The list of Taliban atrocities grows against those who provided hope to a nation. As reported on CTV (Female politician's murder a 'blow' to Afghan society), the Taliban have claimed responsibility for the brutal murder of a female member of Kandahar's Provincial Council, Sitara Achakzai, on Sunday afternoon. According to the report:
We call on Canadians and others around the world to condemn the killing of Sitara Achakzai by the Taliban. This horrific tragedy is another demonstration the Taliban's fight against the liberation of women in Afghanistan.
(The following is a press release from the Pashtun Peace Forum - Canada)
Sometimes, a true story can persuade more than the most earnest argument. This is the case when it comes to the story of Sabria Boostani and her daughter Tahmina. These are the kind of people the international community is fighting for in Afghanistan. Their story is told by Licia Corbella (Calgary Herald Editorial):
Let me introduce you to Sabria Boostani and her daughter Tahmina, who was 14 when I met her but would be 20 now.
Pashtun Peace Forum Analysis, Toronto (April 5): According
to the Daily Times Pakistan, a US drone attack in Orakzai agency has killed 12
recruits of the Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) of Baitullah Mehsud of
Pakistan, including one local leader. An Arab too has been killed while the
family of the man providing them haven, Maulana Gul Nazir, was the only
“collateral damage”. Pakistan media links the US attack to Baitullah Mehsud’s
challenge that he was going to attack Washington again. The Drone’s target was
"While Afghans are in support of broad based and inclusive
dialogue and reconciliation efforts, these processes must be grounded
in a non-negotiable position of respect and acceptable for the Afghan
Constitution and the fundamental values that it enshrines, including
respect for human rights, women’s rights, rule of law and the
principles of democratic governance. Democratic principles, which
Afghans have sacrificed their lives for and championed for the last
century, cannot be negotiated away by the Afghan Government and the
A longstanding criticism of international intervention in Afghanistan has been that it is the graveyard of Empires - that not even the most powerful armies could subdue the nation of Afghans from ancient times until today. But what this argument fails to differentiate is that the international mission is not to subjugate Afghanistan, but to help it to enjoy some measure of peace and prevent the return of an Al Queda-allied thugocracy.
Peter Bergen takes on this theme in the New York Times:
March 24 (PPF) - Pashtuns want a comprehensive, coordinated and people-centric development
framework in Afghanistan and the affected areas of Pakistan such as FATA, NWFP
and Baluchistan in order to bring viable peace in the region while devise new
Nancy Hatch Dupree:"Afghans have a profound belief in the humanitarian, egalitarian teachings of
Islam. They do not make an issue of being Muslims, of exhibiting proof of their muslimness, and abhor any tendencies toward fanaticism. This is the pillar on which Afghan culture rests. Of all the assaults that have battered Afghan society over the past two decades, the rise of fanaticism and the
creation of an atmosphere of intolerance have caused the deepest resentment.
The idea of negotiating with the Taliban is gaining stronger currency amongst Afghanistan's allies. But is is really a good idea? CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen thinks it could actually lead to further weakening of the Afghan government. An excerpt from his analysis, the complete version of which lists no fewer than nine arguments against negotiating with the Taliban:
Worldfocus.org’s weekly radio show explored Canada’s role in Afghanistan and the debate over Canada’s role in peacemaking versus peacekeeping today.
Canada-Afghanistan Solidarity Committee was well-represented on the show by CASC co-founder Terry Glavin, talking with Canadian Ambassador Ron Hoffman and professor Nipa Banerjee, moderated by Worldfocus anchor Martin Savidge.
Hear their discussion at Worldfocus.org.