By Nasim Fekrat (in Pennsylvania, U.S.)
On January 28, 2010, during the London Conference on Afghanistan—which was intended to focus on security issues—President Hamid Karzai presented a list of top Taliban figures who are on the UN’s black list. For the last few years, Karzai has been pleading with the UN and the US to remove these Taliban leaders' names from the list in order to pave the way for negotiations. Karzai's position has led to widespread criticism from civil society and human rights organizations inside Afghanistan, and has raised concern globally.
Two days before the inauguration of the London Conference, Brad Adams, the Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said: "Justice and human rights are not optional extras. To make progress in Afghanistan, the London Conference should not just focus on military plans in the south and east, but on producing implementable national strategies that tackle impunity and warlordism.” <http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/01/26/afghanistan-conference-should-link-rights-security> However, in spite of all these concerns, a day before the London Conference, the United Nations announced that five former Taliban officials were being removed from the black list. With this action, the UN, which champions human rights throughout the world, left Afghans in a state of shock and awe. Because the UN and other international human rights organization were historically responsible for prosecuting human rights violations in Afghanistan, the London Conference was a chance to lay out a strategy for strengthening and securing the country in order to bring justice and peace.
Of course Afghans want security and peace. They have been suffering from three decades of civil war. Today, they are tired of violence and tired of brutality. They are exhausted from long years of fighting. Since the withdrawal of the Taliban, many internal and external human rights organizations have been fighting for human rights in Afghanistan. Owing to the presence of international institutions in Afghanistan, people feel safe and every year on December 10, on Human Rights' day, thousands of people demonstrate in different cities in Afghanistan. Their demand from the United Nations is to bring those responsible for war crimes to justice.
But today, Afghans are clearly suspicious of the United Nations and the international community. They were supposed to be the remedy for thousands of people who were victimized during the Taliban regime, but have just granted the perpetrators impunity instead.