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Thanks guys, I have now sold my ticket.

Including T-shirt and fees, the total was about $225.

Will sell for $200!
My contact info in my profile, please share with anyone who was on the fence about coming, or needs an extra ticket.

THANKS!

Discuss

As the US and other ISAF troops prepare to leave Afghanistan women in Afghanistan wonder what will happen to them? Don't get me wrong, neither I nor many Afghans in general want the foreign troops there forever. But what I think most Afghan (in particular women) worry about is how many of their hard earned rights will be traded away and are quite upset with their lack of participation in talks with foreign and Afghan governments regarding continued aid etc.

Girl from Helmand in IDP camp in Kabul. By: Kim OConnor

In the recent days I have read quite a few articles about this, for example:

As Nato pullout looms, Afghan women face uncertain future
In March 2012, the Ulema Council’s declaration regarding women, and Karzai’s reverberation of the same declaration, led many to believe that that Afghanistan is once again moving towards the same era of Talibanisation. Part 1C, Section F of the declaration stated that women ‘should avoid mingling with stranger men in various social situations, such as education, shopping, the office and other affairs of life.’ Part D goes on to say: ‘Men are fundamental and women are secondary; also, lineage is derived from the man.’  The declaration, in addition, condemns violence against a women ‘without a Shariah-compliant reason’ – not addressing the likelihood of domestic violence in response to a Shariah-compliant reason.

President Karzai publicly endorsed the declaration by the Council terming it as “reiterating Islamic principles and values.” Many believe that President Karzai’s desire to end the Taliban insurgency through peace talks would cost women to compromise their hard-won rights of 2001.There exists a rising fear that if the Taliban are allowed to rejoin the Afghan government and society without accountability for their actions in the last decade, the country would once again see the public stonings, hangings and beheadings that marked their time in power previously.

“If Afghanistan sees a new era with warlords in the governmental system, we can’t do anything for women rights as these warlords are the biggest violators and oppressors,” says Shama. Her words draw attention to the fact that although women have a higher stake in the outcome of peace negotiations with the Taliban and the development of government policy, their visibility in the process hardly reflects this.

Afghanistan set up a Peace Council that is supposed to navigate how they can negotiate with the Taliban (those willing to talk that is, which does not include Omar or others in Quetta Pakistan). The problem is the women were sidelined as usual, but they did their best to fight back.
The 70-member High Peace Council, which has been struggling to carve out a role in the negotiations since the assassination of its chief, Burhanuddin Rabbani, last year, has nine women.

Safi, who is also a member of parliament from the northern province of Balkh, said women were not opposed to holding negotiations with the Taliban so long as rights enshrined in the constitution were protected.

She said the women on the peace council had set up a committee to ensure issues related to women were addressed by the council in negotiations with the Taliban.

"Our mission is to figure out how to keep the role of women active in the High Peace Council and not have our presence serve only as a statistic," she said.

While attention has been focused on the Taliban, women in Afghanistan had concerns that the Karzai administration itself may give up some of the gains made in recent years, she said.

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Tue May 01, 2012 at 07:00 PM PDT

Explosions in Kabul

by kimoconnor

This will be brief, but I will update as I get more info.

So far it appears there have been 4 explosions in Kabul, possibly near the airport. Or the Kabul Customs office.

Reports of fighting and Helicopters hovering.

Will update as I get more details.

Obama had left hours before this happened!
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Actually this story is about much more than this.

There is a group of Republicans, including Dana Rohrabacher, Louis Gohmert, Michele Bachmann, and Michael Burgess who were going to Kabul to meet with the Afghanistan National Front.

This new political party was recently established (2011) by Ahmad Zia Massoud, Mohammad Mohaqiq and Abdul Rashid Dostum, and is generally an updated version of the Northern Alliance which fought against the Soviets and later the Taliban, but did not get the support that the fundamentalists like Gulbuddin Hekmatyar received from the US during the Afghan/Soviet war.

There are many in Afghanistan that think many of these men should be on trial for horrific crimes, but these members of the House and Senate wants to further arm them and does not agree with current US policy in Afghanistan.

As it turns out, Karzai really did not want Dana to come. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton both called him to tell him not to go.

While he stayed home, the rest of the motley crew went to Kabul to meet with Karzi's opposition, while the US Embassy tried hard to distance the US from this meeting.

"It is like (the U.S.) Ambassador going to Moscow and meeting with the opposition first," said NBC News correspondent Jim Maceda, who has reported on Afghanistan for more than 20 years. "It is an example of good intentions paving the way to hell."
The delegation and ANF reported:
The ANF and the congressional delegation "call for a comprehensive intra-Afghan dialogue immediately with the support of [the] international community that would lead to the implementation of a parliamentary form of democracy with decentralization of executive power to the provinces with elected management."

The statement also called Rohrabacher "a great friend of the Afghan people" and condemned the fact he was "not permitted to enter Afghanistan because of his support for constitutional reform."

More below the fold....
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Sorry for the short diary, but just saw this on an Afghan news source.

During a visit to southern Helmand province, Gen. Allen, accompanied by Afghan High Peace Council deputy head Farhadullah Farhad, met local officials and foreign troops.
...
He added foreign troops were willing to stay beyond 2014 if the Afghans asked them to do so.
Interestingly the governor of Helmand province said he thinks they need the troops to stay.

But if you read more news it is obvious the Afghans views vary on troops leaving or not.

One thing I feel pretty confident about is the idea that our military may make a big pullout in the coming year or two, I doubt the mission will end in 2014.

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OK, so I checked into the CPAC conference on CSPAN and found Ann Coulter. I should not be surprised at what she says, and that the audience loved it, but I can't help but wonder, what century are we in anyway????

So....what she said below the fold. Thanks to Tivo I did a pretty good job transcribing. So you don't have to.

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Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 02:18 PM PST

Love my Secret Santa!

by kimoconnor

I remember one year for my company's Secret Santa event I got a calendar of the "Women of the Railroad". These women were rough looking, dirty and appeared to have toiled all day. I will admit I have never been much for the hard butch look.

But this year I have a Secret Santa that got me a lifetime subscription!
I did not expect such a thing since I am not exactly a prolific diary writer.

Well, no matter why I do want to say....

THANK YOU!

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This will be short as I am no able to find much more on this yet.

From Tolo News (Afghan media):

Homa Sultani, an Afghan MP representing Ghazni province...says..."At the moment Mullah Omar is in Afghanistan away from ISI and Pakistan. He is our guest and with us. His message is that he is ready for reconciliation and peace talks,"

She insists this is true, and is willing to face harsh punishment if she is lying.

Poll

Do you think the Afghan govt should negotiate with the Taliban?

23%6 votes
19%5 votes
11%3 votes
34%9 votes
11%3 votes

| 26 votes | Vote | Results

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Wed Jul 13, 2011 at 04:35 PM PDT

What do the Afghan people want?

by kimoconnor

When it comes to our forces and other military forces being in Afghanistan, you will be sure to get mixed feelings from Afghans regarding having us stay or leave. I doubt any poll could be done to give a truly accurate result of this view, but I have found that the more educated and urban the Afghan is, the more likely they fear the lack of the international forces. They frankly do not trust their own government or security forces.  

I can tell you about one thing the Afghans all want and that is electricity.

Despite massive amounts of money allocated to providing power to the people in the cities (I am not even counting the rural areas here) many people only get an hour or two of power per day.

Afghans have unreliable power and often use makeshift generators that are causing lots of pollution in Kabul and other towns and cities. This is an old Toyota engine rigged to be used as a generator that was in the guesthouse I stayed at.  Photo by Kim OConnor

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Wed Mar 23, 2011 at 11:31 AM PDT

Afghanistan: Negotiating Peace?

by kimoconnor

After a year in the making the Century Foundation International Task Force has released its final report on political negotiations in Afghanistan. The Task Force included many heavyweights in international diplomatic circles including Lakhdar Brahimi, the former UN representative in Afghanistan and Thomas Pickering, a former U.S. ambassador to the UN who wrote in the New York Times yesterday:

The stalemate can be resolved only with a negotiated political settlement involving President Hamid Karzai’s government and its allies, the Taliban and its supporters in Pakistan, and other regional and international parties. The United States has been holding back from direct negotiations, hoping the ground war will shift decisively in its favor. But we believe the best moment to start the process toward reconciliation is now, while force levels are near their peak.

But, who exactly on the Taliban side is willing to negotiate?

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Sat Feb 26, 2011 at 05:25 PM PST

San Francisco Rally for Libya

by kimoconnor

Today was a day for Solidarity. Solidarity with our workers here in the US and the people in Libya and elsewhere who are suffering under unbelievably horrible dictators.

Interestingly, the police did not show for the labor rally but did for this one.

DSC04021

Here is the scene today in San Francisco as hundreds joined to rally for peace and the end of Qaddafi.

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Sat Feb 26, 2011 at 04:30 PM PST

San Francisco Labor Rally pics

by kimoconnor

A few thousand (I am not good on estimating crowds) showed up on a cold but sunny day here in San Francisco in unity with Wisconsin and Labor across the nation.

My favorite picture:
DSC03984

More.....

Poll

Did you go to a rally today?

61%60 votes
25%25 votes
12%12 votes

| 97 votes | Vote | Results

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