NATO Documentary - Afghanistan: Voices above the noise 4/4 (with subtitles: English)

Uploaded by NATOCOMMUNITY on 06.01.2011

"My fear is that, the best scenario will be a dictatorship, a military dictatorship. Why?
Because we will have a very powerful army, we will have a very powerful police who will
be excellent to know how to shoot, how to have very beautiful uniforms and how to have
very sophisticated materials, but they will not have any proper efficient sector to be
accountable towards."
"You are absolutely right. If the international community is paying huge emphasis on the build-up
of the Afghan army, that is unaffordable to Afghan standards, then at the end of the day
probably we will have a military dictatorship which will run the country. And the day that
the international community pull out from Afghanistan and stop the army’s salary that
will be the day the Afghan army will fall apart and we will have unfortunate consequences.
"These big names, the former commanders, the warlords, some of the political elite, that
they have gained power through illegal ways. And they have leverage over palace, and also
in some extent they are being partners to the international community. They would become
the sources of the organized international crime groups that the international community
would suffer from. That layer needs to be removed if Afghanistan ever is to be succeeded
in its fight against corruption."
Past crimes and warlordism have been a long running campaign for Aryan Yoon, an MP. She
is one of a group of MPs voicing their concerns to NATO's former senior civilian representative,
Fernando Gentilini. Why, they ask, do former warlords stained by three decades of conflict
continue to enjoy impunity from prosecution?
"A lot of people were blacklisted early on for the destruction of our country. Their
hands are red with the blood of innocent Afghans. In Kabul alone they killed 65,000 civilians.
At first, the international community put these people on the blacklist, but then invited
them to join the government and sit in parliament."
She's not alone in her campaign to raise awareness of inequalities.
"Unfortunately the unwillingness of the international community for stability and security, and
for transitional justice, is the main cause that the people in Afghanistan has not reached
the goals that we expected. You see violation against women, drug mafia and organised crimes,
they are increasing everyday. Because the lack of the rule of law."
For Afghans this is the main reason for the lack of progress. The MP Mohammad Sultanzoi
believes that if corruption is not tackled now, it’ll be too late.
"We are basically creating an apparatus in the bureaucracy that is totally feeding itself
from corruption, and feeding others in the NGO community from this corruption. And unless
we do something about this, unless we clean up this thing, we will have a banana republic
here that we will never be able to, in our lifetime, fix the problems that we want to
fix." "It's corruption that feeds insecurity, it’s
corruption that feeds the drug trade, it’s corruption that sends opium and heroin to
the streets of Europe and America, and it's corruption that makes your constituencies
unhappy about the way you are performing in this country."
Corruption has become one of the biggest priorities for the international community in Afghanistan.
It's pouring billions of dollars in and is seeing a good proportion swallowed up through
graft and corrupt practices. As well there is increasing criticism from Western publics
who see their tax money being squandered in Afghanistan.
"Governance means to have functional structures. To have effective structures. To have an involvement
of the people in the decision making. It means everything."
One place to start with is with police reform. The police are perceived by many across the
country as deeply corrupt, more likely to collude with insurgents and drugs lords than
support ordinary citizens. This, despite moments of heroism in the field, such as when they
freed hostages held by insurgents after they besieged the Justice Ministry in Kabul last
"NATO is very much engaged in supporting the Afghan National Security forces. The bulk
of our activity is supporting the Afghan National Army, but police is equally important. Once
a district, an area has been cleaned, it is very important to hold this area, and to hold
it means to have good governance and good police people on the ground."
More police than any other security forces, foreign or Afghan, are killed by insurgents.
Already the police are responsible for more security than is imagined by the population.
Wide scale police mentoring and training is taking place across the country, designed
to bring the police to standards comparable with the army.
There's nothing particularly noticeable about a bridge-building project in a country torn
by war. Yet, here it has a big effect. When it's finished it will take hours not days
to reach families across the river. And it saves lives. Last year nine people drowned
while trying to cross the river during its peak flow in early summer. It also rebuilds
the local economy. Which is as much as many people here ask for.
"It's good for the people in this area. They can get a good income and that goes a long
way. In the past people would have to go to another province or even out of the country
to earn as much money as we get here."
In Badakhshan province, in the north east, there is less insurgent activity to contend
with and the Germans are trying to keep it that way. They've seen how peace clears the
space for reconstruction. More to the point, the people of this blighted province have
seen it too. The Germans are often envied, sometimes criticised, for what many see as
an unjustly quiet life in the north. But commanders see their role as vital to reconstruction
and security.
Our greatest success is to have created the right circumstances in some provinces where
the economic reconstruction can really push ahead.
To the west, the relative peace has allowed the Swedes to support efforts to boost village
"We don't have such big security problems here and that means the children can get to
school without fear. Teaching them is what we want to do in this village."
"One of the most important things for security is for the children to be able to go to school
today. Today we have 44.6 percent of the Afghan population is below the age of 16, and that
is going to be the large future of Afghanistan. Reading makes a country great, and if the
security is enough for the children to go to school, we have come a long way in our
It's a moot point whether these forces deter, or in fact attract, insurgency. Many involved
in civilian development argue it's the latter. They also argue that soldiers doing the job
of development workers has limited success and spoils the ground for civilian professionals
who need to protect their independence for credibility with local populations. But these
French troops in Surobi Valley calculate that the best way to drive out the insurgents is
to bring basic services that people would otherwise have to go far to get. In this case
a mobile surgery open to all. They hope the humanitarian gesture will help local people
give them a heads up on insurgent movements.
In the civil reconstruction wing of a military camp in the eastern city of Jalalabad, Colonel
William Fitch briefs his sergeant on plans for a delivery of rice, blankets and winter
clothes the following day, and on the local resistance they've encountered to the drop.
Their destination is Koghiani, an area of proven threat to foreign and Afghan forces.
Koghiani has seen plenty of frontline activity recently. A firefight between insurgents and
Afghan forces last year left the district centre peppered with bullet holes and several
people dead.
"We use non-lethal methods to engage the local population. Our methodology basically involves
working with the elders and the Shuras in the area trying to gain their support so that
they can influence the people of their districts in a positive way."
Key leader engagement is the thing here. Trying to understand the pressures and problems which
local people face, and offering modest solutions to soften the ground. These people live a
subsistence life in an area of high unemployment. Prime targets for insurgent recruiters exploiting
economic need.
"The Afghans as a whole and then the Pashtuns in particular, they are not in support of
foreigners. Whether they are local foreigners or they are coming from other countries. What
they value so much is who is doing what for them."
Afghans have lived in the shadow of the grand designs of outsiders for centuries. First
British, then Soviet. Do they now see the expanding presence of the world’s most powerful
military coalition as another chapter of the same book, or is there something different,
more mutually beneficial and lasting at play here?
"If they are assisted now there is a hope that in the future the international community
can work with these people, not in terms of winter clothing and short term things like
we have been doing today. The basic thing would be to win the minds and hearts of these
people first. Make a sincere relationship with these people so that they can trust you."
"NATO is a must right now. We have a weak government and we need forces to back it up
and provide stability and security. If they go, you'll see the same civil war all over
"I, my father and my whole family see NATO as a good presence. If they leave the situation
will go badly. The day after they go, the civil war will start."
Kabul 2010. The country has come a long way since the days of the Taliban. Twelve months
ago everyone complained that there was no it's here, with accompanying
commercial trappings. At the City Centre shopping mall, retail outlets have something of the
air-conditioned opulence of the Gulf about them. Clear, if small, evidence of some economic
advance and entrepreneurship. This gold trader returned home from the UK because opportunities
were so much better here than in London.
"Actually I heard the business is better now in Afghanistan and the situation is getting
better here. And then I did move from London to Afghanistan and I start a business here
in city centre since three years and now I am happy with."
For Mahmoud Wali, a travel consultant, it's all about having the space to exploit opportunities.
CLIP Mahmoud Wali ULHAQ, Travel agent, Kabul "The opportunities and facilities which we
didn't have like ten or seven years ago, that right now we have. The education is the best
thing in the world because education is the backbone of the country. When a country doesn't
have as education, then that country is poor and ignorant. We can say that in Afghanistan
before we didn’t have the opportunity to study in a free atmosphere, but now I am really
happy that we have the opportunity."
Far from everyone is on the roll of course. Many, like these labourers hoping to be picked
up for piece work on building sites, live right on the edge day by day, excluded from
the modest progress.
"I come here every morning and often wait til the evening in the cold without work.
We are hungry and thirsty and we are going back to our home with nothing in our pockets."
But the crushing hopelessness has its match in the modest hope that’s emerging beside
it. Afghanistan languishes at close to the bottom of all the global indices which measure
the health, welfare and living standards of countries. But the figures don’t describe
the hunger for entrepreneurship and educational opportunity which also emerge as the greatest
aspirations of Afghans. The line between hope and wishful thinking is always thin, but Afghans
simply wouldn’t nurture it if real opportunity wasn’t there to grasp.
"Education is the vital element for the country for the next ten years. By giving education
to people we can have a much better future."
"In five years, if we solve the problems of the people here, life will be very good. If
we don't the fighting will just go on."
"We need only a polish. That's it. Somebody has to give us polish, give us a chance to
go on in our life."