Afghanistan

Fighting and dying for civil rights?

Fighting for women's rights?

Sayed Pervez KambakshSayed Pervez Kambaksh

Sayed Pervez Kambaksh, the student journalist sentenced to death for blasphemy in Afghanistan, has been told he will spend the next 20 years in jail after the country's highest court ruled against him – without even hearing his defence. Instead, almost 18 months after he was arrested for allegedly circulating an article about women's rights, any hope of justice and due process evaporated amid gross irregularities, allegations of corruption and coercion at the Supreme Court. Justices issued their decision in secret, without letting Mr Kambaksh's lawyer submit so much as a word in his defence.See here.

Kim Howells speaks out -

several years too late.

Kabul schoolgirls 1960Kabul schoolgirls 1960

Kim Howells is chairman of the intelligence and security committee responsible for overseeing the security services. He was the Secretary of State for Defence for three-and-a-half years until the October government reshuffle. In an interview in the Guardian he says:

"Institutionally, Afghanistan is corrupt from top to bottom. There are few signs that the chaotic hegemony of warlords, gangsters, presidential placemen, incompetent and under-resourced provincial governors and self-serving government ministers has been challenged in any effective way by President Karzai."

Islamist mercenaries

Vietnam mark 2

Afghan warAfghan war

No hope for peace. John McCain says the US could be in Iraq for the next hundred years, has resisted any timetable for withdrawal and says that victory in Iraq is a necessary precursor to success in Afghanistan.

Barack Obama wants to withdraw US troops from Iraq within the next 16 months and send them all to Afghanistan for as long as it takes. Senator Obama says:

“When John McCain said we could just muddle through in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11,”... “And I made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights.”

We are building better prisons

to contain women who have had illicit sexual relations

abused prisonersabused prisoners

The Independent tells us that the two most common 'crimes' committed by women and girls are: escaping from home and illegal sexual relations. The first carries a maximum penalty of 10 years, the second 20. These are two of the most common accusations facing female prisoners in Afghanistan.

Two-thirds of the women in Lashkar Gah's medieval-looking jail have been convicted of illegal sexual relations, but most are simply rape victims – mirroring the situation nationwide. The system does not distinguish between those who have been attacked and those who have chosen to run off with a man. A female shura, or consultative council, was established in Helmand province last week to try to combat the injustice of treating an abused woman as a criminal, and not a victim.

How many angels can dance on the point of a needle?

A level politics 2008

candlecandle

While the government debates subjects such as: climate change/global warming , world poverty, democracy in other countries, female education in Afghanistan, gay traffic warden quotas and so on, our little part of the world may well be falling apart. Before the lights go out perhaps it would be sensible for our present government to have some sort of reasonable energy policy.

Our nuclear and gas powered plants are coming to the end of their lives, lots of our coal and oil powered stations will be closed because of EU rules (the Large Combustion Plant Directive - LCPD), we are planning on spending a fortune building hugely subsidised and inefficient wind farms , which even a German government report as long ago as 2005 severely criticised. Yet another huge sum is required to enable the power they produce to feed the national grid. The EU Emission Trading System costs yet another tranche of our diminishing income and contributes further uncertainties regarding investment and future planning by power companies, who need to do something other than send out legions of employees urging us to change power company.

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