KARIBU MAISHANI

KARIBU MAISHANI

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Ulimwengu wa Kiarabu na ubabe wa Magharibi

UVAMIZI wa haraka wa kijeshi wa Marekani, Ufaransa na Uingereza nchini Libya kwa kile kinachoelezwa na vyombo vya kimagharibi kuwa ni Azimio la Umoja wa Mataifa kudhibiti marufuku ya matumizi ya anga (No Fly Zone) ya Libya si chochote zaidi ya kutimiza malengo ya kibeberu ya tangu zama.


Mataifa yote haya matatu ni mataifa ya kibeberu yaliyokwisha tawala zaidi ya nusu ya ulimwengu katika karne ya 19 na nusu ya mwanzo ya karne ya 20, ambapo Ufaransa na Uingereza walitawala moja kwa moja na Marekani ilitawala kupitia vibaraka.



Hoja zinazotolewa na viongozi wa mataifa beberu ni zile zile za tangu zama. Mfano shirika la BBC wiki hii limemnukuu Rais wa Marekani (Barrack Obama) akidai ‘uvamizi’ wao nchini Libya umeokoa maisha ya raia wengi. Hapo kale pia marais waliomtangulia walisema maneno kama hayo kuhalalisha uvamizi wao na waliuwa watu wengi sana. Bado hatujasahau yaliyotokea India, Algeria, Vietnam na nchi nyingine kadha wa kadha.



Mataifa haya matatu ya kibeberu yanaongoza kwa kutoa misaada kwa ‘washirika’ wake ambao wengi wao ni madikteta wanaoua raia wa kawaida kila kukicha. Kwa mfano Israel ilikaribia kuihilikisha Lebanon na iliua maelfu ya raia wa Lebanon, Marekani haikupinga wala haikuizuia Israel kufanya unyama huo, badala yake iliikunjulia mkono wa sapoti na ilizidi kuimarisha uhusiano wake na Israel mpaka leo.

Wakati Israel ilipokuwa ikiilipua Ghaza kwa mabomu yaliyoharibu kila kitu ikiwemo makazi ya watu na hata hospitali ikiua wagonjwa, wanawake na watoto, Marekani na Washirika wake walikaa kimya. Kana kwamba waliouwawa wanastahiki kifo ili ‘kuilinda’ Israel.

Watu walidhani kuwa kwa kuwa chama cha Republican (Marekani) kiko madarakani na George Bush ndio Rais wake basi hiyo ndio itikadi yao. Kumbe wapi hakuna utofauti wa sera kandamizi, atawale Clinton, Bush au Obama. Wao wote mila moja.


Pale utawala wa George Bush ulipoivamia Iraq kwa madai ya uwongo eti Saddam Hussein alikuwa akimiliki ‘silaha za maangamizi’ watu wote walimtupia lawama Bush lakini pale Obama alipoamua kugombea nafasi ya Urais dhidi ya Wa-Republican kila mtu alimuona kama “Mkombozi” na aliamua kumsapoti, tukiwemo sisi tulioko nje ya Marekani, tulimpigia debe na kumkweza sana ‘mjaluo’ wetu mpaka akashinda. Muda kidogo tu kutokana na ‘misifa’ aliyotwishwa na walimwengu, kamati ya tuzo tukufu ya Amani Ulimwenguni (Noble Prize) ikamtunuku heshima hiyo kwa kuwa alionekana wazi ‘anapinga’ vita na uvamizi wa Marekani nchini Iraq na Afghanistan.








Je, alistahiki tunu hiyo?
Kimsingi viongozi wengi hawapaswi kutunukiwa heshima za juu za kimaadili na utu kwani hawasimamii kitu kingine zaidi ya maslahi yao binafsi na mataifa yao (kamwe si ustawi wa maadili na utu!) kwani mambo hayo yanahitaji watu wenye azma ya kweli hata kabla hawajaupata uongozi.

Obama na watawala wenzake wa Uingereza na Ufaransa ‘wanahalalisha’ kuivamia Libya kijeshi wakidai kuwa Umoja wa Nchi za Kiarabu (Arab League) umeridhia Azimio la Umoja wa Mataifa na wamemtaka Muammar Gaddafi azuiwe kuwavurumishia mabomu raia wake. Kimsingi dai hili ni la ‘kiufundi’ lakini mtazamo wa Umoja huo wa Kiarabu umebadilika baada ya kuona maangamizi makubwa yaliyofanywa na nchi za kimagharibi.

Hata tangu mwanzo sapoti ya Umoja wa Nchi za Kiarabu haikuwa na maana yoyote. Kwanza kwa sababu wajumbe wengi wa umoja huo wanatawaliwa na wale ‘washirika wazuri’ wa Marekani, wafalme na madikteta. Pili, watawala hao hao wanahofia uasi unaoweza kufanywa na raia wake wenyewe, hivyo wanabembeleza kusaidiwa na Marekani. Kwa hiyo sapoti ya Umoja wa Nchi za Kiarabu haina maana yoyote mbele ya macho ya waarabu wengi.

Hebu tuweke bayana jambo moja. Uzuri na ubaya wa Gaddafi wanaujua Walibya wenyewe nao ndio wenye haki zaidi ya kuchagua mkondo wa demokrasia wanayoitaka. Kama wameona kumng’oa Gaddafi ni suluhisho kwao basi waachiwe wenyewe lakini ubabe wa mataifa haya matatu ya kimagharibi hauongezi chochote zaidi ya balaa la umwagaji damu na uharibifu wa nchi.

Waarabu wengi hivi sasa wanahisi kuwa yaliyotokea na yanayoendelea kutokea Libya ilikuwa ni njama za mataifa ya Kimagharibi za kutaka kumng’oa Gaddafi madarakani kwa nguvu na ubabe ili wapate kudhibiti mafuta. Sasa hivi wanamuonea huruma zaidi Gaddafi na kama inavyoshuhudiwa katika vyombo vya habari, ari na uimara wa wapiganaji watiifu kwa Gaddafi umeongezeka maradufu. Tumeona kuwa wamagharibi walifanya haraka kuivamia Libya kwani hawakuwa na uhakika na msimamo wa wanaodaiwa kuwa waasi. Kwa kuwa walijua kuwa kama mapinduzi yale ni halali katika macho ya Walibya basi ni bayana kuwa wamagharibi hawatapata udhibiti wa mafuta kama walivyolenga awali.

Katika makala yake inayoeleweka vizuri, Fidel Castro wa Cuba ameweka wazi kuwa, wanachotaka Wamagharibi ni hazina ya mafuta iliyoko Libya, hakuna cha demokrasia wala nini! Wameiona vema namna teknolojia ilivyoibadili Libya kutoka katika jangwa kuwa nchi ya maziwa na asali na yenye raia wenye afya safi na maendeleo. Ni uchu wao tu wa mafuta unaowafanya waimbe nyimbo nyingi zisizopendeza masikioni mwa watu wastaarabu tena wasiopenda vita vya uvamizi.

Hivyo kwa Marekani na Washirika wake ambao kustawi wanategemea sana hazina ya mafuta na gesi, kuna maana kubwa sana katika kudhibiti maliasili ya Libya ambayo asilimia 95 ni utajiri wa mafuta, hivyo hawawezi kuiachia hazina hii iendelee kuwa mikononi mwa mtu ‘anayewabania’. Kwa hiyo si ajabu wao kukurupuka na kuivamia Libya kwa kile kinachodaiwa kuwa ‘kuokoa’ maisha ya raia. Tayari uvamizi wao umeua mamia ya watu na mpaka sasa hatujui utaendelea kwa muda gani.

Gaddafi hawazi kusalimu amri kirahisi.







Tayari ametangaza nia yake kujiandaa kwa vita vya muda mrefu. Hata hivyo, kwa uzoefu wa Iraq na Afghanistan si rahisi kwa raia wa kawaida wa Marekani, Uingereza na Ufaransa kuendelea kuvumilia madhila na maangamizi yanayosababishwa na viongozi wao.
Pia ule uwongo kuwa vita hii ni kwa ajili ya kuokoa maisha na kuwakomboa watu, hivi karibuni utafika mwisho (wakubwa wataumbuka) na itabainika wazi kuwa lengo lao ni kuweza kudhibiti mirija na mabomba makubwa ya mafuta toka Libya. Muda huo ukifika itakuwa vigumu sana kuendelea na vita kwa mbinu hii ya kizamani. Watu wakifumbuka macho hali itageuka kuwa mbaya kwa watawala.







Vidonda vya vita vya Iraq na Afghanistan bado vibichi katika bongo za watu wengi, hivyo wababe wasidhani wataendelea kuungwa mkono. Urusi, China, India na Brazil zimekataa kuunga mkono uvamizi huo wa Kijeshi wa Mwingereza, Marekani na Mfaransa nchini Libya. Ulaya nako Mjerumani kakataa kuunga mkono uvamizi huo.
Hii inathibitisha wazi kuwa sehemu zote ambapo Marekani inapanga kisingizio cha kuivamia ujue nyuma ya pazia hilo kuna malengo makubwa zaidi; aidha utajiri mkubwa wa mafuta au maslahi ya Waisrael. Kwa mambo hayo mawili Marekani haitosita kuvamia au kuingilia kati (kama yenyewe inavyodai)

Sasa kuna suala jingine limejitokeza hususan katika ulimwengu wa kiarabu; maandamano ya amani dhidi ya vibaraka na wafalme madikteta ambao jamii zao zinataka kuwang’oa na kuweka madarakani serikali za kidemokrasia.


Jambo hili linakinzana kabisa na nadharia za Profesa Samuel Huntington ya ‘mgongano wa ustaarabu’ na yale madai kuwa Uislam hauendani na mambo ya kidemokrasia.

Leo dunia imetambua kuwa nadharia hiyo ya Huntington iliibuliwa ili ifanikishe kuunda adui wa ubepari na ubabe - Uislam, atakayekuwa mbadala wa Ukomunisti. Hii nadharia ya pili kuhusu Uislam na demokrasia ilipangwa ili kulinda maslahi ya madikteta na wafalme katika nchi za kiarabu, ambazo Marekani imekuwa ikifaidi sana kwa kuwepo kwake.

Ugaidi wa Osama –

ulilazimishwa kuwa taswira halisi ya Uislam na Waislam wote kwa sababu ambazo sasa zimeanza kuwekwa wazi na historia. Lazima kiufundi Waislam na Uislam uonyeshwe kuwa ndio tatizo na janga linaloukabili ulimwengu. Lakini sasa maandamano ya amani dhidi ya madikteta na wafalme katika nchi za kiarabu (zinazodaiwa kuwa za Kiislam) zitazipinga nadharia hizo za kutaka kuonyesha Uislam ni dini ya kigaidi ambayo huipa mwanya Marekani wa kuzivamia na kuzikalia kimabavu nchi zinazoitwa za Kiislam. Sijui haya yakitokea Marekani na washirika wake watatumia visingizio gani kuyakalia mataifa mengine?

Mbali na siasa za mafuta, uingiliaji kati wa Marekani nchini Libya una malengo ambayo ni tete. Kwani madikteta wa kiarabu waliobakia wanamuhitajia sana Mmarekani kuwalinda na wanahitajia sana kisingizio cha ‘ugaidi wa Osama’ ili kuhalalisha tawala zao.

Sasa haya mapinduzi ya kidemokrasia yanayoendelea katika nchi za Kiarabu si tu yanaidondosha chini nadharia ya kuwapo Osama na matumizi ya mabavu na ugaidi katika kutatua matatizo yao bali pia yanawanyima usingizi madikteta wa Kiarabu. Kila wakigeuka wananchi wamewakaba koo. Hatoki mtu mpaka kieleweke!

Umma wa Kiarabu leo una matumaini makubwa kuwa dunia ya bila madikteta inawezekana. Dunia bila kuwa kibaraka wa Marekani au Mfaransa pia inawezekana. Waarabu wamegundua kuwa mabadiliko ya uongozi yanawezekana kupitia njia za amani na kidemokrasia. Lakini wababe wa kimagharibi wanataka kuuthibitishia ulimwengu kuwa wanachofikiria waarabu sicho bali anachotaka “Osama” ndicho. Kwa ukweli kama ilivyo kwa kila Mtume kuwa na Firauni wake basi Marekani inamuhitaji Osama na Osama anaihitajia Marekani. Wote ni kama taswira moja katika kioo










Baba ahama baada ya kupewa kipigo na watoto





BAADA ya kupata kipigo kutoka kwa watoto wake aliowazaa baada ya kuleta mwanamke mwingine nyumbani kwake mbele ya mkewe, mwanaume huyo ameamua kutoweka nyumbani kwake kwa kujiona amezidiwa na watoto wake.
Hatua hiyo imekuja baada ya Farid kupata kipigo kutoka kwa mtoto wake wa kiume kilichoambatana na vilio vya uchungu kutoka kwa watoto hao.

Imedaiwa kuwa Farid kutokana na hatua waliyoichukua watoto wake, siku moja baadae alitoweka nyumbani hapo na hakujulikana alitokomea wapi

Imedaiwa kuwa wakati baba huyo akipata kipigo kutoka kwa watoto wake, mwanamke aliyeletwa nyumbani hapo kwa ajili ya utambulisho alibaki na mshangao kuona mumewe mtarajiwa akipata adhabu kutoka kwa watoto hao.

Hata hivyo NIFAHAMISHE ilihabarishwa kuwa mwanamke huyo alikuwa akiwaonya watoto hao waache kumpiga baba yao hali iliyozua hisia tofauti kwa watoto hao na yeye kuanza kushikishwa adabu na kukimbizwa mithili ya mwizi toka nyumbani hapo.

Wiki iliyopita watoto hao walimvamia baba yao kwa kuona mzee wao huyo amekuwa na utovu wa nidhamu kwa mama yao baada ya kumleta mwanamke mwingine nyumbani hapo kwa ajili ya utambulisho kitendo ambacho hawakukiafiki.

Awali baba huyo alikuwa akimpa kipigo mara kwa mara mke wake kushinikiza kuoa mke mwingine na amlete nyumbani hapo na mke wake hakuafiki maamuzi hayo na kumtaka aondoke ili ampishe aleta mke mwingine.

Hata hivyo imedaiwa kuwa, watoto hao wanajipanga kwenda kazini anapofanyia baba yao ili waonane na uongozi wa kampuni anayofanyia baba yao ili nusu mshahara aweze kupewa mama yao kwa ajili ya matumizi ya kujikimu kwa kuwa ametoweka nyumbani hapo.









Mubaraka na mwanawe kuhojiwa kuhusu rushwa.




Cairo:

Jopo maalum nchini Misri limemwita rais wa zamani Hosni Mubarak na mwanawe wa kiume, Gamal, ili kumhoji, ikiwa ni katika uchunguzi wa karibuni kabisa kuhusu rushwa miongoni mwa viongozi wakuu wa utawala uliopita. Gamal ametakiwa kufika mbele ya jopo hilo wiki ijayo, na kwa mujibu wa gazeti la serikali la Al-Ahram, mkuu wa zamani wa ofisi ya rais, Zakaria Azmi, atahojiwa Ijumaa ijayo. Gamal, mtoto wa pili wa Rais wa zamani Mubarak, alikua na wadhifa wa juu katika chama tawala, na inaaminiwa alikua na azma ya kumrithi baba yake kama kiongozi wa taifa, jambo ambalo amelikanusha. Hosni Mubarak, mkewe Suzanne na watoto wao wawili wa kiume, Alaa na Gamal, wameshapigwa marufuku kusafiri nje ya nchi na mali zao zimezuiliwa na mwendeshaji mashtaka mkuu wa serikali, Abedl Magid Mahmud.










150 wapotea wakielekea Lampedusa




Kiasi ya watu 150 wamepotea baada ya boti iliokua na wahamiaji kutoka Afrika kaskazini kupinduka nje ya kisiwa cha Italia cha Lampedusa katika bahari ya Mediterranean. Waokoaji wanasema wamewaokoa watu 47 walionusurika na kuzigundua maiti 15 za waliozama. Maafisa wanasema mawimbi na pepo kali zimelifanya zoezi la uokoaji kuwa gumu.












Ndege za kivita za Uingereza kuyashambulia majesjhi ya nchji kavu ya Gaddafi








Uingereza imesema inahamishia mashambulizi ya ndege zake za kivita kutoka jukumu la kuilinda anga ya Libya dhidi ya urukaji ndege, hadi mashambulizi ya nchi kavu, baada ya Jumuiya ya kujihami ya NATO kushutumiwa na waasi kuwa inashindwa kuwalinda raia katika mji wa Misrata. Taarifa ya wizara ya ulinzi ya Uingereaza ilisema hatua hiyo imefuatia makubaliano kati ya NATO na Uingereza hii leo. Awali kamanda wa waasi Jenerali Abdelfatah Yunis aliishutumu NATO akisema imeshindwa kuchukua hatua muwafaka wakati raia wa Misrata wakiendelea kushambuliwa na majeshi ya Kanali Gaddafi. Misrata uko kilomita 214 kutoka mji mkuu-Tripoli. Jenerali Yunis ni waziri wa zamani wa ndani katika utawala wa Gaddafi, aliyejitenga na kiongozi huyo na kujiunga na waasi mjini Benghazi.











A chilling dispatch from Afghanistan: It's a war that CAN'T be won












The two dogs didn't seem to want to fight at all. When the green tarpaulin that separated them fell - the signal for battle to commence - they gave one another a friendly lick and engaged in some playful sparring.

Gathered in a scenic natural amphitheatre in the snow-clad foothills of Kabul, however, the crowd of some 3,000 Afghan men were incensed at this 'cowardly' display.
They showed their disapproval by jeering and hurling great slabs of ice at the beautiful Asian breeds, whose ears had been lopped off to stop them being chewed, and whose luxuriant fur had been daubed with purple-and-gold paint to make them appear more ferocious.


So, after being prodded and cajoled by their owners, these most reluctant warriors were forced to join battle. For ten stomach-churning minutes the blood and spittle flew as they bit and clawed at one another with terrifying ferocity, spattering the slushy ring with crimson.


It was only when one yelped so shrilly that his cries echoed around the mountains that the judge - a ghoulish figure in muddy white robes with a chest-length grey beard - brandished his whip to call a halt to the carnage.

Watching this Friday morning Afghan "sport" (a popular prequel to noon-day prayers) at the behest of my interpreter - an enthusiast who thought it would be rather like attending a British football match - I began to wonder what sort of people our soldiers were fighting and dying for.







Indeed, it even fleetingly occurred to me that Afghan society might not have been a mite more civilised under the tyrannical Taliban, who banned dog-fighting and other forms of traditional entertainment as "anti-Islamic".




Mission impossible? British troops in Afghanistan face a new Taliban offensive this year

But then, two days later, came the atrocity that reminded everyone what compassion really means to the men in black turbans. Infiltrating the almost non-existent security at another dog-fight, a suicide bomber slaughtered more than 100 spectators, including a regional military commander presumed to have been the prime target, plus 35 of his men.



It was the bloodiest Taliban attack since December, 2001, when they were ousted from power; and viewing the devastation on TV, one could only be thankful that it had happened 300 miles away in Kandahar, and not Kabul.

Such is the deadly lottery of life in Afghanistan, more than six years after coalition forces arrived with a mission to eliminate the architects of 9/11 and pave the way for democracy: something the country has never enjoyed in the 130-odd years since the British and Russians turned it into a I first set foot in this haunting, benighted country five years ago this month. Back then, flying into a Kabul airport whose potholed runway was still flanked by the burnt-out relics of jet-fighters, and where the only adornment was a poster warning of landmines, there was an air of optimism.


In the bombed-out ruins, families may have shivered and starved around braziers, but they were free, at least. It seemed only a matter of time before they would have sufficient to eat and live without fear, after three decades of subjugation and civil war.

For we British, and indeed any Western visitors in those days, the welcome was almost embarrassingly warm. After all, we had not only played a major part in vanquishing the then universally detested Taliban, but promised generous military and financial aid: essential building blocks for this new, democratic Afghanistan.


On returning this month, I hoped to find signs that a prosperous, secure, egalitarian country was starting to take shape. Yet, depressingly, I have discovered an Afghanistan that is, in many ways, darker, more bitterly divided - and certainly far more dangerous - than the place I remember.

An Afghanistan where gratitude towards the international community has faded, and a growing number of ordinary people are hostile to our presence - even though our departure would, inevitably, see the Taliban return to power.


, the UN Secretary General's deputy special representative in Afghanistan, plays up the positives:

six million children back in school (including two million girls banned under the Taliban); more than 85 per cent of the country served by local health clinics; a sizeable weapons disablement programme; 14 banks where none existed before; the hope of Afghanistan paying for her own budget by 2011.

However, Matt Waldman, head of policy for Oxfam International, paints a gloomier picture. He reminds me that one-in-five Afghan children still dies under the age of five; half are malnourished; and this winter more than 750 died from hypothermia.






A staggering $15billion of humanitarian aid may have been pumped in since 2001, but of that, some 40 per cent has gone straight back into the pockets of foreign contractors making fat profits from the reconstruction effort.

But it doesn't take statistics to tell you that Lord Ashdown (humiliatingly rejected for the post of UN special envoy to Afghanistan by the increasingly anti-British President Hamid Karzai)


was right when he described it as a "failed state".

Nor will it wash, any longer, for the holier-than-thou Karzai and his ministers to heap all the blame for this failure - which the Taliban are exploiting to maximum effect - onto Britain, America and the rest.

That much is clear from the moment you step off the plane.

If it is true that an airport is the window on a nation - New York's JFK with its paranoid security; Heathrow with its endless queues and ranks of black cabs - then heaven help Afghanistan.

Merely to negotiate one's way to the car park at Kabul International, one must run a menacing gauntlet of spivs, chancers and hand-out merchants.

You want to avoid having every item of clothing removed from your suitcase in a 'security' check? That'll be $20 "baksheesh". Want to clear customs quickly, no questions asked? "That's another $10."
So what became of the new Afghan police force, whose first batch of eager young recruits I watched being trained by the Germans five years ago?

You might well ask. Sadly, they lead the demand for cash backhanders from the public they are supposed to be protecting.

"Robbers in grey uniforms,


" sniffed my oldest Afghan friend, now employed by one of the international security companies whose muscle is all that protects the government, aid agencies and businesses from Taliban insurgents and the new Afghan Mafia barons.
Or at least they did until last week, when Karzai summarily announced that these foreign protection firms were to be banned so that his cronies could run their own monopoly.

Small wonder, then, that Kabul - where I once felt safe enough to go jogging alone at dusk - is now a city under virtual siege, particularly for foreign visitors.

Almost every major building is surrounded by a high, razor-topped wall. And at night, when the streets are bathed in an eerie halogen glow, weaving through the rat-run of concrete barriers manned by balaclava-clad gunmen is an unnerving experience.

You are never quite sure whether you are being stopped by a policemen, insurgent, or would-be kidnapper. In Kabul, kidnapping is the new epidemic, the most recent victim being a prominent trader whose severed ear was posted to his family along with a $1.5million ransom demand.

But after a recent wave of bloody attacks, the latest and most shocking of which claimed the lives of an untold number of foreign guests and staff at the new Aga Khan-owned Serena Hotel, no one is in any doubt about the Taliban's capability to strike at the heart of the city.

When they return from their safe winter havens in Pakistan, the consensus is that even more murder and mayhem is in store.

One senior Western diplomat told me that spring 2008 threatens to be "the hottest yet".
Inevitably this grim prognosis is having a devastating effect on business. Foreign investment, Afghanistan's lifeblood, has slumped by 50 per cent in the past year.

Chic new stores and restaurants face closure if sales don't pick up soon; but who can stomach haute cuisine after negotiating a security entrance as elaborate as Berlin's Checkpoint Charlie?

The sense of impending doom was given credence when, via my resourceful fixer, I found myself talking to Abu Tauyeb, a notorious Taliban commander who claims to control 14,000 fighters in six provinces from Kabul to Kandahar.



An articulate graduate in his mid-30s whose cousin holds down a high-powered job in London, Tauyeb spoke via an echoing mobile phone from his base across the snow-capped Khyber Mountains.

"This spring I will lead a massive offensive to drive the infidels out of Kabul," he said in measured tones. "You will see us engage them in street fighting for the first time, and we will employ other tactics which I won't disclose.

"We can see that the resolve of the infidel forces is weakening but we are growing stronger every day."
It would please me greatly to dismiss his dire warning as bragadoccio. Disturbingly, though, the evidence suggests the commander's assessment is right.

Five years ago, the coalition forces in Afghanistan numbered around 15,000. Today there are more than 42,000 troops, including 7,200 from Britain, and thousands more will soon be deployed.



Yet according to the Senlis Council, a respected international think-tank, some 54 per cent of the country is already back under de facto Taliban control, and their avowed aim of retaking Kabul in 2008 "appears more viable than ever".

This bleak view is supported by Ehsan Zahine, director of Afghanistan's Tribal Liaison Office. "The Taliban have now set up alternative governments in almost every part of the country," he told me.
"In many places, what they say counts for more than the official administration. They are winning people over with a clever mixture of persuasion and intimidation."
I saw what he meant when journeying from Kabul to the chaotic frontier town of Torkham (where the passport-less droves crossed in and out of Pakistan virtually unchecked, and even the official commander told me he did not recognise the legitimacy of the British Raj-created border).

In Shinwari, where U.S. troops allegedly ran amok killing many civilians after being hit by a roadside bomb, we ate lunch to hostile stares and the strains of a Taliban cassette urging people to rise up against the "invaders".




At night in such places, the red, green and black Afghan flag is often hoisted down and replaced with the Taliban's white pennant, with its holy inscription; a telling reminder to people that the men in black turbans are among them.
Uplifting as it was to see smiling girls marching to school with their shiny new aid agency-provided satchels, hundreds of Western-built schools have been shut down because the teachers are too scared to venture inside.

In the southern province of Zabul, I was told, just three of the 170 schools are open. Yet there is a new pragmatism to the Taliban's tactics. To win support in more liberal areas, they allow some schools to be used - so long as they adopt a fundamentalist curriculum.

In these permitted classrooms, A is for Allah and T is for Tora, the sword with which to cut off the infidel's head; so runs the new alphabet of fear.

The Taliban's campaign to win over young Afghans has recently turned to popular culture. The nation's favourite TV programme is Afghan Star, a rudimentary version of The X Factor, complete its own Sharon Osbourne.

However, a young girl contestant is in hiding after receiving death threats because her headscarf slipped down on screen. Hard-line mullahs "encourage" viewers to watch Koran Star, an alternative show whose veiled contestants chant verses from the scriptures.

The coalition strives gamely to counter this propaganda offensive, of course, yet it hardly helps when they hand out free Barbie Dolls wearing skimpy mini-skirts; one of several faux-pas which have caused grave offence.

Apparently forgetting the night-time raids by the Vice and Virtue Police and the summarily chopped-off limbs, some Afghan men told me they were actually happier under the Taliban.

They preferred it when their women were compelled to wear burkas and remain confined to the home, they said; which explains why it remains rare to see a female face in public outside the big cities.

Another common complaint among ordinary Afghans is that they feel like second-class citizens in an "occupied" country.

Under the latest indignity, civilian vehicles are not permitted anywhere near the ubiquitous International Security Assistance Force convoys, in case they might be suicide bombers. Drivers must pull over to the roadside and wait for them to pass.

I understood how demeaning - and scary - this can feel when our four-wheel drive was forced to a halt by a French armoured vehicle, whose machine-gunner trained us in his sights and gesticulated furiously.

All this said, isn't it a bit rich for the Afghans to criticise the foreign troops who are protecting them with their lives, when their own government includes a deeply corrupt rabble of reconstructed warlords and brigands?

On the front page of the Kabul Times last week, for example, the main story centred on the latest outrage perpetrated by Abdul Rashid Dostum.

A sadistic northern warrior chieftain, reputed to have tied enemies to his tank tracks and crushed them alive (and shot one of his wives when he tired of her) he is now chief of staff to the Afghan Army; arguably the second most powerful figure in the Karzai administration

Angered by some perceived slur, it seems, Dostum allegedly sent henchmen to abduct the leader of the Turkmen tribe, Akbar Bay, and members of his family, imprisoned them in his Kabul mansion and personally beat them up.

The attorney general briefly considered pressing charges, but decided against it after being advised that it could spark all-out civil war.

A neat little snapshot of the new Afghanistan.



But how can Karzai even begin to stamp out such medieval behaviour, and nurture the sort of ordered society that would present an attractive alternative to the Taliban, when his own family are so deeply mired in scandal?

Embattled in the heavily-guarded presidential quarters, the so-called mayor of Kabul has belatedly sanctioned an anti-corruption investigation which, at the last count, embroiled eight different government ministries.

However, the nepotistic President refuses to allow the probe to extend to his younger brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, who is widely accused of running a lucrative drug smuggling racket from Kandahar.

Wali is unofficial governor of the southern province ... which just happens to be one of the main poppy growing regions, and supplies much of the heroin that finds its way onto British streets.

This week, two more British servicemen - Green Howard Damian Stephen Lawrence, 25, and Royal Marine Damian Mulvihill, 32 - were fatally wounded on the front line in Helmand; the 88th and 89th to be killed in Afghanistan.

We can only hope that, one day, the battle will be won, and the inhospitable mountains of Central Asia will give rise to a nation worthy of their courage.

However, after returning to a country that has been hijacked by the corrupt, self-serving officers of a propped-up regime, I fear we're in for a mighty long wait.

Safely beyond reach in their Pakistan sanctuaries,

the Taliban and their friends in Al Qaeda must be rubbing their bloody hands with glee - and looking forward to the day when we in the West finally run out of patience.















Kashfa ya Simu India
Wakuu wa India wamemshtaki waziri wa zamani wa mawasiliano ya simu pamoja na makampuni matatu makubwa ya simu za mkononi,

kutokana na tuhuma kwamba walihusika katika ile inayoweza kuwa kashfa kubwa kabisa ya ulaji rushwa nchini humo.



Kashfa hiyo imelinyima taifa dola bilioni 60.

Waziri huyo, Andimuthu Raja, ameshtakiwa kwa kufanya njama, udanganyifu na kula rushwa.




Mashtaka hayo yanahusu kandarasi ya mwaka 2008, ya kuuza leseni za simu za mkononi, kwa bei ndogo sana, kulingana na thamani halisi.














Bwana Raja amekanusha tuhuma hizo.


Alilazimika kujiuzulu mwaka jana.


Kashfa hiyo imechafua sifa ya serikali ya muungano.

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