Friday, November 7, 2008

World Bank E Conference on Afghanistan [2001] - 7

Nadeem ul-Haque

Wed Nov 28 2001 - 16:30:21 EST
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Where do we go from here?

I propose that the way forward lies in the following propositions. Your views will be appreciated.

Proposition 1. As science unveils the mysteries of the universe to us, weapons of mass destruction are going to become cheaper and easier to obtain and use. We may be living in even more dangerous times than at the height of the cold war in the sense that the unthinkable (the use of nuclear weapons) could actually happen. Science will democratize the word despite the egos of our rulers.

Proposition 2. While science and technology progress, our systems of governance and conflict resolution remain outmoded: feudal systems and injustices are allowed to persist for generations breeding discontent. For example, our response to dissidents is to stifle them with greater state power. In the name of nationalism, people continue to be dominated, who in turn claim nationalism to wage war against what they call oppression. Nationalism needs to be reexamined. The nationalism of say Israel should not threaten that of the Muslims and Arabs. Similarly, outmoded and antiquated autocracies that violate the rights of women and children should not be allowed a place in civilization. We need to strengthen individual rights over nation states and not vice versa.

Proposition 3. We need to develop a new international social contract that gives minorities who feel oppressed the right to obtain freedom. Freedom fighting and rebellion should not become taboo. American founding fathers, some of the greatest thinkers the world has known were rebels and put this motto on the first design of the Great Seal of America: "Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God." We need to face the following questions.

1."Little" people found exit (freedom) to be an option in the colonial world and lost it in the free world. Why was it that the so many national liberation movements succeeded in the mid-20th century while none are allowed to today? Why can East Timor be independent and not Palestine and Kashmir?

2.Borders were arbitrarily drawn by retreating colonialism. Should all borders be frozen now to ban all exit? Much blood has been shed in the second half of the 20th century in preserving them. Should we continue to do so? Are all alleged historical claims (like Israel's on Palestine) grounds for reversing people movements that may have taken place in history?

3.We should focus on how to develop an institutional framework that will determine the issue of self-determination for people who feel oppressed enough to consider terrorism. Denying them this right of exit (freedom) will force them to bigger and bolder acts of terrorism.

Proposition 4. Terrorism is not insanity and ahistoric. Hear the voices of "little" people be they Muslim. There is no use denying that policies of the NATO allies towards Islam have been unjust in the past. In this century alone starting off with T. E. Lawrence, Balfour doctrine, the middle east conflict, the Mossadeq incident, the indiscriminate use of sanctions against Muslim countries, continued Israeli aggression based on American aid are all examples of these unjust policies. Recognition is healing; denial is dangerous. American recognition of injustice to Japanese citizens or apologizing to Vietnam was healing.

Proposition 5. There is so much good in the US and we must all learn and take from the US. It needs no more than the values on which it was founded to win over all of us. For that to happen, we need 2 initiatives.

1.Move away from vengeance (sanctions and bombing) as the only tool of international policy. International development, improvements of living standards and freedom for all must be our goals. No political expediency (or even oil) should allow us to compromise these. In any case commodity based policy is so feudal.

2.No favorites among US allies: all peoples must be treated equally. No superpower should have favorites. With power comes responsibility and justice for all is one of them. Fighting terrorism cannot be an excuse for a powerful state to victimize civilians of any color or creed.

Proposition 6. The UN system and the BWIs must truly become international if they are to save us. The world is crying out for justice and development in so many places with their pleas unanswered. International bureaucracy must be responsive to little people especially today.

Proposition 7. Involve the Afghan Diaspora. Those with skills other than warfare left Afghanistan in the 20-year war. The generals the soldiers who were left have little education and knowledge of running a complex administration. In such a situation, the typical response of the donors is to seek centralization and set up donor-funded, consultant-led systems. These will not lead to the development of sound institutions and will keep the country poor and perhaps plunge it into war. Resist throwing money and consultants at the problem without carefully involving the Diaspora to build an effective administration.

Proposition 8. Both Afghanistan and Pakistan could do with a very decentralized constitution along the lines of Switzerland. The world must insist on certain human rights, including the rights of women and minorities to be written into these constitutions. Extremists should not be allowed to hijack the system again.

Proposition 9. Lead with education. Build modern education systems at all levels in both countries to allow the young to quickly embrace modern ideas and hence influence their parents. This may be an area where the Diaspora can play a big role. Religious schools, though they cannot be banned, should be discouraged as they breed fanaticism.

Nadeem ul-Haque

Moderator, Topic 3

Sat Dec 08 2001 - 11:42:32 EST
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Here are some issues worth exploring that are very directly related to the current crisis in Afghanistan. The tensions between aid/relief workers in Afghanistan and the 'international human rights community', aka 'western feminists'. At a recent meeting between operational and advocacy groups, the workers on the ground were saying, "look, you can work with the communities, the communities ultimately tell the Taliban what they can and what they can't do", but the advocates did not want to hear that, it didn't make good news copy. Similarly, when Diane Sawyer took her veil off in front of Mullah Omar, and he flinched and looked away, it made great TV in the States, but the Taliban closed the only women;'s hospital in Afghanistan that night, and that did not. Responsible advocacy should be emphasized. Why can't Afghan NGOs work together? I am learning more and more about communication issues every day. There are many groups of young educated Afghans in this area who have their act together, but still, petty differences, little strifes, etc, end up destroying the effort. I think it has to do with lack of conflict resolution skills, along with a terribly primitive propensity to 'lobby' outside of formal meetings, so that votes become rigged, discussions are not really discussions, but only appointed leaders speak, etc. What kinds of incentive systems can be put in place for development programs to MAKE them work together and LEARN to get along?

How to improve Pakistan/Afghan ties, there's a lot of misinformation and mistrust on both sides. We have to be the ones to cross that impasse. Are universal human rights really universal? or are they culturally relative? For example, there is an article written by Robert Wade on the World Bank that advocates that for certain countries, some of our safeguard policies should not be applicable because those countries are so poor or because it's not part of their cultures....very thought provoking.

The key challenge in the whole Afghanistan aid game with organizations claiming expertise in reconstruction is how to direct the good ones to the resources, and to know how to tell the good ones from the self-serving ones. Any clues?

Homira G. Nassery,
Health Specialist

Thu Nov 29 2001 - 06:24:08 EST

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Moderators Note: We apologize for the delay in posting this summary message. We invite you now to address Topic 3, "Where do we go from here?"

Dear Participants -

I would like to begin by extending my appreciation to all those who have contributed to this second round of discussion. Our aim during this part of our discussions was to better understand how the events surrounding September 11 have impacted on, or are likely to impact on social, economic and political developments in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The question put to us was whether these events represent a radical break from the past, opening up new avenues for development, or a transitory blip soon to be overwhelmed by the weight of history? It is apparent from the submissions received that history remains a potent force shaping events in the region. At the same time, admonishments not to repeat the mistakes of the past were paired with hopes for the possibilities of the future.

Repeating the past:

It was suggested that without concerted efforts to break the pattern of foreign power involvement in Afghan affairs, and strong international support for the establishment an effective government representative of all Afghan communities, the lack of political and economic stability in Afghanistan would spill over the border into Pakistan with disastrous effects. The need for strong central government authorities (and what one writer described as a "father figure") was also advocated, with reference made to the porous nature of the Afghan-Pakistan border, the dominance of tribal chieftains on both sides of that border, and their general lack of interest in economic development. It was also feared that without significant economic and social development there would be a resurgence of poppie cultivation in Afghanistan, which would pose a menace to the rest of the world. Among the grimmest predictions was the suggestion that the present crisis would lead to the fragmentation of Afghanistan among competing warlords, who would turn to international commerce to sustain themselves, extracting rents from the legal transit trade in oil and gas and an illicit trade in drugs. Under such a scenario, the common people of Afghanistan would be left to fend for themselves with little hope for the future. The concern was expressed that both countries would fail to capitalize on current opportunities, and that the international community would in the end abandon them once more, leading to a repeat of the present situation.

A number of exchanges highlighted the degree to which enmity and distrust exists between some Afghan factions and Pakistan, with the implication that a resurgent Afghan government might even become a security threat to Pakistan. The persistence of enmity and distrust between India and Pakistan was also highlighted. It was suggested that the transformation of these relationships would require a generational change. At the same time, it was recognized that those who are in positions of influence today must begin to change the mutual perceptions of distrust if tomorrow's children are to have the opportunity to live together in peace and harmony.

As for Pakistan, the present government's responsiveness to US demands was seen not as something new, but as a repetition of past patterns in which the interests of Pakistani elites and their foreign patrons take priority over the needs of the people, who are left in misery. Concerns were expressed that Musharraf's collaboration with the US and allied forces would undermine his standing at home, and strengthen the hand of Islamic extremists in Pakistan. A number of observers felt that the United Nations would need to play a leading role in ensuring the social, economic and political development of both Afghanistan and Pakistan, but questioned the sincerity of world leaders in promoting peace and social justice, and wondered whether they would have the stamina to fully prosecute the war on terrorism, or to provide the long-term development assistance needed to rebuild Afghanistan. Doubts were also expressed about the viability of current efforts to promote a political settlement in Afghanistan, noting that the cast of characters consisted mostly of those who had led Afghanistan to ruin in the past. However, the writer noted that Afghan institutions remain vibrant at the local level, and if a means could be found to allow such institutions to exert greater influence there would be some hope for the future.

Hope for the future:

Just as many contributors feared a repeat of the mistakes of the past, others did indeed see in this crisis a ray of hope for the future, providing an opportunity for the realization of political stability, peace, economic development and human rights in the region. Some participants were willing to accept the genuineness of the commitment of US and allied forces, and of the UN, to the reconstruction of Afghanistan. The crisis was also seen as strengthening Musharraf's hand by opening up opportunities to address Pakistan's economic problems, improve its international relations, and make progress on resolving the Kashmir dispute with India. The reconstruction of Afghanistan was also seen as a potential boon to the Pakistan economy, though others feared that self-interested behavior on the part of Pakistan's government (and private sector) would undermine Afghan efforts to rebuild their own society. The involvement of the private sector in the reconstruction of Afghanistan was seen as a decidedly mixed blessing, with some perceiving it as an opportunity to develop more dynamic economies in the region, and others noting that the private sector such as it exists in both countries is characterized unscrupulous operators who exploit vulnerable populations.

Beyond the practical opportunities that might result from this crisis (notably, increased international aid, debt-relief, greater recognition in international fora, there was a recognition that present circumstances might provide a more profound opportunity to choose a completely new path, to 'clean the decks', learn the lessons of the past, and move on to a more sane future. Similarly, another contributor emphasized the need to restore democracy in Pakistan, establish a truth commission, declassify all but the most secret government documents, and allow Pakistanis to know the truth about their own history. It was also suggested that the post-9/11 context provided an opportunity for Musharraf to forcefully address the problems of intolerance and religious extremism, which were seen as root causes of much of Pakistan's problems.

A number of contributors highlighted the importance of ensuring local community control over the development process in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. Some suggested that development efforts should initially focus at the local level, and that efforts to establish larger national structures should only be undertaken once a foundation of local institutions and infrastructure had been established. Others felt that there was a need to establish strong national institutions at the start, particularly in the absence of a dominant, charismatic leader. One writer proposed a federal structure, perhaps under a constitutional monarchy. In any case, it was observed that one of the difficult challenges for the development of Afghanistan would be to balance the need for central control against demands for local autonomy, and to ensure that institutions established with substantial foreign funding nevertheless were grounded in the local social and political context.

The danger that greater instability would result from the imposition of inappropriate governance structures was highlighted, and several writers urged that Afghans be allowed the space and opportunity to sort out their own solutions to these problems. At the same time, given the global consequences of past instability in the region, it was felt that the international community would have to remain engaged. In this context, it was noted that in moments of crisis opportunities may exist for local actors, who are otherwise marginalized or lacking in influence, to have a say in how external assistance is used based on their greater familiarity with the ground situation.

In terms of development, a number of contributors stressed the need to disarmament (both in Afghanistan and Pakistan), and for ensuring that immediate needs for food and shelter were addressed (particularly in Afghanistan). One participant urged a step-by-step approach was urged, moving from disarmament, to medical assistance and mine clearing, to the production of food, the provision of education, and the rebuilding of communications and infrastructure. Overall, the importance of education was highlighted, particularly because only education provides people with the ability to know their rights and responsibilities as citizens, and to articulate and advocate for their own priorities. One writer also stressed the importance of ensuring that women are again able to participate fully in Afghan society. While another questioned whether the emphasis on existing local institutions would be constructive, given that they often exclude women and the poor. In conclusion, I would like to draw on the observations of one contributor, who noted that nothing will be possible in either Pakistan or Afghanistan unless the people, and those who wish them well, are able to rekindle a feeling of hope and optimism about the future. Thank you, again, for your contributions to our discussions to date. I look forward to our continuing dialogue, as we turn now to thinking about where we go from here.


Mark Reade McKenna

Moderator - Topic 2


Thu Nov 29 2001 - 06:55:07 EST
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Dear Participants,

I want to thank all of you who are attempting to educate those of us who have only a superficial knowledge of the region. The discussion to date has been both interesting and perplexing in its complexity of issues. As we assess potential governance solutions, a key question raised is the extent of centralization for a new Afghanistan. In general. I agree with Nizar Mecklai's comments on the need to develop stronger community-based leadership and development strategies. This will require necessitate a structure of local or regional taxation, and efforts of the international community to support the development of local leadership capacity, local NGOs, and local economies. A more bottoms-up approach seems to me to offer better long-run potential for developing a governance infrastructure. In contrast, if we focus too much on the national leadership question, we may retard development at the local level.

What might the role be for the central government? One of the most important roles for a central government is the development of a set of national governance principles which might be articulated in a constitution and enforced through a national legal/judicial system. This is critical not only for the protection of individual rights, but also for the development of a legal framework that will open the possibility of outside investment in the nation and its regions. A second role could be one of supporting (not controlling) development activities at the regional/local level. A third role is either the provision or coordination of those governmenal functions that must be provided nation-wide. However, those functions might initially be limited, in order to encourage local and regional solutions. If the central government tries to take on too much responsibility, their will be a tendency of the local/regional governments to become dependent upon the central
government and neglect their own development.Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

James Edwin Kee

Professor of Public Administration

George Washington University

Marco Giaconi (

Thu Nov 29 2001 - 12:52:45 EST
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Dear Participants,

Bottom-up solutions are highly recommendable, but in afghan area there is, as far as I know, a real lack of democratic grassroots organizations, substituted by the loyalism to clans and local hjerarchical communities. So, there is a strong need to organize new structures of (real) participation alongside the old enlarged families. Giving help and money to village pundits may be useful, but we cannot forget that repeating the old tribal organization can rapidly trigger the old wars.

The best solutions may be a deep scholarization and a web of NGO's in the healthcare, in order to rapidly rising new democratic attitudes in the new generations, kept at bay by family organizations and poverty. NGO's dealing with women healthcare should be really commendable.

Marco Giaconi
Director of research
Centro Militare di Studi Strategici



Wed Nov 28 2001 - 17:10:21 EST
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[Moderator's Note: We are posting 1 final message on Topic 2 that arrived late-Wednesday. Please note that no further messages on Topic 2 will be posted.]

Dear Members!

In reply to one of my last emails, one of the members wrote to me: "Why don't you put your education to work and look for some SOLUTIONS. May God bless you with wisdom and insight into the oil situation. Why don't you look into which country in Europe would benefit from control of oil...."

I beg to disagree. Either the commentor is suffering from the typical 'denial' phase OR that he/she is too naive to see the connection. I would like to submit that it is very essential to understand this vested interest dynamic, if it exists, and I think many of us believe that it does, because really it will determine whether or not anybody will be able to answer Mr. McKenna's call for grasping the opportunity.

The World Bank (WB) is but what the bigger powers want it to be? This is a pretty well-documented fact and a debate in itself, but what I am trying to convey here is the fact that our ability to find solutions to Pakistan-Afghan situation has more to do with the 'goodwill' of the super powers (especially the US) and less to do with our creativity and ingenuity to grab the opportunitites. Finding SOLUTIONS is difficult and implementing them is even more so, not because of lack of creativity or 'education' but because solutions require getting at the root of the problems and rectifying and undoing years of policy blunders. Instead, my experience with at least the US Policy scene, and perhaps this is generally true elsewhere as well, is it is more often 'harm-reduction' that is attempted and hardly any problem is 'solved' ... for reasons we all are aware of.

What does this imply for this phase of Pakistan-Afghanistan debate? Lets consider two scenarios and ask ourselves how things would 'most probably' play out if they happen. My guess is that these scenarios are not totally unrealistic. What I would like the members of this list as well as the moderators to think about and perhaps consider commenting on, is that what would or should be the position of the International community, and the World Bank in particular (since thats our main concern here) if the world turns out to be exactly how I hypothesize it would...Future will perhaps tell how right or wrong we were...

For Pakistan, lets assume that in the coming months Pakistan will fall through the cracks of the anti-terror coalition. The reason, that I hypothesize is the Issue of Kashmir that the UN recognizes as a legitimate disputed territory and where India, in its arrogance, fails to implement UN resolutions. The world doesn't have the stomach to try to 'solve' the problem and Pakistan doesnt have the stomach to forget about it. My question is: If due to the world's unwillingness to solve a long standing problem, Pakistan no more remains the western ally, What should (or would) be the response of the International community? Nothing has fundamentally changed about the social and political problems, deteriorating institutions, etc. in Pakistan, right? Would the World Bank still be interested in helping Pakistan?

Now to Afghanistan. Call it conspiracy theory if you like...but lets assume that Northern Alliance, a pro-Russia group turns its back to US's interests in the region. If that happens, what about Afghan rebuilding? Does the World Bank have an independent mandate to undertake such an exercise? I doubt, very much. So, what was the solution here? really? The "solution" of the problem, that would bring lot of relief to the people is not to throw a paltry few millions into Afghanistan and feel vindicated but rather for all super-powers and pseudo-super powers to stop playing the great game in Afghanistan. What the world will end up doing is mere harm reduction instead.

I guess I am trying to make two points here. First, while we look for ways to try to alleviate short term suffering of Pak-Afghan people, Let us not 'side-step' the real problems and immerse ourselves in a delusion that we're really presenting solutions to some problems here. It would be really naive to think that we can isolate the Pakistan and Afghanistan rebuilding from the political and 'great game' aspects of the problem. Let's not adopt a 'drunk and the lamp post' attitude and look for problems where they can 'conveniently' be addressed. Second, we must also think deeply about the role of multi-lateral institutions like the WB itself. To what extent does the WB have a separate identity than the wishes of the major super powers? Ultimately, I think time will tell (and very shortly as how serious WB is on Pak-Afghan reconstruction), but it is not a futile exercise to think about how to strengthen institutions like the WB where their agendas are not driven by politicial considerations of big powers but really some objective criteria of the needs of the time.


Athar Osama
RGS Doctoral Fellow
RAND Graduate School for Policy Analysis

Thu Nov 29 2001 - 16:41:51 EST
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A recent column by Robert Fisk would make our discussions appear purely academic, what with the Most Powerful Nation in the World bombing one of the Poorest Nations in the World almost "out of existence".

Again, the Champions of Human Rights are approving Legislation tantamount to Kangaroo Courts, Lynch Mobs, Secret Courts. Even Milosevic has been offered a Public Trial.

Since the USA has gone it almost alone, i.e. forged a coalition as if by arm-twisting, is there some hope that "reparations" will be due to the Afghans? After all, Bin Laden was allegedly "hiding out" there, and as a guest of the Afghans they had promised to hand him over "provided" they were provided supporting evidence of his culpability and assuming that an "extradition" agreement existed between Afghanistan and USA. Apparently India has a grouse against the USA for not extraditing the Chairman of the Company responsible for the Bhopal disaster despite an Indian Supreme Court verdict. Be that as it may, to go "forward", the UN members, including the coalition, must restore the belief in Human Rights, Justiciability of legislation and OPEN-ness in all dealings with Accountability.

Afghanistan - A central authority needs to be established with power to deal with arterial roads, mine clearing, installation of utilities (communications). Electric power on the basis of 5KW per household should be installed and operational in each village. Tube-wells as feasible must be sunk to provide portable water-centres. Poppy growing - if that is the only agribased activity - must be allowed with the Coalition approved authority being the sole "marketing" outfit to whom the farmers must deliver their produce at the going "farm-gate" prices.

OXFAM and other NGOs have been known to promote "fair-trade" pricing for uplifting village producers. Each village, town district must be required to "elect" a council to administer their local affairs and, like the Swiss, with a referendum style vote for "critical" items. It will now be difficult to establish a "judicial" system until "terrorism" is more clearly defined, and "crimes" more specific.

Nizar Mecklai

Margaret F. Reid

Tue Dec 04 2001 - 15:35:51 EST
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Dear discussants:

These discussions have been most enlightening and fruitful. A couple of items strike me as significant to any change effort on the scale that is currently contemplated.

Unfortunately, those meeting in Germany are pressured into quick solutions.especially forming a central government of some sorts. I am afraid, this is largely for the convenience of international agencies and governments who can then move on to other issues.

If externally induced changes in eastern Europe and elsewhere have taught us any thing is that if international actors including the UN is really serious about Afghanistan and helping its people, a sustained long term support mechanism must be instituted. Simply sending a few development specialists or constitutional lawyers to assist the new governmental council in Kabul to design a new constitution that enshrines civil and human rights and begins with the development of "democratic" state institutions constitutes just one percent of the proverbial iceberg and provides limited opportunity for indigenous responses.

Democratic institutions cannot be shaped overnight nor can they be sustained if other societal changes have not occurred. Second, the fate of provinces, the tribal affiliations and regional differences all have remained at the margins of debates. Will we see illustration of various sorts by the new rulers? What type of economic system is to be installed and what should be its institutional anchoring- should it be capitalist based ? How to deal with the frustration of the general populace if there is not much visible change after a year (as is often the case)-will people revert back to their traditional affiliations and thus undermine the long term stability of the country?

In many countries like Afghanistan there is no strong allegiance to "state" institutions. Hence public bodies are often used for non-public purposes increasing the chances for corruption and relegate those excluded from access to public resources to grey or black markets. The segmentation of Afghans into those with access to power, economic, educational and political resources poses a real danger and can rekindle the kind of political violence bred from disenfranchisement of vast segments of a population witnessed elsewhere. Even the presence of an international military or protective force cannot prevent such occurrences in the long run if the initial institutional arrangements reflect the desires of the international players rather than satisfy the need of the Afghan people for institution building that reflects their needs and conditions. this is a work in progress.

Consequently, the role of external players and especially military forces must be clarified as well. Derick said it well: Outsiders can help(setting aside for the moment the real or imagined transgressions of agencies like the World Bank and the IMF), but Afghan leadership at many levels, among men and women, from all ethnic backgrounds will be critical to sustain change."

It is inevitable that value differences will rapidly emerge-whose values will or should prevail and what mechanisms can be created to not foreclose discussions over preferences while the rebuilding of the country proceeds.My suggestion then would be first of all to ask questions: raising questions and who gets to raise them often exposes value preferences and priorities that can be the foundation for subsequent decisions. Rushing into decisions seems more satisfactory for the harried westerner with little time on his/her hands but the ramifications may be detrimental to all sides involved especially those living in the region.

Margaret F. Reid, PhD
Graduate Coordinator/ MPA Director
University of Arkansas
Department of Political Science
Jon Cloke (

Thu Nov 29 2001 - 18:54:13 EST
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In Central America, in the wars that ended in the 1990s in El Salvador and Nicaragua, the immediate aim of the powerful players involved was to disarm and demobilize all the combatants ASAP and to try and secure the political ends for which the war had been fought in the first place (read Alejandro Bendanas excellent book on post-conflict situations in Central America). In Nicaragua, this meant demobilising virtually all of the ESLN, which was estimated to be some 687,000 in 1987, out of a population of barely 4 million at that time, as well as the 23,000-odd Contra combatants and their families. By 1995, the army of Nicaragua numbered no more than 12,500 actives, and virtually all of the demobilised combatants, who outnumbered the entirety of the actively employed population, were left with minimal or no support.

Because, in addition, part of the peace agreement was to get Nicaragua back into the global debt repyament system ASAP, the IMF ignored the demobilisation emergency and insisted that the Nicaraguan government cut public spending, restrict credit to control inflation, etc etc (same old same old), with the result that the Nicaraguan government was left entirely without the means to accomplish any kind of resettlement and re-employment programmes. Both ex-FSLN and ex-Contra were effectively dumped by their leadership and their economic re-integration was made impossible by the unbelievable stupidity of the IMF, as a result of which the unemployment problems caused by this incredible short-sightedness are still crippling the economy today.

Additonallly, the US insisted on compensation for ex-Nica citizens who had now become US citizens for the land and property seized during the revolution. Not only do these ex-Nicas include the Somoza family, oddly enough many of the wealthy ex-Somozista US citizens figure highly on the list of contributors to the electoral campaigns of, ahem, one George W. Bush and one Jeb Bush (who may or may not be related). Many of the appellants for compensation have now been compensated twice or even three times thanks to the corrupt judicial system in Nicaragua and the way in which the compensation calculations are worked out continues to be changed, and in the meantime, the campesinos in Nicaragua lucky enough to still have land are
rapidly leaving it thanks to the uncertaintly of the land tenure system, the lack of access to production credit thanks to the IMF, etc, etc...

What are the lessons for Afghanistan in this, for the post-war scenario?

1) That under the guise of doing the best for Afghanistan the US will resolutely pursue its own geo-political goals irrespective of the long-term damage that they will inevitably do to Afghanistan. This will mean reconciling the Bush family oil interests with Russias currently superior tactical position within the country, in other words a deal with Putin to divide up the spoils, with lots of profits for Putin, the Russian Mafia and the Bush/Cheney business axis, and absolutely nothing for the people of Afghanistan other than a brutal repetition of the current anti-Cocaine tactics being pursued in Bolivia, but this time with opium as the enemy.

2) That under the guise of adjusting the Afghan economy, the IMF will be happy to make lots of reconstruction loans to what passes for the central government in Afghanistan, apart from anything else because that means that any shares in oil profits that accrue to the Afghan government that arent stolen will go straight into IMF and Private Bank coffers. The IMF will advise the government of Afghanistan to undertake its one-size-fits-all economic prescriptions, and whilst paying lip-service to ideas of transparency and governability that are so fashionable amongst the chattering classes, the same dictats of liberalisation and deregulation that have done so much damage to other countries will be agreed with the corrupt elite of Afghanistan, in return for them being allowed to help themselves. The IMF and the US would both like to work with Civil Society groups, but only as window-dressing that doesnt interfere with the real business at hand: the autocratic and inegalitarian seizure of any oil/pipeline revenues.Plus a change, plus cst la mme chose.
Jon Cloke

Thu Nov 29 2001 - 17:56:01 EST
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Funny that. I just got this from the Gender Network, about the exlusion of women participants from the post-war Afghan settlement talks. So, once again the Great Powers are sitting down to divide up a country with representatives of all the interested parties present. Apart from 50% of the population. Ive just been reading a book on the Treaty of Berlin and the carve-up of the Balkans in the 19th Century, and do you know, 140 years on, our respective governments have learnt exactly 0.And do you know, when that nice Mr Bush was talking about the suffering of women in Afghanistan I really thought he was concerned about it, rather than just using it as aonther humanitarian cover-up for another oil war!

Jon Cloke

Original Message From

Dear third world women,

Despite intense lobbying at the UN, RAWA has been excluded from tomorrow's meeting in Bonn between US officials, the UN and five Afghan groups which is set to shape the future of Afghanistan. Below is RAWA's request for urgent action to secure an invitation to that meeting which otherwise will place control of Afghanistan into the hands of two Afghan war criminals [Burhanuddin Rabbani and General Dostrum], Pir Sayed Ahmad Gailani who last month invited 1,200 representatives of various Afghan ethnicities, religious sects and political factions to a peace and unity conference in Peshawar [not one single woman was invited to attend], and two Afghan leaders who have lived in exile for many years, one the 87 year old ex-king Zahir Shah who brings with him two token Afghan women - one a resident of Germany, the other a resident of the US.

This is the 11th hour, but even if not successful, this is an opportunity to let the US and UN know that the world is witnessing a US about face on its promise of a democratic future for Afghanistan; and the UN surrendering Afghanistan's future to a predominance of war criminals and exiled men, when just one year ago Resolution 1325, specifically advocating the involvement of women in all of the implementation mechanisms of conflict resolution, was unanimously adopted by its own Security Council.

RAWA, and to a lesser but important extent other Afghan women refugees in Pakistan, have sustained and nurtured vast communities throughout their country's decades of conflict. Theirs is a rightful place at any table contemplating the future if Afghanistan. Goddess know, they have more than paid their dues!

In sisterhood, Lynette.

From: "RAWA"
Date: Sun, 25 Nov 2001 16:34:58 -0000

Updated URGENT action needed

Dear friends,

The Bonn Meeting will be held without inclusion of RAWA. However, your emails/telephones/faxes to urge Mr.Brahimi, Mr.Vandrell and Ms. Karen Hughes, Counselor to the President of the US, to include RAWA as the true representative of the tortured women of Afghanistan in the meeting will not go unheard. At least it is worth trying. Please send your emails/faxes as soon as humanly possible. Karen Hughes, Counselor to the President of the United States Her fax number is 202 456 2983

Mr. Brahimi

His telephone number is 917 367 3029


Mr. Vendrell email:

Thanks in advance for your efforts.
Warmest regards,
Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA)
Mailing Address: RAWA, P.O.Box 374, Quetta, Pakistan
Mobile: 0092-300-8551638
Fax: 001-760-2819855


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Nizar Mecklai
Fri Nov 30 2001 - 12:02:33 EST

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Dear Jon,

I couldn't agree with you more. We need to support the demand for proper representation of women in any settlement of the Afghan question. After any war, it is the women who are left numerically more and also the greatest sufferers with loss of fathers, husbands and sons. The Grameen Bank's history should well indicate that no matter how small, women provide the most reliable work-force with integrity in respect of financial management - with some exceptions of course viz. alleged Imelda and Bhutto.

Nizar Mecklai
aamir moghal

Fri Nov 30 2001 - 15:05:16 EST

• Next message: Reynaldo Pareja: "[pak-afg] RE: Topic 3: Where do we go from here?"
• Previous message: Nizar Mecklai: "[pak-afg] Indifference to The Afghan Tragedy"
• Next in thread: anne: "[pak-afg] Re: Where do we go from here?"

Respected Mr. Mark McKenna, Mr. Nadeemul Haq, and learned Readers,

(Please feel free to correct me if I am wrong).

Some of my humble thoughts on "Where do we go from here"?

If we want to go from here to anywhere safely without getting into another events like happened in Afghanistan from 1989 to date, then the World Powers particularly USA, UNO, World Bank, IMF and WTO should avoid the occurrence of events and blatant interference rather ruthless pursue of certain goals in which these Powers That Be pursued and indirectly or directly damaged the World Peace in following countries:

Argentina - 1890, Chile - 1891, Haiti -1891, Hawaii - 1893, Nicaragua - 1894, China - 1894-,Korea - 1894-, Panama - 1895 - , China - 1894-1900 - Philippines - 1898-1910 - Cuba - 1898-1902 - Puerto Rico - 1898 - present - Nicaragua - 1898 - Samoa - 1899 - Panama - 1901-14 - Honduras - 1903 - Dominican Rep 1903-04 - Korea - 1904-05 - Cuba - 1906-09 - Nicaragua - 1907 - Honduras - 1907 - Panama - 1908 - Nicaragua - 1910 - Honduras - 1911 - China - 1911-41 - Cuba - 1912 - Panama - 1912 - Honduras - 1912 - Nicaragua - 1912-33 - Mexico - 1913 - Dominican Rep 1914 - Mexico - 1914-18 - Haiti - 1914-34 - Dominican Rep 1916-24 - Cuba - 1917-33 - World War I - 1917-18 - Russia - 1918-22 -Honduras - 1919 - Guatemala - 1920 - Turkey - 1922 - China - 1922-27 - Honduras - 1924-25 - Panama - 1925 - China - 1927-34 - El Salvador - 1932 - World War II - 1941-45 - Yugoslavia - 1946 - Uruguay - 1947 - Greece - 1947-49 - Germany - 1948 - Philippines - 1948-54 - Puerto Rico - 1950 - Korean War - 1951-53 - Iran - 1953 - Vietnam - 1954 - Guatemala - 1954 - Egypt - 1956 - Lebanon - 1958 - Panama - 1958 - Vietnam - 1950s-75 - Cuba - 1961 - Cuba - 1962 - Laos - 1962 - Panama - 1964 - Indonesia - 1965 - Dominican Rep- 1965-66 - Guatemala - 1966-67 - Cambodia - 1969-75 - Oman - 1970 - Laos - 1971-75 - Chile - 1973 - Cambodia - 1975 - Angola - 1976-92 - Iran - 1980 - Libya - 1981 - El Salvador - 1981-92 - Nicaragua - 1981-90 - Lebanon - 1982-84 - Honduras - 1983-89 - Grenada - 1983-84 - Iran - 1984 - Libya - 1986 - Bolivia - 1986 - Iran - 1987-88 - Libya - 1989 - Virgin Islands - 1989 - Philippines - 1989 - Panama - 1989-90 - Liberia - 1990 - Saudi Arabia - 1990-91 - Kuwait - 1991 - Somalia - 1992-94 - Bosnia - 1993-95 - Haiti - 1994-96 - Zaire - 1996-97 - Albania - 1997 - Sudan - 1998 - Afghanistan - 1998 - Yugoslavia - 1999 - Iraq - 1998-2001 - Afghanistan - 2001- to date.

The US MEDIA should involve Alternative thinkers for example Noam Chomsky and Edward Saeed and others from all around the world in discussing World Problems live through major US Cable Network. Declaring anyone Anarchist, Leftist, Communist , Unpatriotic and Anti-US wont do any good. The USA should make aware its own population about the alternative thinking and about those who think differently. The US people has been living in an isolationist type of society
whcih should be curbed because if the Developed World say that the World has become global village than US citizens should know what the other people think about the USA. Declaring Media War against Muslim community is not the solution and neither holding up more than 5000 US Muslim citizens on suspicion of being terrorist would further widen the gulf between the Civilizations above all those who have been detained are kept incommunicado then why the USA was so concern about Human Right situation all over the world. No doubt act of 11 Sept was inhuman but the suspects should be given proper representation. The USA should not behave like Police States like Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia or anyother proverbial "Muslim country" because USA claims to be the Champion of Democracy. The US govt has every right to make harshest law to save the citizens of USA but it should be kept in mind that only US citizens are not human alone there are many others around the world.

Muhammad Aamir Mughal

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