camps in eastern Nangarhar province for returning Afghan refugees from different parts of Pakistan to Afghanistan.
Report further added that Taliban’s general benefits ministry had appointed a committee to take up the issue with Pakistan’s government and other aid bodies for providing facilities to the returnees.
The report further said that after holding talks with the said agencies and Pakistani authorities, Taliban would start work on establishing new camps inside Afghanistan especially in eastern Nangarhar (Jalalabad) province.
However, when The Frontier Post contacted Malik Zahir Jabar Khail, the representative of Nasir Bagh refugees camp for detailed information regarding this report, he said that he had met with Afghan ambassador to Pakistan, Mullah Abdusalam Zaif, who urged to allot a plot to returning refugees in his province.
He said that Mullah Abdusalam Zaif also conveyed their message to the Taliban supreme leader, Mulla Mohammed Omar.
The leader marked the proposal to the council of ministers, which decided to establish new camps for returning refugees in Jalalabad, he added.
When asked whether Taliban would establish such camps in other parts of the country also, he expressed his ignorance in this regard.
Jabar Khail said that he would hold talks in this regard with Taliban official in Peshawar.
Afghans blamed for unemployment in Isfahan
ISFAHAN: (Agencies): Director General of Isfahan province’s branch of Labor and Social Affairs Department (LSAD) Safiollah Baraati said here Saturday, “Aliens’ active presence on the economic arenas, producing, and service-rendering bodies in Isfahan is the main cause of unemployment in Isfahan province.”Baraati told reporters that 251,000 refugees and immigrants currently living in Isfahan have occupied up to 200 employment opportunities.
He indicated the present unemployment rate in Isfahan to 13 per cent, and around 19 per cent in some provincial cities.
He added that 241,992 persons out of the total outsiders residing in Isfahan province are Afghans who are active in almost all technical, semi-technical, and the jobs which require no special skills.
Baraati said, “This accounts for the strict punishment against the employers who have employed aliens, coming into effect in all workshops and in all sections.” He added that the investigators of LSAD would soon refer cases of violation observed on behalf of Iranian employers to the justice department.
Baraati said, “There is a special investigation branch in every provincial city, where all cases of violation concerning the employment of aliens are reported, and the violators will face heavy punishment including payment of fines and serving prison terms.” He called upon people to abide by the laws and said that no one should act directly towards aliens, and all violations should only be reported either to the police departments or to LSAD branches.
He said that from now on Iranian employers should choose their needed manpower among Iranian workers, and should present legal contracts while employing laborers according to the law of employment.
FAIZABAD (Agencies): The Human Rights Watch in a recent report provided an exhaustive description of the human rights situation in Afghanistan, predominantly featuring the alleged widespread and systematic abuse and violations of human rights by Taliban administration besides the enormous scale of perpetration of crimes against humanity and war crimes in Afghanistan.The report also embodied an in-depth analysis of the dynamics of the protracted conflict in Afghanistan, and the conspicuous and pivotal role of the Government of Pakistan in navigating the course of events for the past two decades, who allegedly continues to be unabatedly involved in the continuation and exacerbation of the situation to date.
The report, however, bears an extent of aberrations and misrepresentation of facts referring to the Islamic State of Afghanistan, perhaps attributable to a misconception vying with the shared comprehension of the international community of the situation in Afghanistan, which entails the following points to be put in perspective: 1.Page 23 of the report recognizes the alleged direct involvement of the Government of Pakistan in the conflict in Afghanistan and the physical presence of armed Pakistani and other foreign nationals fighting alongside the Taliban forces against the Northern Alliance.
Ironically, however, the HRW report fails to conclude that Pakistan indeed is the aggressor and Pakistani involvement in the conflict in Afghanistan constitutes an aggression against a sovereign and independent member-state of the United Nations.
The United Nations Charter and all major world legal systems recognize the inherent right to self-defense against an armed attack.
The Northern Alliance has been in a state of self-defense against the alleged aggression of Pakistan and its international allies.
Dismayingly, against this background, the report falls short of drawing a distinction between those righteously fighting for their independence, resisting the aggression and upholding noble human principles, and an axis of obscurantist and extremist forces engaged in a war of aggression.
2.The viewpoints of HRW on the regime of sanctions imposed against the Taliban government and its stated prognosis of the lifting of the sanctions are anachronistic.
In fact it does not reflect evolution of the international law following the establishment of the United Nations.
Stated thus, in accordance with the United Nations Charter and in conformity with the established practice of the organization there is no solid reason for the HRW prescribed application of sanctions against the warring factions, especially the Northern Alliance.
3. The HRW report focuses mainly on the situation of human rights in the zone of conflicts, while it overlooks the alleged widespread and systematic violations of human rights, including the human rights of women and girls, perpetrated in the occupied parts of Afghanistan under the military control of the Taliban regime 4.
Even though the report elaborates on the alleged role of Pakistan in the conflict in Afghanistan and its blatant violations of sanctions imposed against the Taliban government, it fails to give a correct political panorama of the situation in the context of the region.
A close glimpse of the situation in the region easily accounts for the concerns of the countries of the region, legitimate as they are, as a counteraction to the alleged hegemonic and aggressive policies of Pakistan and its long-pursued agenda for Talibanization of the region.
As such the opposition has the fullest right to defend its sovereignty and independence against the ongoing aggression and take appropriate measures in full conformity with the UN Charter.
World Ignores Afghan Genocide
Taliban*s War Crimes Remain Unpunished
BISHKEK. (TCA) -- Recent developments in Afghanistan indicate the country is now evolving towards a Yugoslav scenario: violations of arm embargo by neighbouring countries, ethnic cleansing, and oppression of civilians.
The international community is playing an ambiguous role in the Afghan conflict. The U.N. imposed sanctions on arms and fuel in December 2000 but did so only on the Taliban who control 90 percent of the country. In the north, the opposition * the United Front also called the Northern Alliance -is maintaining its control over a swath of land at the border with Tajikistan with the support of the West, Iran and Russia. Both sides receive weapons that fuel a conflict claiming victims every day.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) recently released a report on weapon flows to Afghanistan. The well documented report details gross embargo violations by Pakistan, but also by Iran, Russia, and to some extend by some Central Asian countries.
According to the HRW report ''U.N. sanctions imposed on arms and fuel to the Taliban in December 2000 are one-sided and strongly influenced by short-term Russian and U.S. interests, not humanitarian goals.''
For Washington, the priority is the surrendering of Saudi-born militant Osama bin Laden accused by the United States of plotting the August 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and little attention is paid to the civil population.
HRW accuses Pakistan of violating the arms embargo on the Taliban, supplying the movement with military advisers, logistic support, funds, ammunition and openly recruiting boys as fighters. ''Pakistan has already publicly agreed to an arms embargo against both sides in the civil war. What remains is to hold Pakistan to its word,'' said HRW.
The report alleged Pakistani traders, including military officers, are in the business of arms smuggling. Private companies buy from Chinese manufacturers through dealers in Hong Kong as well as Dubai. Often the Taliban prefer these sources rather than dealing with Pakistani military or intelligence services, and on more than one occasion they carried out undisciplined military operations without Pakistani guidance, according to HRW.
Iran is the principal source of military assistance to the United Front. Despite claims that weapons have been purchased with cash, it seems unlikely that the United Front could afford such purchases, given its loss of major cities and regional economy, said HRW.
A number of Iranian-made antipersonnel and antivehicle mines have been found in Afghanistan, used apparently by the United Front.
Russia and Central Asian states openly declare their support to the United Front government of President Burhanuddin Rabbani. According to the HRW report, Moscow has facilitated the transportation of Iranian aid, and provided logistical support: *Military assistance to United Front forces has crossed the Tajikistan-Afghanistan border with the active collusion of the Russian government, which maintains border forces there and leads the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) peacekeeping forces within the country with its 201st Division*.
Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan provide an* indirect, passive and/or political support to the anti-Taliban coalition*, said the report. HRW is calling for placing monitors in Central Asian states to enforce the weapon embargo on the United Front.
Representatives of the United Front deny they receive weapons from Russia but admit talk *commercial transactions with Moscow*.
According to AFP, the Taliban conduct ethnic cleansing in northern regions won over the United Front. In a story posted on July 16, AFP reports on a massacre that took place in September 2000 in the north eastern Takhar province, in Khwaja Ghar, a predominantly Uzbek area.
According to witnesses of the scene, *The Taliban bombarded a girl*s school and then sprayed petrol on it and burnt the building down. A lot of girls died*.
Another witness, Tutenisa Sanchal, recalled: *When the Taliban entered my house, they took my daughter. They wanted a new victim. They shot her dead with a Kalashnikov and one of her two sons, and then they poured petrol on her and burnt her. A relative told me a few days later that he saw a dog eating her remains*.
Other witnesses described how one family of 15 died when Taliban entered their house and let loose a hail of bullets.
Uzbeks and Tajiks are particularly persecuted by the Taliban as they represent the majority of the United Fornt opposition.
According to Joost Hiltermann, director of Human Rights Watch's arms division: ''Civilians are at the center of this conflict and their well-being must be at the center of the solution.'' Yet on both Taliban and United-Front-ruled parts of Afghanistan, civilians are the first victims of political and military violence.
The Taliban*s Ministry for Popularizing Correct Behavior and Controlling Incorrect Behavior, often named the police of Islamic morals, has imposed a series of decrees dramatically affecting the daily life of women, girls, youth and minorities.
According to latest rules, women are prohibited to work with a few exceptions of female doctors and nurses, and to receive education. As a result, all female employees have been discharged. Girls are not allowed to receive education either and all schools for girls have been closed.
Afghan women cannot leave their house without being accompanied by a mahram, a close male relative. They must wear the burqa, a veil and the yashmak, a baggy robe when leaving their houses. The latest decree forbids them *to go out to picnics and to visit places of recreation*
Men are ordered to wear Islamic clothes and a cap and must grow a beardlong enough to protrude from a fist clasped at the point of the chin.
Last month the Taliban released a decree imposing a yellow piece of cloth on members of the Hindu minority. The decree imposes the burqa on Hindu women and forbids Hindus to live in same houses with Muslims.
In United Front-controlled areas, civilians are also victims of political violence. While women are allowed to work, and have a limited social recognition, health conditions are deteriorating as a result of the ongoing conflict and record drought.
According to Save the Children US, an NGO working in Northern Afghanistan, child mortality rates are reaching *alarming levels*. While normal rates are two children per 10,000 people, the rate is now 5.9 children under the age of five per 10,000 people, says Lisa Laumann, deputy director of the Afghan program of Save the Children. Disease and lack of nutrition are the main causes of death. Laumann explains there has been virtually no immunization in the region. A majority of young men have left the province and even the country to find work, leaving women, children and elders to fend for themselves.
Obviously, a solution to the Afghan conflict must come from coordinated efforts of the international community. The existing Six Plus Two Group that includes China, Pakistan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, all bordering Afghanistan, as well as Russia and the US claims its is making all possible efforts to bring peace. Yet at the same time some of its members are providing weapons and funds to both sides of the conflict. Isn*t the tragic example of Bosnia a clear indication that only a fully implemented embargo can stop the war and that eventually all leaders * including Slobodan Milosevic, long considered *invulnerable* * will have to face their responsibilities?
Mutawakkil lauds Annan’s new proposal on Ariana - FP
KABUL: (agencies): Welcoming the realistic approach of United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan regarding the removal of sanctions on the Afghan Ariana Airlines, official flag carrier of the country.The UN secretary general appealed the Security Council to revise the sanctions imposed on the Afghan airline, as it was serving as the only link between the world and Afghanistan.
He added that the airline is nearly defunct and all the airplanes are declared unfit, as they cannot be taken for their routine check ups.
He further added that the sanctions on the airline have significantly targeted the civilians who are unable to travel around the world for their purposes.
Kofi Annan asked the Security Council to soften the sanctions on the Afghan airline and endure them for limited humanitarian flights.
Taliban Security Commission meets - FP
KABUL: (Agencies): A meeting of Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban security high commission was held here which adopted drastic measures for the evaluation of major files, emergency trial of political and criminal people and proper celebration of 82nd anniversary of independence of the country.Presided over by the IEA council of minister administrative vice chairman Mulla Muhammad Hasan Akhund, security high commission held its session today.
At the outset, the security situation of the country was discussed and it was decided that ministry of communications must keep under control mobile phones or Karols and other telephone of frontier cities of the country, so that the IEA oppositions could not be able to misuse them.
For ensuring better security along Kabul-Kandahar highway, the commission has instructed Ghazni, Zabul and Kandahar governors to pay special attention to the security of this highway and help prevent occurrence of unexpected incidences.
In the session, the issue of emergency trial of political and criminal culprits as well as celebration of 82nd anniversary of the country’s independence were also discussed and analysed.
It was proposed to Taliban leader Mulla Mohammad Umer to give one-month authority for a specialised judge to evaluate important files and issue final decisions on the cases of under-trialed culprits and accused persons.
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