Afghanistan: Returned Refugees, Police Fatigue and Freezing Children

There has been a series of articles on the plight of Afghanistan's police. Bipasha Ray notes one of the many problems facing the creation of a police force from scratch:

[There are] overworked and grossly underpaid and under-equipped policemen on the verge of mutinying, in charge of enormous swaths of land.

He also notices a report about returning refugees from Iran and Pakistan:

It finds that these young men and women find a degree of strength from the fact that they are now in their watan (homeland) even though they know very little about Afghanistan. But they are open to leaving Afghanistan if they face severe material or emotional misery – i.e. they don’t have a strong sense of attachment to Afghanistan.

Péter Marton focuses on some specific provinces and finds the following:

It seems to me that the media is reinforcing a perception that pouring resources into an institution like the ANP is a waste, given how it will never function normally. It's not going to, in their culture, some suggest, at times explicitly, at times implicitly. But this may be a self-fulfilling view of the situation.

Of course, concerns of justice stretch beyond the problems of police. Mohammed Fahim relates the tale of Commander Kaftar:

Police of Baghlan province ordered Commander Kaftar arrestment for murdering of a local commander. Kafter is the only Afghanistani woman who has fought the Taliban, the Russians and many a local rival in the mountains of Narin district, which is dotted with the wrecks of old Soviet and Taliban tanks.

Commander Kafter presently 50 years old woman was one of the powerful members of Jamiyat-i-Islami later known as Northern Alliance with 150 men under her command.

Baghlan city police announced that Kafter had killed a Jihads commander moreover her men wanted for robberies.

But it's not just wayward warlords. Sanjar reports on the looming case of Parvez Kambaskhsh:

Parviz a 23 years old journalist was detained three months ago. The allegations are downloading an article written by an Iranian scholar that allegedly contains Anti Islamic sentiments. the accused was sentenced to death by hanging by primary court of Balkh. Neither the accused have been given the chance nor has the advocate been appointed to exercise his/her rights to defence…

Parviz is a victim of the politics game. Media has a voice in the Afghan society, media feeds values into the power system. This game is about whose voices are heard and whose voices are marginalised. media has made a lot of noise after the Taliban, far more than mullahs and Karzai government don’t want the power to go out of the classical circles into the hands of ordinary people. Mullahs and religion is a good tool to sanction unwanted groups which are perceived banal and dangerous.

Safrang met a young boy, Farshid, at a fish stall in Kabul. The tale he relates is as depressing as it is revealing:

This boy tells me: “Farshid has been told to come home tonight with a hundred ‎Afghanis” –two dollars. How much has Farshid worked so far? “30 Afghanis.” It is ‎‎6:00pm now –already dark. And did I say it was cold? ‎

Indeed. And what of security? Bipasha Ray relates one more story about changes the European Council on Foreign Relations suggest:

The report urges European governments to send more troops to Afghanistan, eliminate or reduce the national caveats on their troops, and reverse their “underperformance” by increasing reconstruction aid. On the flip side, the report pushes the U.S. to shift its combat strategy to a more political one and abandon its counter-narcotics plans of aerial spraying or buying up opium crops. It recommends the U.S. shift the onus of the problem onto traffickers and concentrate on arresting and prosecuting drug lords and their governmental supporters.


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