and why it
is so great
From the Members of the Afghan Research Society International
PROPOSAL FOR PEACE IN AFGHANISTAN
P.O. Box 694, Pebble Beach, Ca. 93953
November 25, 2008
THE BACKGROUND TO THE PRESENT CRISIS
AND THE NEED FOR PEACE SETTLEMENT
The following is based on primary sources of
information gathered by members of ARSI
and members of the larger Afghan communities
in North America and Europe travelling to Afghanistan.
It is also based on secondary information provided by the
Afghan and international media.
Article 51 of the Charter Stated: “ Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain inter- national peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defense shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security”.
1) In retrospect the invasion of Afghanistan is seen by many as a “ war of aggression” violating international law since the state of Afghanistan had not attacked the US which would have justified the US invasion of Afghanistan in self-defense. Furthermore, there are many documented books, newspaper articles and BBC radio reports making it clear that the invasion of Afghanistan was planned well before September 11, 2001. These reports are reviewed and summarized by Bruce G. Richardson in his book Afghanistan: A Search for Truth, Afghan Post, Toronto, Canada, 2007, pp.332-340, which also contains a review of the book, Forbidden Truth by Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquite; an investigative and well researched expose of the deceptions, and intrigues perpetrated against Afghanistan, especially against the Pushtoon dominated areas, before the invasion. It is clear that the desire by private US oil companies and American politicians promoting their interests in securing access route to the oil and gas riches of the Central Asian countries have played an important role in shaping US policies toward Afghanistan.
2) The fact that Afghanistan has been victimized by this invasion is further revealed by a recent report on CNN. On September 20, 2008 CNN presented a documentary on Osama Bin Laden. The commentator of the report, Christian Amanpour, stated that Bin Laden organized his plan of attack on the US in Pakistan. This is critical, because a clear violation of international law has taken place in having invaded the sovereign country of Afghanistan, since in 2001 it was argued by the Bush Administration that Bin Laden had formulated and organized the plan of attack on the US from inside Afghanistan. When the actual idea was discussed in a third country and the planning was carried out in Hamburg, Germany involving all non-Afghans then where is the justification of invading and occupying Afghanistan, most demand to know. The whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden was not known at that time, just as it is today.
3) Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty quoted Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on October 31, 2008 as saying, “ this needs to be an Afghan war, not an American war or not a NATO war”. The Afghan people are rejecting this argument, they demand peace. After nearly eight years, Afghans are told they must fight each other in the interests of misplaced US policies.
4) As the losses of lives are mounting and all other problems in Afghanistan are neglected, the Afghan people are demanding an end to this war and removal of foreign troops. Stephen Kinzer in his Op-Ed in Boston Globe “ the Reality of War in Afghanistan”, October 15,2008 reported that the majority of Afghans demand peace talks. Anand Gopel reported about the rising sentiment against war in “ Afghanistan’s Emerging Antiwar Movement”, Christian Science Monitor, October 20, 2008, and Senator Russ Feingold wrote, “ More Troops not the Answer”, Christian Science Monitor, October, 24,2008. We have heard the demands of the Afghan people for peace talks for some time from inside Afghanistan and lately on a daily basis on Afghan owned and operated satellite television stations from Kabul and from the US, Canada, Britain and Germany. Members of the Afghan Research Society International (ARSI ) have been advocating peace talks for the past several years as the crisis have deepened in Afghanistan. Our latest letter to the General Secretary of NATO, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer on 5/13/2008 available on our web site, www.afghanresearchsociety.org, widely supported by members of the Afghan Diaspora argued for a change in policy and peace settlement by the US and NATO. The deep seated problems caused by this war in nearly every aspect of Afghanistan are ignored by the occupying countries.
5) It is very clear from different parts of Afghanistan that the word “ Taliban” is generically used by many Afghans to associate themselves with the rising resistance to the present policies in Afghanistan. The arguments by some in the West for “ victory” and “ staying for the long hauls” to “ pacify” the Afghan people have increasingly become unrealistic and clearly increasingly very costly. Policy makers among the civilian and military circles are calling for a change in policy. Associated Press reporter Jill Lawless reported on October 5, 2008 that the British Brigadier Mark Carlton-Smith had stated that “ we are not going to win this war”. Head of the French military General Jean-Louis Georgelin agreed with this assessment on the French television station Public Senat on October 7, 2008. The British Ambassador to Afghanistan Cowper-Coles had stated in Kabul in a conversation with a French official that “ the American strategy is destined to fail”, and the presence of foreign military is “ part of the problem, not the solution”. The full story based on a leaked French diplomatic cable was reported by Le Canard Enchaine a French weekly publication on Wednesday October 1, 2008. Before these reports, the Joint Chief of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen had stated in a report to Congress “ I don’t think we are winning the war in Afghanistan ”. NATO Commander Gen. David McKiernan had stated “ the solution to the conflict must be political”. And above all, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in Budapest for the NATO meeting was quoted by Julian Barnes, Los Angeles Times, October 9, 2008, stating, “ there has to be ultimately, and I underscore ultimately, reconciliation as part of a political outcome to this,…that’s ultimately the exit strategy for us all.”
Despite the fact that some US commanders have been asking for more troops because of the conditions on the ground there has been earlier calls from political leadership calling for a peaceful solution to the conflict in Afghanistan for some time. Senator Bill Frist, the Republican Majority Leader, had called for peace negotiations with the armed opposition two years ago after his visit to Afghanistan. He was quoted by Nancy Zuckerbrod of the Associated Press on October 3, 2006 stating that, “ Taliban were too numerous, too popular to be defeated. You need to bring them into a more transparent type of government….and if that’s accomplished, we’ll be successful ”. His assessment fell by the way side as he left politics. The political leadership in Kabul has been attempting to approach its armed opposition through peace dialogues for some time. Lately reports including those from the Kabul media have covered the news about the Iftar dinner arranged by the government of Saudi Arabia in the holy city of Mecca during the month of Ramadan September 24-27, 2008 where some former members of the Taliban and members of the Kabul regime found themselves breaking their fast together. The meeting was recently acknowledged by the government in Kabul after the Saudi government announced it to the press on October 22, 2008. Peace talks are encouraged by elements of the US military according to a report by CNN on October 29, 2008.
6) The basic realization that war is not the solution to the problems in Afghanistan must begin immediately. What is the ultimate US objective, catching those responsible for the tragedy of September 11, 2001? Most are asking why bomb villages and kill innocent Afghans? Gaining support for a corrupt and increasingly failing regime that the US initially installed? That cannot be done by alienating the Afghan people by a war imposed on them. The support of an elected government must come from the people electing the government, not by foreign military forces. Prolonging the war will not end the war through military victory to bring peace. If access to the oil resources of Central Asia is the goal, that cannot be done without peace and the full cooperation of the Pushtoon population where a pipe line might pass. The high expectation by the Afghan people is that President-elect Obama will take a peaceful approach and attend to economic problem solving. The combined $14 billion monthly savings from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will go a long way to meeting peaceful needs.
Let us not forget that the US economy is in a deep crisis in many areas and the next President cannot afford to add to the public debt of $10.6 trillion, or to the deficit of $500 billion and the $700 billion bailout of Wall Street, or borrow more funds from foreign countries to finance the wars and failing policies. The Afghan people have suffered from war imposed policies causing massive social dislocations, losses in economic activities, deepening poverty, and high unemployment and return to poppy cultivation and illegal drugs. They need peace to recover from all these with US help.
7) It is time to talk about a strategy for peace. Policies of war have brought many failures. A clear cut strategy for peace is needed on the part of the US and NATO which will meet the demands of the Afghan people and the increasing demands of the peoples of the countries involved in the war in Afghanistan. In nearly all major Western countries such as Britain, Germany, France, Canada the majority of the people are opposed to the war in Afghanistan, frequently reported by the international media. Wikipedia shows the data for 2007 and 2008. In the US 90% of the American people believe that the country is heading in the wrong direction according to polls cited by CNN and ABC recently. Clearly the sentiments about the wars are part of these public statements. The American people deserve to be told the truth about the war in Afghanistan. The main media in the US is failing to do so. There is a clear need for change from war footing to peace and from changing the present policies of neglect of deep seated social and economic problems to helping reconstruction and humanitarian assistance. US support for a new government consisting of capable and honest individuals is paramount. These goals cannot be met with the same policies and the same individuals. A fresh start is needed, which hopefully President-elect Obama will bring. Extracting the US from the quagmire of the war imposed on Afghanistan should be the immediate policy goal.
8) The war has intensified during 2008 becoming the worst year. High flying bombers and helicopter gun ships leveling villages killing women and children demonstrated in the death of 52 Afghans at a wedding party in Nuristan on July 6, 2008 among whom there were 39 women and children including the young bride reported by BBC on its web site, followed by the aerial attack in Laghman killing 35 Afghans including women and children on July 20, 2008, and then the horrendous attack killing 90 Afghans in the village of Azizabad in the Shendand district of Herat on August 21, 2008 among whom there were 60 children, 15 women and 15 old men, confirmed by the local people, the UN, and widely reported including the New York Times August 27, 2008, followed by the latest killing of 27 Afghans in Helmand among whom there were 18 women and children as young as six months old reported by Ariana TV from Kabul and BBC radio on October 16, 2008, have all continued to add to the unfolding tragedies of this unjust war and the deep anger and resentment of the Afghan people. The year 2008 has been disastrous for even social gathering for the Afghan people in the south. The international media including Fox News reported that the US military dropped eight bombs on yet another wedding in the Shah Wali Kott of Kandahar killing 37 Afghans confirmed by the US military, yet as many as 96 victims were claimed by Afghan sources, on November 5, 2008. The killings of the innocent Afghans have deepened the sense of anger and the rejection of the policies of occupation among the Afghan people and have strengthened their resolve for seeking peace as the only solution. Targeting Afghan civil gatherings in the light of these facts now well known by the world community constitute one of the worst violations of international law under the UN Charter.
9) The human rights of ordinary Afghans are also violated by the suicide bombings by the armed opposition which have dramatically increased recently.
10) The Afghan people feel as hostages in their own country as the occupation forces are using the presence of the warlords, communists and criminal commanders and corrupt individuals, whose return to their present positions was directly supported with funds and weapons by the US and NATO military, as a continuous reminder of what the Afghan people will face if the foreign military were to leave Afghanistan. Even Hamid Karzai was quoted by Ariana television from Kabul on October 29, 2008 saying “ we are guests in our own country”. The cruelty of this catch twenty two is obvious to the Afghan people; they demand its end. They ask how long will the people have to put up with criminals imposed upon them who serve foreign interests? These individuals are openly accused of further crimes on Afghan media. The Afghan people are asking for this problem to be solved before the next elections in 2009.
11) While resistance to occupation policies has grown, more proscribed weapons are being used such as cluster bombs, napalm, thermo-baric devices, fuel-air-explosives and depleted uranium according to several reports. Two Afghan medical doctors, Dr. Mirakai who is also a candidate for President and Dr. Barbury have shown pictures of severely deformed Afghan children at birth afflicted with cancer on Payam-e-Afghan satellite television, respectively, on July 9, 2008 and December 25, 2007. These conditions have resulted from the use of depleted uranium shells reportedly used by the US and British military in several areas in Afghanistan. The Afghan people are demanding an investigation and compensation according to the many callers to both of these television programs. American doctors had provided some of the pictures.
Afghanistan has suffered more civilian casualties than many recent conflicts. The World Political Institute, Arms Trade Resources Center, recently policy update cites the death rate of 2643/10,000 tons of bombs dropped in the case of Afghanistan, 1852 for Cambodia, 522 in the case of Serbia and 341 in the case of Iraq. Deliberate targeting of civilians in Afghanistan is reported by Aaron Glanz in the documentary Winter Soldier shown and discussed on Democracy Now television network for several nights in July, 2008. Afghans reported deliberate aerial attacks on the civilians in several provinces.
12) The social and economic needs of the Afghan people are neglected and the weak and war torn Afghan economy is left to the vagaries of globalization. Never before the people have seen such corruption tearing up the very fabric of the religious and social structures of the Afghan society, largely introduced through a system of bribery for protection by the foreign military and spy agencies. Extreme unemployment of over 70%, extreme poverty of over 53%,double digit inflation, wages of $1 a day prevail in Kabul and else where. The foreign and Afghan consultants have collected $1.5 billion in fees according to Rory Stewart, Time magazine July 28, 2008 quoting the Afghan regime, yet no economic consultant nor a government official have been brought to task why is there such extreme unemployment in a country supposedly receiving massive amounts of foreign assistance amounting to $26 billion? At the latest donor conference on Afghanistan June 12, 2008, no report on economic progress was presented after two and half years following the London donor conference in January 2006. The Minister of Finance Dr. Ahady and Dr. Ishaq Naderi who is the chief economic consultant for the government were present at the conference. A day later two members of the parliament Mr. Joyenda and Mr. Folad stated on government run RTA television from Kabul that the report for the Paris conference cost $15 million and they asked how was it spent and who received it. Who is accountable for this, they inquired?
At the same time 60,000 children seek work on the streets of Kabul with adult unemployment of more than 50-70%, couples selling their children to feed their families, or eating grass and dying in the north , extremes of wealth accumulation by a few, heavily armed bodyguards for the foreign and Afghan officials, secret prisons, torture and widespread abuse, kidnapping of more than 300 children, rape of 112 little girls by local warlords, aerial and suicide bombings are some aspects of the prevailing conditions in Afghanistan reported by the Afghan television networks and print media. The international media especially the US media cover little of these stories. All these conditions are the results of cumulative effects of years of war compounded by the failing policies of occupation and the present war imposed on Afghanistan. The UN, its affiliates are relegated to service calls. The role of the UN needs to be re-energized.
We find that the Afghan people are demanding an end to the war and foreign occupation with clear and collective voices. The rising resistance to occupation cannot be quelled by changing tactics or attempting to split the resistance because now it is based on the growing support of the people in more than 60% of the country. The conflict inside Afghanistan can only be resolved inside the country, not taking the war to the neighbors of Afghanistan. The Afghan people are demanding negotiations with all members of the armed opposition for a peace settlement to be achieved and for all the outstanding issues to be resolved. The Pushtun majority has suffered for too long for the wrong reasons, suffering from the direct impact of the war imposed on them and from the lack of any humanitarian and reconstruction assistance. They cannot be selectively excluded from the next elections as they were in 2004 and 2005, many argue; if we pursue peace which requires the full participation of all the Afghan people in all the affairs of Afghanistan.
these ends we propose the following.
Peace Proposal by Members of Afghan
November 25, 2008
10. Commitment by the newly elected government of Afghanistan that it will not
permit any one to organize or carry out acts of terrorism in Afghanistan or outside Afghanistan. Passing of legislation against terrorism and strict enforcement are needed. Clearly peace and moral suasion will be needed.
11. Initiating genuine reconciliation among the Afghan people and all parts of
Afghan society through dispensing justice, compensations for wrong doings, formulating joint programs for reconstruction, involvement in community affairs and building civil society organizations, participation in service sectors such as healthcare and education, and in the formation of the security forces.
12.The formation of the national army and police forces from all ethnic parts of
the population based on traditional practices in the country that worked so well in the past is needed. The formation of a voluntary army under war conditions as proposed has faltered, because, the Pushtoon population has been under attack and this policy will continue to fail unless peace is established and participation of all the Afghans is guaranteed. Conscription was the rule and it worked well. Afghanistan cannot afford a voluntary army when sources of foreign payment dries out. The growth of population and the special needs of all the 34 provinces must be considered. The financial and personnel support from the international community for training and financing of these forces will be required for a given period.
13. A time table for the withdrawal of the security and peace keeping force from
the third countries under UN-OIC-EU supervision should be set, which should take place after the elections, the establishment of the new government, and formation of Afghan national security forces.
Afghan Research Society International
M. Siddieq Noorzoy, Director
S.K. Hashemyan, Izatullah Mujadidi, A.M.Zarmalwall, Dr. Rostar Taraki, Bruce Richardson,
Dr. Ali Ghori, Torpekay Hadari.
Members at Large
M.Siddieq Noorzoy, Ph.D., Professor of Economics, Emeritus. SNoorzoy@msn.com
Said Khalilollah Hashemyan, Ph.D. (Linguistics), former Professor Kabul University,
Editor, Afghanistan Mirror, bi-monthly publication in English, Pushto and Dari, Montclair, Ca.
A. M. Zarmalwall, Author of several books on Afghanistan, Ottawa, Canada.
Izatullah Mujadedi, Islamic Scholar, commentator, Irvine, Ca.
Bruce G. Richardson, author, Afghanistan: Ending the Reign of Soviet Terror,
Maverick Publications, Oregon, 1996; Afghanistan: A Search for Truth, Afghan Post, Toronto, 2007.
Nabi Misdaq, Ph.D., author, Afghanistan: Political Frailty and Foreign Interference, Routledge, 2006
Farid Ahmad, M.S. Civil Engineer, San Jose.
Nasir Ahmad, BS. Civil Engineer, San Jose..
Abdul Ali Ghori, PhD. (mathematics) Instructor Bay Area Colleges.
Nafisa Ghori, Laboratory Technician Stanford University.
Torpekay Haidari, M.A., Education, former Associate Professor Kabul University.
Obaidullah Haidari, Diploma Engineer, author.
Toryalay Helmand, M.A. Range Land Management.
Solaiman Helmand, Businessman, Bay Area.
Mir Jalalyar, M.B.A., Ph.D., Business Instructor, Seattle Area Colleges.
Kazem Jalalyar, B.S., Engineer, Seattle.
Hedayat Jalalyar, Doctor of Pharmacology, head pharmacist, Tri City.
Mobin Karimi, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Pathologist, University of Toronto, Canada
Latif Ahmad, MD, Middle East.
Mohammad Staneckzai, B.S. Civil Engineer, Sacramento.
Yar Mohammad Mojadidi, M.A. (Public Administration), retired, Fremont, Ca.
Daoud Momand, B.A. (Political Science), writer, Pala Alto, Ca.
Ningyalai Amiri, M.S. (Computer Sciences) Principal SQA Engineer, Bay Area firm.
Noorullah Hafiz, B.S., Civil Engineer, Hafiz Insurance Agency, Los Angeles.
Hamid Noorzoy, A.A., Sport Consultant, Monterey Bay.
Jamal Noorzoy, B.A., Realtor, inventor and patent holder. Carmel and Pebble Beach.
Khalil Noorzoy, B.A., businessman, Los Angeles.
Assad Noorzoy, B.S., health inspector, Los Angeles.
Abdul Wahid Wahab, Dip. Architect, Owner and CEO, Koba Co., Dortmund, Germany.
Abdul Wali Wahab, B.S. Design Eng., Koba Co. Dortmund, Germany
M. Shoaib Yousofzai M.D., Islamic Scholar and commentator, Marina, Ca.
Fakhronisa Yousofzai, M.D., Islamic Scholar and commentator, Marina, Ca
Ahmad Zia, businessman, Bay Area, Ca.
Rahmat Zirakyar, Ph.D. ( Political
Science), consultant on political issues, Santa Barbara, Ca