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President Hamid Karzai face vague challenges By Hanan Habibzai
Wednesday, 06.24.2009, 10:28pm (GMT+1)

President Hamid Karzai face vague challenges

By Hanan Habibzai

23 June 2009


President Hamid Karzai was once popular for a strong leadership now considerate as a knave of warlords and corruption. Dispute billions of international donation for the goodness of Afghanistan after eight long years Afghans are still suffering poverty, bloody violence and the normal life gets worsening. Thousands of innocents’ women, children and other civilians have been killed since Taliban lost the power in 2001.

Many who supported Mr Karzai in 2004’s presidential election thinking about different person, who must have the ability to distribute international funds honestly, destroy the increasing official corruption, enforce the law, bring justice and feed up his country people?

‘’Pity international donors who wasting money without any positive result’’ a Kabul shopkeeper Sayed Karim Khan regrettably told me during an interview. 

‘’International community and Afghan people should carefully support a right candidate who can bring peace, justice, food, job opportunities, education and unity.’’ Khan added.

This is the common thoughts. Afghan media is seriously considering the puny performance of officials but Afghan government badly trying to prevent Afghan writers from their way toward searching truths.

The recent attack on a popular Afghan writer, well known for being outspoken on government corruption, will up the immense pressure on Afghanistan's rulers.

33 year old Ahmad Mohammed Yar was harassed and threatened by government officials on his way to a poetry reading in Kandahar last month. Yar was entering the hall where the poetry was to take place, when he and his colleagues were beaten up at gunpoint and forced to flee the area.

The writer, who is paralysed from the waist down, was born in Kandahar, the home city of President Hamid Karzai. Support for Yar is high and an attack on him damages the credibility of Karzai and his government, particularly in Kandahar where he will be relying on loyalty votes when Afghanistan goes to the polls in August. 

The event has indeed galvanised the country's media and the intellectual population. The overwhelming belief on the ground is that the Kandahar governor Toryalai Weesa planned the incident. There is a growing clamour from members of the press and cultural figures for a crackdown on what is seen loutish behaviour by the government officials.

“I was prevented by the governor of Kandahar from joining a traditional poetry contest, and by his order I have been beaten,” Mohammad Yar told me shortly after the attack.


The government now faces a cultural revolution of sorts, as people rise up in defence of  poets and writers, who are increasingly becoming figures of attack for the government. Kandahar's media has broken its silence to defend Yar and his like, who often weave anti-government rhetoric into their work.

Speaking at a press conference in Kabul, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, a contender in the upcoming election, warned that if the government failed to investigate the event fairly he would take the issue to an international court.

The dispute is a local, but President Hamid Karzai is caught up in it because it resonates with ordinary Afghans, who remember previous attempts by government to silence the country's writers. Afghan writers are yet not known whether there is an official investigation under way to find out the attackers. This type of disappearing official act has increasingly caused sadness.

 Afghan intellects and journalists are still mourning the cruel killing of BBC journalist Abdul Samad Rohani and CTV's Ahmad Javeed. Rohani was kidnapped in June last year, from the Helmand province, the seat of the Afghan government's power. He has not been seen alive since.

Javeed was assassinated in Kandahar earlier this year, having spent nearly a year in an American military jail in Afghanistan, after being accused of having links to militants. His death came just a few months after his release.

The first anniversary of Abdul Samad Rohani’s disappearance is being largely mourned by his professional friends; audiences and colleagues inside and outside the country but his murderers are still roaming free in official areas. Local journalists investigating Rohani's disappearance say the security officials were involved.

Witnesses in the southern province of Helmand say they saw Rohani in a police vehicle on the evening of his disappearance in Lashkargah, the capital city of Helmand. A day later his beheaded body was found near by Lashkargah.

The government denies all responsibility and insists it is carrying out an investigation into Samad Rohani's murder. But the results of this so-called investigation have failed to materialise.

A great deal of Rohani's work focused on uncovering war crimes, corruption and documenting the increase in drug trafficking. For this he was widely disliked by local government.

A security guard at the city of Lashkargah, where Rohani’s office is based, believes that it was local police officers gave the order for Rohani’s murder. “The police got the advice from local drug dealers, who have influences in the current government,’’ he told friends of Rohani.

The incredible circumstances of Rohani's murder have been made worse by the government's refusal to listen to demands for justice. But, by targeting Mohammad Yar, the government has left itself vulnerable as people inevitably start to question the war being waged against journalists, writers and artists who dare to hold politicians to account. Yar says, “The attack on me has turned up the assumptions to truths that government is behind the violence against journalists.”

It is almost a year since the murder of Rohani and the government's efforts to bury his memory have failed. Continued attacks ensure the death of Rohani and the persecution of others like him stay alive in the public memory.

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