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Afghanistan: Never Mind the Taliban

by Kate Clark
Unreported World comes from northern Afghanistan and finds that, five years after the fall of the Taliban, western intervention has produced a mafia-style state [24m23s]
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Reporter Kate Clark and director Tom Porter discover a fractured country and an economy dominated by the drugs trade. Commanders from the old Northern Alliance, some of whom have been accused of human rights abuses, are in positions of power everywhere – in the police, the parliament and controlling districts and provinces. This is the country that British soldiers are now dying to defend against the Taliban.

Unreported World travels to northern Afghanistan where there is no threat from insurgents and where the post-2001 democratic state is supposed to be safe and flourishing. Yet Clark has to wear a burqa to get through areas where it is too dangerous to travel openly as a foreigner. The team finds a recently burned down school. The culprits, claim local people, aren’t Taliban but local commanders angry with the NATO forces stationed in the province.

The father of a child killed in an attack on NATO Peace-keeping forces says civilians have no-one to turn to – commanders are powerful in the local administration and foreign peace-keepers are seen to be working with them.

The team accompanies a police raid to an area which aid agencies deem too dangerous to visit. Two hundred police loyal to police chiefs who have been accused publicly of serious abuses by the UN have been sent to arrest two rogue commanders. They have started to fight each other in a local vendetta. Later, Clark and Porter manage to interview one of the commanders in custody. He says he was arrested because he’s just a bit player in the drugs’ market. Those controlling the trade, he claims, are senior members of the police force with links going up to the heart of the Kabul government.

Allegations of corruption are rife- a farmer growing opium poppy claims he has to pay 10-20% of the sale price to the local commander – who’s also the district governor. An arms dealer says commanders from the old Northern Alliance are importing weapons, re-arming themselves and selling weapons to their old enemies, the Taliban. The market, he says, is buoyant because of the insurgency in the south and there is serious money to be made.

The team returns to Kabul to try to find answers about the parlous state of the provinces, but the rot appears to be at the heart of the new state. A disgruntled policeman and former foot soldier with the Northern Alliance shows the palaces which commanders and cabinet ministers have built on government land. Another man, who survived a massacre carried out by factional forces during the civil war, warns us not to broadcast his interview on Afghan television. “I’d be killed for talking to you,” he says. The team meets a woman MP in her 20s who almost alone has publicly criticised the warlords. Her bravery has made her a magnet for those wanting to complain about abuses, but has meant she is subject to constant death threats.

To Afghan civilians it looks like the Northern Alliance did well out of the 2001 US invasion. However, one of the old factional leaders said they were unhappy with the level of foreign aid and the way they had been disarmed. He warned they could re-mobilise swiftly and were fully capable of kicking out the foreign forces, as they had kicked out the British and the Soviets.
by Abdul Ali (faiqpk [at]
To Cate Clark and Tom Porter,

It is totally unfair; mislead act, and false statement, and deceptive report! We are extremely sad, mournful and shocked about this report!! First, it is wrong to call Northern Alliances. It is United Front who fought Talliban, Al-qaida and fanatics!! They lost dear lovers and families. Now they are criminals and drag traffickers?? It is a sensitive and harsh report. You can accuse some of commanders that they introduced themselves in the name of United Front (North Alliances) that is another issue. But sarcastically and constantly you call them NA and warlords, it is a pity and unawareness! You have been misinterpreted, mislead and misunderstood by some Pashton interpreters .We will follow the root of this report…

We strongly want to tell the reporter (Reporter Kate Clark and director Tom Porter) you made us (the overwhelming majority) engry, sad and hurt. Please re-think and re-activate your perception that you did not perform a professional job!! I have seen you acting on TV very strangely (pretending) that you did a very good job; you were Burqa because of North Alliances killing or kidnapping you. It is so sarcastic and mockery job!

Go and see the South a hilfier on earth, they are burning hundreds schools, mosques and institutional places... Warlordisim came from South and exported to North. We are the liberators of Afghanistan and world society! How you called the north criminals, drag traffickers and warlords!??

You met Malaila Joya in her 20, it is sad! She has an ethnicity personal problem with United Front as Pakistan has the same grudge and pessimistic idea! She wants publicity and celebrity face. (Put the saddle on the right horse)Be sure, she will never bring peace and prosperity to Afghanistan and the world acordingly. She is being employed by invisible forces, that we know them. Not Kate Clark!!

The most sensitive issue you dicumetrily reported is about (Afghanistan National Hero) .Ahmad Sha Massoud (Peace Be upon Him) the man salvaged west from Communism occupation and the world from extremism of Al-Qaeda and Taliban! You calling him in the name of some brain-washed individuals claim “Many ordinary Afghans considered him as a ruthless war criminal” Who are these ordinaries? Parwiz Mosharaf? Malalia Joya? Ashraf Ghani? Ahadi? Shanwari? And others who have ethnic problems to scratch the beautiful face of our Hero!! It is an offensive claim and sensitive issue!!

by Sayed Hussain Yousafi (sayhussain [at]
Dear Cate Clark and Tom Porter; I’m pretty sure that you already got some lessons from Abdul Ali Faiq, if I make comment in your report that would be repeated, all points has been Clearfield by Faiq, but I’m also going to point out some in addition to Faiq's comments. (even though I’m not a political man) First of all I’m sure all of you have following the news, the most peaceful and harmless part of Afghanistan is North of Afghanistan. What I mean is that there is no suicide attacks no robbery no fight and most importantly there girls can go to school, university and work, social work is normal in North of Afghanistan. Second I’m sure that the drug trade is not as much terrible and Cate as mentioned, only some minority tribes do cultivate and plant drugs which we do not count on them. if you could have traveled to south of Afghanistan I’m sure you would get some points there. Third you mentioned about the girl who fight against liberty and freedom, she accused Mujahddin, that is because she lost her uncle while Soviet Union was in Afghanistan and her uncle was one of the most known person in that time, so he lost his live in the battle with Mujahedin she has a point on that. Fourth you point out about military and weapon trade, first you say they (Northern Alliance) are re-arming and redeploying then you said they sale those weapons to Taliban which one is true, re-arming or sealing the weapon to Taliban, if they re-arming themselves the need to buy weapon not to sale, if they sale why do they sale to Taliban? Your report is not complete… please make corrections. Lastly the point you mentioned that Northern Alliance are unhappy the way they were disarmed which is not correct, they happily was involved in the peace process, specially in DDR what they meant by being unhappy in my idea is that, why we were disarmed while the government and Nato calls in Taliban to join the government. Another point you said that northern alliance are regrouping and rearranging some kind of organization to operate against foreign force which wrong and false full.
by Nawabi
Suicide bombers are minded baby

The report is partially true about drugs dealers in Northern, but not all northern only in few measurable places. However, the gloomiest, unhappiest point is calling Commander Massoud (National Hero) war criminal is so wrong, so false and so madness! The people who are behind this report are all Afghan Nazi (Afghan Melat) how come Malalay Joya says that Taliban are better then Northern Alliance? Everyone knows that Taliban are supporting by Pashtoons and Malalay Joya .She is a controversial person and accusing every one to be famous .She is a Pashtoon woman too. People are dying for having not a loaf of bread but Malalay Joya is spending the money where she gets in the name of our nations rebuilding the tombs of Afghan fascist... Masouud is our father he gave his blood to us... British government always supported Afghan = Pashtoons tribal since King Sha Shoja signed the Durrand line for them and British are always thankful for what Pashtoons doing for them... If Western gives up on war against terror, we will always fight them until a kid left in our villages!! Suicide bombers are minded baby….Change the report tone; it is very sensitive and baseless news! We all sad sorrowful, depressing and full of grief…


Los Angles Medical University
by Prof. Michael Barry
Written by: Prof. Michael Barry

It has been two years now. And today Commander Massoud's legacy should be plain for all to see. His memory is revered by all those who knew him personally and struggled, by his side, on behalf of Afghan national independence, because they believed in something more important than even national Afghan independence, crucial as this was : they believed in defending fundamental human rights and sheer human decency, period. The individual dignity of human beings as such, as human beings persecuted for belonging to the wrong ethnic group, to the wrong religious group, or even to the wrong gender, is what really lay under threat in Kabul. Thus to defend and restore freedom and elementary human rights in Kabul, in a very true sense, was to help strengthen basic recognition of the dignity of men and women all around the world.

Between that dark day of September 9th, 2001, when Commander Massoud was murdered in North Afghanistan, and that dark day of September 11th, 2001, when more than 3000 innocent office workers were murdered in North America, the terrible, violent 20th century finally came to an end : with its record of three totalitarian assaults on human dignity, three almost unprecedented perversions of the human mind. The Nazi : the perversion of right-wing politics. The Leninist or Soviet : the perversion of left-wing politics. And the Tâlibân and al-Qâ'ida : the perversion of religion injected into politics. The Nazis proclaimed pure cruelty, and while their relentless search for military power and the stark evil of their acts made the struggle against them difficult, the fight at least was morally clear from the start. But the enigmatic hypocrisy, the moral or religious claims of the other two perversions, for a very long time made the struggle against their political and military power and influence perhaps even more difficult.

Yet the legacy of all three perversions, when all accounts are tallied, has been simply : mass murder, and a permanent besmirching of mankind's perception of itself. Massoud was born just after the first of these perversions had at last disappeared from this earth, but he fought magnificently against the other two. Massoud contributed mightily to defeat the second perversion, the Soviet ; he helped rid humanity of its lingering enigmatic nightmare, and lived to see its end. Massoud also contributed just as mightily to defeat the third perversion, al-Qâ'ida. Here he did not live to see its end. But Massoud's sacrifice hastened al-Qâ'ida's end in Kabul itself. And Massoud's message of religious decency, of profound faith in a creed of mercy, as opposed to a creed of hate, has helped check this third great perversion all around the world today.

For victoriously waging these two struggles, we, who are alive today, remain forever in Massoud's debt. Today we acknowledge our debt. We are permanently grateful to Massoud.

To commemorate the first year of Commander Massoud's death, a French publisher asked me to write a book. This essay was acclaimed by French readers and awarded one of France's top literary prizes. It has also been published and warmly appreciated in Italy, on this second anniversary of his death. Massoud, of course, was a hero in the eyes of both French and Italian public opinion. And the fact that Massoud was trained in the French language may have contributed to this. The English-speaking world, however, has been markedly cooler towards Massoud. Indeed one major reason for Massoud's death was the long reluctance, among the English-speaking powers, even to look at the Afghan situation except through Pakistani eyes - and biased Pakistani reports written in English.

Of the shortcomings of my French book I am keenly aware. Although I was active in clandestine humanitarian work inside Soviet-occupied Afghanistan throughout the 1980s, I only finally met Commander Massoud when he entered Kabul in 1992. But then I supported his struggle in every way I humanly could, with deliveries of humanitarian assistance in food and medicine to the beleaguered capital under rockets and bombs between 1992 and 1995, and then with endless articles and speeches abroad. This is because I became truly convinced, after several long conversations with him personally, and also from direct observations in the field, that Commander Massoud, as I said above, was protecting both Afghan independence, and elementary human rights for men and women everywhere - when he defended Kabul and the Afghan north-east against a major military assault carried out by an extreme-right wing political movement masquerading as religion, and directed from a neighbouring State. Many of us in France really felt this way, not as the representatives of official France, but as private people with a conscience, and we came from all walks of life – doctors, nurses, journalists, writers. I last met Commander Massoud over dinner in Paris, during his only visit to the West, in spring 2001, only months before his death. We spoke of politics and war. But we also talked of poetry. In Persian. And in French. His passion, and mine. And that was another link. A human link torn asunder, along with so many other human links between France and Afghanistan, by the explosion of that bomb on September 9th, 2001.

But still, throughout the years, although I learned to respect and to admire and to love this man, I only saw Massoud intermittently. If I was able to put the book together at all, it was only through the tremendous help of members of his family, and the testimony of his closest friends and collaborators. To them, my deepest thanks. While the book is readily available to French and Italian readers, its most important points will also be made, in English, in my forthcoming book later this year on modern Afghan history for Cambridge University Press.

While Massoud was alive, the truth about him was constantly warped and distorted in a fog of lies and hostile propaganda. The worst charge against him, usually levelled from a neighbouring State, was that he belonged to the wrong ethnic group, and thus supposedly fought to defend only his own particular ethnic group ! Now, there is something obscene about the political leadership in a neighbouring country, complaining about the ethnic identity of a political leader in another, supposedly independent country. Even as late as the historic evening of November 12th, 2001, when the Tâlibân régime at long last fell in Kabul, the Head of State of a very large neighbouring country (and everybody here knows exactly which country I mean), in the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, objected that the new Afghan Government was now being led by people from the wrong ethnic group, that is, Massoud's ethnic group ! One wonders how the UN General Assembly would have reacted if – to compare - the English-speaking Government in Washington DC suddenly objected to the independent Canadian Government being currently led by a French-speaking, ethnically Québécois Canadian ! That, the Canadians would have very justifiably replied, would be independent Canada's own business.

As a non-Afghan foreigner rendering tribute today to Massoud, I wish here to stress that my sympathy goes to the entire Afghan nation, all ethnic, linguistic and sectarian groups included ; and that I absolutely and categorically reject any notion of endorsing this or that Afghan political leader on ethnic, linguistic, sectarian or gender-related grounds.

But a new mental fog now clouds our image of Massoud. When a great man dies, mythology usually takes over. The issues in popular memory become simplified and stylized, and the living, historical human being increasingly disappears, behind his own public picture on walls and monuments. It is high time to set the historical record straight and to keep it clear, while our memories are all still fresh and alive.

To gauge the measure of the man, Massoud's record, both political and moral, is, I think, already tolerably clear. I will restrict myself here to a sheer outline of what appear to me to be the most important questions and issues :

1) Massoud put his own life in jeopardy to lead the last armed resistance on his own home soil against the Tâlibân, who were perhaps narrow-minded or unwitting tools, but who were powerfully supplied and manipulated from abroad to impose an obvious Pakistani protectorate over Afghanistan. Why did Massoud choose to risk his own life like this ?

2) Massoud further risked his life in public statements, made not only through interpreters to foreign journalists or diplomats, but in his own language to Afghan audiences, recommending a restoral of Afghan law and sovereignty broadly along the lines of the 1964 Constitution, which, among other clauses, explicitly provided for the right of Afghan women to health care, to education, to work in the professions, to the vote and to participation in national political life. Again, why did Massoud play with his own life like this?

3) Finally, Massoud not only risked his life, he sacrificed it, by becoming almost if not the only major Muslim political and military leader anywhere on earth, between Morocco and the Philippines, before September 11th, 2001, publicly and lucidly to denounce the ideological perversion of al-Qâ'ida, of the Tâlibân, and of their Pakistani and Saudi protectors and allies. Massoud spoke, moreover, as a believing and practising Muslim, personally commited to the deepest ethical, philosophical and mystical implications of his own faith. Once again, why did Massoud do this ?

To avoid raising, and trying to answer, any one of these three vital questions pertaining to Massoud, is usually a sign either of deliberate political bad faith, or of the most sloppy and superficial sort of journalism.

I believe that the coherent guideline of Massoud's entire public life was his patriotism and conception of public service.

From his very early manhood on, Ahmad Shâh perceived his life's mission to be, and dedicated his life's mission to, uncompromising defence of national Afghan sovereignty, in the service of his country's population.

This national concern underlies Massoud's entire political and military career. Indeed, such concern furnishes the logical key to all he publicly said, did, and thought. Throughout all his battles and truces, throughout all his acts of war and mercy, and even throughout his most disconcerting tactical shifts, reversals of alliance or political deals, Massoud never once swerved from what he regarded as the superior interest of his nation : the refusal to subordinate Afghanistan's fate to a foreign power.

Such a patriotic commitment, however, led on Massoud's part – I think - to seek the broadest possible political and social consensus in the interests of what he saw as national defence. This is why Massoud even resorted to some extremely ambiguous arrangements with some public figures of the most dubious reputation. Such tactical arrangements did have their tactical advantage, of course. And that is why Massoud tactically resorted to them. But tactical arrangements also have their negative effect. They clouded his national and international image and reputation, and made it very difficult for many outsiders to perceive his true ethical stand. Massoud was so personally reserved, so discreet, and so concerned with finding grounds for political compromise - where he believed that such compromise might serve the purposes of national independence, reconciliation, and peace -, that Massoud's sheer political purpose sometimes became a riddle, even to his closest friends. Those close to him loved him, as a man. Those far away from him, became suspicious.

Nevertheless, what the facts do show, is that Massoud's commitment to defend his nation's independence, as his absolute political priority, overrode every other consideration. I believe that he subordinated all his other quite deep concerns, regarding political affiliation and ideology, form of national Government, relations between ethnic groups, or the status of women, to his own pledge – inside himself – to protect his country's freedom.

But Massoud did not act out of self-interest. To the contrary - and his public career fully demonstrates as much. Massoud's political choices were, more often than not, fraught with very considerable physical danger to his own person. The Tâlibân in Kabul offered Massoud high political office if he went over to them. This Massoud refused, suggesting nationwide elections instead. Yet Massoud never hesitated to risk his own life, to remain true to his convictions.

He proved it on September 9th, 2001.

Massoud did not seek military or political power in order to enjoy such power. Even his most stubborn foes conceded as much. Massoud regarded power only as a necessary means to put his own ideas and convictions into practical effect. In fact, he was socially shy and utterly devoid of personal vanity. Indeed, his modesty was almost obsessive. He always preferred to leave the apearances, symbols, titles and outward trappings of power to others, even when he felt that had necessarily to wield the true substance of power himself. He never shirked its crushing responsibility.

Massoud drew his reserves of courage, moral rigour, and acceptance of physical risk, in his living and deeply-held Islamic faith. In this sense he was an authentic Muslim intellectual, one of the very few to be found in this day and age. He daily meditated the Koran's spiritual message, and sought to harmonize its tenets with the pressing political, economic, scientific and democratic demands of the world today. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to point out, once again, that Massoud was perhaps the only active political leader on this entire planet in the last decade of the 20th century who, as a practising and fervent Muslim believer himself, and not just as some « secular » intellectual or opportunistic politician, refused to be intimated, but openly opposed an appalling and murderous form of nihilistic political madness which dared to assume - and to disgrace - the name of one of the great religious traditions of mankind.

To be sure, Massoud in his early student days participated in the revolutionary fervour which shook the old Afghan régime at the outset of the 1970s. He sought answers in the sort of political activism then recommended by the Afghan and Pakistani branches of the fundamentalist party first known, when it was founded in Egypt back in 1928, as the « Muslim Brethren ». Young Massoud joined in the rising staged by these parties against President Daoud's Government in 1975. When the rising failed for lack of popular support, Massoud fled to Pakistan, and there, for the next three years, began his real education. In his small room in Peshawar, he pondered the reasons for the conservative Afghan peasantry's refusal to back the insurrection. He thought about Afghanistan's place in world strategy and in the power politics of the neighbouring States. He read as many as three books a day on every conceivable subject and imbibed as much as he could of universal history, civilization, literature, politics, military science. And he meditated ever more deeply on Islam, the religion and tradition of his people – thus completely outgrowing the narrow party politics which invoked only the outward name of Islam.

Such meditation drew him to tap the profoundest wellsprings of Islamic mysticism. He discovered a spiritual guide in the writings of the 12th-century philosopher and mystic al-Ghazâlî. Later Massoud would carry one al-Ghazâlî's books with him wherever he went, into battle, up into the mountains, under the rain of enemy rocket-fire, down into the thickets of Kabul politics. Al-Ghazâlî's « Alchemy of Joy » - Kîmiyâ-yi Sa'âdat - taught Massoud what Massoud was really spiritually looking for, and he used to read a little every evening to steel himself in selfless devotion and service to his fellow creatures, without any thought of personal reward. One sentence in al-Ghazâlî's book seems to have struck him as particularly apt, for it actually dictated his whole line of moral conduct : « This is the whole science of self-discipline and holy war : to purify one's heart of all hatred towards one's fellow creatures, of all lust for the world, and of all preoccupation with sensual things ; such is the path of the Sûfis. În hama ta'lîm-i riyâzat-ô mujâhidat ast, tâ dil sâfî shawad az 'adâwat-i khalq-ô az shahwat-i dunyâ-ô az mashghala-yi mahsûsât, wa râh-i Sûfiyân în ast. »

Massoud's personal mysticism led him to fight without hatred, bitterness, or spirit of revenge, regarding armed conflict only as an imposed and necessary evil in order to defend his people's freedom, certainly not as an end in itself to be enjoyed as bloodlust or intoxication with power. He always provided protection for humanitarian relief in the most difficult and dangerous circumstances, looked for reconciliation with defeated enemies, and invariably treated his war prisoners with humanity and dignity. To this I was witness, and this is why I joined Massoud during those terrible days in the 1990s when two-thirds of Kabul were bombed out of existence. Massoud sought peace for his land, and Massoud's tragedy is that he died before he saw it.

Such moral integrity in the midst of warfare ranks Massoud, I believe and have written, as one of the very few « philosopher kings » in history, that is, men who have been forced to wage war so as to protect their nation and people, but who detested war in itself and sought no personal political gain, only modestly to serve their people in a spirit of compassion - and who always preferred solitary philosophical meditation to imposing their views arrogantly on others. The Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius and US President Abraham Lincoln, in the Western tradition, number, I think, among the very, very rare historical examples of this kind of leader. But in Islam, perhaps the historical figure most closely comparable to Massoud, I believe, is Algeria's national hero, the emir 'Abd-ur-Rahmân al-Jazâ'irî. This outstanding 19th-century Algerian resistance fighter against French conquest was also a Sûfî mystic deeply versed in the writings of Ibn 'Arabî, and a warrior so humane and compassionate towards his enemies that even the French, to this day, have come to recognize him almost as a saint, and to honour and even venerate him as their noblest opponent in all history. One may trace many parallels with the way the Russians, now, have learned to honour Massoud in turn. For in a very real sense, Massoud helped liberate the Russians too, by forcing their dictatorship to come to a military end, at long last, in the mountains and valleys of Panjshêr. As the years roll by, Massoud and what he stood for, not Bin Lâden and what he destroyed, will stand out as the name of honour in 20th-century Islam.

But there was also a sharp practical streak to Massoud's thinking. His university training was in architecture and building. And he had a clear mathematical mind. He saw and cut through the most knotty strategic problems in clean, dispassionate, almost geometric lines, which is probably one of the reasons why he not only emerged as one of the most talented leaders in guerrilla warfare in all world history, but also so much enjoyed relaxing over a game of chess - and played it so very well.

To follow the trace of Massoud's career between 1978 and 2001 is to examine not only Afghan history, but even world history, throughout the whole last fateful quarter of the 20th century which brought the downfall of the Soviet Empire and saw the terrible struggles of all the former subject peoples – including the Afghans also - to recover their national integrity.

To discuss that quarter-century is no theme for a speech, but for a book, and many books. Still, I believe one may summarize the main thrusts of Massoud's thought and action, in this period, thus.

When the Soviets imposed a proxy Government on Afghanistan in 1978, then invaded the country in 1979, they provoked a national Afghan insurrection. It lay in the interest of the neighbouring States, China, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, and of course the Western powers, to help the Afghan insurgents bleed the Soviet forces on the ground, and block further Soviet expansion in South Asia.

However, Pakistan, with full Saudi backing and complete US permission, was determined to prevent Afghanistan from ever emerging again as an independent nation. To turn a post-Soviet Afghanistan into a Pakistani protectorate, the Pakistani Government tried to cap and replace Afghan nationalism with a brand of religious fundamentalism closely controlled by Pakistani religous militants. Throughout the period of Soviet occupation, Pakistan channeled the bulk of US military supplies to the most fundamentalist Afghan forces, to ensure that these forces would seize power in Kabul after Soviet withdrawal.

Massoud, however, was one of those outstanding Afghan resistance commanders who not only defeated the Soviet invasion from inside the country, but were also determined to prevent Afghanistan from merely slipping from the status of a Soviet colony, to that of a Pakistani colony. Massoud was far too sincere a Muslim to be fooled by Pakistan's manipulation of religious language, and far too sincere a patriot to allow his country to turn into just another one of Pakistan's « Tribal Territories ».

Throughout the period of Soviet occupation in the decade of the 1980s, Massoud had to manœuvre on two fronts. On the outside, he had to preserve good relations with the Pakistanis, and the parties that they controlled, in order to obtain supplies. And on the inside, he had to block, harass, and defeat the Soviets in his corner of the country.

Massoud's home ground, the Valley of the Panjshêr, opened onto the main highway linking Kabul to the Soviet North. Massoud, as a master strategist, built up an efficient guerrilla force which constantly pinched and bled this vital artery. Soviet forces which invaded the Valley were defeated eight times. Of course the Soviets were harassed on all sides, throughout Afghanistan, from Herât with Resistance Commander Ismâ'îl Khân, all the way to the eastern highlands with Resistance Commander 'Abd-ul-Haqq. Stinger missiles finally supplied by the US in 1987 denied the Soviets their air cover, and forced them to withdraw in 1989. As we all know, the Soviet system did not survive its imperial collapse.

Massoud received some Stinger missiles too – but indirectly, through fellow guerrilla commanders, not directly through Pakistan. When Soviet withdrawal became a certainty, Pakistan became determined to impose a fundamentalist Government in Kabul, and also to destroy Massoud. During the three-year transition period between Soviet withdrawal in 1989, and the fall of the Soviet-installed Afghan Communist Government in 1992, the officials and generals of the Kabul régime were terrified of what would happen to them if the Pakistani-backed fundamentalists took over, and preferred to negotiate with Massoud. This is why Massoud entered Kabul in April 1992 without a dop of blood being shed – to the consternation of the Pakistani General Staff. The new Government in Kabul, with Massoud as Defence Minister, showed mercy to all, in the interests of national reconciliation, and basically upheld the liberal provisions of the National Constitution of 1964 – including the right of women to health care, education, and professional work. As of 1992, Massoud, in Kabul, as Defence Minister, found himself, in effect, responsible for protecting the national and territorial integrity of the newly independent Afghan State.

Pakistan as of August 1992 therefore launched a general assault against this national Afghan State through proxy forces claiming to be fighting on behalf of some kind of « pure » Islam. Pakistani propaganda used every ploy against Massoud – including racial smears – to overthrow the national Government in Kabul. Pakistani-supplied forces blockaded and starved the national capital, and Pakistani-supplied missiles and rockets destroyed three-quarters of Kabul by 1994, raining death on countless civilians. On 19 September 1996, Massoud withdrew from Kabul to protect his forces, and to spare the people of Kabul from further slaughter. The Afghans, one might have believed, had suffered enough under Soviet occupation. More was to come.

The Pakistani-imposed Tâlibân régime in Kabul became the laughing-stock of the world for its apparent intellectual idiocy. Yet this was another ploy. The issue at stake was Pakistan's destruction of the Afghan State. To lobotomize Afghanistan, to provoke the collapse of its entire health, educational and administrative system, to turn its educated women into animals for reproduction and to make its entire people appear like mindless barbarians, served the purposes of reducing the whole country into a permanent Pakistani protectorate. Islamabad's implication, in 1992-2001, was that only Pakistan was a responsible, civilized State fit to administrate its small savage neighbour, filter all international aid to it, and turn Afghanistan into a corridor for oil pipelines and a haven for opium fields, guarded by Pakistan's proxy tribal forces.

But Pakistan was not able to crack the hard nut of resistance by people like Massoud, and therefore had to rely on fighters more professional than mere tribal levies. These had to be seasoned killers like Bin Lâden and his organization. Unfortunately for Pakistani national interests, Bin Lâden had his own agenda in mind – although, indeed, we know that some of the very highest-ranking officers in the Pakistani armed forces themselves fully agreed with Bin Lâden's goals.

Basically, Bin Lâden's mad plan was to provoke a US ground invasion of Afghanistan, thereby rally a fresh spurt of Afghan national resistance around Bin Lâden himself as its new leader, and so bleed US forces in the Afghan mountains the way Soviet forces had once bled there a decade before.

Only one man stood in Bin Lâden's way – as he had stood in the way of the Soviets, and in the way of Pakistan. No organized opposition, in Bin Lâden's view, could be allowed to subsist on Afghan soil when the hour came to blow up the Twin Towers in New York and so provoke inevitable US intervention. And in a deeper sense, Bin Lâden could not pretend to stand for the Afghan National Resistance, and for the honour of Islam, because one other man truly represented both.

So Bin Lâden had him murdered.

But Massoud truly represented the Afghan National Resistance, and the honour of Islam. And they could not be killed. They live both after his death. And he lives in them and through them to this day.

When I learned of Massoud's death, I found that only poetry – the poetry he so deeply loved – could express what we all felt. Massoud used to quote from all the Persian-language poets, from Hâfez in the past to Master Khalîlî in our own day. So, when I was asked in France to write an obituary, and then a book, I simply came to conclude with words from the greatest poet in our own Western tradition. All English speakers will recognize them instantly. Actually, the verses sprang to mind spontaneously. For had this shy, secret, selfless and dedicated man yet lived for his own country, he still, in his own people's service, would certainly have « prov'd most royal. »

So, this year like every year to come, on this dark day, I think : good night, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest

by Fahima (zarajani786 [at]
Dearest Cate and Tom!!

My name is Fahima I am a (female) student in Greenford high School London UK,
I am very glad to bring the Afghanistan news to your viewers across the world! But when I watched your Video Clip, it gave me a very negative impression and made me tremendously disappointed and lost!!

I personally as a (female) know Malila Joya what precisely she wants? She is smart, but not smart enough! She wants public attention, she claimed that she is under stress of north Alliance figures; it is a falsificational notion and meaningless claim. She must be moderate and caller for stabilization and unity!! She is trouble maker indeed….Every one know who is she? No need for justification and explanation...

I really not want talk about general points, im a student do not have time to cover the situation, but I must tell you that by telling Ahmad Sha Massoud is criminal, it is very big and bold mastic! Even his enemies did not call him so! How you call him ruthless criminal in other voices name?? Please change your direction if you want to be saving and respectful journalist, you must respect your self and ours as well. (He is the National Hero of Afghanistan)!!

by Dr Sher Kabuli
I have seen the program on British Channel 4 about Afghanistan report. Never Mind Taliban. It was good but made many people sad and morose. You swear our Hero and made every one pissed off, every where in the globe I am not happy with this documentary news! Plus I am not happy with Malila Joya as Miss Fahima said she is a big (trouble maker) .Toy must call her idea spoiler and criminal, want wash our peaceful nation brain and bring war and hostility to our beautiful land!

Beside Ahmad Sha MAssoud liberated Afghanistan, he paid a great deal of attention to all humanity, soon or latter he will receive Noble Price for peace! People of Afghanistan-Pashtons, Hazara, Uzbek, and Tajik love him and calling him Hero) If you are calling him ruthless criminal it is your choice!
by George Karim
Hi dear reporters

My name is George Karim a Businessman from Usa.
I was thinking British people are very good people still I think they are so, however, this report gave us a tremble and shaky idea and made us to respond rationally, intellectually and educationally. I am a peace ACTIVIST, hate war and hate criminals! I agree you in some levels, but you have been mislead and brain washed by some (narrow-minded ) individuals such as Malila Joya, she even when traveled to Canada, USA and other places she gave a bad description, impression and identification for Afghanistan and Afghanistan people to be honest. She seeking publicity and attention!

Be independent and realism dear reporters! If you come-for instance- next time to Afghanistan. People will welcome you warmly, if you propaganda and giving a bad impression of United Front {North Alliance}, people will re-act badly and sadly, it is very bad gesture and action. Meanwhile, it is shameful to call Massoud Afghanistan National Hero criminal .And you visited HIS peaceful Tom (Shrine)...We respect you and your team but you must respect our heritage, history and Heroes...United Front did a respectful job history will never forget it. They saved you and me from our common enemies! However, there are some people in northern areas, I can not deny they are doing some crimes but there few numbers .If you see in south it is a professional job for them. Burning, killing, sucuding, troubling, warning, murdering and so on…


Cali Usa

by by Ariyaee student
When I watching channel four news on Friday-01, 12, 2006. I surprisingly got shocked because of the deceitful documentary that Kate Clack and Tom propagated on TV about Afghanistan with the title of “Never Mind the Taliban”.

Every one knows that today Taliban are not independent faction and there are a big scenario going on to the region, however, with the publishing distortion documentary, it is very difficult to give legitimacy to the Taliban, and all the world knew that the drug traffickers in Afghanistan are from south of Afghanistan .Such as president Kari’s brother .He is the leader, manufacture, exporter and importer of the drugs.

The point I’m going to raise and harshly criticize it is that Cate Clack called our “National Hero” Ahmad Shah Massoud war criminal, which is extremely painful. Who was Ahmad Shah Maossud? He was the great leader in the 21 sentry, He was a thinker not warlord, He thought about all human been not just Afghanistan, and He was the first leader announced democracy in Afghanistan. Finally I can inform (keenly) that, this kind of documentary encourage people to opposite against the western media. It is crystal clear who gave you the idea or who interpreted this documentary? It is sad and painful indeed!

by Maryam Aryaa
Hi Cate and Tom,

Thanks for your report!
We want telling you that, your report is partially wrong and given our nation a bad look! Please say something which brings unity among our great people! We do not want to assault our National Hero Ahmad Sha Massoud. Do something better and brighter!

Yours truly,

Maryam Aryaa a student in Medical University of (Abu Ali Sina)
by Uzbullah (basher23 [at]
To whom it may belong!

Mrs Cate Clark and your partner Tom,

As far as we (Afghans) concern that, you have lost your professionalism and moral responsibilities! You have shown the world a terrible face of Northern Alliances, it was totally unfair and entirely injustice! We want request from your boss to be sacked as swiftly as possible. You are not beneficiary for media and world society.

I must inform you Mrs Clark, you have interviewed with stooge and agents who are being supported by our neighbour countries .who are creating confusion and suspicious among our peaceful nation. Who are against the stabilization and national unity? Who are blood sucker of Afghanistan. Eventually, they are not caring and not belonging to Afghanistan. They are purring oil on the fire!

I must tell you frankly that humanity will never find like Ahmad Sha Massoud world class leader and National Leader! You have broken millions of hearts..!! How do you pay the price?

Uzbullah Safahi

by Ferishta
Never Mind the ignorant!!

Kate Clark's report about northern Afghanistan and the warlords was one of the most prejudiced reports I have ever watched. I have no wish to comment on the rest of her report which I found full of misrepresentations and biases.

Her conclusion that "Many Afghans saw Massoud as a warlord and a ruthless criminal" was utterly disgusting - something that Massoud's enemies won't even believe.

I couldn't believe my eyes! How come this programme was aired before a specialist person having a look at it first.

Kate seems to have played well into the hands of her biased Afghan contacts whom she may have consulted on organizing her trip to Afghanistan or during the filming process.

In the ethnically divided Afghanistan, Massoud’s only fault was his affiliation with a wrong ethnic group. Only curious, professional or conscientious reporters will prevent their reports from the adverse affects of such a factor.

Afghan educated elites mostly come from the ruling ethnic Pashtoon group. Knowing the language of the west, they mostly make perfect contacts for reporters, dictating their views the way they wish. Kate’s ignorance seems to have been exploited well by some ethnic supremacists. Ignorant reporters or those who rash their jobs in order to make easy money, are their best prey.

Kate may be innocent or may have pocketed a good sum form a wealthy supremacists. But I wonder how come C4 allowed its reputation to be compromised so easily.

Ferishta, London
by Faiq
Dissatisfaction of Afghan University Students in the UK regarding Kate Clark’s Channel 4 Documentary, broadcasted on 01.12.2006 at 7:30pm

We, as Afghan university students in the UK, are extremely disappointed with above mentioned documentary, entitled “Never Mind the Taliban”. We found it biased and impartial, which undermined the journalistic professionalism in producing this report. There are different reasons leading us to our conclusion.

1- Involvement of some local commanders throughout Afghanistan – not only in northern but also in southern parts of Afghanistan in drug trafficking is unfortunately a bitter reality of Afghanistan, which in this documentary was portrayed unfairly as a systematic phenomenon only amongst the non-Pashtun northern alliance cadres. By doing so, this report bears heavy political pressure unilaterally to former northern alliance (mostly called within Afghanistan as the United Front), while indulging the enormous threat and violence caused by mainly Pashtun Taliban in Afghanistan. This ethnically partisan approach can be seen from the very beginning of the report, its title, Never Mind the Taliban.
It is understandable that British troops are fighting and dying in Afghanistan, but not in northern parts, they are being killed in southern parts of Afghanistan and by the hands of Taliban.

Flourishing drug business after 2001 is partly because of a lame policy proposed by British advisors, to pay cash to farmers in south for not cultivating opium. This wrong policy also encouraged farmers in Northern parts of Afghanistan to cultivate opium and then get paid for not cultivating it again.

2- Corruption is not a political problem; it is an administrative crisis in Afghanistan which roots in poor governing, weak economy, unfulfilled pledges by western donors etc… Unfortunately this report portrays drug and corruption as an evil feature of mainly non-Pashtun northern alliance, which is considered to be extremely insulting to huge parts of the people of Afghanistan.

3- As the language and the tone of the documentary was not neutral from the outset, as this reached to its climax it was clear that the whole report was linked to one person: Ahmad Shah Massoud – who has been considered as a national hero by most Afghans and was assassinated by Al-Qaida five years ago.

This claim regarding Ahmad Shah Massoud in the report: “His forces rocketed Kabul” is a false statement.
This claim “Many ordinary Afghans considered him as a ruthless war criminal” is extremely offensive to many more Afghans who considered Ahmad Shah Massoud as a hero and liberator.

4- The question is that; what is the source of this so-called many Afghans, stressed in this report, who considered Massoud as war criminal? Did Kate Clark interview a lot of ordinary Afghans which resulted in this bold conclusion? If so, then, why she did not dub the voice of one of them in her report? Or alternatively, did she get this wrong idea through some of her associates and interpreters?

From whose mind those comments at the last scene emanated? Surely, not from Kate or the cameraman's mind, as we understood this question was not put to the people. Even if these comments were originating from Kate's mind; from where she came to this conclusion? How she can prove her claims. Surely, she could interview some people and honestly translate what they said. By honestly translation we mean not distorting their words and saying. As Farsi speakers, we were able to detect some distortion in translating of some people's views. The Farsi version of the interviewees and the English translations sounded very differently. We are aware that this is bold claim. However, if it was watched again with the help of a Farsi speaker our claims would be proved.

Who was able to communicate with the people? Of course, the researcher and the interpreter: perhaps not Kate and the cameraman. Isn't this the very reason that the value of the media is less than that of the academia? At least in the academia people try to distance themselves from their prejudices and ideologies. The question is not whether they manage to achieve it. The important thing is that at least they try distance themselves from their prejudices. The other difference is that the academia tries to be empirical, which means they do not claim anything unless they can prove it. However it seems with the media, and particularly with this documentary, that this is not the criteria.

In fact the whole 17-minutes long report did not have anything to do with Ahmad Shah Massoud, assassinated by Al-Qaida terrorists five years ago. Linking the unlawful actions of certain local authorities to a person who has been considered by the majority of population, as well as the government of Afghanistan as the national hero of freedom in Afghanistan, this is not a professional journalistic accomplishment. That is why we believe Kate Clark was politically misled probably by her Pashtun associate Shoib Sharifi in linking illegal actions of some local authorities to a legendary non-Pashtun freedom fighter, Ahmad Shah Massoud.

The ongoing war has not only cost human and material loses in Afghanistan, but has also deepened the gulf between different ethnicities of the country. Mr. Shoib Sharifi, who belongs to the Pashtun ethnicity, had a perfect opportunity to impose and express his own biased views in her documentary skilfully. He cunningly managed to instrumentalise the whole project for his own political agenda.

There always have been two diametrically opposed views on the media: the first, denunciates the media as a tool for suppression of the truth, the second, exonerates it as a modern form of communication and awareness. However, programs and reports like hers’ make us, unfortunately, to opt for the first view on the media. Why? because this documentary was biased and unrealistic. Put differently, the documentary has been used to suppress the truth or create hyper-reality - to use a post-modern language.

We will be more than happy to have a live debate in Channel Four with Kate Clark regarding her documentary and issue relating to it.

With Kind Regards,

One of the most despicable policy tools of colonial Britain was their policy of "Divide and Rule." The entire Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East saw the full human and territorial impact of this ruthless tool. And so did our Central Asian country Afghanistan. The colonial Brits took that policy to new heights. There, in Afghanistan, they imposed non-natives of the country-the pashtons-as rulers on all the indigenous people of that country. The natives were driven out of their homes and fertile lands. The plight of the non-pashtons reached its peak during the gory reign of the colonial Britain-backed iron-fisted pashton cheif, Abdul Rahman. These "cheifs" were introduced to the country as "kings." Thus the usage of the term "king" before the Pashton tribal cheifs. (The term"king" usually commands some aesthetic respect, such as fine arts, wine, archeticture, etc. But Afghan "kings" produced nothing deserving respect but the current sorry state of Afghans.)

Nadir Khan, known to non-Pashtons as the "Traitor", another Pashton cheif brought to power by the colonial Brits, pillaged and massacred the people of the areas adjacent to Kabul which Kate Klark ignorantly declare "Northern Alliance" terrories. The present frail , ineffectual Afghan "king", Zahir Shah, is no one else but the son of this detested Nadir Khan-the Traitor. This is an ultra brief background of Afghan society. Now place a Tajik, or effectively a non-pashton, leader and are we naive to believe that the Pashton ethnic group, so much used to idle life of comfort and privilege, will remain quiet and join the other non-Pashtons in proclaiming Ahmad Shah Massoud the "National Hero of Afghanistan." Doesnt that jeopardize their traditional position of privilege? It sure does.

Therefore, we hear of the so called "reporter" like Kate Klark flocked by Pashtons going to "Northern Alliance" areas and sincerely reporting on the "plight" of Afghans. Kate Klark, "monachy" has long given way to Parliament. British parliament is a living model of democracy for the developing nations. It was in that parliament that your democratically elected prime minister, Tony Blair, vowed to help the Afghan nation elect their popular leader and political institutions. He promised social justice. Social justice is what the non-pashton leaders like Ahmad Shah Massoud, Ali Mazari (both of whom were martyred by Taliban and Al-Qaida), Abdul Rashid Dostom stood for (I am certain that all of those who helped you prepare that prejudiced report would readily protray them all as "warlords") You utter one word against them and you will hurt the patriotic feelings of all non-pashton common men and women. This little thread can clearly testify the truth of my words. The proud Biritish public like yourself are proud of having a parliament and a democracy. Isnt it time for non-Pashtons to become the makers of their own destiny? To develope their own society? To have their own heroes? Not to accept the Pashton cheifs as their "kings?"
by Zarmina yosofzai
To whom it may concern, I as an Afghan who is a student in Alabama , I am ashamed of such a jounralist that i guess has been brain washed by the Taliban and is working for the ISI of Pakistan.You need to leave your job because you have no idea on who Ahmad Shah Massoud was and what he did for Afghans and Afghanistan.
Fist of all it used to be called United Front not northern alliance, that name was made by the paki government and that tells me that you are an ignorent British journalist . Second of all i like you to prove to us that Ahmad Shah Massoud was involved in such activities as far as drug dealings were concerned and being a warlord. I aske the chanell 4 tv station to remove you from your position cause you have no idea what journalims is.
Regards Zarmina from Usa
by Nadia hayat Student in Luton uk (malaspa1 [at]
Kate and Tom. As I understood from your documentary, its obvious that you don’t have any knowledge and humanity manner. it seems to me that you are bribed by the most disgraceful people (Maoists, such as Malali joya/Sima Samar....) and you are collaborating directly with triangle of terror(Taliban/Al-Qaida/and ISI). You humiliated Afghans and Afghanistan’s National heroes and you disrespectfully lied like your mentors, ISI in your false documentary. Shame on you and shame on your team. my advise is to you that don’t ever come to Afghanistan, because you are not welcome any more in heroes land.
kate and tom you have discriminated afghan people and afghanistan itself you had no right what so ever to come to afghanistan and say that Ahmad Shah Massoud is a ruthless person how can u even say that when your not an afghan and dont know any thing about him at all first your not a good journalist because you need to open your eyes and dont waste your time saying bad things about the afghan hereo Ahmad Shah Massoud if you want to be even a half deascent journalist you should go and complane about bush and tony blair since they were the ones who started war in Iraq, Lebnan, Afghanistan and other places. You should say sorry to the afghan people because you said very stupid things about Ahmad Shah Massoud because i think you upset a variety of people who come from afghanistan when Ahmad Shah Massoud died the fun and honest spirit of afghanistan just disapeared Ahmad Shah Massoud is not here today or any other day BUT HIS LOVE AND HONESTY AND KINDNESS HAS LOTS OF ROOM IN AFGHAN PEOPLE'S HEARTS FOREVER and we afghans will never forget the true hereo of afghanistan even if a very stupid journalist like yourself tells lie about our hereo
by Aryan
I am tremendously sad and enjured by the reported documentary which shamelessly broadcasted in C4! I was more and more unhappy and surprised when Cate Clark accused our National Hero (ruthless criminal war) it is absolutely irrational and out of the issue. She must publicly apology for her deceitful action! ...Aryan a student from Holland
by MaSoM
It is a very pessimistic notion that a liberator became criminal! Ahmad Sha Massoud not only defeated his homeland but he had a great participation on world peace process. Please Miss (Mrs.) Cakr and your cronies have a keen study about Ahmad Sha Massoud, hwo he was. It will be better than to call him crimainal. It is no justice, not logical and not fair indeed. please Thanks.

From US.

by Gholamaider
Dear Cate Clark. Thanks for your efforts!

Afghanistan is a very complicated country. It is very difficult to anylize the situation as precisely as other country. Afghanistan has a huge amount of problem, it is history has been stolen and written in wrong manner.

Your work is highly appreciated but unfortunatly, it rather to bring any happiness; it brought miseries, hatred and distrustfulness. Who pay the price? You? Your team? Channel 4 or Malilai Joya? We need the answer...

Gholamaider A Student from Norway
by TheDossier
I'm trying to find Kate Clark's email address, so that you can let her know how you all feel about this film. All I could find were articles by her - see below. Maybe you can leave comments for her on some of the below articles:
by Amini Jabar
Kate : I cant still believe a smart , educated bitish journalist would fall under some stupid idea of putting togather a documentary like this . we have a Dari expression saying ( You cant hide the sun with two fingers ) , Masouds charaacter and personality was known world wide , and everyone knew how brave he was and fighting for the freedom of his country since he was 18 . Kate I remember you coming to northern AFghanistan for covering Commander masouds assasintion for BBC. Shame on you , you should have releazied by then how commander Masoud effected all his supporters and soldiers , you as a forginer women got alot of respect , and could report and put togather stories without any fear mean while if you were to be reporting in Taliban territory , You know what would have happend to you , this is a big comparison its self isnt it ?

I think the idea of accusing the National Hero of AFghnistan as as war criminal was not yours but it was passed on to you just to add into your report , Its a pitty and great deal of shame for you and your Producers and superiors to let such a basless, untrue , meaningless documentary to be aired with out any consultation which can lead to speration ,disunity, grudge and hate not only for Kate but to the British as whole. I think KATE made her last report on AFghanistan and she is not willing to come back .
Jabar Amini
by Be Good dont Harm
Mr jabaar very well said. And i thank you for your betauful comments, I cant believe a Brithish born citizen . an educated person like Kate Clark would make such a journey to Afghanistan and yet put down a national hero of Afghanistan down, whom was never involved in any drug production or any other criminal acivities.

this documantaray film is somewhat true about drug dealers in most parts of Afghanistan but it has nothing to do with Ahmad Shah Massoud who died 5 years ago for the freedom of Afghanistan.

Massoud was a pure muslim who didnt believe in fighting and he hated drugs , but the situation made him to fight against the communists, then the Soviets and then the Taliban ( Animals = the Children of IsI of Pakistan) cause he wanted a free Afghanistan.

Be good dont harm , USA
by obaidullah Nurestani
kate and tom, you have produced a misleading documentry in a time where it can only be linked to fuel tensions among the afghan people. i am wondered how channel 4 took the decision to air it. in other words you have used media as a tool to boost maoist political propogandas in afghanistan. let me tell you a real fact. miss joya which you have praised in your documentry and she is good in giving speeches for democracy and womens right , (which i support too) but practically she is one of those MP in afghanistan who has a history and record of absence from the parliment sessions. instead she is touring the world raising awareness for afghan womes rights. these are all the tools of gaining fame, money and power. so please kindly beware of the facts beofre reporting it or presenting it to the public.
by Alex hakim
Leave us alone! If you help us, it is OK but please do not make us unhappy for God sake Clark. Go to the south and bring news from there. We will say thanks. You went to secure and peaceful places and telling nonsense things. If I see you next time in Afghanistan, I will not welcome you as a corrupted journalist .you did interview with Pakistani agents and Arab puppets. Go and meet resistence people whom was ted their lives, homes and families. You must be very silly and childish jurnlist…OH God! Alex Hakim
by arezo
My dear Katty!

It is very sad to see our country victimized by Taliban, Al-qiada, and Malila Joya.These is very cheap creatures...

Cate Clark, you have two choices ONE to say sorry publicly. TOW leave your job .You can choose which one suits you. Thanks

arezo student from germany
Dear Kate,

I can fully appreciate your desire to be recognised as a journalist with an 'alternative view'. While it might add another feather on your journalistic hat, it does enormous harm to the millions of men, women and children who suffered untold cruelties in the hands of Taliban. It is patently wrong in the first place to regurgitate the Pakistani intelligence's charactorisaton of the United Front (UIF) by calling it the 'Northern Alliance'. For heaven's sake, can you journalists ever bother to cover the hundreds of millions of dollars that Karzai's circle of Pushtun supremacist expatriates have embezzled? Do you have no eyes to see the so called "father of the nation", the ex-king, and his coterie of freeloader parasites selling land and property laterally worth of hundreds of millions of dollars? Can you ever ask them the question as to where they earned all that from? If they have the right to ownership to all that extravaganza simply because their father and grandfather stole it from the public, why should those commanders (who gave their sweat and blood to drive the Soviets and the Taliban-Al-Qaeda out) not have a small bit of the same in their lives.

Why do you not investigate President Karzai’s brother, Wali Karzai’s hands in drug-trafficking? Why do you not report the fact that the Panjshir valley and the Shumali plains are the only region completely free of opium production and processing? Why don’t you focus a bit of your energy to investigate Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, Anwarul Haq Ahadi, Ali Ahmad Jalali, Farooq Wardak … etc’s embezzlement of literally hundreds of millions of dollars out of public fund? Let me give you some leads if you ever bother. Please ask Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai about how he deposited the one-hundred-million dollar in the two US accounts held by his son and daughter and earned 6 million dollars worth of interest? Please ask Jalali how much bribe he took each time he appointed a governor? Also ask him about the worth of hundreds of motor vehicles and equipment that were unaccounted for when he left the Ministry of Interior. Please ask Ahadi about the amounts he made out of the recirculation of billions of old Afghan currency, when he was actually supposed to burn and replace them with the new currency. Please ask Farooq Wardak's past records with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and his current engagements with the arch-corrupt Abdul Rab Rasool Sayaf. Ask them how much they have made out of selling confescated proporty from public and government?

I am absolutely sure you have been brainwashed by Pushtun chauvinist elements before making this report. I hope you realize the travails of relying too much on a bunch of expatriate ethnic chauvinists. Don’t you see that they have failed on their promise to provide alternative leadership to Pushtuns? Please make a little effort to balance your reporting.

Rafat Qayash
Afghanistan Development Network
by Afghan Students (Australia)
To the attention of British C4's reporter Kate Clark,

It is very sad to see how you are misled by the agents of Pakistan in propagation against Afghanistan's beloved National Hero and its respected freedom fighters, who stood firmly against and defeated both the Red (Soviets) and the Black (Pakistan, Taliban, Al-Qaeda) invasions.
This type of propagandas will not only damage your professional career but also the reputation of channel 4, Because people who know even a little about Afghanistan, will not be influenced by your statements; therefore, "you can not hid the sun with two fingers " (Afghan Saying).
by Ayoob Ayoobi from Stanford University, CA, US
Hi Kate and Tom!

That was such a gross report that I have ever watched and read in my life. How you feel with such job that you both do??? Don’t you still think that people know yours and your allies’ strategy or game theory? Everybody knows, even a child in Afghanistan – who lost his father, brothers or his/her entire family – knows your policy. They believe that was your policy which created civil war in Afghanistan, and took live of many innocent people. It seems the same as before; you want to put together some sort of things which brings problem between the tribes in Afghanistan. Even though, it is not secure enough now, you guys got worried and are planning to play those games. Your report is completely off beam and filthy. Do you think about your report which can make people to believe? Nooo, never, people know you. I hope you recognize something about history. You have tried many times to take over of Afghanistan in the past, yet you couldn’t. Even could not get out of it alive. We know you enough and enough. It was ended boys when you have been overthrown by this brave people three times before. How you come up back with these dirty and anti human policy? This report bothered many people, who are familiar with Afghanistan, around the world because it is completely untruth and your family tale.

We are one people in Afghanistan and we respect each another as brothers and sisters. There are no south and north in Afghanistan anymore; all you see is the country with the brave people. It will be better for you folks to stop theses phenomena and don’t waste your time on them. In any case, we know you did this mistake and will fix it soon since you realized it will hurt yourself. It has already done because you lost your reputation in the media. Do you see the responses below down to your reports? People do not know you folks as journalists forever; they know you as agents or employees of intelligent agencies with anti human approach.
by rahmat jan agha
cool down kate
and you guys cool down too i think it is enough for these two irresponsible journalists
by Ahmad Roheed
Hi dears,,,
I think mrs(madam) Cate must relized she had hurted the overwhileming majority of Afghanistanis people across the world by her fasificatonal report!


by sibghatullah ahmad qarizada
wow the knowledge,,,, surprised me ...... i cant believe she is a journalist ,she is more then a journalist thats hypocraciest ...... she has seen nothing there because no reallity i found .......... i think she has been there in some guest houses and ////////////////// may no body has paid mony and you have been expilled from afghanistan with chinese who they do the same ,the people who do go there are not from northen alliance ,even if they are, they are impressed of urs,ur ideologies and concepts ,so dont be angry on< N A>. thats the country ,which is destroyed by ur peoples intrigues ,nowadays every body knows ur peoples instruments <the westerns>,one of the dominant is media, making bad news against the free peoples and the free nations . u knew the northen alliance the soldiers of the great massoud will appose every colonial goal from u and u know how they treated the sovit russian army and how the russian empire collapsed soon . u as a spy and ///// have no option except this to do
but one thing u the westerns should know is that ur domination is over ,everybody knows ur hallowness words ,,,no colony will be more ...allaho akbar
I am quite sure that Kate had been deceived by some Pushtonists. I am copying and pasting an article that confirms most of the above comments. please have patience while reading it because the article is a bit long, but it is worthy to be read.
I myself don't want to talk about the Kate's report because there are many none sense that she put in it.
for example, when you see the video of report, in one scene on the way in Badakhshan Province she is saying that her driver says if the weapon/drug traffickers knew that a foreigner is in his car they will shot on their car. but in another scene Kate is chatting face to face with one of the drug/weapon traffickers and he shows the way he uses his weapon to her. it is funny; in the later scene the drug traficker doesn't know that she is a foreigner?????? I don't know, she might distinguish between dangerous and peaceful drug trafickers...may be.

have a look at the following article and get a clear idea about ethnicity and the current political trend in Afghanistan. though the article had been written in the past, but the it shows the root of the current situation in Afghanistan.((((((

Afghanistan: The Gulf between Report and Reality
by John Jennings

John Jennings traveled widely with the mujahideen as a Peshawar-based freelance writer from 1987 to 1991, reported from Afghanistan for the Associated Press and the Economist from 1991 to 1994, and covered the rout of the Taliban for the Washington Times in November 2001. He visited Afghanistan again in September 2003.

Earlier this month, Afghanistan's 502-delegate loya jirga approved the draft of a new constitution that concentrates power in the hands of a directly-elected president, with no prime minister as an alternate source of executive authority and only limited legislative oversight. In light of the country's multi-ethnic makeup and long history of tyranny, such weak checks on the presidency would appear to be utterly inappropriate. On January 20, however, the New York Times editorialized: "Debates about . . . the division of powers between the central and provincial governments seem secondary when people are afraid to sow their fields or transport their crops to market."[1]

That the New York Times editorial desk should so readily dismiss concerns about civil and political rights is odd. But even more striking, the sentence's final clause is demonstrably false. Afghanistan's largely agricultural economy could not have grown by 30% during the last year, as the IMF recently reported, if most farmers were afraid to sow their fields or transport their crops to market.[2]

The editorial is not an isolated case of poor fact checking. It reflects a broader trend in the Western media, which portrays the new Afghanistan as "sliding back into chaos, poverty and despair" two years after the ouster of the Taliban.[3] This view is said to reflect "a consensus" on a "deteriorating security situation" among "officials of the UN, the European Union, other US allies, aid agencies, US officials in the field, and Afghans loyal to Mr. Karzai."[4] The purported anarchy is blamed on misrule by regional "warlords," portrayed as savage robber barons who exploit their unholy alliance with the Pentagon to brutalize the helpless populace. Virtually every Western news report on Afghanistan, regardless of length or main topic, employs similar language to describe the general situation.

Such portrayals merit special scrutiny because they mirror official statements by one of the country's main political factions - interim President Hamid Karzai and other returned exiles in his government, who have exploited the notion that Afghans are suffering under the iron grip of evil "warlords" to enlist foreign support for creating a strong presidential system of government. The draft constitution Karzai presented in November - dubbed a "a murky blueprint for a repressive state" by Paul Marshall, senior fellow at Freedom House's Center for Religious Freedom[5] - gave the president sweeping powers to rule by decree. Although some minor changes were made during the recent loya jirga, Karzai largely succeeded in getting his way.


Hysteria about Afghanistan's "warlords" is rooted in enduring myths about the proximate causes of Afghanistan's last decade of warfare. According to this story, after defeating the Soviet Union's occupation army and ousting its communist puppet regime, Afghanistan's mujahideen turned on one other and created a "state of anarchy that gave rise to the Taliban and allowed al-Qaeda to base itself there."[6] In the mid-1990s, it is said, the Taliban conquered areas that were racked by lawlessness and anarchy and met little resistance during their march to Kabul, which they entered unopposed.

In fact, writes Anthony Davis of Time magazine and Jane's Defence Weekly, "services and schooling in [mujahideen-controlled] regions were far in advance of anything delivered by the Taliban . . . [whose] energies were focused almost exclusively on war." Contrary to the myth, the Taliban "fought their way into regions that were at peace and in many instances . . . recognized as being relatively well administered."[7] As for Kabul falling without a shot being fired, this too is a canard. Mujahideen commanders resisted the Taliban tooth and nail - Agence France Presse reported that hundreds died fighting on the day the Taliban finally seized the capital.[8]

This is not to say that the country wasn't divided prior to the Taliban conquest, or that factions of the mujahideen were not fighting among themselves. But it was not anarchy that enabled the Taliban's rise. They were the latest and most successful of a series of militias armed and trained by Pakistan's intelligence services in hopes of installing a "friendly" government in Afghanistan. To Pakistani officials, "friendly" implies Pashtun-dominated. Afghanistan's rulers have traditionally been Pashtun, who comprise nearly half the population (Tajiks, Uzbeks, Hazaras and smaller groups comprise the majority). Pashtuns are also substantial minority in Pakistan, with political influence disproportionate to their numbers. Despite their brutality and their reliance on Pakistani support, the Taliban were portrayed by the Western media as a popular movement; its apologists argued that engagement, not confrontation, would promote "moderates" among the militia's leadership.

Meanwhile, Taliban apologists pilloried the United Front (erroneously labeled the "Northern Alliance" in the Western media), a coalition of mujahideen who continued to resist the Taliban after the fall of Kabul, and its leader, Ahmad Shah Massoud, a famed commander known as the "Lion of Panjsher" for his success in resisting Soviet efforts to seize the Panjsher valley in central Afghanistan. Some American observers raged at Massoud for accepting military aid from Russia and Iran to fight the Taliban,[9] but the United Front was unapologetic. "When you're dying of thirst," one mujahideen spokesman explained to me, "you don't ask who fills your glass. We even tried to buy munitions from the Israelis, but their price was too high."

Only weeks before the September 11 terrorist attacks, American diplomats were still arguing that Afghanistan's anti-Taliban opposition was "part of the problem, not part of the solution." This attitude persisted even after 9/11, when a State Department official remarked that it was "a little premature to be hatching plots with the Northern Alliance."[10] With the war underway, State, CIA and Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence directorate tried to organize a revolt by Taliban military commanders in (misguided) hopes that the defectors would pre-empt a military takeover of the capital by the opposition. The plan fell apart when the proposed figurehead, Abdul Haq, was seized by Taliban authorities, tortured and murdered.

Concerns about the United Front's takeover of Kabul (which, unlike the Taliban's capture of the city five years earlier, met only a few hours' token resistance) proved unfounded. Rather than installing one of their own as president, in December 2001 Afghanistan's regional "warlords" agreed to the selection of Hamid Karzai, having judged him to be the candidate least likely to exploit the presidency to further his own ambitions or the agenda of meddlesome neighbors. United Front leader Qasem Faheem (who succeeded Massoud after he was assassinated by al-Qaeda just prior to 9/11) assumed the post of defense minister.

Since then, due to the slow pace of reconstituting the Afghan army (currently slated to reach a strength of just 9,000 by June 2004), security in most of the countryside has by necessity been maintained by regional leaders - mujahideen commanders in the north and west, and Pashtun tribal leaders loyal to Karzai in the south and east. Despite the pressing financial and manpower needs of reconstruction, Karzai has demanded that international donors accelerate the training and equipping of Kabul's fledgling army, regularly inveighing against the "warlords" who hold sway outside of Kabul. His allies claim the mujahideen do not maintain law and order, constantly feud with one another, and are heavily engaged in the opium trade.

Warlords Run Amok?

During a September 2003 visit to Afghanistan, I discovered that Western media portrayals of the Afghan countryside as a lawless Wild West were wildly off the mark. I visited three of the country's five largest cities - Kabul, Mazar-i Sharif and Jalalabad - and the countryside around each, with side trips to the Panjsher Valley and the Pakistan border. I traveled overland, on public transport, unarmed, unaccompanied, sandwiched between ordinary Afghans, querying them and my drivers about conditions near their homes and along the highways. I haunted bazaars and teahouses, chatting with fellow patrons and the staff at my lodgings.

With few and very localized exceptions, the countryside was safe and peaceful. The highways linking these regions were open, the cities themselves calm, food and fuel relatively cheap. These are sensitive indicators of excellent security and economic recovery. It's clear the "warlords" are not running amok: If they were, extortionate roadblocks on the main highways would be the first sign of it, because that's where the money is. Transit trade is a pillar of the economy.

Truck and bus drivers plying the road to Herat road say highway robberies, their main worry, remain relatively rare. Afghan visitors to the west and Herat residents alike give regional leader Ismail Khan rave reviews for maintaining security and protecting commerce. I met a Panjsheri driver for a transport cartel who recently traveled to Herat via Kandahar, then drove back a new vehicle his bosses had bought: a journey until recently unthinkable for a northerner. Today, the biggest health hazards on Afghan highways are drivers passing on blind curves and unprecedented clouds of dust and diesel fumes.

Everywhere I went, I saw signs of a private-sector construction boom and the return of hundreds of thousands of refugees from Pakistan and Iran. If lawlessness were truly widespread, if local warlords were truly the rapacious thugs they've been portrayed as, it is inconceivable that Afghans would be risking their safety and their private capital in this fashion. In short, that huge majority of ordinary Afghans living in areas not actively contested by Taliban remnants have it better today than at any time since 1978.

There are, of course, major security problems in Afghanistan, but they are mainly restricted to the former Taliban heartland bordering Pakistan, where 12 aid workers were killed in 2003. The media-amplified perception that humanitarians face danger everywhere they go appears to derive from sweeping and incautious language common in western charities' press releases.[11]

As for "warlord feuds," journalists have reported ad nauseam on a single rivalry - between followers of Balkh governor Atta Mohammad and ex-communist militia chief Abdurrasheed Dostum - and often misrepresent it as typical. Tensions between the two sides erupted into violence in October 2003, leaving as many as 50 dead. But Dostum is the only prominent "warlord" who fits the robber baron profile. During the Soviet occupation, his militiamen won infamy as Moscow's most brutal indigenous shock troops. Since 1992, he has repeatedly attacked his neighbors and betrayed his patrons and allies. No wonder there's trouble in Balkh.

Claims that United Front commanders are responsible for the rise in Afghan opium production are patently false. In light of the fact that trade routes to Russia (a major market for heroin) pass through the northeast province of Badakhshan, it is likely that some of their local leaders are turning a blind eye to transit of opium. However, according to the United Nations, the largest opium-producing provinces in 2003 were Nangarhar and Hilmand, former Taliban strongholds still contested by militia remnants.[12]

Axes to Grind

Few foreign observers have much time for ordinary Afghans. Western reporters tend to rely instead for insight on Afghans close to Karzai - Westernized scions of the antebellum feudal elite. Keen to discredit the battle-tested commoners who rose to power after they abandoned Afghanistan for exile in the West, the more vocal of these so-called "technocrats" popularized the "warlord" slur. After one of them became interim president, others returned in droves to troll for business opportunities and political appointments.

They appear to have imagined that authority is purely a matter of title and office. But they swiftly found that de facto power rests with the local leaders to whom most Afghans have turned through a generation of warfare. The "technocrats" despise this restriction: Under the antebellum Muhammadzai autocracy, the very concept of government by consent of the governed was alien. Provincial governors were appointed from Kabul, just as they were under the communists and the Taliban.

Accordingly, Karzai's entourage has enlisted unwary reporters, diplomats and do-gooders in a quest to restore a semblance of the bygone feudal pecking order: a highly centralized regime dominated, naturally, by themselves. It's their agenda - not "chaos, poverty and despair" - that explains the purported consensus. UN officials and Western aid workers have proven particularly susceptible, perhaps because the Utopian mindset that is virtually de rigeur among professional humanitarians predisposes them to address perceived problems with centrally imposed "solutions."

Western officials in southwest Asia generally lead very sheltered lives, spending far more time trading rumors at each other's soirees than meeting real Afghans. Former CIA agent Raoul Marc Gerecht made the same point during our last days of clueless innocence.[13] Furthermore, the "experts" often have axes to grind. For example, most journalists, do-gooders, academics and diplomats I have met despise soldiers generically, and reflexively oppose their deployment in any role except peacekeeping. It's understandable (if indefensible) that they would misrepresent conditions in Afghanistan today, in order to discredit a successful policy they had opposed from the outset.

The Kabul Propaganda Mill

With all these agendas at work, it's no surprise that the gulf between report and reality is so wide. Much of the political "analysis" published in the Western media since the overthrow of the Taliban is stridently partisan. The writers appear either unconcerned or unaware of their Afghan informants' political leanings. Almost invariably, their spin promotes the ambitious "technocrat" clique.

Cases in point are efforts to link United Front officials with the 2002 killings of a vice-president and a pro-Karzai minister. Like all good agitprop, the charges can't be fully verified or disproven, but they are exceedingly implausible, on grounds ignored by the pundits who have given them the most credence.

In February 2002, Civil Aviation Minister Abdurrahman tried to commandeer one of the Afghan national carrier's airliners to fly to India on holiday. The already much-delayed flight was scheduled to fly to Mecca; the minister's move would have stranded several hundred religious pilgrims at the spartan Kabul terminal, with no heat and no food, in bitter winter weather. The pilgrims got wind of this, rioted, stormed the aircraft and defenestrated Abdurrahman onto the tarmac, breaking his neck. Afterwards, Karzai publicly accused Northern Alliance commanders of orchestrating the killing - a puzzling claim that his own investigators subsequently dismissed.[14]

The assassination of Vice President Abdul Qadir in July 2002 was followed by a "technocrat" whisper campaign linking Faheem to the killing. In fact, Qadir was much closer to Faheem than to Karzai; and both Qadir's aides and Kabul authorities linked the killers to Zaman Khan, a rival Pashtun leader from Nangarhar. But a senior Afghan official said Karzai personally embargoed reports on the case via state-run media, apparently so Faheem would keep getting blamed.[15]

Western news reports routinely portray Karzai as a popular underdog challenging a cabal of gangster warlords.[16] This is the same Karzai who, after an early 2002 assassination attempt, decided he couldn't trust his Afghan bodyguards and began relying exclusively on US special forces. In fact, many Afghans resent the Westernized latecomers. On Kabul's streets they've been dubbed sag-shui (dog-washers) - a mocking rejoinder to the "technocrat" label and a gibe at the grubby jobs that some held in exile.

Most mujahideen commanders enjoy grassroots support. Many adult males in Afghanistan have, or can easily acquire, firearms. Most villages have, or can get anti-tank weapons and light artillery. A community consensus generally decides whether, and for whom, its men will bear arms. Consequently it's very difficult to maintain authority at any level without popular backing. Despite their immense foreign support, both the Taliban and the communists learned this the hard way. The "warlords," in other words, have far less leeway to flout the popular will than is commonly assumed.

The "technocrats" and their foreign acolytes have pilloried mujahideen leaders for spending customs receipts locally to bolster their power bases. When Herat's Ismail Khan finally agreed to surrender these revenues to Kabul in May 2002, Karzai admirers gushed praise at the president's "bold new move . . . to bring regional commanders under his control."[17]

In fact, there are excellent arguments for leaving some, or most of the revenues in the hands of regional leaders who collect them. Ismail Khan used part of his customs proceeds to administer a generous, personalized social welfare operation.[18] The "technocrats" and their western allies excoriated him for using the rest to finance his "private army." But the Western bureaucratic distinction between the public and private sector is alien to Afghanistan. And Heratis weren't complaining, because the governor's troops keep excellent order, which has in turn enabled an economic boom.

The "technocrats," unlike local leaders, are not accountable to a grassroots following for how they spend their revenues. Moreover, they are heirs, or former courtiers, of a feudal regime brought down as much by its own corruption as by the 1978 communist putsch.[19] Ismail Khan surely suspects that some of those receipts will wind up in "technocrat" bank accounts.

There are sound practical reasons for the often-denounced "Tajik monopoly" over the defense ministry and intelligence service. Faheem is successor to the late Massoud and his Panjsheri troops are Afghanistan's most experienced and effective anti-terrorist campaigners; they resisted waves of invaders and quislings long after everybody else sold out, fled or hid behind their skirts. Karzai's cronies appear determined to replace Faheem with a Pashtun - any Pashtun. Yet there is no Pashtun candidate both capable and trustworthy enough to run the security forces, for their mission is Afghanistan's most crucial: confronting terror and sabotage by meddlesome neighbors.

There is no evidence that Islamabad's politico-military establishment has renounced its quest for "strategic depth." Taliban remnants have regrouped in safe havens in Pakistan and have intensified their incursions across the border. Pakistani authorities have treated the international media to several high-profile round-ups of al-Qaeda men, but Taliban leaders appear to have little trouble avoiding capture, or even lining up occasional media interviews.

It has been widely reported that Pakistani Pashtuns in the frontier tribal preserves are harboring Taliban and Al Qaeda remnants.[20] It seems likely they enjoy official sanction and support; the Pakistani tribes, far from being fiercely independent, benefit from government subsidies that give Islamabad tremendous influence over their behavior. Although Pakistan has deployed small numbers of troops along the border, this is little more than window dressing. Some Afghans question why Pakistani troops could not as easily abet Taliban raids as deter them, given Pakistan's history of cross-border meddling.[21]

Astonishingly, the Karzai administration appears less concerned about countering the resurgent Taliban threat than it is about disarming and demobilizing the Taliban's indigenous grassroots opposition in the outlying northern and western areas of the country. The US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, now under NATO command, has endorsed this initiative, and the foreign media have excoriated Defense Minister Faheem over his reluctance to cooperate.

Meanwhile, Karzai issued an edict banning "armed factions" (i.e. the mujahideen) from fielding political candidates in national elections this year. As if this were not enough to compromise Afghanistan's transition to democracy, UN special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has warned that "lawlessness" might make UN supervision of the elections impossible. UN oversight is crucial in order to get Afghans to accept the results as legitimate.

There has been virtually no critical analysis of the "technocrat" agenda and its wholesale adoption by the UN, the media, the international diplomatic corps, and now NATO. Western observers haven't bothered to ask key questions: Who gains most if the "warlords" - proven allies in the war on terror - are disarmed? Will not expanding ISAF's presence merely create a target-rich environment for terrorists? Who gains most from disenfranchising anti-Taliban "armed factions"?

Skeptical Afghans, however, are asking those questions, and others: Afghanistan is not in chaos, so why is Brahimi really backing away from overseeing elections? Might UN officials be scheming to hold UN oversight hostage, in return for American and NATO concessions to their "technocrat" proteges? Might their demands include NATO military action against regional leaders who refuse to disarm, in the face of elections rigged to enable a "technocrat" power grab? How would that differ from imposing a puppet regime backed by foreign occupiers - the third in as many decades? There is a profound danger of a general revolt against any Kabul government that appears imposed by outsiders. Would the ISAF be prepared to quell it?

Other Afghans worry that the West will simply forget Afghanistan, as in the past. Indeed, a few are counting on it. Where would a "technocrat" regime turn for foreign backing, when and if that happened? The obvious answer is, to Pakistan - the neighbor with the means, the motive and a stubborn recent history of seeking to extend its hegemony across the border.

Afghanistan was never a nation-state; the bureaucratic institutions of modern government were blighted by the grasp of quislings and invaders before they took root. Today, after 25 years of invasion and proxy war, the country is just a collection of estranged cantons, within which authority is based on personal and local loyalties. If this Afghanistan is to develop into a nation-state, it must be through consensual cooperation among the de facto regional authorities. This can't be imposed by NATO or Pentagon fiat, much less by UN or "technocrat" machinations. All these elements and institutions, however, may have legitimate facilitating roles to play - as long as their officials grasp their limitations.

Legitimate regional leaders, far more widely regarded as war heroes than as robber barons, have taken the first steps toward national unity by endorsing a weak and (so far) mutually acceptable central authority. For the most part, they are cooperating with each other, and with the US-led war on terror. If they get their way, the "technocrats" may benefit in the short term. But the real winners will be the Taliban - and the powerful anti-Western interests in Pakistan who keep them on military life support, against the day that the United States turns its back on the country.


[1] "The Taliban Creep Back," The New York Times, 20 January 2004.
[2] "An Afghan Constitution," The Washington Post, 24 December 2003.
[3] "Rumors of Bin Ladin's lair," Newsweek, 8 September 2003.
[4] Ahmed Rashid and Barnett Rubin, "SOS from Afghanistan," The Wall Street Journal, 1 June 2003.
[5] Paul Marshall, "'Taliban Lite': Afghanistan fast forwards," National Review Online, 7 November 2003.
[6] Rashid and Rubin, "SOS from Afghanistan," The Wall Street Journal, 1 June 2003.
[7] Anthony Davis, "How the Taliban became a military power" in William Maley, ed., Fundamentalism Reborn? (NYU Press, 1997).
[8] "Afghan civil war leaves tens of thousands dead," Agence France Presse, 27 September 1996.
[9] Fred Starr, "Afghanistan land mine," The Washington Post, 19 December 2000; Fred Starr and Marin Strmecki, "Time to ditch the Northern Alliance," The Wall Street Journal, 26 February 2002; Marin Strmecki, "Winning, truly, in Afghanistan," National Review, 20 May 2002.
[10] Julie Sirrs, "Has the war on terror been won?" in Afghanistan and 9/11: An Anthology [New Delhi: Roli Books, 2002].
[11] Afghanistan 'out of control', BBC World Service Online, 10 August 2003.
[12] United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Afghanistan Opium Survey 2003, October 2003. Available in pdf format at
[13] Raoul Marc Gerecht, "The Counterterrorist Myth," The Atlantic Monthly, June/July 2003.
[14] "Afghan officials dispute official account," United Press International, 17 February 2002.
[15] Not by coincidence, anti-Taliban officials identified Zaman in late 2001 as Pakistan's new post-Taliban proxy in Nangarhar. US officials ignored the warning: Zaman later failed to press the attack at Tora Bora, letting top al-Qaeda officials, likely including Osama bin Ladin, escape to Pakistan [Personal conversations with senior United Front officials in Charikar, Jabal Seraj and Kabul, November 2001].
[16] "Defense minister denies reports of split with Karzai," The Washington Post, 7 October 2003. See also Patricia Gossman, "A government of warlords threatens Kabul," The International Herald Tribune, 16 October 2003, and CNN special report on Afghanistan by Christine Amanpour, 2 November 2003.
[17] Ahmed Rashid and Barnett Rubin, "SOS from Afghanistan," The Wall Street Journal, 1 June 2003.
[18] Barry Bearak, "Unreconstructed," The New York Times Magazine, 1 June 2003.
[19] Nasir Shansab, Soviet Expansion in the Third World: Afghanistan: A Case Study (Silver Spring, MD: Bartleby, 1986).
[20] Tim McGirk, "In these remote hills, a resurgent Al Qaeda," Time, 22 September 2003.
[21] Personal conversation, Nangarhar Province, September 2003.

© 2004 Middle East Intelligence Bulletin. All rights reserved.

by Haqeeq
Dear reader,
I read the report and also watched its video. There are many cases that have been put inaccurately and without proper referencing and researching for support of the arguments in the report.
My overall view from reading this report is that Kate starts searching initiatively to demonstrate some thing different and new in her report. But from the report every Afghan can understand that she is unaware of the facts in Afghanistan and that is why some people have easily used her efforts for a projected target that is for the benefit of a particular political party and some how to the benefit of a particular ethnic group in Afghanistan.

I am writing few points that remained in my mind by watching her report:

Kate has pointed in her report that even in the north part of Afghanistan the women can’t go to the street without having burqa. She might be right in some extend, but what is wrong with wearing burqa as a traditional culture accepted by majority of our society in Afghanistan. No one has the right to say why women in the west uncover the attractive parts of their body in public. Similarly, we don’t allow others to talk about our rights to have the burqa. Every society has its own culture and believes…

In another part of the report Kate mentions to some one namely Mussadeq an officer of a small and isolated district in Badakhshan province, who might involved with drug trafficking, I read about governors of some provinces near to the Capital, Kabul. I found that the most popular governor Gul Agha Sherzai who is the governor of Ningarhar as one of the biggest drug trader in Afghanistan. Ningarhar is one of the biggest cities in Afghanistan and is the one nearest to Kabul. If Kate wanted to find about the drug traffickers in the Government, it would have been better to start from Ningarhar rather than passing a long distance to reach a very isolated and small district.

I don’t know why she had been directly sent to Badakhshan, if she wanted to demonstrate that the government in power cannot control the provinces in Afghanista, it would be better to start collecting information from Kabul, and nearest provinces to Kabul first, i.e., Ningarhar, Wardak, Ghazni, Kapisa and Parwan, which was very easy to make a report without wasting this much of time for traveling such a log way trip to the most isolated and far place in Badakhshan.

You can find the following statement in the BBC web site.

Nangarhar province Governor Gul Agha Sherzai commands considerable loyalty among the Pashtuns in Kandahar, the city he controlled before the Taleban took power in 1994.
Within hours of the Northern Alliance taking control of Kabul in 2001, Sherzai entered and took control of the southern city.
In December 2004, he was appointed as governor of Kandahar with an added, though symbolic, portfolio of minister adviser to Mr Karzai.
His reappointment became controversial and human rights groups have accused Mr Sherzai of involvement in the drugs trade.
Mr Sherzai was made governor of Nangarhar as part of a series of reshuffles viewed as an attempt to curb the power of the warlords)

For each one of Kate’s statement in her report one can provide tens of documents to prove she had been directed by few elements for the interest of their own political agenda. But no one have time for such childish arguments in such a silly report. Kate is an innocent and unaware journalist in the UK; she doesn’t know what is going on in the field here in Afghanistan by the real players. However, her most intolerable statement is that she puts her argument about the Hero of Afghanistan “the Lion of Panjshir, respected Ahmad Shah Massud”. She should have had a bit more research before putting such a rued argument.

My recommendation for her in succeeding the next report in Afghanistan is to have a thorough research and do not rely on few people. Try to write a comprehensive report and for that you need to put a bit more effort in collecting information.

Wish the Kete best of luck with her research in Afghanistan.

Student - Kabul
by Abdall Naser
I am not surprise what Kate Clark said or portrayed, because I believe whatever Allah (god) says about these unbelievers, Allah says "These Unbelievers always trying to shut off the light of Allah by their dirty mouth, but verily Allah complete and spread his light all over the world, even though the unbelievers are unhappy and so sad.

About Malaly Joya I have to say, she is one of the western "Toys" as she was "Pakistan "Toy" but don't forget she learned something, and she also try to shut off some lights. however, our advise to her is to not follow what other says about your National Hero. If you say somthing from your own view and idea, that is fine, but if you say somthing that others tell like kate clark, then you are going to be part of them.
As a member of parliment you should respect your National Hero. Dont' be out of control and don't copy others. I remember when you came to Toronto Canada, whatever you wanted you said it against our National Hero and Northern Alliance with your dirty mouth. I have your video Cassitte, that was inside of the so called "Afghan Association" but indeed it is"Afghan-Taliban-Association" because they support the idea of Talibanism

Don't forget Northern Allaince is a population more than 10 million people living in Northern province of Afghanistan. they are not a group. I don't knoe why you love to hate your people!!? and love foreigners . Any reporters and foreigners come to Afghanistan to visit Afghanistan and write about its cultare traditional and history, we should show them that we are a good people and defended from our country now we want peace and prospirity not hate each other. for example if you ask any canadian "how is Canada" beleive me they will tell all the beauty of Canada, they don't say North is bad south is good.

shame on you
Hi Kate,

Though I have got this link so late, still I am surprised by such an absurd and ridiculous statement in your report (i.e., shamelessly talkingabout our hero Ahmad Shah Massud. same be upon you ignorant hournalist that couldn't distinguish among the warlord and such a noble man in Afghanistan. your statement about him make the hole report nonsense and unacceptable.

Shahnazi Bekish
From Australia
by learn kate (malaspa1 [at]
NEW DELHI: Reflecting their growing bilateral relations, India on Thursday named a road in the national Capital after the slain Afghan war hero, Ahmad Shah Massoud. It is the first time that such an honour has been extended to a leader from that country. The road near the Afghanistan Embassy is a "symbol of ties" that binds the two nations that have always "enjoyed excellent relations", External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said while unveiling the plaque along with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai. Describing Massoud as a visionary and a friend of India, Mukherjee said the Lion of Panjsheer, as he is better known, understood the threat of "globalisation of terror" and fought, dreamt and prayed all his life for a free Afghanistan, which is a reality today. Expressing his gratitude, Karzai remembered Massoud as a friend who waged a struggle against "Al-Qaeda, interference from neighbours and the rule of terror in Afghanistan." "He was so important in the war against terror, and for the freedom of Afghanistan. We are honoured to have him as our hero," he added. Massoud joins personalities like Uruguay's national hero Jose Artigas, Kazakh poet Abai Kunanbaiuly, Irish leader Eamon De Valera, novelist Andre Malraux and Argentinian icon Jose De San Martin, all of whom have roads named after them in Lutyen's Delhi.
by roger plunk
In 1998, I spent two months as a guest of "commander" Ahmad Shah Massoud in Panjshir Valley, Afghanistan. I was there as a mediator, and had a series of meetings with Massoud in order to understand his vision of a future Afghanistan. My last meeting with Massoud was at breakfast in his home. In Afghanistan, meals are traditionally eaten on the floor, sitting cross-legged around a cloth that acts like a dining table. Massoud himself spread the cloth out and served the food. Spring air flowed into the room, and the morning sunlight splashed around us. Peering out the window, I saw almond trees in full bloom and heard birds chirping. I told Massoud he had a beautiful garden. He told me, "The Soviets destroyed most of the trees. We planted these after they left. When peace comes, we will develop electricity and reforest the mountainsides." Massoud's vision for developing Panjshir Valley was revealing of the man. There was humility about him. He wore simple civilian clothes, talked politely, laughed a lot, and yet felt deeply for the Afghan people. I often saw him walk from the guest-house I was staying at to his office, with just a couple of companions, ignoring the pomp and display of other leaders. He was a national figure with a national vision, but he was also a "Panjshiri" with a vision for Panjshir and its local people. Massoud's official title was "defense minister," but preferred the simple title of commander." He was the center of the alliance, and held the front line north of Kabul against the Taliban, who viewed Massoud as their last great obstacle for control of Afghanistan. Afghans called him the "Lion of Panjshir." Panjshir means five lions, so it translates as the lion of five lions. There is an old Afghan saying that anyone who wants to conquer Afghanistan should beware, because under every rock of every mountain lies a sleeping lion. When Massoud was fighting the Soviets, they said, "And the lion is Ahmand Shah Massoud." Suicide bombers assassinated Massoud on September ninth, just two days before the attack on America. His assassins have been connected to bin Laden. This makes sense. Massoud was bin Laden's greatest enemy inside Afghanistan, and we can assume that bin Laden wanted to prevent America from having such a powerful ally. Massoud could thus be viewed as the first victim of the attack on America. Although Massoud is dead, his ideas and image live on. In recent video shots and photos of North Alliance troops marching into Mazar e-Sharif and Kabul, soldiers have been seen parading with large photos of Massoud, as a national symbol. His vision is thus becoming increasingly relevant as the Northern Alliance takes control over Afghanistan, and efforts are made to form a new government After our breakfast, Masood sat back and made a long presentation on his political vision for a future Afghanistan. Massoud wanted to develop a federal system in Afghanistan. "There has been too much oppression," he told me, "This has to change." Afghanistan has over thirty "administration" provinces. Massoud described to me in detail the division of Afghanistan into nine separate states that included a "federal" state around the capital, Kabul. The history of Afghanistan is marked by the gradual development of central control by Kabul. Before the Soviet invasion, all government officials were appointed by the national government, leaving little room for local autonomy. This created a bottleneck through which all political power flowed, making it prone to power struggles, often between ethnic groups who felt oppressed. The Soviets and the Taliban took this to the extreme. The essence of federalism is the separation of powers between the national government, and the local state governments, each governing within there own special area of competence. As the American Founding Fathers understood so well, all-powerful national governments tend to degenerate into tyranny. A federal system protects against this, and empowers local governments to decide on local issues. By protecting local authority while establishing national unity, a federal system in Afghanistan will provide the foundation for reconciliation among the many ethnic groups that make up the Afghan people. Massoud blamed the many years of war mostly on foreign influence. There were the Soviets, of course, and then the Pakistanis who supported the Taliban, and most recently, the foreign terrorist network of al-Qaeda. Massoud told me with passion, "We must get rid of foreign influence, and find strength in ourselves." He welcomed foreign aid and advice, but not political interference. The Northern Alliance has recently rejected Bonn, Germany, or any other location outside of Afghanistan, as a place to make final decisions on a future government. Such meetings are considered for "preliminary" discussions only. One reason is that it has the appearance of foreign influence. A related reason is that such decisions must have their roots in Afghan culture to have legitimacy. (Imagine if the American Constitutional Convention, where the U. S. Constitution was drafted, was held in Paris or London, instead of Philadelphia.) Thus, the current plan is for a "transitional" government to be elected by a Loya Jirga (grand council), to be convened in Kabul. A Loya Jirga is basically an Afghan "electoral-college," consisting of a large number of various leaders and "respected" persons thought to represent the Afghan people. In Massoud words, a transitional government must take Afghanistan from "rule of commanders to rule of civilians." It would collect all "heavy" weapons from commanders, form a council to draft a constitution, and prepare the country for the election of a new government. For the transitional government to reconcile people torn apart by twenty-three years of war, Massuod insisted that it must govern Afghanistan in the spirit of federalism. It must, he said, "cooperate" with local people, not impose its rule by force, as did the Soviets and the Taliban. Commander Massoud spent his entire life as a soldier, surrounded by death, destruction and military command. But the purpose of his fighting was to bring peace and reconciliation. At the end of our breakfast meeting, I acknowledged this. "Tashakor" (thank you) he said to me. "Tashakor!" I replied. Roger L. Plunk is an international mediator and author of The Wandering Peacemaker.
by Arther kent Canada Look out this clip please.
by Hussini
I am terribibly shoucked when i see the report about our Hero.He is not criminal .He saved the world from terror and horror..

Student at Kabul University
by Karim (honesbtoy_4u [at]

Dear Kate,

Thanks a lot for doing such a comprehensive report based on ground realities. The comments on you report were very appalling. In fact those who commented on your report are the afghans who have lost their brain and called war criminals who destroyed the country heroes. How come one calls the biggest war criminal Masood a hero he was the one who started the civil war in afghanistan. He was the one who caused al the bloodshed. If he had not been thirsty for the power afghansitan would have not been faced with such cotsotrophes today. I urge you al to stop calling criminals heros.
by Shabir
These are all lie on Ahmad Shah Massoud. He was just a criminal warlord nothing more. If you want to know about his crimes pay a visit to Afghanistan and ask ordinary people what they think of him.

Today people like Burhanuddin Rabbani, Sayyaf, Qannoni, Fahim, Dostum (all of them war criminals according to Human Rights Watch) talk high about Massoud and try to make a hero from him, for ordinary poeple Massoud us a shit and killer.

To know about his crimes and brutalites read the following Human Rights Watch document:

Blood-Stained Hands: Past Atrocities in Kabul and Afghanistan’s Legacy of Impunity
Human Rights Watch, (July 7, 2005)

Also Massoud was a CIA agent:

"The CIA had pumped cash stipends as high as $200,000 a month to Massoud and his Islamic guerrilla organization, along with weapons and other supplies. Between 1989 and 1991, Schroen had personally delivered some of the cash. But the aid stopped in December 1991."
(The Washington Post, February 23, 2004)

Read "Ghost Wars" by Steve Coll to know more about his connection with CIA.
by Jamila
I'm amazed at the level of anger in the comments about this report. It's interesting to see that some Afghans care so passionately about preserving the memory of Massoud but I would urge people to look at this with some perspective. Our country has been nearly destroyed with millions of people killed and lives affected, and it appears that all we can do is defend a dead commander.

I respect Massoud's sacrifice (though I acknowledge his weaknesses) and am sorry for his suffering, along with that of the rest of our population. Having said that, I put him in the same category as most of the rest of our sell-out leaders, including the Pashtuns among them. I certainly don't elevate his status to "national hero" just because he was killed in a sad and violent way. In fact I see the average Afghan man, woman, and child as more of a hero that deserves our respect, pride, and admiration. It is they who have suffered and sacrificed for our country, and it is they who the future of our country depends on, not another powerful commander with questionable motives.

Kate Clark has written an article based on the understanding she gained from her experience and visit. We need to be careful not to attack her because of our own prejudices and ethnic loyalties. Let's remember that we are all Afghans first, with a responsibility to our country, not to any individual, dead or alive.
by Abdul Mansoor
In Afghanistan, a slain hero is enlisted in battle against Taliban
On a hill overlooking this verdant valley, U.S. and Afghan officials came together Thursday to praise the legacy of a legendary guerrilla fighter in hopes that his memory will serve as a rallying cry against a Taliban resurgence.
Ahmed Shah Massoud, 48, was killed in a suicide blast two days before the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The assassination was ordered by Osama bin Laden, apparently as a way to eliminate a natural ally of the United States if it invaded Afghanistan looking for the Al Qaeda leader.
Now, with those who succeeded the Taliban and their Western allies seeking to provide a continuing sense of unity, Massoud, known as the Lion of Panjshir, is considered an ideal symbol for that cause.
Massoud's tomb, housed inside a 75-foot-high concrete, domed mausoleum, has been declared a national shrine by President Hamid Karzai's government, which replaced the Taliban.
In the capital, Kabul, where a main street is named National Hero Massoud, the commander's picture adorns lampposts and car windshields. There also are banners with his visage and the slogan "Unity is Massoud."
At the ceremony Thursday, a U.S. Marine Corps general compared Massoud to a rather notable American as he presented a plaque at the tomb.
Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis, speaking before a gathering of Afghan officials, soldiers and villagers, said that visiting the tomb of Massoud gave him "some of the same emotions I felt when I visited the grave of George Washington, the father of our country."
Massoud was a hero in the struggle against Soviet domination of Afghanistan and later the Taliban regime, but he was kept mostly at arm's length by the United States. The CIA, although eager to help topple the Soviets, had an on-again, off-again relationship with Massoud, preferring sometimes to back rivals favored by ally Pakistan.
But on this day, Massoud was hailed as a visionary by both Afghan and U.S. officials. The latter included two Marine generals, an Army general and a State Department representative.
At the ceremony, Ahmed Wali Massoud, wearing a pin with the U.S. and Afghan flags, said of his brother: "Although he is not with us, his vision and ideals live within us. Afghan people live through his vision: an Afghanistan without terrorists, Al Qaeda or Taliban. This is our dream."
Later, during a tea-and-cookies reception, a former Massoud confidant was more blunt. Unless the Americans help defeat the Taliban and their allies, the insurgency will spread to other nations in the region, said Abdullah, a former foreign minister in the Karzai government who uses one name.
"This is the next strategic step for Al Qaeda," said Abdullah, a physician who gave up his Kabul practice to come to this valley and fight alongside Massoud.
Many analysts have predicted a springtime offensive by the Taliban, and attacks are occurring frequently.
In the restive southern city of Kandahar, 10 people died Thursday in three bombings, one of them an apparent assassination attempt against the governor of Kandahar province. The governor escaped injury, but three bystanders were killed in the suicide car bombing.
Earlier, four security guards were killed in a roadside explosion, Afghan officials said. As rescue workers responded, a second blast went off, killing three police officers.
Authorities said the tactic of staggered bombings, with the second of two explosions aimed at those arriving at the scene to provide help, was a rarity in Afghanistan.
But Taliban fighters have been borrowing methods from insurgents in Iraq, where such dual attacks are common.
Many officials expect an even larger Taliban offensive in late summer after the opium poppy crop is harvested.
The poppies, which are used to make heroin, provide money for the insurgency, officials said.
Most of the preparation by U.S., North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Afghan forces has involved additional training, better weaponry and changes in key leadership spots. But the information war, including memorializing Massoud, is also considered important.
Massoud "was a leader who could fight like a lion but kept compassion for the innocent," said Mattis, who is the commanding general of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force and the Marine Forces Central Command.
Copyright © 2007, NewsBlaze, Daily News

by Lover of Massoud
Please read about Ahmad Sha Massoud in a rational way.,1,5867493.story?coll=la-headlines-world&ctrack=1&cset=true
by a Student in College
What the USA gerneral said:

Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis, speaking before a gathering of Afghan officials, soldiers and villagers, said that visiting the tomb of Massoud gave him "some of the same emotions I felt when I visited the grave of George Washington, the father of our country."

At the ceremony Thursday, a U.S. Marine Corps general compared Massoud to a rather notable American as he presented a plaque at the tomb.

I hope Kate Clark writes an apology letter who saden million of our poeple.It is not the manner of a jurnalist to disregared a Hero of a Nation.....

by Frenzy Journal
At the tomb of the "Lion of Panjshir": Commander Ahmad Shah Massoud. (and yes, that's me in the photo) soviet tank chain turned into a speedbump! On the road. The poles are set, but no cables just yet. Someday, more electricity will come into the country via a neighbor (I think Kazakhstan). One of many cars of newlyweds. I must have seen at least 10 random cars just like it, on our way to Panjshir, which took almost 3 hours to get there. the guy on the top left of the screen was the dancing idiot I was talking about. If you look closely, there's a baby on top of that motorcycle. Walking on a bridge. It was created by Holland NGOs if I remember correctly. Wearing traditional clothes. Hair is a mess on purpose to not look like a foreigner. Snow-Covered mountain. It's late November and there is not as much snow as I imagined. Global Warming maybe? ;) View of the Panjshir Valley. Close-up look at the tomb. Outside Ahmad Shah Massoud's tomb. A poster of "The Lion of Panjshir" Old Soviet Tank. They have redone a big part of the mountain passes. The road was a lot more dangerous before. Eating kabaub. This is the part where we got stuck. I took this picture about 10 minutes before rocks started to fall down on us. "Zaki Q, Newsvine, Panjshir" Frenzy Journal - November 24th Panjshir & visiting Commander Massoud's tomb This is it. My most important trip in Afghanistan during my stay here. We finally found the time to head to Panjshir. The Panjshir region is about a 3-4hrs drive from Kabul. And this is not a fancy drive from highways onto highways. There is one short part in a surprisingly well designed roadway, but we drove to many small towns on the way. The closer we got, the more we had to drive throughout mountain passes. At last, mountains in Afghanistan started to be covered in snow, and they are amazingly beautiful. I have seen so many weird things on the road. They used old chains from soviet-era tanks as speed-bumps! I have seen many big containers throughout Afghanistan, to the point where I have been accustomed to seeing them, although I saw some weird ones that look like they kept gas at one point. There seems to be a big project to collect electricity from a neighboring country (I believe Uzbekistan), so they have started to place Electricity Poles, but the cable lines are not set up yet. I have seen a lot of "wedding cars" on the roadtrip. I have literally seen at least about 12 cars in wedding ornaments at different point. As I kept pointing out to our group all these instances, I said that a lot of people get married right before the winter starts, to stay warm for the upcoming months. At one point, there was a a truck following a wedding car with people standing in the back, dancing, as the car was driving. He looked like a total idiot, and every time the car stopped, he almost fell. I managed to take a picture but it did not come out so great, but I must show to you. I continue to see men with guns on top of their cars. They could either be military/police/warlords, who the hell knows. It's such a country of contrast. You look on the left, and there are shops that sell a bunch of parts for motorcycles and then your view is blocked by...a Shepard with 30 sheeps. Eventually we were on the outskirts of Panjshir, and took the advantage of taking a few more photos before going in. Now, why did I want to visit Panjshir so badly before leaving Afghanistan? Well, there is a lot of history behind this region. This is the home of Afghanistan's hero, Commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, aka the Lion of Pansheer. Often, his troops were outnumbered by the Soviets, but he always managed to keep his stronghold and Panjshir never really fell under the Russians. He was a very charismatic person, a man of the Afghan people. He is a national hero. He is legend. Had he still be alive, he probably would have done great things for Afghanistan. Unfortunately, he was killed by Al-Qaeda fake journalists who blew themselves up on September 9th, 2001, during the time where he warned the CIA that OBL and his group of Wackos were planning a big attack on America. Osama Bin Laden killed Commander Massoud 2 days before 9/11, making it easier for him to disappear before the Americans came. OBL knew that Massoud would have found him, and stopped him before he went into hiding. So there I was, near the tomb of the great Afghan National Hero, Commander Ahmad Shah Massoud. They are in the process of creating a museum for him, and while not complete, people are still allowed to come inside the facilities to pay their respects. I found it a little odd, that his tomb was on the bottom level of the building, while the top was still in construction. When we came, nobody was working on it, but hopefully, it ought to be done in 2007. An old man was the "guard" of the tomb, a man that our driver knew very well (he's from Panjshir too), making it easier for all of us to get in. We took off our shoes at the door, and walked inside. Wow. There, in front of me, was the tomb of Ahmad Shah Massoud. I started to think about all the things this man has accomplished, and sure, he was no saint, but he has done so much for Afghanistan, during the time of the soviets. He even tried to get Afghans to calm down during the recent civil war. Later, after the Taliban regime took over the country, he kept his Northern Alliance, and was waiting for the right opportunity to topple the new govt. It's really unfortunate that he cannot be alive today to see Afghanistan (very slowly) rebuilding his country, after 25 years of non-stop wars. He was right there. There were Korans present, and arabic writings. We all prayed together, and also one-by-one, to show our respect. A sign-in book was present there, for people to say they came here, and write their condolences. Since a lot of people come here, these books get filled quickly, and dozens of books are complete each year. When I signed my name, I noticed that someone all the way from South Korea had come to visit the tomb. Pretty amazing. Anyway, later on, we went halfway to one of the mountains to take a break and rest. Once that was done, we decided it was time to eat. We found this little kabaub-joint, and had them roast a bunch of kabaub on barbecue. I now understand why Afghans dress the way they do. You know that big cape that they all wear around themselves? Well, not only does it keep you warm, but you can set it down on the floor, and have a little picnic. There we were. In a garden, eating kabaub, talking about the region, Afghanistan in general, all while I could witness the beautiful snow-covered mountains in the background. Because we were short on time, we weren't able to climb on top of any nearby mountains, not to mention, since they were covered in snow, it would have been very dangerous. I gave some money to a few random kids, and got back on the road. As we head on our way back home, we ran into a big traffic jam. One of the mountain passes was blocked because they were pouring gravel. I was awfully tired by then. I had taken a lot of photos, and filmed most of our trip. Everybody from the car got out and looked at the river. I stayed inside the SUV with the driver. I thought that since we had no idea when we could resume our drive, now would be an excellent time to get a nap. Boy was I wrong. I closed my eyes. Literally half a second later, I heard noises. I heard noises and I looked at the driver who tells me: "don't move!" A bunch of things run in my head. I look around my car, and I see people fleeing. What the @!$%# is going on? My instant feeling is that we're getting shot at by warlords, and we're ambushed for money. But that could not be it, we were in the peaceful region of Panjshir. Less than 2 seconds later, I understood what was happening. Rocks from the mountains were falling down on us. I still stare at the driver, understanding that we needed to get the hell out of that car, but going out at the wrong moment meant getting one in the face, and probably die. I could hear rocks fall on top of the car. As soon as the driver said "NOW!" I get out of the vehicle. Or at least, I try. The damn door was locked. I unlocked it, and I run towards my group. Rocks are still falling. Cars are getting out of the way. People are running in all directions. I noticed a huge mark on the road. Well, apparently I was luckier than I thought. The others witnessed a humongous rock fall from up-top, landed on the road, then fell into the river, with a big splash. "Praise Allah" we were all safe and sound. This all took place in less than 30 seconds. Wondering what created this little avalanche, my answer was right up there for all to see. It seems that 2 goats or sheeps were up in the mountains casually walking around. As they walked, little rocks fell down, creating a chain reaction, resulting in all these huge rocks falling down on us. This had caught us all by surprise. If something bad had happened, what could we have done? Cell phones did not work there, there were no hospitals around, not to mention the traffic jams on the road. It just reminds you how dangerous this country can be. As the sun set, we took a different but much calmer route, since traffic was bad. We arrived back in Kabul late into the night. I can now say I have been to Panjshir, and I have been to Commander Massoud's tomb. It was an incredible experience. Zaki Q, Newsvine, Panjshir. ============= sources: Ahmad Shah Massoud on WIKIPEDIA Soviet War in Afghanistan (WIKI) Panjshir Valley (WIKI) 22 VotesEnjoy this article? Help vote it up the 'Vine. Comment on this | Back To Top Published to: Groups: Citizen Journalism, Foreign Correspondents Regions: Afghanistan Jim DentZaki, I think I'm jealous... I would love to visit the Lions tomb! You be careful!! 3!#1 - Sun Dec 17, 2006 2:07 PM ESTDennis P. McCannVery cool. I would like to see that too. Ya know, Zaki, I think you just might have given me the inspiration to start posting pics of some of the amazing places I've seen here in Turkey. 4!#1.1 - Sun Dec 17, 2006 4:57 PM ESTZakiI'm telling ya, so many users live in interesting places. Find the time to write about it, and upload a few photos, and people will follow. You have a chance to tell this community about it! :) ps. be sure to publish it to the Foreign Correspondents group. 1!#1.2 - Sun Dec 17, 2006 9:32 PM ESTDjehutyWow Zaki - I'm glad you're ok! 3!#2 - Sun Dec 17, 2006 5:47 PM ESTZakiDamn Electricity went out before I uploaded everything. Alright, I've added all the photos I wanted to add. I can't wait to have broadband again so I can finally get high-res photos on my flickr account. I may edit the text a little if I have time, but I fly in a few hours. 2!#3 - Sun Dec 17, 2006 9:30 PM ESTlauhalVery cool. As usual, I enjoy the pictures! Thank goodness you're OK. If it's not warlords it's rocks! Yikes. 1!#4 - Mon Dec 18, 2006 8:41 AM ESTWalt DThis episode had it all... history, adventure, danger. I'm really going to miss this series, Zaki. 1!#5 - Mon Dec 18, 2006 2:50 PM ESTurbane gorillaZaki, you are npt just a good journalist - you are a good photojournalist! the pix really bring your stories to life for me. Afghanistan is awesomely beautiful. 1!#6 - Tue Dec 19, 2006 12:16 AM ESTKeller HellesWhat a great opportunity to visit such a great man and leader. It's deeply sad that such a great man had to die in such a way. I was crushed to hear the news but then forgot after 9/11. 0!#7 - Tue Jan 9, 2007 10:35 AM ESTAs a new user, you may notice a few temporary content restrictions. Click here for more info.Stop TrackingBack To Top © 2005-2007 Newsvine, Inc. Code of Honor Company Info Contact Us Jobs User Agreement Privacy Policy Copyright Policy
by Canuck
I hope you all have a great time. It is a wonderful, cool morning in Toronto and I am just up from bed.

As usual, I wanted to browse the web for the latest news on Afghanistan, which is my birthplace and where I spent almost all my teen life, when I ran into this thread. I was so disappointed to find out that there is some self-serving British Kate Clark who has rushed to prepare the most disinformed and misleading reporting on Afghanistan's post-Soviet era. There are a couple of issues which I have observed in the above posts that I would like to take up for discussion in the following lines:

1) Kabul and Northern, and Western Afghanistan are the most moderate and secular areas of Afghansitan which have predominantly Tajik residents although in certain parts of these areas some Pashton families can be seen too. The presence of Pashton families in these areas speaks for the forceful displacement of the native Tajiks that were removed from their areas by the successive Pashton governments. Pashtons were placed in those areas and given the best fertile Tajik farming land there in a political attempt to quell and keep anti-government sentiments at bay. Tajiks are among the most secular and knowledge-hungry natives of Afghanistan. Afghanistan's relative literacy mainly rests on the Tajiks' consistent struggles to set up schools or to turn even the corners of their gardens, yards or even orchards into learning centers where their children would learn how to read and write. Since they are moderately devout muslims, they attempt to practice their religion by obeying the Islamic dress code. Wearing a scarf is one of the fundamental priciples of Islamic traditions and it does not curb whatsoever a mulism woman's ability to learn and develope within a muslim country. Kate Clark needed to understand that simple truth about a muslim country. Afghanistan is a conservative muslim society. It is not a Chirstian democracy and as such it only pracitces what is ordained by Islam.

2) Afghans do not require some Kate Clark to tell them who Shahid Ahmad Shah Massoud was. His life itself determined who he was and what he stood for. Ahmad Shah Massoud was not one of those pompous political leaders whom people saw only in formal meetings or through the radios. Ahmad Shah Masoud was part of the people. He played with their children. He attended their weddings and was present at their funerals. He played soccer with their youths. He gave a hand whenever a school was being raised. He was the first man to pick up weapons and rush to the front line to stand against the aggression. He was a selfless, devout Muslim who never missed a single prayer. Such was Massoud, the legend of Afghanistan. The only single uncorrupted political leaderMs Clark must have thought that Massoud got his immortal name through the friendly media, and hence, she just rushed to redefine Massoud (in her opinion) in the new, researched light. But she failed and she failed big time. Kate Clark should have known that Massoud's reputation was not the result of Media and Colonial favoritism for that is only reserved for Pashton leaders, but the result of his altruistic and patriotic zeal that made him a world popular leader. Massoud is only hated by some Pashtons who are obsessed with power and saw in Massoud the elimination of their vested interests.

3) The Biritish journalism is in a desparate need of righteous revival. The biggest British media broadcasting--the BBC--always spreads biased reports in favor of the Pashton minorities in Afghanistan. To this day, they continue to publish erroneous reports that only misrepresent facts relating to Afghanistan. The primary victim of their erroneous reporting when it comes to Afghanistan is the Tajiks. The Farsi section of the BBC spreads hatred and prejudiced information on Tajiks. Since Farsi is the mother tongue of Tajiks in Afghanistan, why is that section not carried on by a Tajik who is respected by a vast majority of Tajiks in Afghanistan? Why is the Farsi section of the BBC headed by some Farsi-speaking Pashton who does nothing else but filters reports and publishes reports that are pro-Pashton or anti-Tajik leaders? Is it not time for the BBC to be fair and disseminate information that is just and unbiased? The BBC support for the Pashtons first culminated in the creation of the Nadir’s dictatorship and then the Taliban. Is it not time for Afghanistan to give out its first true representative government--a government that would be no threat to its neighbors and to the world? The creation of a truly representative government can only happen if the BBC weeds out its ethno-fascist reporters and start broadcasting unprejudiced information and reports on all political leaders of Afghanistan. That would first start with bringing Kate Clark to her senses and making her apologize for her, I hope, inadvertent siding with ethno-fascist Pashtons. She must either admit that she was surrounded by these Pashton supremacists when she made that reporting, or she must produce further unbiased evidence that what she said and prepared carried some truth.

4) It was very encouraging to see the solidarity of Afghans in this thread by facing Kate Clark. I am amazed by the the lenght of this thread and the content of each post (though some Pashtons have sneaked in to spread their ethnic venom). And 99% of the contents of the posts have one message in common and that was Massoud lived for Afghanistan and sacrificed his life for her. He was one of the many involved political leaders that preached justice, tolerance and democracy. He was THE only leader who fought for the women's cause. The common message in all these posts is very much in line with my own personal message that is just a peaceful denunciation of what Kate Clark has done to the free and brave spirit of Afghans. I hope she realizes her mistake and takes the necessary steps to rectify this wrong.

Wishing you all the best,

by W
Leave the reporter alone; all she is only delivering the truth!! And we all know that the truth hurts. Part of democracy is to be able to express the truth and I am sure Kate has done that. Well done Kate
by K Jalal (sahil_256 [at]
Kate clark, I am glade to see journalist like you who made an effort to tell the truth about afghanistan. These ppl who complained about your video are a gang of northeren alliance members who are actively involved in spreading false information in chat room and spreading the hatred. Abdul Ali faiq who commented here first is uneducated benefit theif leaving in west london, The reason why he said that your documentry doesnt deserve respect is because he a racist Tajik from the north of afghanistan and he hates pashtoons. He thinks that Criminal Ahmad shah massoud is a Hero, He might be hero for him and many others! But he is known as a criminal to overwhelming majority of Afghans in Afghanistan and outside the country. Its very rare to see people like kate who showed us the real side of northeren alliance warlords, They are the one responsible for the killing of 1500 hazara during afshar massacre during 1992, They lotted, raped and killed innocent people of kabul from 1992-1996. Its a shame that after all those crimes commited by the men of Ahmad Shah massoud to some ppl like Abdul ali faiq he is still known as a hero.

I hope that in the very near future we are going to see more documentry from you and tom since you represent the truth about my beloved country afghanistan.

by Afzali
Dear Caty!,

Ahmad Sha Massoud-Peace be Upon Him- was simply fighting against injustice and terrorists,because of that holy reason , he was assassinated by two Arabs terrorists..God Bless His Soul..This is undeniable fact, no one can avoid it.


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