News from the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA)
News from the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA)






Help RAWA: Order from our wish list on

RAWA Channel on Youtube

Follow RAWA on Twitter

Join RAWA on Facebook

The Sydney Morning Herald, January 29, 2011

Karzai backs infamous warlord to be speaker

Considered among the most Islamist of the warlords, he is close to Saudi Arabia and the kingdom's severe Wahhabi form of Islam

KABUL: An Afghan warlord accused of gross human rights violations and who was once close to Osama bin Laden has received the backing of the President, Hamid Karzai, for the important post of speaker of the new parliament.

Sayyaf a notorious warlord
People in Kabul showed their hatred for warlords by throwing blood on their posters during parliamentary elections of 2010. Notorious warlord Abdul Rab Rasool Sayyaf is not only safe from persecution of the crimes he committed from 1992-96 against thousands of innocent people, but is also free to participate in elections and enjoy power in the Afghan government.

To the dismay of diplomats and MPs, especially women and those from Afghanistan's ethnic Hazara community, Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf was Mr Karzai's early candidate for the speaker slot, MPs said. He has been accused of a string of atrocities during Afghanistan's civil war of the 1990s, in particular the killing of hundreds of Hazara civilians in Kabul in 1993.

The new parliament, the country's second since the Taliban regime fell in 2001, was inaugurated on Wednesday. It includes a gallery of former mujahideen warlords and guerilla commanders who have been held responsible for the deaths of thousands of civilians.

Advertisement: Story continues below One MP, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, suggested Mr Karzai wanted Mr Sayyaf as speaker to rile the West.

The opening of the parliament was itself a rebuff to Mr Karzai, who last week had ordered a month's delay to investigate allegations of vote-rigging against some MPs. Mr Karzai backed down under heavy international pressure and MPs' threat to meet in a rump session, and at Wednesday's inauguration he seemed intent on getting even, accusing the West of ''unnecessary'' interference in his country.

He called for the shutting down of provincial reconstruction teams, the civil-military hybrid units that carry out development work alongside international troops, and for parliament to ''put limits'' on the operations of foreign forces. The world has spent billions of dollars of aid, often through the reconstruction teams, and about 150,000 coalition troops are stationed in Afghanistan.

The Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Homayoun Azizi, had been campaigning behind the scenes for Mr Sayyaf, several MPs said. While most MPs think that Mr Karzai supports Mr Sayyaf to be speaker, a contest that has not officially begun, some think the President could switch to another candidate if he sees that Mr Sayyaf is unelectable.

''The hands of these people [mujahideen] are red with the blood of the Afghan people … Taliban and mujahideen are the same for me,'' said Shukria Paikan, a female parliamentarian from the northern province of Kunduz. ''It's very obvious that Karzai is supporting Sayyaf.''

Analysts and diplomats say that parliament will play an increasingly important role as the only political check on Mr Karzai, and it is likely to provide much more opposition than the first parliament did. Having an ally as speaker would give Mr Karzai a far better chance at managing the new parliament.

There is speculation he will seek changes to the constitution, including one that will allow him to stand for office again. Any peace deal with the Taliban, which Mr Karzai says he is seeking, also might require constitutional amendments, which only the parliament can pass.

''If Sayyaf is speaker, it is possible that Karzai can be president for a third time,'' said Abdul Latif Pedram, a politician from the northern province of Badakhshan. ''It's a difficult time for him, and he needs a very close ally to be speaker.''

Mr Sayyaf was an early supporter of Mr Karzai's presidency, and he remains loyal. Considered among the most Islamist of the warlords, he is close to Saudi Arabia and the kingdom's severe Wahhabi form of Islam.

His relationship with bin Laden, a Saudi, dates to the early 1980s, when both were fighting against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Mr Sayyaf is said to have been instrumental in bringing bin Laden back to Afghanistan in 1996 after he was expelled from Sudan.

Category: Warlords, HR Violations - Views: 10614


01.12.2010: Impunity prevails in Afghanistan
19.11.2010: AFGHANISTAN: NGOs call on NATO, Afghan government to stop using local militias
12.11.2010: Harper’s flip-flop on Afghanistan
09.11.2010: Australian Ties to Afghan Warlord Harms Stability, Rights Activists Say
12.10.2010: Afghan Warlords, a Larger Stability Threat Than Taliban
04.10.2010: Afghanistan nine years on
23.08.2010: Afghanistan: Land of Injustice and Warlords
23.08.2010: Afghanistan’s new war crimes museum punts on still-powerful warlords
12.08.2010: The real story behind Time’s Afghan woman cover: American complicity
14.06.2010: Danger Looms if Afghan Vice President & Warlord becomes Country’s President
14.05.2010: Victims of Afghan wars demand justice before peace
18.04.2010: “In My Father’s House They Gathered All the Women into One Room”
26.03.2010: The Bloody Hands of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar
25.03.2010: Afghan amnesty for militants draws UN condemnation
05.03.2010: ‘Afghan women lawmakers hamstrung by warlords’
27.02.2010: Afghanistan worlords’ unwelcome return
18.02.2010: Two Afghan women are publicly flogged by local warlord in Ghor
11.02.2010: Afghanistan quietly brings into force Taliban amnesty law
27.01.2010: In Afghanistan: Embracing Gulbuddin Hekmatyar Is No Method at All
17.01.2010: Dealing with brutal Afghan warlords is a mistake
17.12.2009: Warlords Re-emerging in North
14.12.2009: Canada ‘defended’ torturer
31.10.2009: NATO forces turn to warlords
10.07.2009: U.S. Said to Have Averted Inquiry Into ’01 Afghan Killings
06.06.2009: The U.S. and the Afghan Tragedy
10.05.2009: Karzai in move to share power with Hekmatyar, warlord wanted by US
04.05.2009: Karzai ignored UN pleas, named notorious warlord as vice president
27.02.2009: Western officials, Taliban engaged in secret talks
01.01.2009: A Day Afghans Will Always Remember
16.12.2008: From the CIA to the ISI to the Lashkar-e-Taiba: Mumbai Terror’s Afghan Roots
12.12.2008: As possible Afghan war-crimes evidence removed, US silent
11.07.2008: Afghan Warlords, Formerly Backed By the CIA, Now Turn Their Guns On U.S. Troops
03.06.2008: Connection of Some Afghan Authorities with Armed Groups
30.05.2008: Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s spokesman and son-in-law freed in Kabul
16.04.2008: Afghan parliament committee drafts Taliban-style moral law
11.03.2008: Warlord under siege after 'kidnap and torture' of former ally
19.02.2008: Feared Afghan strongman suspended from government post
08.02.2008: Waiting for justice
06.02.2008: Northern Warlord Flexes His Muscles
03.02.2008: Former Warlord in Standoff With Police at Kabul Home
10.01.2008: America's great game: The 2001 invasion was planned before 9/11
23.11.2007: Ex-commanders warn of dire consequences if ignored
19.11.2007: 1.1 Million Dollar Contact of Canadian Military with a Company of Infamous Warlord
19.11.2007: Afghan boy dancers sexually abused by former warlords
08.11.2007: Warlords no better than Taliban, says Afghan MP
03.11.2007: Afghan criminals and warlords
28.10.2007: Afghan Ex-Militia Leaders Hoard Illegal Arms
26.10.2007: Yunus Qanooni: Friend or Foe of Democracy in Afghanistan?
18.10.2007: Strongman's Reign of Fear in the Northern Afghanistan
13.09.2007: For residents of the northern province of Takhar, there are worse things than the Taliban
29.04.2007: Afghan amnesty shows warlord's clout
16.03.2007: From frying pan to the fire
27.02.2007: 2,000 illegal armed groups active in northern Afghanistan
20.02.2007: The Upper House of Parliament Approve Amnesty For War Criminals
02.02.2007: UN opposes Afghanistan bill giving immunity to war criminals
01.02.2007: Afghan assembly grants immunity for war crimes
08.01.2007: Dostum accused for insecurity in Jawzjan, Faryab
05.05.2006: US not interested in peace in Afghanistan: Kathy Gannon
06.04.2006: Hezb-e-Islami of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has 34 members in the lower house of parliament


Most Viewed