Archive for the ‘Afghanistan’ Category

Afghan Clerics Denounce Violence Against Women

Created on October 22, 2012

By Solmaz Sharif

WeNews correspondent

Friday, October 19, 2012

Women’s rights activists in Afghanistan take hope after religious leaders speak out against violence against girls and women, promote female education and discourage child marriage.

Credit: Kenneth Taylor Jr/Kawetijoru on Flickr, under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC 2.0).


Afghan women’s safety activists say a new partnership with religious leaders can help stop Taliban attacks on girls and women that have left a Pakistani teen activist for girls just across the border in Swat Province undergoing brain surgery after a gunshot execution.

At an Oct. 10 conference in Kabul, the day after the Pakistani Taliban shot 14-year-old activist Malala Yousufzai, clerics denounced Taliban-style attacks on girls and women.

“Violence is found in a place where there is no understanding of religion and religious knowledge is low or absent,” Mohammad Yousuf Niazi, minister of Hajj and Islamic affairs told conference participants. “I am asking the Islamic community to inform people and families about what the Quran had said and how it condemns the abuse of women.”

The clerics’ conference statement said that forced marriage and child marriage are against Sharia and encouraged people to cooperate with the education of female citizens.

During the conference, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs announced the establishment of the Commission on Prevention of Violence against Women to work with religious leaders in all of the provinces to inform the public of the country’s violence against women act, the German news agency Deutsche Welle reported Oct. 10.

Under the 2009 decree on the Elimination of Violence Against Women Act, police are obligated to arrest those who abuse women. However, both the police and the courts are not yet fully familiar with the act and there’s been limited implementation of it.

Lingering Hope

“We are very far away from our dreams for Afghan women but we have hope,” Nadia Soltan, a women’s rights activist who also advises the parliament’s women commission, said in a phone interview after the Oct. 10 meeting. “Any action that helps us on fighting abuse against women is valuable.”

In the past, women’s rights activists have expressed fears that as the U.S. draws its troops out of Afghanistan, it will open women and girls to even more Taliban attacks and that negotiations with the Taliban will be at the cost of women. They’re now trying to determine a plan for post-troops withdrawal.

The conference was organized by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, which has been criticized for not adequately standing up for the safety of girls and women, the Ministry of Hajj and Islamic Affairs and the Council of Afghanistan Scholars, a nongovernmental organization that oversees more than 3,500 mosques across the country.

But the Council of Afghanistan Scholars, also known as the Ulama Council, is far from modern Western in its attitudes toward women. In March, it issued a prohibition against women “integrating with men that are not a family member in society” and asked women to respect polygamy.

Soltan said that when Islamic leaders preach that violence against women violates religious law it can carry great influence in vast areas of the country where the word of local religious leaders means more than national laws.

Hassan Bano Ghazanfar, Afghanistan’s minister of women’s affairs, told reporters after the conference that clerics had a unique ability to confront violence against women perpetrated in the name of religion.

In conservative, traditional and religious Afghanistan, mosques and Islamic temples, called Hossienieh, are the best venues to educate the public on tradition and religion. “Only religious leaders can separate the wrong customs and superstitions from the pure Sharia law,” Ghazanfar told Deutsche Welle.

Rising Abuse

In June, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission voiced concern over the rise of abuse of women in their country. Not long before, a Taliban member shot a woman in public in the Parvan Province. In a separate incident, local clerics lashed a 15-year-old female teen for having an extramarital relationship.

Last year, in an incident that drew international attention, police found a child bride named Sahargul tortured in the basement of her husband’s home.

The country’s Ministry of Women’s Affairs has defended itself from criticism for not doing more to stem the violence by saying its job is policy making, not law enforcement.

Afghan women’s rights activists bypassed the ministry and arranged a meeting in June with President Hamid Karzai to ask that more be done. Soltan, the women’s rights activist, was at that meeting and raised the problem of rich or powerful families having immunity in corrupted local systems and abusers going unpunished.

“We talked to him about immunity culture in Afghanistan and how that hurts women,” she said.

Karzai ordered the Women’s Ministry to take action. In response, the ministry arranged this recent conference with the two co-organizing groups to educate and encourage religious leaders to actively put an end to the rampant gender violence. During the conference, Karzai sent a message asking religious scholars to help combat this violence.

By custom, though it may vary by family in big cities, women in Afghanistan cannot leave their home without the company of a relative male guardian. Until recently, running away from home was a crime for girls.

For more than 12 years, Solmaz Sharif has worked as a journalist for Persian media outlets such as BBC Persian and the Etemad Melli Newspaper. She is also founder of the first Iranian women’s sports magazine, Shirzanan. She currently lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., and writes for
Her website is:


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The Oil Connection to Afghanistan-Condoleezza Rice and Hamid Karsai

Posted on October 11, 2012 by Akashma Online News
Original Published on Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 5:03am on Akashma Web Blog

Chevron:Chevron Corporation is an American multinational energy corporation. Headquartered in San Ramon, California, and active in more than 180 countries, it is engaged in every aspect of the oil, gas, and geothermal energy industries, including exploration and production; refining, marketing and transport; chemicals manufacturing and sales; and power generation. Chevron is one of the world’s six “supermajor” oil companies.

Environmental damage in Ecuador

From 1965 to 1993, Texaco/Chevron operated development of the Lago Agrio oil field in Ecuador. Chevron is now being sued for extensive environmental damage caused by these operations. An Ecuadorian court could impose a legal penalty of up to $28 billion in a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of Amazonian villagers in the region. Chevron claims that agreements with the Ecuadorian Government exempt the company from any liabilities.
Pollution in Richmond, California

Chevron’s activities in Richmond, California have been the subject of ongoing controversy. The project generated over 11 million pounds of toxic materials and caused more than 304 accidents. Chevron’s Richmond refineries paid $540,000 in 1998 for illegally bypassing waste water treatments and failing to notify the public about toxic releases. Overall, Chevron is listed as potentially liable for 95 Superfund sites, with funds set aside by the EPA for clean-up. In October, 2003, the state of New Hampshire sued Chevron and other oil companies for using MTBE, a gasoline additive that the attorney general claimed polluted much of the state’s water supply.
Oil spills in Angola

Chevron’s operations in Africa have also been criticized as environmentally unsound. In 2002, Angola became the first country in Africa ever to levy a fine on a major multinational corporation operating within its borders, when it demanded $2 million in compensation for oil spills allegedly caused by Chevron.
Violation of the Clean Air Act in the USA

On October 16, 2003, Chevron U.S.A. settled a charge under the Clean Air Act, which reduced harmful air emissions by about 10,000 tons a year. In San Francisco, Chevron was filed by a consent decree to spend almost $275 million to install and utilize innovative technology to reduce nitrogen and sulfur dioxide emissions at its refineries. After violating the Clean Air Act at an offline loading terminal in El Segundo, California, Chevron paid a $6 million penalty as well as $1 million for environmental improvement projects

Condoleeza Rice Bush Secretary of State for two terms, was former member of the board od directors and also headed Chevron’s committee on public policy until she resigned on January 15, 2001 to take her position in the Bush Administration, I guess it pays to pay.
She worked for Chevron from 1995 to 2001.
Leaving a wave of controversy in its wake, one of the most visible reminders of the Bush administration’s ties to big oil – the 129,000-ton Chevron tanker Condoleezza Rice – has quietly been renamed Altair.

Who is Hamid Karzai?
UNOCAL:Union Oil Company of California, dba Unocal is a defunct company that was a major petroleum explorer and marketer. It was headquartered in El Segundo, California, United States.

On August 10, 2005, Unocal merged with CHEVRON Corporation and became a wholly owned subsidiary. Unocal has now ceased operations as an independent company, but continues to conduct many operations as Union Oil Company of California, a Chevron company.
Hamid Karzai, the Prime Minister of Afghanistan, was a top adviser to the El Segundo, California-based UNOCAL Corporation which was negotiating with the Taliban to construct a Central Asia Gas (CentGas) pipeline from Turkmenistan through western Afghanistan to Pakistan.

Karzai, the leader of the southern Afghan Pashtun Durrani tribe, was a top contact for the CIA and maintained close relations with CIA Director William Casey, Vice President George Bush, and their Pakistani Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) Service interlocutors. Later, Karzai and a number of his brothers moved to the United States under the auspices of the CIA. Karzai continued to serve the agency’s interests, as well as those of the Bush Family and their oil friends in negotiating the CentGas deal, according to Middle East and South Asian sources.

When one peers beyond all of the rhetoric of the White House and Pentagon concerning the Taliban, a clear pattern emerges showing that construction of the trans-Afghan pipeline was a top priority of the Bush administration from the outset. Although UNOCAL claims it abandoned the pipeline project in December 1998, the series of meetings held between U.S., Pakistani, and Taliban officials after 1998, indicates the project was never off the table.

Quite to the contrary, recent meetings between U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Wendy Chamberlain and that country’s oil minister Usman Aminuddin indicate the pipeline project is international Project Number One for the Bush administration. Chamberlain, who maintains close ties to the Saudi ambassador to Pakistan (a one-time chief money conduit for the Taliban), has been pushing Pakistan to begin work on its Arabian Sea oil terminus for the pipeline.

Meanwhile, President Bush says that U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan for the long haul. Far from being engaged in Afghan peacekeeping — the Europeans are doing much of that – our troops are effectively guarding pipeline construction personnel.

Karzai’s ties with UNOCAL and the Bush administration are the main reason why the CIA pushed him for Afghan leader over rival Abdul Haq, the assassinated former mujaheddin leader from Jalalabad, and the leadership of the Northern Alliance, seen by Langley as being too close to the Russians and Iranians. Haq had no apparent close ties to the U.S. oil industry and, as both a Pushtun and a northern Afghani, was popular with a wide cross-section of the Afghan people, including the Northern Alliance. Those credentials likely sealed his fate.

When Haq entered Afghanistan from Pakistan last October, his position was immediately known to Taliban forces, which subsequently pinned him and his small party down, captured, and executed them. Former Reagan National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane, who worked with Haq, vainly attempted to get the CIA to help rescue Haq. The agency claimed it sent a remotely-piloted armed drone to attack the Taliban but its actions were too little and too late. Some observers in Pakistan claim the CIA tipped off the ISI about Haq’s journey and the Pakistanis, in turn, informed the Taliban. McFarlane, who runs a K Street oil consulting firm, did not comment on further questions about the circumstances leading to the death of Haq.

While Haq was not part of the Bush administration’s GOP (Grand Oil Plan) for South Asia, Karzai was a key player on the Bush Oil team. During the late 1990s, Karzai worked with an Afghani-American, Zalmay Khalilzad, on the CentGas project.

Khalilzad has worked on Afghan issues under Condoleezza Rice, a former member of the board of Chevron, itself no innocent bystander in the future CentGas deal. Rice made an impression on her old colleagues at Chevron. The company has named one of their supertankers the SS Condoleezza Rice.

Khalilzad, a fellow Pashtun and the son of a former government official under King Mohammed Zahir Shah, was, in addition to being a consultant to the RAND Corporation, a special liaison between UNOCAL and the Taliban government. Khalilzad also worked on various risk analyses for the project.

Khalilzad’s efforts complemented those of the Enron Corporation, a major political contributor to the Bush campaign. Enron, which recently filed for bankruptcy in the single biggest corporate collapse in the nation’s history, conducted the feasibility study for the CentGas deal. Vice President Cheney held several secret meetings with top Enron officials, including its Chairman Kenneth Lay, earlier in 2001. These meetings were presumably part of Cheney’s non-public Energy Task Force sessions. A number of Enron stockholders, including Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, became officials in the Bush administration. In addition, Thomas White, a former Vice Chairman of Enron and a multimillionaire in Enron stock, currently serves as the Secretary of the Army.

A chief benefactor in the CentGas deal would have been Halliburton, the huge oil pipeline construction firm that also had its eye on the Central Asian oil reserves. At the time, Halliburton was headed by Dick Cheney.

Maybe Osama was not CIA operative after all, but The revelation by the New York Times that Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, has long been on the payroll of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency is only the tip of a much bigger iceberg of heavy dependence by U.S. and NATO

Karzai vows Afghan troops will take control of security in five years as he’s sworn in for a second term Read more:–minister-accused-30m-bribe.html#ixzz0sQnJGAza

Cruise with Gorby and Condi: Sail the Black Sea with Gorbachev and Condoleezza Rice, $24K How would you like to spend a couple of weeks on and around the Black Sea with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of Defense William Perry, and former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev? Well, you’re in luck, ’cause San Francisco-based World Leaders Travel on 500 Third Street is asking just $23,990 per person (double occupancy) to attend Global Challenges in a Post-Perestroika World: A World Leaders Symposium in Russia and the Black Sea this summer, August 30 through September 15th 2010. No, Silly Billy, you won’t sail on the Chevron Condoleezza Rice – they renamed that vessel years ago.

There she comes, to prepare the terrain….for drilling?…. professor of political science at Stanford University where she served as Provost from 1993 to 1999. Rice served as the Soviet and East European Affairs Advisor to President George H.W. Bush during the dissolution of the Soviet Union and German reunification.
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