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For Mothers Everywhere, Bereaved by Senseless Violence

Afghan Mother with Her Two DaughtersAfghan Mother with Her Two Daughters

By Mary Dobbing

The mother told us about her pain. She told us of the tragedy and shock of her young sons being randomly killed by a suicide bomber who had targeted one of the numerous NATO convoys in the streets of Kabul. The two boys had been walking to school and the suicide bomber triggered his device killing them along with other bystanders. They went out to school on an ordinary day and never came home. She said that even now she still cannot bear to let the other children out of her sight, let alone go to school. She asked “what will become of them?” When we asked them, the girl said she wanted to be a teacher and the boy wanted to be a doctor.

Tales in a Kabul Restaurant

Twelve children killed in the Kunar province, April 2013: Photo credit:  Namatullah Karyab for The New York TimesTwelve children killed in the Kunar province, April 2013: Photo credit: Namatullah Karyab for The New York Times

Kabul—Since 2009, Voices for Creative Nonviolence has maintained a grim record we call the “The Afghan Atrocities Update” which gives the dates, locations, numbers and names of Afghan civilians killed by NATO forces. Even with details culled from news reports, these data can’t help but merge into one large statistic, something about terrible pain that’s worth caring about but that is happening very far away.

When Are You Coming Back to See Us?

by Jerica Arents

Jerica in Bamyan, 2010Jerica in Bamyan

The APVs, despite the seemingly insurmountable difficulties around them, are paving a new way for young people in Afghanistan.

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.

Reflection from the road

On day 50 of the Guantanamo hunger strike and day 6 of a Witness Against Torture fast in solidarity with prisoners in Guantanamo, I’m on a bus traveling a mountain highway in Virginia. Spring colors, muted yet certain, emerge across fields and valleys. Distant blue peaks shadow farms where cows and horses graze. The scenery is picturesque and pastoral. A week ago, aboard a train to West Virginia, I stared at towns marked by a sad, strong contrast. The train passed through Appalachian towns. Collapsed houses, abandoned lots and blighted neighborhoods reminded me of war zones.

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

The Borders We're Used to Guarding

…What would it be like to have friends from across borders? What questions might they pose to us? What excuses could possibly be acceptable for tolerating the policies that make their lives difficult?

Petraeus' Torture Teams


















By John Tirman
Re-posted from Huffington Post

One of Britain’s leading newspapers, the Guardian, has just published an exposé of interrogation teams run by two U.S. operatives acting under the authority of General David Petraeus in Iraq in 2003-05. While no smoking gun — or blood-stained billy club — has Petraeus’ fingerprints, it’s clear from this extensive reporting that Petraeus not only knew of the “enhanced interrogation” of suspected insurgents, but likely hired the two thugs who were involved in it for two years.

The Guardian article and video, and earlier reporting by Gareth Porter, reveal that two Americans, James Steele and Colonel James Coffman, created commando units and manned them with Shia militia members from the Badr Brigade. That particular militia — which was “funded, trained, and equipped by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps,” according to a reliable source — was the arm of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. These militia-supplied commandos comprised the torture squads, say reports, that “interrogated” thousands of Sunni insurgents and very likely many who were not insurgents, and did so with the implicit, if not explicit, approval of the U.S. military and the Bush administration.

We are those two Afghan children, killed while tending their cattle

March 3, 2013

‘We are those two Afghan children’

Two young Afghan boys herding cattle in Uruzgan Province of Afghanistan were mistakenly killed by NATO forces yesterday.

They were seven and eight years old.

Our globe, approving of ‘necessary or just war’, thinks, “We expect this to happen occasionally.”

Some say, “We’re sorry.”

Therefore today, with sorrow and rage, we the Afghan Peace Volunteers took our hearts to the streets.

We went with two cows, remembering that the two children were tending to their cattle on their last day.

We are those two children.

We want to be human again.



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