Thursday, June 07, 2007

Adventures with the Attorney General

We've been having SO MUCH fun with the Attorney General in Afghanistan. There doesn't seem to be very much outcry in the U.S. but I think his case is an example of inept meddling and its repercussions.

President Karzai presented Abdul Jabar Sabet to the National Assembly for the Attorney General position earlier this year. He faced some opposition, since the post was promised to an Uzbek and he’s Pashtun but the National Assembly finally approved him.

Hmm, I wonder where he got the support? He doesn’t seem to be affiliated with any of the bigwigs. He did work for Gulbudin Hekmatyar at one point. But I’m sure that there is NO current connection, seeing that Hekmatyar is labeled as a ‘most wanted’ terrorist.

Oh, right, I see now where the support came from: was U.S. Justice Department advisors who helped promote Abdul Jabar Sabet to the office of Afghan Attorney General – a quid pro quo for Sabet giving the Guantanamo Bay detention centre the Afghan government’s seal of approval.
Still, Sabet started out strong, speaking out against corruption. He gained the endorsement of many – he spoke out so well and so strongly against corruption. Fearlessly and perhaps a bit bombastically stating that he’ll eradicate corruption wherever it is and whatever cost.

I was excited. It was awesome, this is what Afghanistan needs! Fight the man!

Oh, but wait.

Then, the Attorney General accused the airport police chief, General Amanullah Amerkhel of corruption. He threatened to arrest him and denounced him in public. But, by several accounts – he was actually doing a good job.

Amerkhel was later cleared of all wrongdoing but Sabet is still the Attorney General and obviously as busy as ever:

Afghan TV Station raided for inaccurately representing the Attorney Generals’ remarks
A statement issued by Tolo alleges that the raid was illegal because none of the 50 police presented a written court order or arrest warrant. It says that when asked to present such a document, a deputy district police commander simply scribbled a note on a piece of paper.

"The police beat us with the butts of Kalashnikovs and with the barrels of Kalashnikovs. And they punched us and kicked us," Ahmadzada said. "And...they took us and the other journalists to the attorney general's office."

Link to the video clips
Which all leads to this: Afghan Journalists Jailed

Y'know what makes me the angriest? The fact that the US supported Sabet in exchange for 'official' Afghan government approval of the Guantanamo detainees. This is not the assistance that Afghanistan needs. Is this supposed to make local Afghans trust the US? Is it supposed to make Americans believe in their government?

My friend once said, "It was terrible through all the wars, but the Taliban was the worst because we couldn't speak. We couldn't say what we wanted to say at all."

We are headed on the wrong path (Afghanistan: Latest Female Journalist's Slaying Highlights Plight).

Edited later to provide these links: Thugs attack, beat Afghan attorney-general and Top Afghan law officer assaulted

It's interesting, they make no mention of his recent clamping down on media rights, I would've thought that the author could insert a line saying something like, "Sabet is a controversial figure since he has attacked corruption but has also clamped down on media rights." I guess that isn't newsworthy.


Lawrence of Arabia said...

i linked this over at eteraz. excellent post!

best wishes,

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chaoyang said...

when i read the title, i thought you were talking about US DOJ.

I recently caught up on all the important US-side headlines by filling up on Jon Stewart online.

So, I got updated on the DOJ fiasco while I laughed.

And then I remembered all the people I know in the DOJ DC-side... I must find time in life to stay in touch so I can keep up to date with the inside stories!

Actually, the way you wrote this kinda reminded me of Jon Stewart's delivery style.

This Afghan AG/detention connection is depressing. Someone should do something about this. Oh wait, that someone is me (it's all of us). I guess I should still be fighting this fight. I feel very distanced.

and I feel very rambly. I'm going to stop taking over your comment page now and stop typing. Good Night.

homeinkabul said...

LoA: Thanks!


C: But the question is, what to do?

Frida said...

Sigh. So much I could say in response.

But wait, I'm on holiday. I'll come back to this subject in just under two weeks, in the meantime I have to go get my feet poked by a reflexologist who thinks my colon is unhappy. She may be right - you know how much colons love Kabul.