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A trial of the Taliban criminals must occur before we leave

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Without a trial of the Taliban criminals, both Afghanistan and the failed nuclear state of Pakistan will be exposed to the resurgence of their evil rule and malign global influence.

 

 Islamo-fascism poisons not only physically but also mentally. Taliban criminals must be put on trial.

Some elements within the Taliban have committed terrible crimes and those men who committed those crimes must be held to account before NATO-ISAF leave. It is unlikely that justice will be served by having the trials proceed in Afghanistan and in any case there is talk of a blanket amnesty by the Afghan government.

However while the International community is there they need to see that justice is done.

“The Taliban pounded on the door just before midnight, demanding that Aisha, 18, be punished for running away from her husband’s house. They dragged her to a mountain clearing near her village in the southern Afghan province of Uruzgan, ignoring her protests that her in-laws had been abusive, that she had no choice but to escape. Shivering in the cold air and blinded by the flashlights trained on her by her husband’s family, she faced her spouse and accuser.

Her in-laws treated her like a slave, Aisha pleaded. They beat her. If she hadn’t run away, she would have died. Her judge, a local Taliban commander, was unmoved. Later, he would tell Aisha’s uncle that she had to be made an example of lest other girls in the village try to do the same thing. The commander gave his verdict, and men moved in to deliver the punishment. Aisha’s brother-in-law held her down while her husband pulled out a knife. First he sliced off her ears. Then he started on her nose. Aisha passed out from the pain but awoke soon after, choking on her own blood. The men had left her on the mountainside to die.” {Time 29 Jul 2010]

Crimes against women like disfigurement, assault, starvation, “ rape, , sexual slavery, forced marriage, ethnic cleansing, the use of women to spread terror, particularly terror by threats of violence against women and/or their families…are crimes against humanity” [http://www.iccwomen.org/wigjdraft1/Archives/oldWCGJ/resources/cahreport.htm ]

What sickness of mind would allow or justify the Taliban’s execution by public hanging of a 7 year old boy which they did in Helmand province 2 years ago because they said he was a ‘spy’.

“I don’t think there’s a crime bigger than that, that even the most inhuman forces on earth can commit,” Hamid Karzai said . “A 7-year-old boy cannot be a spy. A 7-year-old boy cannot be anything but a 7-year-old boy” [NY Daily News 10 June 2010]

At the same time another Islam fascist fanatic detonated a suicide bomb at a wedding because there were Afghan police officers in the party. 40 Muslims were killed many of them small children another 77 were injured.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1285508/Taliban-execute-boy-seven-accused-spy.html

There are elements within Afghanistan that seek to grant a blanket general amnesty to all Taliban ‘fighters’ in an effort to promote reconciliation. This is a grave mistake. Fascists (whether Nazi’s or the Salafi/Deobondi-Takfiri-Jihadi kind) cannot be appeased nor rehabilitated. Giving them immunity only encourages even more outrageous acts of inhumanity because they know they are unaccountable. (When the democracies failed to stand up to the Fascists over Czechoslovakia it only emboldened them to commence wars of aggression against the rest of Europe and the slaughter of millions). Many parties and civil rights groups in Afghanistan oppose amnesty for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Taliban because it condones their extremism which is toxic for the Afghan society if it is to move forward.

The Islamo-fascists (both local Taliban, Pakistani Taliban and Arab Salafi-Takfiri Jihadi insurgents) have committed 75% of all civilian casualties in the Afghan War [see: UN Security Council reports as well as The Afghan Justice Project reports ] and continue to beat, poison and intimidate the ordinary Afghan people. Following on bombings in marketplaces, the Islamo Fascists also target schools.

Just this week in the Afghan province of Takhar the Taliban sprayed poison on 125 girls and three teachers, causing them to vomit and lose consciousness. This follows earlier equally horrific poisonings and killings including an incident in April in the same province when 170 women and girls were hospitalized when the Islamo- fascists poisoned their well because they refused to stop attending school and educating girls. Attacking girls and teachers who dare teach them has become a common tactic for the Taliban along with suicide bombings. Everyone must submit to their ideology or face the consequences.

This fascist tactic of extreme violence (just like the ongoing bombings in Iraq and throughout AF-PAK) to intimidate the population to force their rule has to be met with justice and not bullets.

Isalmo-fascism poisons not only physical wells but much worse ‘the well-springs of the mind’ of the poor people of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The terror they bring forces the population into subjugation mentally, physically and spiritually to the fascist tyranny.

Some think by NATO and its allies training the Afghan army and leaving the country everything will be all right. It won’t be. It has nothing to do with Non-Muslim soldiers leaving ‘Muslim’ lands. The Islamo-fascists are not Muslims just as Hitler’s devotees were not Christians; they are fanatics who inflict any cruelty and commit any crime to advance their politico-social agenda of subjugation of society to their ideology of hate.

Indeed it is likely that the Islamo-fascists will again attempt to gain control of the country by bombs, violence, threats and intimidation of the population, the majority of whom are Muslims no less than they do on the Pakistan side of the border.

The leadership and ideologues of Islamo-fascists in AF-PAK have committed and continue to commit crimes against humanity no less heinous than the Nazis between 1935 and 1945 and they do so against Muslims as well as people of other faiths.

Before NATO-ISAF leaves they must arrest and put on trial in the International Court of Justice or the International Criminal Court all those leaders including ideologues in Pakistan who created the Taliban as accessories (and insist that Pakistan Government deliver them over notwithstanding the opposition that will come from ISI). If he hadn’t committed suicide (which he did at the same time he killed his own 6 children) should Goebbels have escaped Nuremberg trials just because he used his tongue instead of a rifle to lead the Nazi state to disenfranchise, enslave and murder millions of people in 10 short years?

If these criminals are not brought to justice now, when NATO-ISAF leaves, what do you think the  Islamo-fascists will do? Of course they will together with their masters in Pakistan and beyond, reassert their terrible oppression mentally and physically over the people of Afghanistan as well as continuing to do so in Pakistan.

The fledgling army of Afghanistan will be ill equipped ideologically and sociologically to deal with the organized and extremely well financed Islamo-fascist machine orchestrated from within and without Afghanistan.

Drone attacks are not the answer against this evil because it too is an instrument of brutality in that many innocent people are sometimes killed and wounded and more importantly there is no trial to assert what is right and punish that which is wrong.

The Taliban criminality, (no less than the Einzatsgruppen criminality in imposing the Nazi ideology in Eastern Europe in World War II), has to  now be judged in open international court so the people can see that justice exists and have the strength to fight the Taliban darkness with the light of God and  a decent civil society free from the violence and barbarity of brainless fascist thugs whether they wear boots or sandals because both trample basic human rights underfoot and cover truth in the blood of innocents.

The people of AF-PAK deserve a ‘Kandahar’ Nuremberg style trial against the barbaric crimes of the Taliban which cannot be left unpunished if they are to be stopped.

In addition (just as they should be supported in our homelands when they speak out against similar Islamo- fascism), true religious leaders in AF-PAK have to be supported and protected when they come out and welcome the fact that those members of the Taliban who committed crimes against humanity are judged and condemned. Normative values of universal justice must be supported or the people will not be strong enough to stand against the rise again of the surge of the Islamo- fascists.

It must be dealt with by justice so that Afghanistan has at least a chance to steer away from the edge of madness again not just for the sake of the women and children but also our collective global security. You cannot leave the wasp nest in tact if you don’t want to be stung again.

NATO-ASAF have sacrificed too many men to leave the wells of AF-PAK poisoned.

NATO-ASAF may have cleaned up most of the top leadership of Al Qaeda (which is unfortunately just the tip of the Islamo-Fascist iceberg) but they have largely lost the war to the insurgent’s masters. They have failed because they have just been fighting the foot soldier insurgents (many of whom are not even Afghani) and have not gone after their masters. As with Vietnam, the allies had to fight with one hand tied behind their back and you cannot win a war that way. However not all is lost if the source of the enemy’s power is neutralized and that is the doctrine of Islamo-Fascism itself and the crimes against humanity it encourages (indeed demands) their devotees commit.

Without a trial of the Taliban criminals, both Afghanistan and the failed nuclear state of Pakistan will be exposed to the resurgence of their evil rule and malign global influence.

NATO-ISAF UNAMA still have the opportunity to redeem something out of the resources and sacrifices that have been poured into the region over the last ten years and leave a positive legacy for the people (not the least of whom are the poor women and girls) and an abiding security assurance for our homelands.

That legacy will not come with bullets, drone attacks or wishful thinking that the Afghan Army won’t be turned into an instrument of terror by the Islamo fascists when they return to power but with justice.

This will then give ordinary people in Afghanistan (including the Afghan Army) and also the suffering Muslims in Pakistan the moral and spiritual courage to face Islamo-Fascists when they come (and they surely will come) and clean out the poison from their wells and rebuild their society on foundations based on true Islam, human dignity for all peoples of all faiths including women and children.

Athos

June 2012

 http://articles.nydailynews.com/2010-06-10/news/27066837_1_suicide-bomber-helmand-taliban

 http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/10/world/asia/10afghanistan.html?_r=1

 http://www.afghanistanjusticeproject.org/

 http://www.scribd.com/doc/36261386/The-Taliban-s-Crimes-Against-Humanity-and-the-Women-of-Afghanistan

Alexander Athos is a writer and businessman.He was awarded a Bachelor of Arts (European History) Personal background Alexander was christened Orthodox brought up Catholic and now Evangelical Christian with an acceptance of the best in Christian tradition and a respect for genuine people of faith from other cultures. Political inclinations: Christian intellectual who has an eclectic predisposition to understanding global and national political and social trends and seeking to influence them for good by thoughtful and persuasive discourse.

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South Asia

Taliban and the crisis in Afghanistan

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Source: Twitter

In 2021, the Afghan Taliban took back control of Afghanistan after fighting a rebellion for twenty years. The Taliban reformed and began regaining territory less than 10 years after the American-led invasion that overthrew the previous regime in 2001. In line with a 2020 peace agreement with the Taliban, they staged a swift assault as the US started to evacuate its last forces from Afghanistan.

Even though they promised to preserve the rights of women and communities of religious and racial minorities, the Taliban have enforced a strict interpretation of Islamic law. The Taliban have failed to provide Afghans with sufficient food supplies and economic possibilities as they have evolved from an insurgent organization to a functioning administration.

Numerous instances of human rights violations have been documented by the UN mission in Afghanistan. Because the Taliban scared off journalists and put limits on press freedom, more than 200 news outlets had to close. Activists and protesters have been tracked and forcefully disappeared, and their government has ruthlessly suppressed protests. They also reinstated the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, which was previously in place, and enforced laws against actions judged to be contrary to Islam. They instructed judges to apply their version of sharia in November 2022; in the following weeks, authorities resumed public hangings and floggings.

Women’s rights have been undermined. Due to restrictions put in place by the Taliban, girls are not allowed to go to high school, and women are not allowed to go to college or teach there. The group banned women from working for local and international voluntary groups in December 2022. According to estimates from the UN Development Program (UNDP), limiting women’s employment might cost Afghanistan’s GDP up to 5%. Amnesty International reports a substantial increase in the number of women jailed for defying discriminatory rules, such as those requiring women to cover their whole bodies while in public and to only appear with male chaperones. In addition, there are now more child marriages.

The UNDP says that the Taliban’s rule has also taken away the gains that Afghans made in their living conditions in the 20 years after the US invasion. In a study from October 2022, the organization claimed that practically all Afghans were living in poverty. Since the takeover, the economy has contracted by up to 30%, and there have been an estimated 700,000 job losses. More than 90% of individuals are impacted by food insecurity. The problem is getting worse because several countries and international groups have stopped giving aid, which is vital to the economy and public health.

International observers are nonetheless worried that the Taliban pose a danger to national and international security through their funding of terrorist groups, especially Al-Qaeda. Taliban leadership might convert Afghanistan into a haven for terrorists who could launch attacks against the US and its allies, despite Taliban pledges that the country’s territory wouldn’t be used against the security of any other country. The violence has also increased along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, which has always supported the Taliban. Tehrik-e-Taliban, a terrorist organization commonly referred to as the Pakistani Taliban, has gained strength due to the Taliban’s ascent to power. The organization broke off a cease-fire with the Pakistani government in 2022 and began carrying out assaults throughout the nation. Officials from Pakistan have charged the Afghan Taliban with giving the extremists a safe harbor in their country.

For many years, the Afghan government relied on help from a number of countries; according to 2019 World Bank research, contributions from foreign partners funded 75% of the government’s public expenditures. Many of these countries stopped off aid when the Taliban took control, fueling concerns about potential future economic turmoil. Nevertheless, aid rose in 2022 as donors sent more than $2.6 billion. The US has donated more than $1.1 billion in help since the coup. However, according to UN authorities, the pledges fell short of the nation’s humanitarian requirements.

Many Western countries, most notably the US, shut down their diplomatic posts in Afghanistan when the Taliban took power. Diplomatic relations and recognition have been withheld from the Taliban regime, which refers to Afghanistan as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. The UN General Assembly has also postponed a decision on who would indefinitely represent Afghanistan at the UN. The Taliban are now being investigated by the International Criminal Court for suspected atrocities, including crimes against humanity, committed against Afghans.

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South Asia

Decoding Donald Lu’s Visit: A Positive Upward in US-Bangladesh Relations?

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The U.S Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia Donald Lu paid a visit from January 12 to 15. During his brief but swarming itinerary the two parties discussed various issues ranging from diplomatic to political. Interestingly, this is the 11th visit of any U.S high-official in the past two years. The frequent swapping of delegations from the both sides pose a critical juncture between the U.S-Bangladesh relationship. Experts believe that recurrent visits from US high-ups are definitely an auspicious sign between the relationship of the two nations. Therefore, the visit of Donald Lu is an offshoot of the “growing reciprocity and renewed engagement” between Dhaka and Washington.

Needless to say, Bangladesh has a long standing and steady relationship with the US since the latter recognized the former shortly after independence on April 04, 1972. Recently the US-Bangladesh celebrated the completion of 50 years of bilateral relationship and US President Joe Biden termed this as “robust partnership”. Amid such backdrop, it goes without saying that the recent visits signal to a significant positive tie-up between the two parties and the visit can be interpreted in the context of international and domestic backdrop of international politics.

The US is the largest market for Bangladesh’s RMG export. Naturally, the issue of GSP reinstatement plays a key role in bilateral camaraderie. Under such circumstances, Lu’s visit is important to hold talks of economic in the context of Bangladesh’s growing needs, especially after the LDC graduation. Moreover, in the annual Global Firepower 2023 Military Strength Ranking, Bangladesh is placed 40th out of 145 nations. On the other hand, Bangladesh came in 12th place on the GFP review’s list of ‘Strengths on the Rise,’ which emphasizes national military powers based on strong growth patterns until 2023. In this context, the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) and Acquisition and Cross-servicing Agreement (ACSA) agreement indicates to a deeper and strategic engagement from the US rationale.

Bangladesh’s stands at the heart of a strategic position of the US’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, which aims to counter the increasing footprint of China in the Indo-Pacific region. However, Bangladesh maintains a neutral position in terms of its foreign relations and has been carefully helming without taking any side of any major powers. Washington’s focus on free and fair election is important to maintain a stability in the greater Bay of Bengal neighborhood- an important feat in it’s IPS. Conversely, Bangladesh values economic partnership to sustain her ongoing upward trend. However, at the same time Bangladesh should be careful not to succumb to any pressure, a case in point when the Foreign Minister announced that the US proposed strategy is being vetted under the lens of economic opportunity.

On the domestic fore, arguably, the U.S has been advocating for a free and fair election, upholding democratic values, and condemning extra judicial excesses. However, continuous engagement between the two parties resulted helping to mitigate tensions and create a more positive atmosphere. The crux of Donald Lu’s visit is to reaffirm democratic ideals in state mechanism, rule based international system and Bangladesh to be part of the Indo-Pacific Strategy. Accordingly, Bangladesh has committed to hold a fair election and the recent decline of the controversial RAB’s extrajudicial excesses reported by Human Rights Watch as well as peaceful demonstrations of the opposition have been markedly praised by Donald Lu. From Bangladesh’s perspective rescinding of sanctions, reinstatement of GSP, and more support for Rohingya Refugees were reiterated. More importantly, Dhaka’s impartial foreign policy goals align with Washington’s interest in the South Asian region and it will be of American interest to consider Bangladesh as an important ally in the geopolitical chessboard of the Indo-Pacific region.  

However, the visit is also crucial for Donald Lu who is accused of meddling with the internal affairs of Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal. But, Donald Lu manifested his diplomatic acumen to “manage the fissures of the diplomatic ties’ and “highlight on the areas of convergence” in the recent visit. Evidently, the past year has been tumultuous for South Asian nations, following the collapse of Colombo, the Pakistani Economic Crisis and the revolving debt crisis around the region. Amongst her neighbors, Bangladesh has endured relatively steady political and economic pursuit. Therefore, US needs to formulate a comprehensive South Asian policy to accommodate the interests of the respective nations on its own merit.

Bangladesh’s relationship with the U.S is vital in both economic and political stance. Continued engagement and partnership between the two states is critical for the security of South Asia as well as Bangladesh’s ongoing economic prosperity. On a pragmatic tone, it would take more than just this one visit for Bangladesh to solve these complex geopolitical issues. For now, the visit has symbolized strengthening of U.S-Bangladesh relationship going forward by exonerating the mutual interests to diplomatically resolve pressing bilateral issues and elevation of continuous engagement.

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South Asia

Praiseworthy Development of RAB in the Last Year

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Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) image source: benarnews.org

On December 10th 2021, the United States of America (USA) announced sanctions against Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and its seven current and former officials on allegations of Human Rights violation. Such unilateral decisions of the US on the elite force surprised many. But Bangladesh chose to respond maturely through diplomatic communication. Since then, Bangladesh increased diplomatic engagement with the US, a method lauded by many as ‘prudent’ also.

Since the sanction, Bangladesh enhanced its effort to uphold the Human Rights situation in Bangladesh. RAB as an elite force also acknowledged the sanction and behaved in a more professional way. And it seems after one year, there are significant developments regarding both RAB and government policy. Foreign dignitaries and organizations are also lauding these developments.

Efforts from Bangladesh

After the announcement of the sanctions, Bangladesh immediately contacted the US diplomatic institutions to understand and assess the situation. As a part of the efforts, Bangladesh established Human Rights Cell in the Foreign Ministry under its United Nations wing.

Bangladesh also increased its diplomatic communications with the US, not necessarily because of the sanctions, but also due to growing geopolitics in the Indo-Pacific region, and commitment to deepen bilateral relations with the US. In the last two years, both countries undertook 18 bilateral visits of mid and high-level. Bangladesh sent 7 delegations to the US while the US sent 11 delegations including Donald Lu’s latest.

Both countries also hold the bilateral Partnership Dialogue and Security Dialogue in March and April of 2022. In the same year, they also celebrated 50 years of their anniversary. Bangladesh’s foreign minister also met his counterpart in April 2022.

While many rogue states such as North Korea, react to the US sanctions by projecting hard power or test-launching missile, Bangladesh resorted to diplomatic means to raise and provide an update about the agenda to its counterpart. Almost in all diplomatic meetings, Bangladesh raised its concern about the sanction. Bangladesh even gave a ‘non-paper’ dossier to Under-Secretary Victoria Nuland, when Nuland came to Bangladesh in March 2022.

Significant Developments

Since the US sanctions on 10th December 2021, the allegations of extrajudicial killings have gone down in Bangladesh. It has reached zero after one year. There were no new allegations of extrajudicial killing by RAB for the last 13 months. RAB’s name was not also mentioned in any other allegations or negative deeds. Therefore, RAB is maintaining a ‘clean record’ at least for last 13 months or so.

Apart from that, the Human Rights situation also improved in Bangladesh in the meantime as the government gave extra effort to project the situation to the international community. During Under Secretary Nuland’s visit in March, she also acknowledged that the situation has improved.

The US Assistant Secretary Donald Lu also acknowledged the further development regarding the allegations against RAB. Secretary Lu visited Bangladesh on January 14th and 15th. He also acknowledged the falling extrajudicial killing in Bangladesh. He also said that there was ‘tremendous progress’ in reducing extrajudicial killings after the US sanctions.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Kamal also told the media that the US delegation is satisfied with RAB’s current activities. In another expert talk with The Business Standard, the Home Minister further said that the US also praised the actions of Bangladesh in combating militancy, terrorism, arson, and radicalism.

Apart from the US, global watchdogs are also acknowledging the fact. Human Rights Watch World Human Rights Report 2023 mentioned that there is a ‘drop-in abuse’ in Bangladesh (See Page 68).

Such transformation in the US perspective within only 13 months regarding a sanction is very unique considering the history of sanctions. Bangladesh’s diplomatic efforts and commitment to upholding Human Rights deserve praise in this regard. Till now Bangladesh is dealing with the issue prudently.

Lifting the sanctions in a diplomatic manner will require making it a national security interest for the USA. An elite force with a ‘clean record’ and its die-hard effort in curbing terrorism and militancy, fighting drug and human trafficking, and anti-piracy drive can easily draw US national security interest in this region. And RAB has the ability to become so. Considering the historic relations between the US and Bangladesh, the Sanctions are the only ‘strain’ in this bilateral relationship. Lastly, as there are praiseworthy developments, both countries are likely to pass beyond this issue in the near future if Bangladesh continues to maintain the positive trend.

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