May 28, 2008

The Man With His Cage


A man with his bird in the cage walks to the sunset in graveyard, western part of Kabul

May 4, 2008

Karzai Rejected the Juvenile Delinquency law

The current controversy over the Juvenile Delinquency law illustrates the conflicts within the Afghan legal system. The conflicts are rooted in Afghan history itself. "From the 1880's until the 1960's, Afghanistan essentially had a dual judicial system. A system of sharia courts headed by clergy handled areas ... such as criminal law, family and personal law laid down in the sharia. A separate system of government courts handled state law issues, such as those relating to commerce, taxation, and civil servants." In 1964, an Afghan constitution, ratified by the Loya Jirga attempted to bring those threads closer together, but it was ripped apart again in the period of war with the Soviet Union and during the rule of the Taliban.

Following the defeat of the Taliban at the hands of US forces in 2002, an international conference in Bonn stipulated the appointment of a "Judicial Commission" whose role was to "to rebuild the domestic justice system in accordance with Islamic principles, international standards, the rule of law and Afghan legal traditions." That sweeping task proved easier said than done. A Stanford University study described some of the difficulties which arose.

  • Only 10 days after the close of Afghanistan's Constitutional Convention, Afghanistan's Supreme Court violated the word and spirit of Afghanistan's new constitution. Without any case before the court, and based on no existing law, the court declared on January 14, 2004 that a performance by the Afghan pop singer Salma on Kabul television was un-Islamic and therefore illegal. The video featuring the modestly dressed Afghan woman singing about rural life was recorded in the 1970s.
The juvenile delinquency law was already approved by parliament and senate, but didn't get Karzai's approval and was sent back to the parliament for more reforms.

Punishment Ages

The reason for not approving the juvenile delinquency law was because there were differences considering the ages for male and female juvenile delinquents. This law defines the ages for punishment at 18 years for boys and at 17 years for girls. But according to the general Human Rights, those under 18 are called children.

Human Rights organizations praised Karzai's action, but it was opposed by various persons in the opposition, who argue that this law is contrary to the Islamic Sharia Law. Karzai's refraining from approving the juvenile delinquency law was praised by many parliament members who also didn't agree.
Member of Parliament Azita Fafat says that all laws that are approved by the parliament must be in accordance with the constitution of Afghanistan and the international conventions that were already approved by Afghanistan.

Islamic Sharia Law

The members of parliament who approved the juvenile delinquency law, referred to Article 3 in the Constitution which says that a law can not be accepted when opposing the Islamic Sharia law. Irfanullah Irfan, another member of parliament pointed to natural differences between man and woman, and refrained from approving the juvenile delinquency law for a lack of Sharia rules.

The juvenile delinquency law was approved six months before, after which it was sent to the Senate for final approval. The Senate-members approved the law without any changes and sent it to the presidential office. Many lawyers believe the original sources of such disagreements are in the constitutional law because the constitutional text for civil cases is not clear enough.
For this reason anyone can interpret the articles of the constitutional law with special regard to their own interests.

Apr 9, 2008

For The First Time: Blogging Workshop in Kabul


For the first time in Afghanistan, a two days Blogging workshop was organized by the Afghan Association of Blog Writers. The participants were an Afghan journalist, a University teacher, a poet and writers from different provinces and of various ethnic backgrounds.

The main goals of this workshop are better access of journalists to weblogs and other digital media. Since Afghan print and internet media are of a very low quality, blogs could help the Afghan print media and become a milestone in the media situation in Afghanistan.

This was just the first blogging workshop in Afghanistan. The plan is to continue with more workshops in different parts of Afghanistan, including Herat, Mazar-e- Sharif, Jalalabad, Kandahar, Bamyan and Daikundi.

Cultural activities in cyberspace, theories of blogging, detailed similarities and differences between web sites and weblogs, and the techniques of making a blog were discussed in these two workshop days. And at the end, each of the participants independently opened their new weblog in cyberspace.

The world's famous weblogs, the best Persian blogs and the world most popular blogs were introduced to the group and the factors that make a weblog better were among the issues that were explained to the participants.
The participants were technically taught how to open a blog, managing, browsing, linking, ways of writing and the skill of making a framework for the blog.

The Persian blog providers such as 'PersainBlog' and 'Blogfa' were introduced. Afghans yet were familiar with 'PersianBlog' and 'Blogfa' as service providers, now this workshop helped them to learn about other powerful service providers like 'Blogger' and 'Word press'. All of the participants then built their blogs on Blogger.

Blogging is a new phenomenon in Afghanistan, and only a few people make professional use of it. Therefore holding such workshops for the first time by the Afghan Association of Blog Writers can speed up this process and facilitate the work of Afghan bloggers.

Blogging is new in Afghanistan and today most of students and youth start to use it. Even though there are many obstacles for accessing the internet, the Afghan youth refer more and more to this than before, and the number of Afghan bloggers dramatically grows by the day.
Around twenty thousand Afghan blogs have yet been created in cyberspace by Afghans inside and outside the country, and using different service providers.

Afghan bloggers have already faced many challenges and difficulties. The two Persian service providers 'Persianblog' and 'Blogfa' have recently been filtered by 'Afghan Telecom', the private Afghan Telecommunication Company.

Some people believe that this work of Afghan Telecom occurs in following the anti–Farsi/Dari efforts and thus deleting the Farsi/Dari words from the city billboards by Abdul Karim Khuram, Information and the Minister of Culture.
They claim that this is a bare break of the subscribers' rights and should seriously be condemned.

The electricity and internet are complementary of each other. But unfortunately, after seven years of the Karzai newly born administration and the presence of the International community, Kabul citizens still don’t have access to electricity. Internet was supposed to become nationally accessible, but it doesn’t. There are many Net-Cafés in Kabul, but because they are so expensive, a large number of the interested youth can not use them.

More about Blogging Workshop:

1) Afghanistan: First blogging workshop in Kabul

2) Blogging workshop in picture

3) Promoting Blogging in Afghanistan B.B.C

4) For the first time Blogging in Afghanistan- Radio Zamaneh

5) An Initiative which is going to change Aghanistan+Pictures

6) How Blogging Workshop was held?

7) They’re blogging in Kabul!- CIPE Development Blog

8) Tactic: Organizing a blogging workshop -

Related News about Blogging Workshop in Italian Blogs

1) Soldi spesi bene - Meri

2) Nasim e i bloggers di Kabul - Pino Scaccia's blog

3) Nasim Fekrat, un workshop sul blogging a Kabul - Pipistro

4) BlogFriends

5) BarBlog


7) Tre Puntini

8) Zomberos


Per la prima volta un blogging workshop a Kabul, Afghanistan- WIKIO

First blogging workshop in Kabul

From Global Voice Online
ByHamid Tehrani

The Afghan Association of Blog Writers (Afghan Penlog) overcame financial difficulty and obstacles like electricity shortages to organize the first blogging workshop in their history. The workshop was held in Kabul on April 3-4, in association with Nasim Fekrat and Masoumeh Ebrahimi [Fa], two active Afghan bloggers.

Afghan blogging workshop
Twelve journalists, teachers and writers learned how to start a text blog, a video blog, a photo blog, and useful tips, like how to use RSS feeds.

At the end of the workshop, several blogs were created in Dari, Pashtou and English.

Fekrat said, “I am receiving lots of inquiries from Kabul University students and journalists who want to learn blogging, but financial problems remain a main obstacle.” Fekrat is already thinking of organizing a second workshop because there is more to share and teach.

Nasim Fekrat at the Afghan blogging workshop
Nasim Fekrat helps lead the workshop.

Nasim Fekrat says [Fa]:

This experience has been very useful. I learned a lot. Most of the people who participated in this workshop were journalists, academics, writers and others who can help revitalize our culture and intellect in Afghanistan's bored society. Organizing such a workshop has been one of my goals for a long time. Finally, thanks to Geomap and Masoumeh Ebrahimi it became a reality.

Afghan blogging workshop
More photos can be found on Civil Movement of Afghanistan along with a report.

Manzarra who learned to blog in this workshop writes about using the internet to advance free speech and freedom of the press .

Mokhtar Pedram, a journalist, shares [Fa] his experience with us:

I was scared to come to the world of internet and blogging… Maybe it was a technical barrier. But this one and half day workshop changed my perception… It wouldn't be true to say that all my problems with the internet were solved in these two days, but I did decide to start my blog, which proves just how effective this workshop has been.

Safeh says [Fa] blogging is a new thing in Afghanistan and that academics and teachers have only just discovered it.

Zartosht writes [Fa] that such workshops may be the most important step for journalism in Afghanistan.

Apr 6, 2008

Afghan National Army leading the operations in 2008

This was already written but i forgot to put here.

On Sunday January 13, Corps No 201 Commander Brigadier General Mohamad Rahim Wardak while visiting the Maiwand military base in Char district of Logar province said: "In 2008, the Afghan national army will lead the whole of operations in Afghanistan, with the help of coalition forces."

The Afghan National Army seems to have proven itself in a key test last month – retaking the strategic toehold town of Musa Qala (which was turned into a terror university town) from the Taliban.

In 2001 at the BON conference the initial goal that was set to train around 70,000 Afghan troops no longer applies to Afghanistan's new realities. Afghanistan's Defense Ministry says the country needs a 200,000-strong National army to stand against external threats and to tackle the insurgency led by the Taliban.

The Afghan National Army remains severely under-equipped and under-supported. I asked General Mohammad Rahim Wardak about military equipments and facilities.
"The ANA suffers from lacking sufficient military aid, trainers, clothing, food and is hobbled with old weapons", He regretfully answered.

I asked General Mohammad Rahim Wardak about the recent message by Mullah Omar who warned that the harsh winter is waiting for the foreign forces, does this warning also include attacks against ANA or not?
"No, firstly I am assuring you that Taliban can't do anything in the winter, the winter makes them unable to attack because they are not able to stay during the winter nights in the deserts out of the villages, Taliban are not the locals, they are coming from the border area and
Pakistan," said Mohammad Rahim Wardak.

"Within the coming weeks in some areas we have operation and some times
they are planting bombs on the road side. After we clean the area of insurgents we will make Shura (local Jerga) from elders to avoid returning the insurgents," he added.

In another meeting at the military base in the Tagab district of the Kapisa province, General Mohammad Rahim was asking the ANA commander who handled the recent strikes against Taliban insurgents in Tagab.

Major Jan Aqa was giving information about his last forces operation. "Just two days before my force found the place of one of the famous Taliban insurgents: Qari Mohib. But due to lack of enough weapons we couldn't start the operation against them. Not much later when they
realized our presence in the area Qari Mohib and his insurgents escaped the village," said Major Jan Aqa.

"When we reached the area where they escaped from, we found four bullet boxes with one machine gun and four bags of hashish," he added.
I asked Jan Aqa what he thinks about the security in Tagab and other villages that are mostly influenced by insurgents.
"God willing! We are very hopeful to bring security in Tagab district; we are going to launch a few operations by the help of coalition forces to clean the area from Taliban. We are very happy that the villagers are with us and supporting us. For example in the area we clean from Taliban
insurgents the villagers are telling us that they were forced by Taliban to pay and give them shelter. If we receive enough equipment, the enemy has no chance to come back," he added.

Mar 30, 2008

My Heart Is Still Full Of Pains

Hi Nasim, my name is Chiara, I have 11 years hold and I saw the foto of the little girl on the ground with the ice and the snow around her. Franca,Andrea and I will try to help you.

A message to Chiara and her friends in Italy

I am sorry to write a bit late to you. You know what? I didn't write on paper nor on my whiteAfghan Children board to come back and write to you, but every day while opening my blog i remembered your comment.
I was looking for a suitable time to write you.

I was thinking how much the picture of this little girl, sleeping at the side of the road, in the ice and snow, can touch you and makes you feel close to her. I assume that she is of your age. When I met her I saw her eyes looking at me, asking me for help. She was shivering. I saw lots of people who were crossing her by, without offering to help her or try to understand her little heart.

Do you know how much she was suffering? Do you know why she came there, to lay down in the ice and snow? Do you know if she was hungry, or even had no food to eat at all?

You might think sleeping on the ice and snow isn't a big thing for a few minutes, but how about entire days? Do you know her mother sent her to work? But because she couldn’t find a job she finally fell down, on the ice?

My heart is still full of pains, my heart is crying till now. I took several pictures of her, but not only her. There were lots of others in the same conditions.
This winter more than 300 people died of exposure to the harsh weather conditions, because they didn’t have shoes, socks, gloves and warm clothes.
May be you didn’t hear about that woman who with her child died of exposure right after returning from the city. People found her body with her small child in early morning at the edge of a road, covered with snow.

Do you know there are lots of children who can’t go to school? They don’t have a chance, and they don’t have food. There are lots of children in the streets, they are the supporters of their families. What do these conditions mean for children who have a car, bicycle, and toys and who are going to school?
Afghan children don’t go to school, they don’t even have shoes.

Let's think about how we can help survive the Afghan children

Mar 8, 2008

Afghan Women Face 'Violence Rise'

Looking back to almost seven years after Taliban, the situation of women seems to be improved, but on the contrary, the recent researches and the news published in the 8AM daily paper and several other local newspapers tell that the situation for women is going from worse to worse.

The war, conflicts, poverty and unemployment have risen. And in this context the Afghans sell their daughters and force compulsory marriages among Afghan families.

Many times, children at the age of 7, 8, and 9 are forced to marry. The conditions are severe and often they are raped. After marriage they can't go to school anymore and are faced with lots of difficulties from the family and husbands. Many of them can't bear this harsh position, and they burn or otherwise kill themselves.

Some Afghans believe that equality rights between men and women in Afghanistan is only a motto, and nothing more.
But actually the woman have been deceived by this motto, and we are witnessing the increasing level of domestic violence against women in Afghanistan. Based on shocking reports about
women, domestic violence has extremely risen in the last year. About 87% of woman complain about the domestics violence, half of them are sexually abused and more than 60% of the marriages are by force.

On the other hand, decades of war left the country with thousands of widows and orphans. Today, most of them are begging in the streets. A few of them have been taken to orphanages and protective shelters. In the time of Taliban, the women weren't allowed to go to school, but today they have such advantages. But when lots of bad luck falls on them, we see things as sexual abuse, burning, and the killing of women by their husbands. Today, Afghanistan is the highest in rank of self-killing women in the world.

The international community has never been successful to improve the situation of women in Afghanistan. The international community came with their lots of efforts which come alongside democracy and equality among men and women, but still the situation for women is very concerning.

Two years ago, a 13 young girl was exchanged with a dog by her father in Kondoz province, another young girl was exchanged for a bottle of Whisky in Kabul, an Afghan young professor killed his wife in Herat province, a woman was cut her lips, nose and ears by her husband in Herat province, another woman was cut her toes by her husband, just a few weeks ago.

A non profit organization "Woman Kind" reported that after almost 7 years after the fall of Taliban, Afghanistan is still a dangerous place for women. This report said Afghanistan is a country where the women still burn themselves in order to escape from daily violence and forced marriages with older men.
The president of the Afghan House of Representatives has also pointed out to BBC-Persian that half of all women are still being abused.

Afghan women suffer domestic violence (8th March, 2007)

Sometimes Afghan men beating their wives for nothing just they like it to show their power and anger in his family member. When they feel to beat their wife they do it immediately. Many parents marry their daughters off to wealthy men aged 60 and 70. A shocking story of child bride at the age of four in Kandahar is one example of thousands. Many parents sell their daughters like materials, they are not care where does she goes and what will happened on her. About 57% of Afghan girls are married before the legal marriage age of 16; about 60-80% of marriages are forced. Read more here

Feb 26, 2008

The more I learn, the more I realize I know nothing

This photostory was already published in NATO website and you can see this text alongside with the fowling text there.

When I was very young I used to write a bit about the world – my world and the world around me. Then, with access to new technology and the Internet, I started to learn about many new things.
Soon, I remember hearing the word ‘blog’ being used in my English class. I found the first Farsi blog service. And an old friend of mine showed me his blog. It made a big impression on me. By 2004, I was running my own satire and cartoon magazine. But it was shut down by fundamentalist Islamiists. I couldn't write using my real name anymore. For a few months, I was in trouble and had to keep moving around.
But I couldn’t stay silent. I started blogging again. During the first few weeks I received great feedback from people outside Afghanistan reading my blog. They liked it because it was difficult to find independent news from Afghanistan. I was writing in both Farsi and English, and soon many readers were visiting both my blogs. In 2005, I was the ‘Reporters Without Borders’ prize winner for the freedom of expression blog.

I started encouraging young Afghans to blog. I founded and organized the Afghan Association BlogWriters at (Farsi) and (English) to promote blogging in Afghanistan. Afghan Penlog is now a network of Afghan bloggers. I am organizing a first teaching blog workshop in Kabul for students and journalists shortly. The aim is to develop the Afghan digital media through blogging. We don't have a completely free media; I think we can fill this gap through blogs. Through these, we can practice free speech and build the way to democracy.

I started not only blogging but writing in several newspapers and magazines, both in Afghanistan and abroad. I have written about discrimination, inequality and injustice suffered by me and millions of people here. The land where I was born was made a land of pain and injustice by warlords for decades.

Blogging hasn’t always been easy. First I took notes. Then, when there was power, I typed them up. After that I saved them to a memory disk. And finally, I went to an internet café in the city upload it on my blog. It was time consuming, but it was important to tell the world that Afghani youths have suffered from war, and how they need help. And it was important to publish news that had no connection to political groups and parties – something rare in my country.

I love blogging - I think I am addicted. When I have regular access to electricity I sometimes post three times a day. I have travelled all around Afghanistan, writing about and taking pictures of every corner of my country. Many of my readers ask what the benefit of blogging is, and why spend so much time and energy on it. I answer that I wanted to learn more about my country and show people what my country looks like and how different is life in each area. I want to show the real face of my people and homeland to the rest of the world.

I also want to document this for future generations, so they don’t experience what I have suffered. I want to picture the beauty, love, hate, smile, anger, interest and peace in the face of my people. I want to show yesterday, and how much it will differ from tomorrow. I tried to highlight some of the suffering of my people. For example, the Afghan women who suffer every day from domestic violence. I pictured children, the next generation, who wander the streets. I still watch them now, begging.

For me, to blog is not only about my daily diaries, but also a window to the world. Through writing and publishing articles about children and their rights on my blog I was able to raise funds for Afghan children. For example, in autumn 2007 I received lots of childrens shoes from the USA. I distributed them among those children who were terrified of the harsh coming winter.
In the meantime, I have tried to teach myself, and today I am very happy. I have found and met lots of great people through my blogs. I often imagine seeing all of them one day. I can't describe how much blogging changed my life. I always share this experience with my friends and encourage them to start blogging.

One of the main reasons I started blogging: to share knowledge and to learn from my readers. They have taught me many things. In the country which spent more than two decades fighting, which has lacked a competent media and started from scratch, the only way is self-education. And I believe blogging is one of the most effective ways of doing this. I have learned a lot of things from my readers during the past four years. But as I wrote on my Farsi blog: "The more I learn, the more I realize I know nothing".

Some online interviews of me:
1) Interview with Globale Voice Online here
2) Interview with Internationalist Magazine here
3) Interview with gair rhydd (Welsh for "free word") is the official student newspaper of Cardiff University, here on page 20th
4) A Dialogue with Roel Verniers Belgiumist writer at Theater of war here
5) My monolog here
6) With Okke Ornstien here

Feb 20, 2008

No Title


Feb 15, 2008

Blogging for a freer Afghanistan

This was published already in Global Voices Online

Nasim Fekrat in Kabul has been a very active blogger for years. He has an English blog, a Dari/Farsi one, and a photo blog. He has also contributed to several citizen media projects such as Afghan Press and Afghan Penlog. He talks with us about challenges and achievements in Afghanistan's media and new projects.

Q: Please tell us about Afghan Penlog. When did it start, and what are its objectives?

The Afghan Association of Blog Writers (Afghan Penlog) was established in April 2006. The main objective was to build a community to bring Afghan bloggers together from around the world and defend their rights.

We have also published several press releases about journalist detentions in the last few years.

Recently, I have been offering online workshops for new Afghan Bloggers. In 2008, Afghan Penlog plans to teach blogging more widely in Afghanistan. I personally ran several workshops with individuals, but we want to begin teaching bigger groups. The objective of our workshops is to teach students and young journalists to blog, so they can easily start writing on the web.

We don't have free media in Afghanistan, but through blogging, journalists and other people who can't (or don't want to) use their real names in Afghan media can share their ideas.

Q: How many Afghan Penlog bloggers are there? Are there any non-Afghan members?

In total, there are 128 members whose blogs are all listed on the Afghan Penlog website. Afghan Penlog has pages in both English and Farsi/Dari, and we welcome any Farsi bloggers to become members. There are already two bloggers from Iran. The rest of the members are Afghan bloggers throughout the world.

Media under pressure

Q: It seems in recent times that several Afghan journalists have come under a lot of pressure. Why?

Well, honestly we didn't use to have a media as powerful as we have today.

During the rule of the Taliban, all TV channels, radio and newspapers were shut down. There was only Radio Kabul, which used to broadcast religious songs without music, the Quran, and news from the Taliban. In the time of the Mujahideen it was worse.

After the Taliban fell, within a year several magazine and newspapers started publishing. It increased every day but was still non-professional. Many journalists faced problems, and went to jail. Many others had to leave the country. The reason is the Mujahideen warlords are still in power. When journalists want to say something freely, they may be forced and intimidated by a local governor who was previously a fighter and commander.

Meanwhile, the government in the capital is weak and doesn't have the ability to help journalists. The government also took serious steps towards pressuring and censoring those media which were acting independently. New media legislation is still pending.

The fanatic Islamic fundamentalist figures have also influenced. They do not care what the government says, and they do not care about human rights, freedom of speech, women's rights or democracy. They consider everything through Islamic Sharia law.

Q: How you evaluate the Afghan blogosphere?

Well, Afghan blogs are improving and in increasing day by day. As far as my own research shows, blogs are becoming more popular in Afghanistan. It is a new phenomenon for Afghan people, and they are very interested to go for it. I meet people every day that ask me for help making a blog. The fact that we lack free media also encourages people to blog.

Afghan Press, a new citizen media project

Q: You have been involved with Afghan Press too. What is this project about?

Afghan Press was built in order to give accurate local news to people abroad. I am the director.

As you know, we don’t have online media to provide news to the world independently. Every day we hear bad news of explosions, suicide attacks, road bombings, killings, robberies in Afghanistan, but there is no one to provide information on social issues, women's issues, education, music, literature, culture and Afghan traditions.

When I read the news, I feel sorry for myself and wonder why our country and our people are defined as violent and tough people. I want to explain through Afghan Press that we are no different from the rest of the world; that we are forgotten, and you need to remember us today.

A challenge named electricity

Q: Once you wrote that one of the big challenges for Afghan bloggers is the shortage of electricity. Can you explain the daily challenges that an Afghan blogger faces?

That is right. We Afghan bloggers face severe conditions. We always have power outages. That is normal here. Within 24 hours we have 5 hours electricity, but also periodical outages. We need to write our posts on paper and wait until the power comes back.

Whenever we type and save something to a memory stick, we must walk a distance to access the internet. Probably this will take one hour or less, but we have to deal with this every single day.

A second hand computer can help… a lot

Q: How can international organizations help promote blogging in Afghanistan?

Bloggers in Afghanistan are really poor, and I am sure international organizations could help us. I am asking anybody reading these lines, please help us to promote blogs and digital media in Afghanistan. I believe, if we don’t develop modern media, we will not be able to provide information out of Afghanistan. We need international help.

In order to build this country, we need to inform people, teach the people and guide them. We, the Afghan Association of Blog Writers, are asking people to help us promote blogging in Afghanistan. Second-hand computers, laptops, cameras and flash disks would be a big help.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to share with Global Voices audience?

I feel truly lucky to have been giving this chance by Global Voice Online to share my views with its readers. I am very interested in Global Voices and always read the stuff in there, so keep up the hard work. I would like also ask Global Voices to participate and help promote Afghan blogs.

Feb 14, 2008

The first Afghan Penlog blogging workshop in Kabul

The Afghan Penlog will launch its first blogging workshop in Kabul very soon.
Cultural developments and increasing digital media are the goals of this workshop. The first blogging workshop will take place for students and bloggers in Kabul. Afghan Penlog also decided to launch its workshops to other provinces like Jalalabad, Kandahar, Heart, Ghazni and other parts of the country will be the next steps.

Afghan Pen Log is calling all cultural activists and friends for making donations to reach the goal of blogs development because this Afghan Penlog does not get any financial support from anywhere. We are calling our friends in abroad or in Afghanistan to join us for this important matter with making their donations.
Pen Blog will publish the donor's names on its website and will give them the whole details of its activities and costs.

Buying a generator and paying the cost of Internet is the most prominent need for us now.
We don't have money to pay the rent of computer lab for this purpose. But we probably will be able to run the workshop in Payam-e-Noor, a private educational center located in Karte-Chahar Kabul. We still need some money to pay to manager of this organization for this purpose.
We were planning to buy a computer and an Internet line from Afghan Telecom but we could not reach our goal because of not being able to get any donation and our voice broke in our Throat.
That's why we decided to leave the idea. Now we just want to run educational workshops.

Please open the attachment and fill out the form and return to us. You can also read the Dari version of this announcement here if you have problem in opening the attachment you can download the form from this link:
http://kabulsky. com/application- form.doc
For more information please contact us at:
info@afghanpenlog. com

Afghan Association Blog Writers
Kabul, Afghanistan
info@afghanpenlog. com
www.afghanpenlog. com
www.afghanpenlog- en.blogspot. com

Feb 7, 2008

Afghan Journalist Missing Found Safe

I was informed by Reporters Without Border by e-mail that Basir Ahang is safe and he is in Italy right now. I have also contacted people who know Basir, through his friends I found his family who are living in the west part of Kabul. Today I called to his parents and asked them about their son Basir, they assured me that Basir is safe and living in Italy.

Basir Ahang was working as freelance correspondent for a local channel Radio "Farda" and at the same time he was working as freelance journalist with the weekly "Namah" and the La Repubblica.

“Basir was severely depressed and he was always feeling fears when he returned back to his country from Iran. My son was received several threats from unknown addresses” his father said.
"Before he come to work in media he was working with the US special forces in Kandahar in the southern region. He stopped working when his colleagues have been killed by Taliban and he came to continue his studying. In the mean time he started working with local media". His father added.

This a good news for journalists and Afghan Association Blog Writers which was already expressed its deep concerns towards his safety. There is also a good news about Mr. Parwiz Kambakhsh that he will be released soon.

Jan 30, 2008

Another Journalist Who Was Receiving Death Threats

Basir Ahang, 27 –year-old, is an independent young journalist who was directly involved in the release of Gabriele Torsello, the Italian journalist of La Repubblica, who was kidnapped by Taliban in Helmand province.

Mr. Basir was working on Torsello release under the supervision of Renato Caprile, antother La Journalist.
At one point Basir achieved confidential reports by contacting the Taliban authorities who detained Gabriele Torsello. He, thus, got to know the names of the kidnappers.

Basir kept receiving calls from the kidnappers which would inform him about the health status of Torsello. Basir never discovered how Gabriele Torsello was released.
However, after the release Basir started receiving unknown phone calls and finally left the country. After a short period he got back to Kabul. He started working with a local channel Radio "Farda" and at the same time he was working as freelance journalist with the weekly "Namah" and the La Repubblica.

Basir Ahang was also a prominent student of Kabul University, but he was harassed and intimidated by Taliban during his work with La Repubblica, while he was working hard to communicate and find information about Torsello's abduction.

Any information about him has stop to flow since a month, none knows where is he. On behalf of Afghan Association Blog Writers I express my concern about his safety.

Nasim Fekrat
Afghan Association Blog Writers {English} {Farsi}

Jan 28, 2008

How Cruel Are Human Beings


I can’t remember the exact time but, it was around midnight, may be one o’clock. We were three people walking in darkness with a very harsh temperature. The cold wind slapping on our face with cruelty, we kept laughing and joking. A poor man police on the corner looked at us and thought we were drunken, but he didn’t know that we (a few friends) are always happy like that, especially me.

We kept walking towards the Pol-e Sorkh square; on the way I saw the sign of muddy body of a cat on the ground. I became very sad and silent for a while. I breathed the words in hushed tones; I felt sorry for the poor cat and said why human beings are so cruel? Why are we killing animals and why this cat was killed here?

How cruel are human beings. For a moment, I thought it is useless to think about it because when Afghans have been killing each others during the last three decades. I asked my friends how careless we are with animal’s life. The cat also has the right to live, to have freedom, to be able to walk freely and without fear. They should not be killed or mistreated.

If we can not give live to some one or something, why we should kill them? I feel sorry in my inside. Despite being so cruel, how can we call our self the noblest of all creatures?

Jan 8, 2008

Afghan Drug User


Afghan addict inside destroyed building of Russian Cultural Place in Kabul.
The number of opium addicts in Kabul alone was more than 30,000 in estimation in 2004 but three years after, this number doubled. For the last years the most of the beggars were among people left from civil war, children, widows and homeless people but recently the drug users took the place. Opium users regularly have financial difficulties they are begging to streets; in many cases they are commit crime.

In Kabul, where the medical services are primitive, massively overstretched and entirely unprepared for dealing with addicts, the Nejat centre offers a unique, residential treatment program.

The problem of addiction exists in all layers of society. Both men and women are affected. Local residents and returning refugees from Iran and Pakistan use opium mainly to alleviate medical conditions such as tuberculosis, colds and asthma. It is also reported that young children receive opium as a painkiller. Some addicts recognize they are addicted and seek assistance; many others are thrown out by their families or communities, who regard drug addicts as morally degenerate

There are various ways to consume opium. In Kabul, the most common technique is to smoke it though a cigarette, a water pipe, or though a 'shekhi shang'. The latter method involves using a heated metal blade covered with opium. The resulting fumes are then inhaled through a tube. However, many users consume opium orally, or use it to make tea.
Opium users buying one gram heroin in about Afg 50-100 ($1-2USD) for only single day, they are also use injections.

For more please read here

Dec 30, 2007

Mullah Omar Warns: Harsh winter is waiting for foreign forces

Mullah Mohammad Omar, the leader of Taliban in a message to International forces in Afghanistan has warned that they should expect more attack by Taliban because the Taliban will continue their attacks in the winter.

He has said this message on the days of Eid al-Adha and added that the Taliban fighters are still in outskirts of Musa Qala city, they might come back very soon. The district of Musa Qala was already controlled by Taliban and had turned to a city of terror. In 10th of December, Afghanistan National Army with the supports of US troops and British troops entered to the central of Musa Qala just after heavy combats with Taliban.

The Taliban leader has been also asking from Islamic countries to help for withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.
For the lasts years, the Taliban was the only group in which has taken the responsibilities of the most suicide attacks and civilian deaths in Afghanistan.

On the other hand, President Hamid Karzai in his return back to Afghanistan last month stated that he is ready to negotiate with Mullah Mohammad Omar the Taliban leader and Gubuddin Hekmatyar the leader of Islamic party. He eagerly said, if he had the address for them, he would definitely personally will send people for negotiation with them.

Dec 23, 2007

Christmas day in Afghanistan


Christmas Eve in the Afghan capital. Kabul’s famous flower street market does roaring trade in Christmas trees.
I wish you all a great Christmas. Let 2008 be the year of peace and security. The year 2007 was bloody year for Afghan people, suicide attacks and several explosions in central of the cities. Lots of people died. Don't forget Afghanistan, don't forget its children, women and homeless people.
By the way don't forget me as well. I need your help but can't write here unfortunately.

Love and peace

Dec 13, 2007

Shots In the Arm Spread HIV in Afghanistan

Note that this article was first published in the Pajamasmedia (direct link of this articale)and if you reproduce this article you must retain this notice
In 2005 the UN warned of the risk of AIDS to Afghanistan. There is great concern over the virus being spread by growing numbers of drug users injecting and sharing needles.
At the time there were no reliable figures on the incidence of AIDS in that country. The figures available at the time suggested the problem was not great.
The only definite figures available on HIV/AIDS in Afghanistan would suggest that there is not too much to worry about. There are just 35 HIV-positive cases identified by Kabul’s blood bank.
More definite figures are now available. Abdul Sami Wahib, the director for the AIDS program in the Afghan Ministry of Health, says the research shows that over 3% of drug-addicts who use injections are infected, and that if nothing happens to prevent drug addiction in the country within the next four years as many as 4% of the population will be infected by HIV/AIDS.
The authority in the Ministry of Health said that currently more than 250 cases have been registered. But this number counts only the victims in the major cities; there’s no accurate information available about how many others are affected by AIDS elsewhere.
Faizullah Kakar, Afghanistan’s Deputy Minister of Public Health, has said in interviews that the numbers of HIV-infected persons is higher than the numbers given. Kakar says that seven people have currently been reported as having died from AIDS.
The World Bank has approved $89.6 million to help improve the Afghan public health system, and Afghan authorities say there have been many international promises of assistance. Free checkups have been offered, and six centers for advising were opened in order to prevent further infections. The authorities say in addition to these efforts a guide about how to avoid HIV will be taught in the schools.
According to Gulalai Safi, a member of the Health Commission in parliament, while millions of dollars have been spent through the Global Fund, IRC, Action AID and several other humanitarian organizations, there’s no sign of improvement in preventing HIV in the country. She added that the struggle by the Afghanistan government and the international community have been far below expectations.
There were constant complaints in centers for HIV treatment about the lack of medicine for patients. Most of the patients were left without medications because they are unable to buy the drugs by themselves. The World Health Organization has promised to donate drugs for Afghan treatment centers to promote the patients’ resistance against HIV disease.
This year Afghanistan saw HIV/AIDS cases increase threefold from last year. HIV/AIDS registration began after September 11. Concerns about increasing HIV/AIDS rates among Afghans have become a serious public issue. Currently, many clergymen try to warn people of its dangers in speeches at mosques, explaining that AIDS comes from illegal sexual intercourse, but they have yet to realize there are more ways of transferring the virus.
That education is still wanting. In recent years little has been done by the Ministry of Health or other organizations to increase the awareness that AIDS can be spread through needles. There is no public awareness campaign or free information available to help people to avoid getting infected. The Ministry of Health has only hung a few placards on the roadside. It will not be enough.

Dec 6, 2007

Small Breadwinner


Today hundreds of these children are in the streets to work and earn money to feed herself and her family. Lots of these children are coming from poor family who lost their parents in the time of war and today they have to afford harsh works to survive. This child is one of them who supports his family by polishing the boots on the streets. She is at the age of 9 who deprived from going to school. As she looks to horizon, we can imagine, she looks her next day which comes the same as yesterday, she is dreaming the horizon of her future live. But her world doesn’t' exceed further than herself and the place surrounded her; the slipper she holds and the tools for polishing she is carrying.

Nov 12, 2007

The Problem of Musa Qala: Afghanistan's Terror University Town

Note that this article was first published in the Pajamasmedia (direct link of this articale)and if you reproduce this article you must retain this notice.

The spokesman for the Afghan ministry of defense, Zahir Azimi, recently said that Musa Qala, located in the Helmand district is a center for foreign terrorists who receive training and instructions for attacks against international forces. In his speech, Azimi said the terrorists, mostly Al Qaeda members who cross the Afghan-Pakistan border come from a variety of countries and regions.

The open and porous border between Afghanistan and Pakistan is one of the most important reasons Helmand became a center for terrorism was the, according to a report by Abdulwahid Karezwal, member of the Afghan senate representing the Helmand region.
He also charged that local authorities and influential figures actively helped permit terrorists start their activities. The Karzai government has, with the help of British troops, only five kilometers under its control among the thirteen districts of the Helmand province.
Negotiations between British troops and local figures raised hopes the problem would be solved, but the drawn-out negotiations have also given the Taliban time and opportunity to reinforce and increase their forces on various fronts. The Times Online reported on the agreement in October, 2006.

Over the past two months British soldiers have come under sustained attack defending a remote mud-walled government outpost in the town of Musa Qala in southern Afghanistan. Eight have been killed there. It has now been agreed the troops will quietly pull out of Musa Qala in return for the Taliban doing the same. …
Although soldiers on the ground may welcome the agreement, it is likely to raise new questions about troop deployment. Last month Sir Richard Dannatt, the new head of the British Army, warned that soldiers in Afghanistan were fighting at the limit of their capacity and could only “just” cope with the demands.

Brigadier Ed Butler, the commander of the British taskforce, flew into Musa Qala 18 days ago, guarded only by his military police close-protection team, to attend a shura, or council of town elders, to negotiate a withdrawal. Butler was taken in a convoy to the shura in the desert southeast of Musa Qala where the carefully formulated proposals were made. The British commander said that he was prepared to back a “cessation of fighting” if they could guarantee that the Taliban would also leave. … there are concerns that the Taliban could simply use the “cessation of fighting” to regroup and attack again next year.

By October 30, 2007 it was clear the “cessation of fighting” had not taken place. Fighting broke out anew as the Taliban returned to Musa Qala. reported:
The Musa Qala dilemma has been ongoing since this time last year, after the British and Danish contingent stationed in the district center handed security over to local tribal elders in exchange for a ceasefire with local Taliban units. By early 2007, the Coalition hammered the Taliban leadership in northern Helmand, killing four regional commanders within as many weeks.
The Taliban responded by seizing the district headquarters, Musa Qala City, and laid down the law with an iron fist. Spies were ‘tried’ by a Taliban court and found guilty of providing intelligence to the western forces operating in the region. At least 3 such ‘spies’ were summarily executed in April. Heavy taxes and ardent rules were imposed on the locals. Taliban sympathizers welcomed the reinstalled Taliban government while others remained adamantly against it.

Nine months after the Taliban took the district, Coalition forces are moving deeper into the district … five major engagements have occurred in the district since September, leaving an estimated 250 militants killed. Most of the recent fighting has been several kilometers south of the city in a rugged valley known as the Musa Qala Wadi.
The latest attack, however, occurred on the outskirts of the Musa Qala city itself. Coalition and Afghan forces have encircled the city leaving the densely populated town fearful of an imminent assault by US, British and Afghan forces.

The city center is still thought to be heavily booby-trapped, something the Taliban rigged up after storming the city back in February. Afghan army officials are in contact with local elders trying to persuade them to have the Taliban surrender or flee. Local officials also indicate foreign fighters are operating suicide bomb training camps in and around Musa Qala; and that Pakistani, Arab, Chechen and Central Asian fighters are thought to make up this core of mercenaries.
Although developments in Helmand were criticized at the time of the British-negotiated “cessation of fighting” nobody expected the area to become a central training ground for terrorists.

Nine months after the agreement between British troops and Taliban, the spokesman for the Afghan ministry of defense raised the question of who was to blame for the situation of the Helmand province that turned it into a foreign terrorist’s center. At the center of the debate is the policy toward the Taliban, questions which intensified when the British defense minister backed comprehensive negotiations with the Taliban. The Guardian reported on Oct 15, 2007:
British officials have concluded that the Taliban is too deep-rooted to be eradicated by military means. Following a wide-ranging policy review accompanying Gordon Brown’s arrival in Downing Street, a decision was taken to put a much greater focus on courting “moderate” Taliban leaders as well as “tier two” footsoldiers, who fight more for money and out of a sense of tribal obligation than for the Taliban’s ideology. Such a shift has put Britain and the Karzai government at odds with hawks in Washington, who are wary of Whitehall’s enthusiasm for talks with what they see as a monolithic terrorist group. But a British official said: “Some Americans are coming around to our way of seeing this.”
Despite the setbacks the advocates of negotiated settlement have not give up hope. The Daily Telegraph reported:

Diplomats confirmed yesterday that Mullah Salaam was expected to change sides within days. He is a former Taliban corps commander and governor of Herat province under the government that fell in 2001. Military sources said British forces in the province are “observing with interest” the potential deal in north Helmand, which echoes the efforts of US commanders in Iraq’s western province to split Sunni tribal leaders from their al-Qaeda allies.
The Afghan deal would see members of the Alizai tribe around the Taliban-held town of Musa Qala quit the insurgency and pledge support to the Afghan government. It would be the first time that the Kabul government and its Western allies have been able exploit tribal divisions that exist within the Taliban in southern Afghanistan.
Whether that approach works any better than the earlier “cessation of fighting” remains to be seen.