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Home > English > Human Rights > US Embassy-Kabul and NATO censoring their facebook pages

US Embassy-Kabul and NATO censoring their facebook pages

Criminal neglect of ethnic cleansing by Taliban and its Afghan government supporters must stop now

Friday 28 May 2010, by Kamran Mir Hazar

Kabulpress.org has started an on-line demonstration against the bloody Kuchi-Taliban attacks on Hazaras in Hazarajat. We ask people to write on the walls of US Embassies, NATO, international media, and human rights organizations, asking them to take immediate action to stop these attacks.

The US and NATO, with over 100,000 troops in Afghanistan are responsible for stopping the bloody attack. The US embassy in Kabul and NATO have deleted many of these comments. The US Embassy in Kabul sent me the following message:

May 24 at 1:56pm

“The Embassy Kabul webmasters recently had to delete from our wall a number of repetitive press clippings all concerning the same topic, of a reported conflict between the Hazara and Kuchi peoples. We fully support freedom of speech and have created this page as a place to communicate with you and hear your hopes and concerns. We welcome your comments, but hope that you will be mindful that we may sometimes need to delete duplicative posts if they begin to crowd out other news we want to share with you on our wall. Thank you for understanding!”

For any question or comments feel free to send email to kabulwebmaster@state.gov

We continue posting comments and asking the US and NATO to take immediate action. NATO/ ISAF has blocked me. The US Embassy in Kabul has posted the following shameful statement:

Dear facebook friends,

We have seen your many postings concerning the ongoing dispute between the Kuchi and Hazara peoples. This is an internal Afghan matter and the United States supports the efforts being made by the Government of Afghanistan to mediate an end to these conflicts. (and specifically what are these efforts?—ed.)

We thank you for your comments,

U.S. Embassy Kabul

In response to our comments, protesting, and asking for immediate action, the US Embassy in Kabul posted the following note on its face book page:

Hello, everyone!

We’re thrilled that so many people in Afghanistan and beyond are using our Facebook page as a place to discuss the important issues facing this country. It is important to us that all of the discussion be clean and respectful; we can’t have profane, disrespectful, or abusive comments on our wall. So when we see such comments we’ll have to delete them, and in some cases, consider blocking users. We hope you understand. Please help us keep the constructive dialogue going…

Thanks!

The US embassy in Norway also posted the following comment responding my comment:

Human rights violations in Afghanistan - including violations against the Hazaras - are documented in the State Department’s country reports on human rights, see http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/sca/136084.htm

Your claim that "Kabulpress.org’s postings calling attention to the situation on U.S. State Department websites have been deleted" would seem to be in contradiction to the spirit of engagement and dialogue - also with people who disagree -that underlies the State Department’s web2.0 efforts. Which sites deleted your comments? Were explanations offered?

I am not surprised by US censorship outside of US borders when the RSF World Press Freedom Index 2009 says the US rank is 108:
http://en.rsf.org/IMG/pdf/classement_en.pdf

I reviewed the State Department’s country reports on human rights and noted that it is a very poor report which does not show the whole picture of human rights abuses in Afghanistan.

A very clear example is the annual budget for the Agriculture Department of Daikondi is only 3,000.00 USD. In 2007 it was 2,400.00 USD. (http://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressrelease/2009-03-31/oxfam-warns-devastating-impact-afghan-civilians).

In response to an article from the US Embassy about corruption and foreign aid to Afghanistan I posted links to documents that were evidence of corruption, discrimination, and illegal actions of US friends in Afghanistan including Hamid Karzai, Faruq Wardak, Hanif Atmar, Anwarul Haq Ahadi, Adib Farhadi etc. The webmaster of US embassy in Kabul deleted them.

Let’s look closer at discrimination, illegal actions, and misuse of funds by some of America’s best friends in Afghanistan:

1: An example of ethnic discrimination/favoritism:

http://kabulpress.org/my/asnad/Atmar_maaref2.JPG
In this document (list of minister’s advisers) signed by minister Hanif Atmar is a column noting each person’s ethnic group. Sixteen are Pashtoon and four are Tajik. There are no Hazara, Uzbek, or Turkmen.
The first four are Faruq Bashar Atmar, Wase Atmar, Ramin Atmar and Homayoun Atmar related to Mr. Minister. The salary of Faruq Bashar Atmar is 12,000.00 UDS per month. Just think if a minister in Norway or US received the same. Compare the monthly salary of 12,000.00 USD to annual agriculture department budget for Daikondi, which is less than 3,000.00 USD. The normal monthly salary of an Afghan worker with a full job is less than 50USD, so the salary of Mr. Atmar is 200 times more than a normal worker.

2: An example of corruption:

According to the Afghanistan Anti-corruption Department, Mr. Anwarul Haq Ahadi the former finance minister has rented a large house belonging to the Afghanistan National Bank for his personal use. The house is located in the most expensive area of Kabul, Wazir Akbar Khan, where most embassies including the US embassy are located. The real market price for rent would be 4.000.00- 5.000.00 USD, but the former minister has rented it about 60.00 USD.
Also Mr. Ahadi is one of the high ranking officials who allegedly confiscated land in the Shirpur area of Kabul, close to Wazir Akbar Khan. Just think what would happen to Mr. Ahadi if he were a minister in the US or Norway.

3: An example of an exorbitant salary:

Read details here:
http://kabulpress.org/my/spip.php?article1859
The annual salary of Adib Farhadi, paid by World Bank in 2005, was 121 times more than the agriculture budget of Daikundi in 2007.

4: An example of an illegal action:

The Afghan government announced that all financial transactions in Afghanistan must be in the Afghanistan currency (afghani), and a fee of 100.000.00 afghani must be paid if any other currency is used.
This document, signed by America’s best Afghan friends, Hamid Karzai and minister Faruq Wardak, shows that Karzai has approved additional salary for high ranking be paid in USD and not afghanis. For example the justice’s chief additional salary is 3,500.00 USD per month and 3,000.00USD for each minister per month. Each of them receives a salary 2-3 times more than the annual agricultural department’s budget in Daikondi.

More details in Persian here: http://kabulpress.org/my/spip.php?article346

Barack Obama and his minister Hilary Clinton have called on the government of Afghanistan to fight against corruption. But the problem is that the government, including key ministers who are close friends with the US are corrupt. What a wonderful paradox asking them to fight corruption. They will surely do a good job— like the government oil rig inspectors in the US Gulf of Mexico.

The United States of America and NATO, with over 100,000 troops in Afghanistan, and a budget of many billions of dollars are responsible for stopping Kuchi-Taliban attack on Hazaras.

This is no more an “internal dispute” than any of the other murderous actions of the Taliban, including Marja, Khost, and Kandahar, against which the U.S. and NATO have taken such solid and sustained military action, and against which the US administration has spoken so forcefully.

The U.S. and NATO must take immediate action or at least make a strong statement about this situation to the Afghan government, if their efforts in Afghanistan are to be taken with any seriousness. Kabulpress.org and other organizations will increase its calls for action to right this criminal neglect.

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Kamran Mir Hazar: Editor-in-Chief / Email: editor at kabulpress.org

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