A declaration & petition for action regarding the invasion of the Taliban under cover of the Kochies against the national interest in Hazarajat, Afghanistan
from Washington, DC Metropolitan Afghans Association
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editorial assistance by Caitlin Quigley
In the past two years, Hazarajat has been invaded by armed Taliban under the veil of the Kochies (Nomads) and other radical, heavily armed forces. Especially in Behsood and Daimeerdad-Kajab, these forces were armed, organized, planned, and coordinated with officials in the current Afghan administration. The forces crossed the Afghan border in caravans and murdered innocent indigenous Hazara people. They destroyed homes, stores, livestock and crops.
The Taliban are following the genocidal policies of medieval tyrants under the guise of Kochie nomads with the support of foreign intelligence agencies. Once again, they are bringing turmoil into this peaceful central region of Afghanistan. Under the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) program, all Afghanistan citizens have been disarmed and no one should have illegal weapons.
How were these armed groups able to cross the southern borders and travel hundreds of kilometers without being checked and stopped even while armed with RPGs, DShKs, and machine guns? It’s obvious that these kinds of activities will unravel the nation’s integrity and unity. Furthermore, these events fan conflict and antagonism among Pashtoon, Tajik, Hazara, and Uzbek who are trying to preserve their cultural heritage.
We hereby thus respectfully request from all ethnic groups settled in Afghanistan; all United Nations Agencies; all Global social and civic institutions; International Security Assistance Force (ISAF); and related countries in connection to Afghan issues, to press the Afghan government to focus their attentions and efforts on the main issues of the country. The officials should respect and apply law, order and social justice uniformly. Otherwise, global humanitarian efforts to help the oppressed people of Afghanistan will fail.
So, the Metropolitan area (Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia) Afghans, after studying and evaluating the recent events in Hazarajat, reached the following conclusions. With this Declaration it is our intent to focus the attention of high level officials, government, the United Nations, the ISAF, and related countries with consideration to the international laws and conventions, human rights, and Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (IRA) charter on the following points:
1. According to the IRA charter, all citizens have equal rights, and the government is obliged to follow and practice this principle and should avoid any kind of discrimination.
2. According to the IRA charter, the government is obliged to provide security and protection to all citizens and their properties. Those armed elements that crossed the borders and entered the peaceful central region of Hazarajat and committed murder of innocent indigenous people, looted properties, destroyed farms, houses and shopping centers should be brought to justice.
3. With the enlightenment of the IRA charter and its promise of equal rights for all citizens, those cruel and discriminatory policies, practices, and decrees of past regimes, parties and military groups and individuals that only served self interest and profit for themselves, should be declared illegitimate and the government should not value, practice, participate or recognize them in any manner.
4. The government should compensate all losses and damages caused by the Taliban invasion (in the name of Kochies) in Hazarajat.
5. According to the IRA charter, the government is obliged to the settlement of Afghan citizen Kochies (nomads), returnees, and internally displaced people and should provide them decent living conditions and accommodations upon their return.
6. The government should prevent the occurrence of this kind of tragedy from ever happening again, and must take serious precautions to prevent repetition of these kinds of atrocities among our nation’s ethnic groups in the future.
7. The government must apply the disarmament program to the whole nation honestly, and should not let armed Taliban and other military groups retain military-style weapons for any .
8. We cordially request that the United Nations Assistance Mission for Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) establish an independent and impartial investigation/ evaluation commission regarding the recent invasion of Hazarajat. This should study both sides in the conflict (real Kochies and Hazaras) and coordinate necessary assistance for reparation and re-settlement of all citizens affected by this invasion with the government of Afghanistan.
Hoping Peace and Decent Life for All Afghanistan Citizens
Washington DC Metropolitan Afghans
A TV Report
24 September 2008, 15:19, by ramzan ali syd
in the name of God i think the problem are not kochies. the problem is the mentality of pashtoon,s.they ruled afgh more than 300 years and they are not ready to share power with other etnicity.wat they did in behsood, it can happen again.wat did taliban past 7 years back.we hazara,s should not forget.they massacrd people, they wanted to destroy hazara,s.if the taliban got power they destroyd hazara,s.it is no doubt.behsood tragety shows the ugly and facist face of pashtoon karzai regime.our politicion are also very selfish.they don,t care abt their nation.atleast mr khalili should resign from his post to show solidarity with hazara,s.but he did,t.i am sure mr khalili has big house and to many bodygaurds.how he can feel the pain of the people of behsood.he did,t take one good step for his people.he keep silent.i think the new genration of hazara,s should come foreward.they should join the politics.we hazara,s have good chance today.if we can create more educated people in the society .the educated new hazara genration should come foreward to help their nation.i think we hazara,s should,t trust this government.karzai was belong to shahi family.he was the servent of the shahi family.he is modarete.but he is very facist tribe man.i know his history.he is not faithful with hazara,s.thnks
18 October 2008, 10:40, by Jamal Sulemankhel
Sorry friend, this is nothing but mere propaganda - and what is really griping and sad that ignorants like you fall for it. ’Taliban disguising as Kochis’, that is joke worth laughing. Kochis have ALL the rights to stay and live and roam in any part of Afghanistan as long as they do not tress-pass your privately owned property. Maybe the real fascist should register this in their ignorant heads that Hazarajaat is part Afghanistan like any other province. Good luck.
25 October 2008, 03:09, by Bashir
Salam brother Jamal!
It is the right of every citizen of Afghanistan to move freely any where in Afghanistan. however we need to distiguish between aggressors and innocents. It is an undeniable fact that kochies loot the house and properties of
Hazaras every year. As the kochies have the right to move freely within Afghanistan, they do not have any right to rob people and their belonggings. let’s stop pointing finger at each other, try to be just and look for a better future for Afghanistan.
9 November 2008, 12:03
Nowadays it’s very fashionable to blame gladly any sort of failures on the term "Taliban". Unfortunately it’s a very Afghan trait to seek for a "black sheep" to white-wash their own selves from constantly committed mistakes. Anyone who has the slightest knowledge about Afghanistan knows that Kochis are the most harmless people of Afghanistan. In fact, instead of publishing such provocative and biased articles why not investigate all the facts, questioning the reasons behind of such peaceful people getting armed!
I don’t read anything about the boundless attacks on Kochis merely because they are Pashtuns.
But once again you witness that "freedom of press" is a quite latent and partisan concept.
9 November 2008, 21:00
Yes Gentlemen, so much about your so called "No Censorship" or "freedom of the press"!
They are some really aesthetic paroles but first you have to deserve those privileges before making use of it.
Such propagandistic and false reports will get you nowhere except that you are only deceiveing yourself and offering nothing positive.
En passant, my concern is not whether you submit my comments or don’t. I’ve visited this site because I recently met one of your reporters and just wanted to have an own indentation of your Blog.
As usual I’m not surprised. The censorship policy of Afghanistan is just the same as its biased and flawed media: Der eine Esel beschimpft den ändern Esel.
Best regards from Germany
10 November 2008, 07:30
“In the past Kuchis had access to pastures and grazing land all across the country,” said Daudshah Niazi, director of the IDKA in Kabul. “Now, local people do not allow Kuchis to enter their areas, and widespread insecurity, local militias and landmines also inhibit their access to grazing land,”
This is the reason why Kuchis are armed today and all its components, in sheer self-defence and desperation, have to look sadly in this way after themselves. Kuchis live a primitve, nomadic and God-forsaken life of illiteracy and less participation in social activities of the state. Hence they have no other option in a society where homophobia is strong and often accompanied by violence.
The tragedy is about the people who claim free speech rights but at the same time propagate such biased ideas in a war-torn society. You’re not aware of the consequence of your deeds or you even don’t seem bothered about the consequences your whole flawed idea might cause.
Such racial reports stigmatise and victimise Kuchis as Taliban in every part of Afghanistan today. And it’s the great job of you, the new generation media of Afghanistan.
10 November 2008, 08:02
Try a Different Perspective:
Newest flood of Afghan refugees: Pashtuns fleeing south
SPIN BOLDAK, AFGHANISTAN –
Like many Afghans, Abdul Habib assumed that the fall of the Taliban last November would bring a hopeful future to his family and to his country.
But instead, his peaceful life in the north-central Afghan city of Shibarghan fell apart. Neighbors of the Uzbek ethnic group began to harass him because he was a member of the Pashtun ethnic group, the same group that most of the Taliban belonged to. Soldiers under Uzbek militia leader Gen. Rashid Dostum raided his farm, and threatened his family.
"When the Taliban left, everything became bad, but we weren’t Taliban ourselves," says Mr. Habib, who left Shibarghan soon after the Taliban fell eight months ago. He now lives with his wife and four children in a canvas tent in a sweltering refugee camp here.
"What can we do?" he asks. "If we go back, they will kill us, rape us. It’s better to die in the sun."
As an estimated 1.6 million Afghan refugees return to Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban, a surprising trickle of ethnic Pashtuns from northern Afghanistan is heading in the opposite direction. Many are seeking safety in refugee camps in the south, far from ethnic minorities with growing power and in places where Pashtuns are a majority.
Numbering up to 120,000, these fleeing Pashtuns present a logistical and moral challenge to the new government, which already has difficulty coping with all the returning refugees. This week, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees announced that he had warned President Hamid Karzai that ethnic relations had turned volatile in the north.
Until the new government can guarantee the safe return of Pashtuns to the Tajik- and Uzbek-dominated cities of the north, there is a strong likelihood that the government and international aid agencies will have to deal with these Pashtun refugees for months, even years to come.
"It’s still pretty unstable in the North, and there are areas where aid groups can’t go, because of security reasons," says Maki Shinohara, spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Kabul. "It’s a bit difficult to deal with, because of the related issue of law and order. Pashtuns are being driven out by the majority populations in the North because they are of the same ethnic group as the Taliban."
To be sure, not all of the Afghans living in improvised camps in Spin Boldak, Herat, and Jalalabad are Pashtuns. Many are Kuchi nomads, driven out of their lifestyle by three years of hard drought and the deaths of their livestock. Others are local Pashtuns, who came here for handouts. But aid officials say Pashtuns will be the toughest group to resettle, because of their numbers and because their fears of harassment are well-founded.
The central government often claims that ethnic differences in Afghanistan are overstated and exploited by local warlords. Still, rivalries between Pashtuns and Tajiks have been one of the largest factual points in Afghan society for more than a century. What is clear is that the camps of Spin Boldak are harsh places, set at the edge of this border town, where heavy winds push sand dunes through the ramshackle city of tents and mud-walled shacks. Food comes, sporadically, from local aid groups, but camp residents say they must work as laborers in town to support themselves.
Technically, the 30,000 residents of the camps in Spin Boldak are not refugees, since they have not actually fled the country. But as "internally displaced persons," as aid workers call them, these Pashtuns, Kuchis, and other Afghans face the same threats faced by the millions of Afghan refugees that managed to escape Afghanistan over the past 23 years of war.
Mohammadullah, a farmer from the northwestern city of Maimona, says he fled seven months ago, after ethnic Uzbek soldiers raided a neighbor’s house, killing seven men, and kidnapping three young girls. The next day, Mohammadullah and 30 Pashtun families packed their belongings on donkeys and left for Herat on foot.
"They said we supported the Taliban, but we were there before the Taliban," says Mohammadullah, surrounded by his five sons, two of whom work as laborers to support his family of nine. "It was all an excuse to confiscate our land. Those who are still there, they are living a life in jail. They can’t even go out of their homes."
Barat Khan, who left the northern village of Char Bolak seven months ago, says he went back to his village secretly 12 days ago. He changed his clothes, spoke in the Persian dialect of the north, and spent nights with an Uzbek friend he still trusts.
"All my Uzbek friends told me to go back south, because the warlords will kill you," he says. One neighbor, an ethnic Hazara who owed Mr. Khan 200,000 Afghanis ($5, or the monthly salary for an average Afghan laborer), told Khan that he should run away while he could. "He told me, ’Do you want your life? If you love your life, you should go back, otherwise I will kill you.’"
Wali Mohammad, a farmer from Mazar-e Sharif, and chief representative for the 800 families at Awami Camp, looks forward to leaving this camp for another one being prepared west of Kandahar, the regional capital. There, the sand dunes will be about the same, but tube wells are being dug that will make these Pashtuns less dependent on the kindness of aid groups.
"The government has promised to dig wells there and that will be great," says Mr. Mohammad, who fled with his two wives and 19 children to Spin Boldak, in hopes of entering Pakistan. "But if they don’t do that, we will try to go into Pakistan, which is difficult, because you have to bribe the guards 200 rupees per head. For my family, this is a big price."
For his part, Habib says he has actually started to think of the Taliban times as a "golden era," because at least there was a system of law and order and a sense of pride for Afghanistan’s largest ethnic group, the Pashtuns. And he fully intends to take his lands back, even if that means restarting a cycle of ethnic violence.
"I can’t say that I’ve lost my lands, because I will get it back from those people," he says. "Until my death, I will fight for those lands. These people will not be in power forever. And when they fall, I’ll be waiting."
14 November 2008, 05:31, by m a heydari
there are a lot of hazara people got killed but the government turned a blind eye,there is no governmnet or demacracy in afghanistan.the current government should go and let some honest and hard working people take over to help the hopeless people of afghanistan.
16 November 2008, 09:11, by ramzan syd
(chize kisht kardi deraw mekonid)wat the facist pashtoon king,s did in past now the pashtoon,s are paying the prize.the pashtoon should learn from their dark past.i think one united afghanistan has no future.today the time is changd.the new genration of Hazara tajik uzbak Eimaq etc are different than century ago.they know their rights and they can defend their rights.mr karzai is following the same route like their ancestar in past did.he is not sencere with other etnicity.behsood tragedy is one example.i think hazara,s should take seriusly next election.they should choose more young energetic and sencere people.they should raise their voice.
17 November 2008, 06:22
The irony is when racist people like you stigmatise others as "fascist"! It has less to do with any ethnicity but rather with racist people like you who impudently authorise themselves to a proxy of a whole nation or in this case an ethnic.
My friend, with such accusation you will be indicted and arrested in a democratic state. But obviously we do not live in a democtratic state in Afghanistan. In fact, if it were the case then Pashtuns as the largest ethnic would have the full right to be legally empowered.
But yet again, we witness the explicit reason behind the conflict we experience over and over again in Afghanistan. Violence can not be a solution for any problem, my friend. Instead of blaming others you should learn from your own failures. At least it will help you in not making the same mistake again.
If the Pashtuns would have been just as the same racist as people like you then they actually always had the best opportunity to Ethnic cleansing, pashtunising of Afghanistan, replacing the main lingo to Pashtu etc. but apparently it was never the case. Instead it was always Tajiks who enjoyed the most preferential treatment unlike many other ethnicities ...but yet again, I think it’s time for Pashtuns to awake and get aware of their existence and role as the largest ethnicity of Afghanistan. Else we might go down in a state of ignorance and sheer brutality.
“Be the change you want to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi
18 November 2008, 04:30, by ramzan ali syd
haqiqat talkh ast.you sir defended your past aer,a.do you know history of afghanistan(awghanistan)a little bit?they massacrd people in the name of etnicity and religion.they killd almost 60%of hazara,s.they distrubuted their land to kochie,s and other tribes of pashtoon.being of Hazara was a crime in afghanistan(awghanistan)it is not etnic cleansing.do you ever traval to hazarajat.the past dark regime,s did nothing for the poor people their.they neglected them alway,s.if some one say,s the truth and defending their rights.it is a crime.you people should open your eyes.and look the world today.we are living in 21th century.i am personaly not racicst.but i want to give message those who love humanity.they should open their eyes.and see the world as today.dare kas ra na zan ba angosht ki me zana ba mosht.it is time that your (pashtoon)leaders must says sorry for their ancestor did.and must not repeat their did.and should see the world as today.