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Afghan Peace Volunteers

Drone Wars in Afghanistan

by Mary Dobbing

Peace Centre Seminar: photo from VCNV UKPeace Centre Seminar: photo from VCNV UK

Javid asked: “Do you think Afghanistan is singled out as a playground for other countries to wage war in? Were we singled out?”

Jennifer Gibson (Reprieve) said that Afghanistan is a country where wars can be waged without any accountability. ISAF, with UN’s permission, have been carrying out this long war without any accountability. What worries Jennifer is that unaccountable war has happened in Afghanistan for thirteen years and is now being exported. This lack of accountability is now being exported to Iraq and Syria.

First Impressions

by Henrietta Cullinan

…after a good sleep, the bright yellow light streaming across the carpeted floor, I soon grow accustomed to our inside life. In the day I pick up sound cues, the neighbour’s ringtone, the neighbour’s children. I can hear the thud of a football against the wall and scuffling feet in sandals. I distinguish the street cries from the muezzin. The silent gap between our garden wall and the next building is the Kabul river bed…

Street Kids Update

by Maya Evans

Tutoring program for street kids: photo by Maya EvansTutoring program for street kids: photo by Maya Evans

…the last year at the border free centre is her first experience of education; she says learning is important to her, and when she’s older she’d like to become a teacher and help people. I want to know more about Gul Jamma, but can sense a deep sadness which I feel is not my place to disturb. I ask her about toys, her only doll. She says her doll has black hair and wears a scarf but doesn’t help with housework…

The Unspeakable in Afghanistan

by Patrick Kennelly

2014 marks the deadliest year in Afghanistan for civilians, fighters, and foreigners. The situation has reached a new low as the myth of the Afghan state continues. Thirteen years into America’s longest war, the international community argues that Afghanistan is growing stronger, despite nearly all indicators suggesting otherwise. Most recently, the central government failed (again) to conduct fair and organized elections or demonstrate their sovereignty. Instead, John Kerry flew into the country and arranged new national leadership. The cameras rolled and a unity government was declared. Foreign leaders meeting in London decided on new aid packages and financing for the nascent ‘unity government.’ Within days, the United Nations helped broker a deal to keep foreign forces in the country, while simultaneously President Obama declared the war was ending—even as he increased the number of troops on the ground. In Afghanistan, President Ghani dissolved the cabinet and many people are speculating the 2015 parliamentary elections will be postponed.

On The List

These heavy quilts, stuffed with wool, can make the difference between life and death during Kabul’s extremely harsh winters. For the past two winters, the APVs have relied on women in their local area to manufacture thousands of duvets which are then distributed free of charge. The women are paid a living wage for their labor.

The Duvet Project, an Invitation

Duvets are heavy blankets, stuffed with wool, which can make the difference between life and death during Kabul’s extremely harsh winters. The Afghan Peace Volunteers coordinated manufacture and distribution of three thousand duvets, at no cost to recipients, during the winter of 2013-14. Along with bringing needed warmth to destitute families, the project invited people from different walks of life to work together.

International Day of Nonviolence in Afghanistan

—“I woke up with the blast of another bomb explosion this morning,” Imadullah told me. “I wonder how many people were killed.” Imadullah, an 18 year old Afghan Peace Volunteer, (APV), from Badakhshan, had joined me at the APVs’ Borderfree Community Centre of Nonviolence.

The news reported that at least three Afghan National Army soldiers were killed in the suicide bomb attack, in the area of Darulaman. Coincidentally, the Afghan Peace Volunteers (APVs) had planned to be at the Darulaman Palace that same morning. To commemorate Gandhi’s birthday and the International Day of Nonviolence, we wanted to form a human circle of peace at the Palace, which is a war ruin.

Afghan Youth Travel to India

Six of the Afghan Peace Volunteers went to Delhi for an International Youth Camp on Nonviolence. They also visited and stayed at the Gandhian ashram called Ekta Parishad. Read the photo-journal here.

World Peace Gong: New DelhiWorld Peace Gong: New Delhi

How can a veteran of war in Afghanistan help us understand good conscience?

April 7, 2013

Below are excerpts of an interview of Nao Rozi, an Afghan National Army veteran, and now a member of the Afghan Peace Volunteers.

Excerpts of Video Transcript

Nao Rozi: I was an Afghan soldier for 2 years and had combat roles.

Hakim: What did you learn from your experience?

Nao Rozi: If I think about the root issues, philosophy since the time of Plato has tried to bring the minds of the public under government control. Sometimes, I thought that soldiers and wars were necessary but when I joined the military as a soldier, I saw the injuring and killing of soldiers and opponents like the Taliban. I thought, “Is my presence necessary? Is it correct to have a weapon?” I held a weapon before people I didn’t know and who didn’t know me… We weren’t enemies because we didn’t even know one another. Even before greetings, we were supposed to kill one another.

I concluded that I should leave the army and after that, I had a crisis.

I had almost changed 180 degrees. I was affected by the war. I tried committing suicide a few times. I felt alone.

Guantanamo Fast in Afghanistan

by the Afghan Peace Volunteers

“I fasted because I wanted to share their pain in a tiny way.” Khamad

“As I was giving my room a new coat of paint, I knew that the prisoners at Guantanamo are not free to paint their cells.” Abdulhai

“I felt that no one should have to go hungry.” Zekerullah

“I did this today for people who are complete strangers to me, but who are as human as me.” Nao Rozi

“Why should people have to suffer and experience torture even if they were guilty?” Barath Khan

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