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Afghanistan

At 22 years old, Shamsia Hassani became interested in graffiti ? spray painting the surreal visions fostered in her imagination onto empty city walls. Her family was supportive yet worried, and understandably so. Street art is a risky endeavor in itself, but for a young woman based in Kabul, Afghanistan, the possibility of harassment and abuse was real, if not inevitable.

 

Daesh has become cancer and there is no treatment for it, but only its elimination. Afghan people and government know this very well. Despite having meager resources and little support from the international community, Afghan government has tightened grip over the notorious terrorist group which has global designs and posing serious security threats not only to Afghanistan but also to China, Iran and Central Asian Republics (CAR).

 
Over 50 percent of Afghanistan’s population is trapped by grinding poverty; though, joint survey of the World Bank, Ministry of Economy and Central Statistics Office say that more than 39 percent Afghans live below the poverty line. Generally, most of the people are living a hand-to-mouth existence. Over half of the population earn less than one US dollar per day. Child laborers and daily wagers roaming on streets in the capital city, Kabul, for work is a good scale to gauge the poverty level. Possessing cheap mobile phones does not make a person healthy, wealthy and happy. There is clear difference mark between necessities and luxuries.  
 
The stories come after an AFP report in June found the Taliban are exploiting the centuries-old practice, one of the most egregious violations of human rights in the country, to mount deadly insider attacks in the volatile south.  
 

Recently, Afghan security forces in an operation in Paktia province destroyed over 190,000kg hashish, 1,700kg of opium and 18kg of heroin. According to the provincial officials, the destroyed drugs have estimated at over 44 million US dollars. With no doubt, the destruction of drugs consider as a big blow for the insurgents and anti-government militants as they have been using profits from the illegal drugs to fund insurgency. Link between terrorism and narcotics is evident. Some reports suggest that annually world mafias earn $60-70 billion through narcotics.

 
The office of Afghanistan’s attorney general said on Saturday that it had opened an investigation into allegations that the country’s vice president had tortured and sexually abused a political rival.  
 

The question of what President-elect Donald Trump has planned for Afghanistan rarely came up during his run for the presidency. As is the sometimes-custom of Trump, apart from several tweets (“Let's get out of Afghanistan?”) and inflammatory comments (“Karzai is a crook”), it’s unclear what he wants to do in the country, despite the fact that it is the site of the longest war in U.S. history.

 

One of the more disturbing aspects of the 2016 presidential campaign — besides the name-calling, the callousness and the outright falsehoods that all of the candidates engaged in over a span of eighteen months — was the fact that nobody really spoke in concrete or detailed terms about America’s military involvement in Afghanistan. If Afghanistan were some blip on the radar screen, where the president decided to deploy a couple hundred special operations forces to assist the Afghan government with security functions, this would be understandable. But Afghanistan is about the exact opposite of a small-blip; indeed, when Americans hear the words “quagmire” or “stalemate,” Afghanistan usually comes to mind right next to Iraq.

 

Then, Hanifa found a new group of friends – in an unlikely place. What binds her to these young women is not talk of mothers-in-law and child-rearing, but of climbing mountains. She is a member of Ascend, an American NGO that is trying to empower young Afghan women by training them in mountaineering. In a country where women are traditionally barred even from appearing in public spaces without a male escort, putting together an all-female mountaineering expedition seems like a tall order. But, for Ascend founder Marina LeGree, there was no other option. “I love the outdoors, I grew up hiking and being free, and that is something I wanted to share with Afghan girls,” she says. “I wanted the girls to experience freedom.”

 

The security situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating rapidly, along with America's position there. The question now is whether the administration of President-elect Donald Trump will decide to pursue the war or will withdraw U.S. support for the government of President Ashraf Ghani, letting it fall to —or make a deal with —the Taliban and other Islamic forces.

 


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