Ashraf Ghani is part of our shame!

Full video interview is here at DW.DE News 

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani says women’s rights are a priority commitment. But how is he planning on ensuring them and how will he fight corruption, security threats and human rights violations in his country?

2015 has been a tough year for Afghanistan. In the first eight months alone, the country saw a spike in the number of civilian casualties and 120,000 Afghans fleeing the country to seek asylum abroad,accordingto the United Nations.

In an exclusive interview with DW, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani described the year of 2015 as “one of the most difficult years, if not even the most difficult year of the last 15 years.”

When asked if things could get worse, the president said it depends on how much regional cooperation Afghanistan could achieve. Ghani said cooperation with neighboring Paksitan was also crucial.

“Sovereignty of Afghanistan must be accepted categorically by Pakistan so that we can move forward.”

Women’s rights a top priority

According to Ghani, women’s rights are a top priority for him. “As long as I am president, the rights of women will be protected,” he said.

When confronted with a photograph published by Human Rights Watch showing a 22-year-old Afghan woman who was sentenced to 100 lashes after being accused of sex outside marriage, Ghani held up the photo and said:

“This is part of our shame. We have inherited situations that are shameful, that are absolutely despicable.”

Government-affiliated militia groups violate human rights

Abuse of women isn’t the only problem Afghanistan is facing. According to a report by the United Nations from August 2015, local and national militia groups carried out deliberate killings, assaults, extortion, intimidation and property theft with the backing of the government.

But Ghani rejected these accusations in the interview, saying: “We don’t have militias.”

The 65-year-old president, who assumed office in September 2014, then admitted that local police behaved like militias prior to his inauguration, saying the government has “taken systematic measures” to deal with the issue and to remove the powerful political protection these groups have had in the first six months of 2015.

Ashraf Ghani im Interview für DW
It’s part of our shame !

“This is our shame,” Ghani said, holding up a picture of an Afghan woman being lashed

“We’ve had a difficult legacy of 40 years, and cleaning up is not going to be a one day job. But we are engaged in a systematic effort, we have not allowed formation of new militia groups, and we are reforming the local police systematically so that there won’t be abuse,” Ghani said.

Dealing with impunity and corruption

Reforming local police also means dealing with corruption, Ghani added in the interview.

“The Kabul Bank case that became the emblem of impunity has been dealt with. We’ve already collected 450 million dollars out of the 800 million dollars that was stolen from the public purse.”

But just one month ago, the former CEO of Kabul Bank, Khalilullah Frozi, who was supposed to be serving a 15 years sentence for fraud, was released from prison and seen smiling with government officials.

Ghani said he was shocked to see the man free. “My shock didn’t turn into anger, but into action. And it sent a very strong signal that I will not tolerate it. (…) He’s back in prison, in solitary confinement and under close attention.”

Ashraf Ghani im Interview für DW“We’ve had a difficult legacy for 40 years and cleaning up is not going to be a one day job,” Ghani told Tim Sebastian

Afghanistan’s president added that he’s also dismissed the officials that were involved in the scandal and has ordered a full inquiry to deal with the case.

Economic instability and global threats

Since Ghani was elected, polls show many Afghans losing confidence in where their country is headed. According to a poll conducted by the Asia Foundation, 54 percent of those surveyed in 2014 thought the country was going in the right direction. This year that figure dropped to just 36 percent.

Ghani explains this loss of confidence from his people with the economic challenges Afghanistan is facing.

“We’ve had to deal with an economic transition cost by the departure of over 600,000 troops and contractors that were the most important consumers and spenders in the country. We’ve had to impose an austerity program because the promises of the Afghan government to the national community were not credible.”

Urging Afghanistan’s elite to make the most of opportunities at home

What doesn’t help Afghanistan’s economy is the fact that the families of elite leaders often live abroad, such as the families of Ghani’s vice presidents, who live in Turkey and Iran, and the family of Ghani’s chief executive, who lives in India. In fact, the families of the top cabinet ministers, presidential advisers and deputy ministers all live outside of the country.

In the interview with DW, Ghani urged Afghanistan’s elite to make the most of opportunities at home rather than moving abroad.

Österreich Flüchtlinge bei Mistlberg an der Grenze zu DeutschlandAccording to German authorities, some 31,000 Afghans arrived this year through October

“The privileged elites are part of the globalization moment that we live in. What is significant is to create opportunities for the generations to come. If the families of the privileged live abroad they are not going to have careers abroad. Their careers are back in Afghanistan. (…) If they live abroad they become dishwashers. They don’t become part of the middle class.”

Ghani himself, however, did rather well when living abroad in the United States, completing a doctorate in anthropology and becoming a professor at Johns Hopkins University before returning to Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban.

Confronted with this fact, Ghani said: “The minute opportunity was created in 2001 I returned. I hope that the new generation of our friends will have the same sense of patriotism and respond to the conditions of our country.”

The president said he was hopeful the Afghan people would succeed in dealing with the numerous issues the country is facing.

“We are a free society, we engage in debate, and that is our characteristic.” Ghani said. “Our job is to heal and to move forward. Not to perpetuate, not to get poked down.”

Refugee crisis: The 105-year-old Afghan woman struggling to find asylum in Europe

Bibhali Uzbeki has spent a large amount of her journey from Afghanistan on the back of her 67-year-old son!

Bibihal Uzbeki, 105, from Kunduz, Afghanistan, rests in Croatia's main refugee camp at Opatovac, Croatia, near the border with Serbia AP
Bibihal Uzbeki, 105, from Kunduz, Afghanistan, rests in Croatia’s main refugee camp at Opatovac, Croatia, near the border with Serbia AP

There are few refugees as remarkable as Bibihal Uzbeki. The 105-year-old woman has made an arduous journey to Europe in search of a better life, often carried on the back of her 67-year-old son and her teenage grandson due to her fragile health.

“We had problems many times. I suffered a lot,” she told a reporter from the Associated Press in Croatia. “I fell and injured my head. I have scars on my head.”

However, Uzbeki’s path to a new life in Europe is going to face a serious complication: She’s from Afghanistan.

Uzbeki and her family are just a small part of an enormous movement of people from Afghanistan who have fled to Europe this year, most of whom have traveled via Turkey and onwards on what has been called the “Black Route.” Afghans make up about 20 percent of the 560,000-plus arrivals by sea that Greece has seen in 2015, second only to Syrians fleeing their country’s civil war. There are more than three times as many Afghans asylum-seekers as from the next-largest group, Iraqis.

While the majority of Syrians and Iraqis are accepted as refugees in Europe, would-be refugees from Afghanistan face a more unpredictable response from European authorities. In a recently released report, the European Asylum Support Office, a European Union agency designed to help coordinate asylum practices, had found that Afghan asylum seekers faced a wide variation in rates of acceptance across member states.

Even Germany, with its reputation for openness to refugees, has a complicated stance on Afghans. On Wednesday, Germany announced that Afghans who apply for asylum in the country would most likely be sent back home. The number of Afghans coming to Europe had created an “unacceptable” situation, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told reporters, adding that many were members of the middle class who “should remain and help build the country up.”

While  Germany had allowed failed Afghan asylum seekers to remain in the country in the past, officials now favor deportation. According to a report published Sunday in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany has called on the European Commission to help negotiate a readmission agreement with Afghanistan that would allow more of the asylum seekers to be sent back to their homeland. The newspaper wrote that the Interior Ministry no longer felt that the situation in Afghanistan was similar to that of Syria, and that Afghans could be deported back to Kabul or other safe areas of the country.

“Many European governments increasingly argue that if a person is only likely to face serious harm in one part of the country, then they should move to a safe part of that country rather than seek asylum,” Alexander Betts, director of the Refugee Studies Center at Oxford University, says. “It is a very worrying practice with implications for many Afghans.”

Afghanistan’s refugee crisis has been around a long time. You can trace its roots to the 1980s, when about 5 million Afghans fled a war that broke out with the Soviet invasion. Most headed to neighboring Pakistan and Iran. It was only after 2002 that these refugees began to head home, but many found that return difficult. Some ended up internally displaced, others elected to leave the country again.

Liza Schuster, a sociologist from City University in London who studies Afghan asylum seekers, says that over the past year, there has been a growing sense in Afghanistan that things are never going to get better. She points to disappointment in the economy since the election of President Ashraf Ghani last September and a growing feeling of danger due to a continued Taliban insurgency and a new Islamic State one.

“The feeling is that after 15 years, very little progress has been made,” Schuster says. “It doesn’t matter that in reality some progress has been made. The feeling is that we’re slipping backward fast. Hope is shriveling up.”

Afghan refugees in Pakistan are also part of the new surge of Afghans trying to reach Europe. Many are concerned that Pakistan’s limited tolerance of their communities is coming to an end, and they are willing to risk a journey to Europe rather than a return to a chaotic and troubled Afghanistan. Some are of the Hazara Shia minority who have legitimate concerns about violence from the Taliban.

Despite the very real problems Afghans faces at home, over the past year, their plight has been overshadowed by the situations in a number of other countries.

In a meeting with Washington Post editors this week, Antonio Guterres, the United Nations high commissioner for Refugees, said that while Syrians, Iraqis and Eritreans would be included in a new program being established by the European Union to process asylum-seekers landing in Greece, Afghans would face a “more complex situation” and would not be automatically assumed to have legitimate asylum claims.

According to Betts, part of the problem is that Afghans represent an uncomfortable grey area for Europe. While many do not meet the full definition of a refugee, they are not really economic migrants either. “We collectively lack an institutional framework to respond to the needs of people who flee fragile states such as Afghanistan, Libya and Yemen but who are not refugees,” Betts says.

While some Afghan leaders have pleaded for refugees to stay in the country, warning of a potential “brain drain,” others have expressed sympathy for their plight and asked Western states to be more accepting. In an interview with Deutsche Welle, Afghan Minister of Refugees and Repatriations Sayed Hussian Alimi Balkhi said that the security situation in Afghanistan was getting worse and that he had been urging E.U. states to take in more Afghan refugees and stop deporting failed asylum seekers.

The complicated situation may create big problems for would-be Afghan refugees in the future. The Uzbeki family are hoping to make it to Sweden, a country that has deported Afghans – against the Afghan government’s wishes – very recently. Each asylum case is judged on its own merits, however, and Bibihal Uzbeki’s age may well help her case. “Anything is possible,” Schuster says.

Source: Independent 

‘Afghan family’ among those deported from Sweden ..

Writen by Abdul Ghafoor

around 20 Afghan refugees deported from Sweden arrived at Kabul international Airport today. This is the 4th Mass deportation from Sweden in the past few months. However there have not been many cases were families are deported. But this deportations includes a family of 5 with 3 children .
In a telephonic interviews with Reza’ head of the family who was deported from Sweden yesterday’ confirmed that they were around 20 people but he still didn’t know the exact number of people deported with him in the plane. Reza and the family now lives in Afghan refugee receiving center Jangalak. They are accompanied with some other guys who were deported in the same plane.
According to Ahmad Zaki Khalil, Refugee right activist from Sweden. Reza and his family were arrested from their home early morning of 9th December and transferred to another city by a small charter plane to join other Afghan refugees facing deportation
Zaki says; they were still waiting for the answer to Reza’s case, they had submitted and appeal for Reza’s case. but unfortunately Swedish police had brutally entered their home one early morning and detained and deported them back to Afghanistan ‘ before they get and answer to their appeal
Things were not so normal also in Kabul today as deportees from Sweden were welcomed by a suicide attack/car bomb in the Airport. Today 8 AM in the morning a blast was heard in Kabul international airport.
Security condition in Afghanistan in General and in specifically in Kabul is getting worse Which rises a question from those who send people back to such danger.Whether they don’t see such danger? or are they putting a blindfold on their eyes and ignoring all the realities in the ground!!!

9 Afghan asylum seekers deported from Sweden will arrive at Kabul international airport today…

Written by: Basir seerat and Translated by Abdul Ghafoor

From past few days news was circulating on social media about force deportation on 9 Afghan Asylum seekers from Sweden, but today police had used force against Activist groups who were demonstrating in front of the detention center to stop the deportation,

According to reports it won’t be only 9 Asylum seekers from Sweden arriving at Kabul Airport, but it will near to 30 asylum seekers arriving at Kabul International Airport today.

Activists were chanting slogans against deportation of Afghan asylum seekers back to Afghanistan. they were saying it is shameful for the Swedish police to send people back to a war torn country. which has not seen stability for more than three decades, and is still battling for peace .

Refugee rights activists say; Swedish police has bribed Afghan police authorities of Kabul International Airport to accept the deportees from Sweden, They say; those are being deported have no documents or passports, and Afghan police are receiving deportees from all over the world without any proper documentation.

Afghanistan ranks first in corruption in the world. and from the other hand they get bribery from Swedish Police to receive deportees sent back to Afghanistan.

Today in a meeting with deportees at the detention center. almost 7 of them had not been contacted by any lawyer or gone to any court.

I also contacted Afghan Embassy in Norway, and they did not even know about this happening. IOM also has confirmed to Swedish refugee activist group (far) that only two of them being deported are registered by IOM and they will be sent back to Afghanistan with proper documentations and legally. however the others will be sent illegally.

According to reports Swedish refugee right groups and activists are planning to organize a demonstration against the force deportation and Swedish police authorities for deporting people by force. The demo is planned to take place on 20th September 2013. Meanwhile another conference will be held in Stockholm university and the agenda of the conference will on migration to west. Two Afghan speakers also will represent Afghans in the conference.

Corruption is now a usual trade in Afghanistan, but foreign countries paying Afghanistan bribe to receive deportees is some thing new which activists are concerned about.