Deutsche Fotografin in Afghanistan getötet

Waslat Hasrat-Nazimi, Kabul

Die deutsche Foto-Reporterin Anja Niedringhaus ist einen Tag vor den Präsidentschaftswahlen von einem Attentäter erschossen worden, ihre kanadische Kollegin Kathy Gannon wurde schwer verletzt.

Zerstörtes Auto der Kriegsfotografin Anja Niedringhaus nach dem Attantat (Foto: DW)

Das Attentat ereignete sich nach Angaben des Polizeisprechers der östlichen Provinz Chost, Mubarez Mohammad Zadran, auf dem Gelände eines Kontrollpostens der Polizei. Ein Polizist eröffnete das Feuer auf beiden Journalistinnen, die für die Nachrichtenagentur AP unterwegs waren, während sie im Auto auf dem Rücksitz (s. Artikelbild) saßen. Der Täter hat sich Agenturberichten zufolge gestellt und wird verhört. Das Auto der beiden Frauen gehörte zu einem Konvoi mit weiteren Fahrzeugen, die Wahlzettel an Wahllokale ausliefern sollten, wie der Vizegouverneur der Provinz, Abdul Wahed Pathan, der Deutschen Welle bestätigte.

Der Attentäter habe nach eigener Aussage Rache nehmen wollen für einen Angriff der internationalen Truppen vor einem Jahr im Bezirk Ghorband in Parwan, der Heimat des Polizisten. Der Vizegouverneur äußerte die Vermutung, dass es sich jedoch nicht um einen isolierten Racheakt gehandelt habe, sondern dass die extremistische Haqqani-Gruppe dahinter stecke. Continue reading

Acclaimed German journalist killed in Afghanistan

Waslat Hasrat-Nazimi, Kabul

The renowned German photojournalist Anja Niedringhaus has been shot dead in Afghanistan, just a day before the presidential elections in the war-torn country. Her Canadian colleague, Kathy Gannon, was seriously injured.

 The side of attack on Anja Niedringhaus the German war photographer of AP, who killed in gun shot on Friday 04 April 2014 in Khost province of Afghanistan. according to Afghan official Kathy Gannon, the reporter of AP is also seriously injured.

The attack took place on April 4 inside a heavily guarded district compound in the eastern province of Khost, according to police spokesperson Mobarez Mohammad Zadran. A man dressed in a police uniform opened fire on the two Associated Press journalists seated in the back of a car. The offender has been reportedly arrested and is currently being interrogated. The car in which the two women were travelling belonged to a convoy of election workers delivering ballots to polling stations, Abdul Wahed Pathan, the province’s deputy governor, told DW.

Killer wanted revenge

By the assassin’s own admission, he wanted to take revenge for an attack carried out by international forces a year ago in the district Ghorband in Parwan, the attacker’s home province. The deputy governor, however, said he believed this was not an isolated act of revenge and that the extremist Haqqani terror network was behind the attack. Continue reading

Football hero wants to ‘give youngsters hope’

Mansur Faqiryar has been hailed as a hero in Afghanistan ever since he won the South Asia Football Federation Championship with the Afghan national team. Moved by the euphoria, the German says he wants to achieve more.

Mansur Faqiryar, the most popular sportsman in Afghanistan, lives in Germany. He moved to Germany at a young age with his parents, who migrated to escape the horrors of the Afghan civil war. He has been playing football ever since he was a child.

The now 28-year-old is team captain of the VfB Oldenburg and is also studying engineering economics at the University of Bremen. Faqiryar was recently voted “northern sportsman of the year” by visitors of the Northern German Broadcasting Corporation’s (NDR) website.

Being a German national who has had a successful career in Germany so far, why did you decide to play for the Afghan national football team?

Mansur Faqiryar: To be honest, I believe I am just not good enough a player to make it to the German national team. Germany has always had great goalkeepers. I have long been aware of this, so I just jumped at the opportunity I was offered. In 2007 and 2008, a German training the Afghan national team said he wanted to bring in more foreign players to the country. This is how the first contact was established. Continue reading

Sima Samar: “Nachhaltige Fortschritte”

Die Situation der Frauen Afghanistan habe sich seit 2001 verbessert, sagt Sima Samar, Menschenrechtsaktivistin und Trägerin des Alternativen Nobelpreises im DW-Interview. Aber wie geht es nach 2014 weiter?

DW: Was ist seit der Niederschlagung der Taliban-Herrschaft im Jahr 2001 im Bereich der Menschenrechte und der Frauenrechte erreicht worden?

Sima Samar: Wir haben in dieser Zeit mit Unterstützung der internationalen Gemeinschaft viel erreicht in Sachen Frauen- und Menschenrechte. Unter den Taliban war Schulunterricht für Mädchen verboten, jetzt gehen drei Millionen Mädchen zur Schule. Natürlich haben immer noch nicht alle Mädchen Zugang zur Schulbildung, aber doch viele.

Auch bei der Gesundheitsversorgung haben wir Fortschritte gemacht, wenn sie auch nicht in allen Gegenden des Landes zur Verfügung steht und nicht alle Männer und Frauen Zugang zu adäquater medizinischer Versorgung haben.

Große Fortschritte gibt es bei der Meinungsfreiheit. Heute haben wir eine blühende Medienlandschaft in Afghanistan, offener und freier als in unseren Nachbarländern. Auch die Existenz der Menschrechtskommission ist in sich eine Errungenschaft, die Kommission leistet angesichts der schwierigen Lage hervorragende Arbeit.

Glauben Sie, dass diese Entwicklungen auch in Zukunft aufrecht erhalten werden können?

Dies sind unsere größten Errungenschaften der vergangenen elf Jahre. Ich bin zuversichtlich, dass sie von Dauer sei werden, weil die Menschen sich dieser Errungenschaften und ihrer Rechte bewusst sind und sie verteidigen werden. Continue reading

‘Awareness will improve women’s rights’

Women’s rights have improved considerably in Afghanistan since 2001, Sima Samar, Afghan Alternative Nobel Prize laureate tells DW. But the question is, how will the trend develop after NATO leaves in 2014?

What has been done so far since 2001 for human rights in Afghanistan and for women’s rights? What do you think are sustainable improvements?

First of all, we achieved a lot after 2002 with the involvement of the international community in human rights and women’s rights in general. Looking at education, education for girls was officially banned during the Taliban, but now there are more than 3 Million girls who go to school. Of course, not all girls have access to education, but a lot of them do have access.

If you look at access to health services as a basic human right, there has also been improvement, but again it doesn’t exist in every corner of the country and not every Afghan man and especially not every Afghan woman has access to quality health services.

Freedom of expression has improved a lot, which is a basic human right. Media is really flourishing in Afghanistan; it is now much more open and free than in our neighbouring countries. The existence of the human rights commission itself is an achievement. Although the situation is so difficult, the commission is very strong and it is doing exceptional work given the complex situation. These are the greatest achievements we have had in the last eleven years. I think due to the awareness among the people, those achievements will be sustainable, because once the people know about their rights, they will defend them. Continue reading

My Grandmother, the Child Bride

“Waslat! Tell your cousin to move his head away from your shoulder or I’ll pick his eyes out” she yells at me. The lights have gone out in Kabul and it is dark in our apartment. With her long white hair and fair complexion, she reminds me of a ghost. Her milky, see-through headscarf intensifies her eerie aura. I immediately freeze at her sight and stare at her. My little cousin moves away quick like a weasel. He nods and says: “Yes, Bibi jaan.” While I still ask myself why my 11 years old male cousin is not allowed to come close to me, she searches the messy cupboards for a candle. She seems to have found what she was looking for, because she walks out and slams the door behind her.

“What was that?” I nervously laugh at Fayaz. He starts giggling and rolls around, placing himself back to my shoulder. “Don’t bother. You know how she is”. He then puts me off and begs: “Show me the games on your phone again please”.

I have a complicated relationship with my grandmother. Since my parents and I left Kabul when I was still a little girl, I never developed a loving bond with her like other kids do. But unlike my other siblings and cousins, I feel connected to her more than everyone else. When other kids talked about staying at their grandparents I would think about my grandmother in Kabul, who was so different from the old ladies my friends called their grandmas’. I always wished she would hug me and give me gifts like other grandmothers did. But after twenty years when I saw her for the first time, she was cold hearted and had a strange relationship towards men and sexuality.


Fakhria (Zia) Maiwand, my lovely grandmother and daughter of Azizullah Maiwand the great-grandson of Tatar Baba, who was a known tribal leader in the Battle of Maiwand, in which the British Empire was defeated for the first time in history

Men don’t go to heaven

“Never forget your prayers! Don’t wear these clothes; one can see the shape of your body! Don’t paint your nails. Don’t pluck your eyebrows! Don’t use razors to shave your legs!” she would remind me everyday. My Bibi would never throw her fallen hair in the garbage – according to her that’s a sin. She carefully collected it so she could bury it outside. “It’s a sin that you live in Europe with the infidels. I will never go to this haram place”. Of course I would agree with her, to not make her upset. “Be a good girl, Waslat. God will reward you”, she would say then. “You’ll be granted heaven and it’s a wonderful place. There are no men in heaven. Men don’t go to heaven”. Throughout the years my grandmother had developed a phobia of men. Whenever a male non-relative enters the apartment, she quickly leaves and hides in a room until the strange man finally leaves. Continue reading

A safer way to clear mines – The Mine Kafon

Waslat Hasrat-Nazimi

Massoud Hassani, an Afghan designer working in the Netherlands, has invented a giant sphere driven by wind power to clear landmines. He now wants to test it in his home country.

At first glance, from a distance, the object of Massoud Hassani’s phantasies looks like a gigantic dandelion gone to seed. It has 170 arms made of bamboo staves emanating from a small ball in the middle with a plastic plate attached to the outer ends of each stave.

Although Hassani’s prickly parachute was nominated for the 2012 London Design Prize – along with the Olympic torch and Kate Middleton’s wedding dress – his innovation has nothing to do with esthetics.

Quite the contrary, the object was designed to provide sufficient surface and stability to allow it to float in the wind to its intended destination: the mine fields of Afghanistan. The so-called “Mine Kafon” also needs to have a certain amount of weight to trigger the controlled explosion and deactivation of buried landmines. The center of the sphere houses a GPS tracking system to keep tabs on it and to document areas cleared of mines.

Childhood idea

 Massoud Hassani came up with the idea thinking about his childhood toys Designer Hassani pays special attention to the practical use of his designs. He left Afghanistan for the Netherlands 13 years ago to study at the Eindhoven School of Design. As a child in Kabul he built toys driven by wind power. For his final graduation project in Eindhoven, Massoud was inspired by his childhood designs.

“When we were children we built a lot of toys with wheels. The area where we lived had a lot of landmines. Some of our vehicles were too fast and ended up stuck in the mine fields. So I got the idea to build something like them, but only heavier and bigger, to deactivate the mines,” said Hassani.

War was like a movie in those days, and it was not a threat, but rather a playground, he recalls. Europe was the land of his dreams. Today, he knows that life in Europe is also not easy and that war is dead serious. Continue reading

Interview: Afghan campaigns against women assassinations

The number of killed Afghan women activists continues to rise, following another assassination on Monday. Waslat Hasrat-Nazimi spoke with Orzala Ashraf Nemat, a leading human rights activist in Afghanistan, about the development.

Orzala Ashraf Nemat

You and your colleague have published a report on Afghan women who have been killed in Afghanistan over the past years. What was your main intention for profiling these women?

Ashraf Nemat: We have been frustrated with how the Afghan government has approached these incidents – as if they were some ordinary killings that occur everyday. First of all, no single Afghan life should be treated this way. Secondly, none of these women were ordinary women; they served Afghans under the Afghanistan flag. So it was important to show who they were. A key goal of the report was to delve into their biographies. We also made an attempt to analyze the perpetrators of these crimes. We’re calling on the international community, the Afghan government and, more importantly, the Afghan people not to remain silent when these incidents happen. It’s a general call for justice, a reminder that these brave women sacrificed their lives for a great cause. Continue reading

Interview: Vergessene Heldinnen

Das Attentat auf die Frauenbeauftragte der Provinz Laghman wirft ein Schlaglicht auf die Gefahr, in der Afghaninnen leben, die ihre Rechte wahrnehmen. Darüber sprach Waslat Hasrat-Nazimi mit der Menschenrechtlerin Orzala Ashraf Nemat.

Orzala Ashraf Nemat

Frau Nemat, Sie haben mit einem Kollegen das Buch “Vergessene Heldinnen” über zehn Frauenrechtlerinnen herausgebracht, die in den vergangenen Jahren ermordet wurden. Was war Ihr Hauptgrund dafür, die Biographien dieser ermordeten Frauen zu veröffentlichen?

Orzala Ashraf Nemat: Wir sind enttäuscht, weil die afghanische Regierung diese Morde wie alltägliche Verbrechen behandelt. Abgesehen davon, dass kein Mord wie etwas Alltägliches behandelt werden sollte, waren diese Opfer Frauen, die dem afghanischen Volk im Auftrag der afghanischen Regierung dienten. Deswegen war es uns wichtig, zu zeigen, wer diese tapferen Frauen waren, die ihr Leben für eine große Sache geopfert haben. Continue reading

Ex-Soviet soldier considers himself a ‘proud Afghan’

Waslat Hasrat-Nazimi

Noor Mohammad is one of dozens of Soviet soldiers who went over to enemy lines in Afghanistan. Today, he has an Afghan wife and six children. He never wants to go back to Russia.

“I came to Afghanistan to fight, to serve my country as a soldier,” says Siberian-born Noor Mohammad. “I didn’t know my government was killing people here and that’s what my task would be.”

“Either you kill or you are killed. That’s what being a soldier means,” he says in Dari.

He explains, not without a touch of pride, that things were different then, back in the 1980s when he was still known as Sergei Yurevich Krasnoperov and the Soviet Union was a mighty world power.

Soviet troops entered Afghanistan in December 1979 to crush the uprising against the pro-communist government. They withdrew almost 10 years later. By then at least half a million Afghans had been killed as well as some 15,000 Russian soldiers.

Joining the enemy

During the war, thousands of Soviet troops deserted the invasion, and dozens, including Noor Mohammad, converted to Islam, changed their names and joined the mujahedeen.

“They took me in and I became part of their movement – jihad against the unbelievers,” he explains.

Although he did not fight on the front, he had plenty to do: “One person would make sure the tank was ready, another would fill it up with gas. I would load the munitions or take care of the provisions. All that was also part of the war.”

His new life was nothing like the one he had led in Kurgan in the West Siberian Plain. “I wasn’t religious before. We didn’t respect anything except for vodka and girls. My parents were Christian, but I was interested in other things. I was young,” he says with a laugh.

Refusing to go home

Today, he has an Afghan wife and six children. The mujahedeen made sure he married early so he would feel more connected to his adopted homeland.

Noor Mohammad His children go to school and look no different from their classmates. The only telltale sign that his daughter has a Russian background is that she rides a motorbike, he says.

Noor Mohammad’s desertion from the Soviet army made little economic sense. He earns some 5,000 afghanis (ca. 100 US dollars) from his repair shop and can just about keep his and his family’s head above water, but still he has no regrets.

“The Russian embassy wanted to bring me and my family back but we refused,” he says. Not even his mother was able to convince him to go home when she went there to get him in the 1990s.

“Russia is no longer the big world power that it was,” he explains. “People don’t have jobs and they’re going hungry.”

“I’ve gotten used to the people here and the country,” says Noor Mohammad. “My family would have problems in my old homeland but here even the Taliban accept and respect me the way I am.”

“I have an Afghan passport and I’m a proud Afghan.”


Abu Jamal from Ghor contributed to this article

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