Wednesday, January 17, 2007

These Are the Good Guys?

Gul Haider, a commander of the Northern Alliance that swept into Kabul after the Taliban's collapse, makes no apology for owning a mansion in Shirpur.

"We are praying for the poor people to have houses like us," he said. "But everything belongs to God. God knows better who should be given property and who shouldn't. God gave us this property and we built our houses. We are praying that God will look more favorably on the poor." - The Boston Globe, November 11, 2006

Meanwhile, Children work the streets to support families because they are so desperately poor. The favoured economic activity for children is picking soda cans out of the dump to sell.

Meanwhile parts of Kabul have been changed into a "mini-Paris" for better enjoyment of rich people, warlords, drug-lords, NGOs etc., most of them high ranking government officials.

More photos


AJSomerset said...

Seems just like another place I read about. What was that place called?

Oh, yeah. The USA.

Lept said...

Last year I did a long piece on Sima Samar: the woman doctor who was called by Hamid Karzai to be Minister of Woman's Affairs. She was soon thrown out because of not being prepared to be a token presence. She is now chair of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, I often check back on her and it is maddening to read between the lines as to the struggle she has with the warlords who are building these ostentatious monstrosities next to abject poverty. An example comes from last years report:
" It is difficult for the Commission to gather testimonies in relation with Transitional Justice and the investigation of past human rights violation and abuses. People still have some fear to testify against well-known figures, but the Commission managed to overcome this challenge through discussions and could gain the trust of the Afghan population. The people of Afghanistan is confident that the work of the Commission in relation to Transitional Justice is effective, but doubts that the Government would take any measures in the future against criminals who violated human rights in the pre-2001 period.

There is also the everlasting delay by the Presidential Office to confirm the position of the existing and proposed new Commissioners, which makes it difficult for the Commission to envision its institutional development as complete and final.

Another challenge faced for the implementation of activities in the framework of the Commission's three-year action plan was the lack of funding available. Although the Commission was ensured about financial support from the international community, there were many financial challenges, especially in 2006, as the commitments were very slow to be disbursed. Thus, it was difficult for the Commission to effectively plan its activities, as the programmatic planning depends on the funds available. "