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Afghanistan

Afghanistan's future is uncertain, no thanks to the Obama administration.

Mixed signals from the Obama Administration about talking to the Taliban do a disservice to Afghans, and betray earlier promises.More >>

The Taliban are sticking bombs in their bums. Super creative, except for one small problem: the 'bumbs' don't really work.More >>

Afghan-Canadians and other concerned citizens will assemble on June 6 (10:00am) in front of the Afghan Consulate in Toronto.More >>

Nigeria

Militant Islamists abhor anything associated with modernity, with health and welfare, and with social progress.More >>

Karim Delgado is a former military journalist with the Marine Corps, where he deployed in support of various humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations throughout Southeast Asia. He is currently majoring in philosophy at Columbia University, but took a break from school the first half of this year to work as a civilian videographer for the U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan. During this time, he documented the work of special forces teams throughout the country and their efforts to empower Afghans through the improved security, governance and development of their own villages.

Here is a link to Karim's short film using footage from his time in Afghanistan, Humans of Afghanistan, and an excerpt from the artist's statement (available in full at the link):

When I arrived back in the States, everybody wanted to talk with me about Afghanistan. It was very difficult for me, even to hear the name; I just wanted to hide somewhere private and cry. I couldn't really understand why that was for a while. But I think I've come to realize that here in the West, people's opinions about the region, its people and the war have really congealed into this sickening sort of knee-jerk

...More >>

New data from Pakistan published in the American Journal of Political Science suggests that the middle class there is more likely to support violent extremism than those who are less well off. The factor proposed for this difference is interesting:

the contextual factor that matters appears to be exposure to the externalities of militant violence. Leveraging a new dataset of violent incidents, we find first that violence is heavily concentrated in urban areas and second that dislike of militant groups is nearly three times stronger among the urban poor living in districts that have experienced violence than among the poor living in nonviolent districts. It is not that people are vulnerable to militants' appeals because they are poor and dissatisfied. Instead, it appears that the urban poor suffer most from militants' violent activities and so most intensely dislike them.

In other words, the people who have to deal with the consequences are those who don't like the violent extremism. It's not a surprising causal relationship, but it is emblematic of the habit among the better-off classes the world over to casually form hardened opinions over matters that have nothing whatsoever to do with them.

You can find parallels...More >>

Pat Kennelly, Associate Director of the Marquette University Center for Peacemaking, writes an astounding load of fiction posing as non-fiction on CommonDreams.org on June 6, claiming that NATO and US Forces in Afghanistan are the cause of all of the problems of Afghan women. For instance, Kennelly claims:

NATO operations have caused greater insecurity for women. They create countless widows, destroy homes, and foster a psychological terror that women are not safe and secure, even in their own homes.

He offers no evidence whatsoever to back this claim, and goes on to imply that the "occupation" is responsible for everything from self-immolation cases among women to maternal mortality.

It's also remarkable that in an article on the theme of what most plagues Afghan women, the word "Taliban" is not mentioned even once. Yet it's indisputably the Taliban who pose the greatest threat to the rights of women and the evidence I would offer is their well-established track record from 1994-2001 as the greatest misgynists the world has ever known.

Kennelly vaguely alludes to evidence from interviews in Afghanistan that would support his claims:

In recent visits to schools, orphanages, and Afghan NGOs, ordinary Afghans did not identify specific

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The Vancouver Chapter of Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan (CW4WAfghan) will host a Breaking Bread event Friday, 1 June 2012 at Shaughnessy United Church, 1550 West 33rd Avenue, Vancouver to present the acclaimed documentary film, "Out of the Ashes," which traces the rise of the Afghan Men's Cricket Team from refugees to the world stage, followed by a talk from photographer and filmmaker Leslie Knott, the co-producer and director of the film.

About the Film

Against a backdrop of war and poverty, Out of the Ashes traces the extraordinary journey of a team of young Afghan men as they chase a seemingly impossible dream - shedding new light on a nation beyond burqas, bombs, drugs and devastation. This feature-length documentary film follows the Afghan cricket team in their quest against the odds to qualify for the World Cup. Watch a trailer here.
 
The event starts at 6:15PM with a reception and marketplace; 7:00PM will be a buffet dinner provided by Margarita Trifonova.

See ticket information below.

About the Speaker
 
Leslie Knott is a filmmaker and photographer who has worked in Afghanistan for the past eight years. In 2004...More >>

It's long been fashionable to claim that the US Government used Afghan women as a justification for waging war in Afghanistan. It's not a particularly orginal, well-supported or sophisticated argument, but it's become a meme. It's slightly less fashionable, but still barely frowned upon in the post-modernist classrooms of western arts faculties, to write off the whole enterprise of women's rights (and indeed, human rights writ large) as an imperialist adventure perpetrated by patronizing western feminists, being forced upon the dominated, resistant masses of developing countries. It's these two trends, and the fact I've seen them surface more than once among UBC political science students, that prompts me to publish a detailed response to one particular undergraduate student's article regurgitating these tired claims.

The following is a response to "Feminist Ethics and the Rhetoric Surrounding Women and the War in Afghanistan," by Allison Rounding, which was published in the 2012 journal of the Political Science Students' Association of the University of British Columbia. I delivered a keynote address at the journal launch, also published here.

 

This homogenization of Afghan women, coupled with a homogenization of American women as all emancipated, is an

...More >>

On April 2, 2012, I delivered the keynote address at the launch of the journal of the Political Science Students' Association of the University of British Columbia. It was a well organized, brief event with a good Q&A session, and I'm grateful to the Association for the opportunity to respond to one of the articles featured in this year's journal, "Feminist Ethics and the Rhetoric Surrounding Women and the War in Afghanistan," by Allison Rounding. A detailed response to the content of that article can be found here, and you can read Rounding's article here. Meanwhile, here is the transcript of the keynote address.

Good afternoon and congratulations to the students who have worked so hard to produce UBC’s Journal of Political Studies.

I’m speaking to you today in my role as an aid worker in Afghanistan, but I’m also a student, at least for another couple of months, here at UBC, and a dozen or so years ago now when I started my university studies, I minored in Political Science at McGill University.

It’s been fascinating since then to go out in the field, and see how the theories of the classroom resonate, or don’t, in...More >>

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