RAWA’s response to “The Afghanistan Miracle”
published in The Seattle Times (October 4, 2005) by Diane Tebelius

The “Miracle” or a Mockery of Afghanistan?

Ms. Diane Tebelius, Republican congressional candidate and observer in the Afghan elections sponsored by the International Republican Institute, is perhaps the first election observer in Afghanistan who wasted no time to communicate her impression in The Seattle Times of October 4, 2005.

A few days ago Ms. Tebelius returned to the United States from Kabul, I am writing these notes as a response to her dreadful article from inside my trampled country. As a member of RAWA, I had to be in several provinces to meet as many people as possible regarding the elections. Tebelius can enjoy the luxury of sitting in her house and so easily call the disgusting mockery of an election “the miracle of Afghanistan”, while I am crying from among the people in the hell of the Taliban and Northern Alliance (NA) terrorists and their “westernized” accomplices. Tebelius and other election observers with their bullet-proofs and body guards were in the hands of the American soldiers and Afghan agents. She might have been told about “swift spreading democracy”, “prosperity”, “complete security” and other “miracles” in our land of warlords and payees of foreign powers. On the other hand since she was selected by the U.S. government that brought Karzai and the Northern Alliance to the scene, it comes as no surprise she is not calling a spade a spade.

One of her miraculous statements is: “The Afghan people see Americans as liberators.”

A distorted proclamation! As we have repeatedly asserted and shown, all of the fundamentalist bands including Taliban were created, funded, and trained by the CIA turning a blind eye to the higher interest of the Afghan people and to the consequence of such sinister support to the fate of freedom and democracy in our country. Thus, the US war on the Taliban is nothing but a family fracas between the father and his rogue children. The US started the fracas by not replacing religious tyranny with democracy, by not relying on the people, but rather by siding with the NA, the very worst enemies of our people. It goes without saying that Afghans will not see as their “liberators” those who drove the Taliban wolves through one door and unchained the rabid dogs of the NA through another. How a nation “sees as liberators” those who have blown to shred not the terrorists but thousands of innocents? How can simple Afghans “see Americans as liberators” while the “liberators” are going to woo their men in the government and in the parliament to approve the establishment of the US bases on our soil for decades, which obviously goes contrary to the independence of the country? Our people say that if Americans were their liberators, they should have not allowed about 200 criminals and arch enemies of democracy to pave their way to the parliament and provincial council. After four years the people see that the “liberators'” promises for them were all lies. And bear it in mind, Ms. Tebelius, that our ruined people have no doubt that those with the disgraceful stories of Abu Ghraib cannot be their “liberators”. Do we need to recite abuses of the “liberators” in Afghanistan?

Even high-salaried government spokespersons do not have the courage to utter such nonsense openly before the people of Afghanistan. But Ms. Tebelius as a U.S. agent and good friend of one of the two most corrupt governments in Asia can and has to throw dust in the eyes of Americans.

Now let’s see more of her “miraculous” words: “I am convinced, now more than ever, that spreading of democracy is the only long-term strategy to defeat global terrorism.”

Nice maxim! But were Americans or Karzai & Co. “spreading democracy” since 2001? After 9/11 when the U.S. resorted to bomb our wounded country and take the lives of several thousands innocent civilians it helped the bloodthirsty NA seize power. The NA is comprised of those millionaire rapists busy in the opium trade under the very nose of the US troops. They are the people behind the insecurity, kidnappings, embezzlement of billions of dollars of foreign aids, injustices, anti-women constraints, covering up of the day light murders, and so on and so forth.

They include the likes of Dr Abdullah, Younis Qanooni, Zia Massud, Karim Khalili, Burhanuddin Rabbani, Mohaqiq, Sarwar Danish, Ms. Mosouda Jalal, Nematullah Shahrani, Ismail Khan, Ms. Sediqa Balkhi, Rasul Sayyaf, Ikram Masoomi, Rashid Dostum, Mullah Fazil Hadi Shinwari, Ms. Amena Afzali and others are stained with the blood of tens of thousands of Kabul residents. All of these ladies and gentlemen have the disgraceful scar of inhuman brutalities against our people in the blackest years of 1992-1996. They are “our” ministers, vice presidents and advisors to the president. Most of the Afghan ambassadors, governors, secretaries and other high ranking officials are also affiliated with NA mafia.

Don’t you know them, Ms. Tebelius? Just months ago The New York Times and The Los Angles Times named some of them including one of Karzai's brothers. Of course Human Right Watch (HRW) and other organizations have disclosed many more names. However, you Ms. Tebelius are making painstaking efforts to portray these criminals and spies as honorable persons under whose rule “democracy” will “spread” and an electoral “miracle” has already been performed! In any case, as one living in Afghanistan I shall mention the following parts of the “miracle” which obviously show only the tip of the iceberg:

- For the presidential election about 70 percent of eligible voters went to the polls. The real figure of the turnout at the “miraculous” elections however is less the 40 percent and in some areas even lower than 30 percent.

- A report by the HRW stated: “In addition to fear of Taliban and other insurgent forces, found primarily in the south and southeast, many voters and candidates voiced concerns to Human Right Watch about their sense of vulnerability at the hands of warlords forces, de facto or official militia forces ostensibly allied with the government:

“Across the country, candidates and political organizers complained to Human Right Watch of cases in which local commanders or strongmen, or local government officials linked with them have held meeting in which they have told voters and community leaders for whom to vote. In some cases, candidates and their supporters allege that direct threats have been communicated.” [1]

- Filthy figures of the Taliban including their foreign minister and the head of their dreaded religious secret police, notorious for executing and abusing thousands of men and women, criminals figures of the infamous terrorist band of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, high level members of the Soviet backed puppet regime were allowed to stand as candidates, a major factor of disappointment of people to go to the polls.

A conservative EU observer mission said shortcomings during the campaign included intimidation, intervention by officials, inadequate voter lists and “deplorable” killing of candidates and election workers.

- The so-called Electoral Complaints Commission received hundreds of notes about crimes of the fundamentalist leaders, but except some scapegoats, none of them were disqualified. And you know Ms. Tebelius who is the head of the Commission? Bismullah Bismil, an infamous fundamentalist and close relative of Ismail Khan!

- Different kinds of rigging were so blatant that even pro-government and pro-fundamentalist papers couldn’t help but to hint at them.

- In many districts no women could participate in the elections due to security problems. Nevertheless thousands of votes of the women were somehow managed to be cast into the ballot boxes.

- Anti-fundamentalist and anti-government candidates of the parliament and provincial councils of Kapisa Province issued a joint statement condemning irregularities in the elections, desisted from campaign.

- In all areas under the warlords, tens of thousands of ballots have been marked in favor of certain candidates and youth under the age of 18 were brought to vote.

- Ballot boxes were kept for 48 hours or more before being transferred to the polling stations.

- Ms. Shokria Barekzai a participant from Kabul alleged that just in front of her own eyes, ten votes for her were cast for another candidate.

- In Kunduz province, 260,000 votes were cast, but 6,000 of them were excluded in favor of a pro-fundamentalist candidate.

- In some ballots, voters had written words like “he is a murderer”, “he is a bandit”, “he is a foreign agent”, “He is a Talib”, etc. against some candidates, but they were all counted as valid votes.

- Thousands of votes for independent candidates were burnt and thousands of fake votes were cast for the pro-fundamentalists/ pro-Karzai candidates.

- Supervisors and vote counters were forbidden to carry pens. But during a check in a polling center in Nangarhar province, more than 200 pens were found from the mentioned workers. When I asked a middle-aged teacher which candidates is her favorite, she replied: “How can I vote for Engineer Ghaffar, or Hazarat Ali and the like who have blood on their hands?”

- In a constituency in Paktia province, the number of voters was ten thousand, but at least twenty thousands ballots were cast there.. A 30- year-old man from Paktia who was not willing to vote told me: “When I see a traitor like General Shahnawaz Tanai that is so openly is active in election campaign, I can understand how anti-democratic and ridiculous the present election is.”

- In Farah province, Naim Khan Farahi, the biggest landlord of the province, directly backed by the government, by the United Nations’ UNAMA and his gunmen became the “first winner” by committing every kind of irregularity. A nephew of this person is the head of UNAMA in Farah. In Farahrod district another nephew of his (Zabet Jalil) was forcing people by use of his armed henchmen to vote for his uncle.

- Most of the people in Farah are of the opinion that if there were not so much fraud in the elections; Malaali Joya would have garnered at least fifty percent of all votes.

- As in Herat and Nimroz provinces, the regime of Iran had also a hand in Farah. Its intelligence agencies gave 100 millions Toman (about $117,000) to Haji Taimor Shah. His huge color posters were unmatched by others.

- nmatched nt, UNAMA and his gun The stink of the elections spread so wide that even the terrorist Al-Zawahiri talked about them in his statement of 20 September: “The election have been conducted under the terror of [Afghan] warlords. The elections were a masquerade more than anything else, as various regions of the country are under the control of highway men and warlords, and international observers …even the ballot boxes remained in the hands of warlords, bandits and the US agents before they were deposited at the polling centers.”

To get another idea about the scale of corruption and the Karzai regime, we draw your attention to a confidential document recently disclosed by Dr. Ramazan Bashardost. As soon as Dr Bashardost was assigned as the minister of planning he tried to stop activities of 2,000 suspicious and money-maker NGOs, but was soon forced to resign. According to the document, presidents' spokesperson, ministers and high ranking officials, in addition of other allowances get up to $36,000 annually from a British company. Whereas the disabled get $6 and ordinary government employees get $60 per month only.

The overwhelming corruption has risen to the highest organs. “The President had asked me to assume the responsibility of the Administration of Fight against Corruption,” says Bashardost, “I however told him that I would undertake it provided to start from the Presidential Palace.”

In an interview with Reuters on Aug.30, 2005, he says:

"Government members, the NGOs, the big embassy staff, the United Nations staff ... they made a mafia system and you can see the result." [2]

"We received about $12 billion since three years, where is the money?" he said, referring to international aid since the overthrow of the Taliban in late 2001.”

"The Afghan people are against warlords, why does the international community, why does the Afghan government supports warlords?"

"In the provinces, all governors are former warlords, all chiefs of police, and the Afghan people don't accept this situation."

- And so on.

It is not difficult to predict what will be the result of the “miracle” election about which you take comfort. A parliament filled with the most cruel, misogynist, anti-democracy, and reactionary fundamentalists headed by such disgusting drug traders as Sayyaf, Qanoni, Rabbani, Mohaqqiq, Pairam Qul, Hazrat Ali, and their likes. These U.S. backed religious fascists will never “spread democracy”, but rather try to “legitimate” and perpetuate their bloody domination on our people by sitting in the legislature as “lawmakers”.

Ms. Tebelius, anybody who wants to be regarded as a friend of the people of Afghanistan and not of the present regime, she/he has to expose the fundamentalists and their dangerous agenda and avoid to dance to the tune of the US government or its blue-eyed boys in Afghanistan. As Aldous Huxley wrote, “The propagandist’s purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human”. Please don’t play the role of a propagandist.

Moreover by naming the most scandalous elections in the world “the miracle of Afghanistan”, you have insulted millions of Afghans who didn’t vote for the murderers of their beloved ones. Can’t you feel how painful and disgusting it is to propagate such nonsense?

We hope to recognize you in the future as a sincere friend of our people.

Mehmooda Shekiba, RAWA
October 25, 2005

Mehmooda Sheikiba is an activist of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) who has worked in the publications committee of RAWA during the past five years.


1- Human Rights Watch Backgrounder, “Key Areas of Concern. The Threat from Taliban and other Insurgent Forces” (August 2005)

2- From Robert Birsel, “Afghan Former Minister Takes Aim at ‘Mafia System’,” Reuters (August 30, 2005 at 3:53 AM ET) at http://today.reuters.com/News/CrisesArticle.aspx?storyId=ISL51261

The Afghanistan Miracle

The Seattle Times (October 4, 2005)
by Diane Tebelius

Having just returned from Kabul, where I served as an election observer from the United States to Afghanistan's parliamentary elections, I am convinced, now more than ever, that spreading democracy is the only long-term strategy to defeat global terrorism.

I have witnessed firsthand the "miracle" of Afghanistan. The Afghan people see Americans as liberators and welcome our support, but our delegation never left the hotel without a security detail or our 30-pound bulletproof vests. And that is the picture that is painted in Afghanistan — the hope of democracy, shaded by the uncertainty of terrorism.

For the historic parliamentary elections, men and women, old and young, defied the ongoing threats from Taliban holdouts and voted for a future free from oppression and violence. Nearly 6,000 candidates ran for the 249 seats in the National Assembly and for the 34 provincial councils.

Because the illiteracy rates are high — 80 percent of the women, due in part to the Taliban's policy of denying women access to education, and 50 percent for men — the ballots included the picture of the candidate and a symbol for that candidate. And because there were more candidates than recognizable symbols, the candidates had symbols such as "one lion"; "two lions"; and even "three lions." Posters spread about the city before the election identified each candidate by their respective symbol.

What struck me about these candidates were the issues they talked about: the same issues we find in our own public debates in Washington state. Transportation, safety and jobs headlined the different campaigns. However, unlike our state, where we debate millions of dollars to expand freeways or add bus lanes, Afghans just want the roads paved.

Infrastructure, economic opportunity, public safety and education must exist within the context of a free society. A prosperous and free people will not strap bombs to themselves and blow up innocent women and children for any cause.

In debating the "roots" of terrorism, you can talk about programs. to help the poor, or debt relief, or diplomatic relations. But if the words "we the people," or "the emancipation of women," or "respect for the rule of law," have no meaning, then there is only tyranny.

The women selling their wares on the streets of Kabul can now walk freely about without fear of being beaten if they are not covered from head to foot. The women who once were prisoners in their own homes because it was against the law to be seen in public without a man now joyfully take their daughters to school.

There, too, lies a key to fighting terrorism. Surveys of Muslims that were conducted after the July bombings in London found that women, by a large margin, were much less sympathetic to the ideology of terrorism than were the men.

Free the women, and you begin to safeguard future generations from the snares of Osama bin Laden and his culture of hatred and death.

But building democracy and the institutions that serve the common good and protect individual rights, means you can never escape the uncertainty.

The story of Afghanistan, and other emerging democracies around the world, should inspire us to stay the course. America and the free countries of this world must continue to provide aid and, yes, even military support to the peoples of Afghanistan.

My most memorable moment involved meeting a young lady who had lost her father in the civil wars. She and her mother and brother had fled to Pakistan, and then returned when the Taliban took control. They were forced to leave again when she was told she could not attend school or even work. I asked her why she and her family chose to return after the Taliban's ouster, despite the uncertainty. "Because I love my country," was her heartfelt response.

This is the hope and future of Afghanistan. With the world's continued support, Afghans will succeed, terrorism will be defeated in that country, and the world will be safer.

Diane Tebelius, a former federal prosecutor and Republican congressional candidate, is an attorney in Seattle. She served as an observer in the Afghanistan elections under the sponsorship of the International Republican Institute, a nonprofit organization promoting the growth of freedom and human rights globally. IRI is not affiliated with the Republican Party; it receives some funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development.