|Kabul: 1:18 AM      |
Welcome to Kabul:Reconstructions. You can follow the information below, which has been gathered from a
number of sources by a number of participants (click on the names at left for bios), to reconstruct your
own picture of events in Kabul since this site was launched on March 8th, 2003 and, in a sense, since the
reconstruction of Afghanistan began somewhere in the winter of 2001-02.
Some of this information has been provided in response to specific questions submitted by visitors like you. Please note that this section of the project is now maintained as an archive and has not been updated since 2005. Click here to ASK A QUESTION.
Arian Mouj Sharifi
Countdown to the End of Bonn Agreement
Financial Times (London) June 21, 2003 Afghans' path to democracy strewn with danger: Kabul has just a year left under the Bonn peace agreement to reinvent an entire political system. Can it do it? By VICTORIA BURNETT It's an ambitious To Do list: write a new constitution, register 10m voters, design a new government and hold elections - all by next June. The roster of tasks for establishing democracy in Afghanistan under the timetable of the Bonn peace agreement is certainly daunting. The question is, can it be done? "There is a huge, huge amount of work. How much we can do in time I don't know," says Lakhdar Brahimi, United Nations special representative to Afghanistan. President Hamid Karzai, who has one year left as head of the interim administration, has his work cut out as he prepares for elections while striving to consolidate popular and political support in the hope of re-election. Drafting the new constitution is already two months behind schedule, robbing precious time from the public consultations, which kicked off on June 7. The constitutional commission will publish a draft in September, then debate it at a loya jirga, or grand council, in October. The government must now set about registering voters - an awesome task in a country without a census in decades. But it must also figure out exactly what people will be voting for. "Who are we electing, by the way?" asks Mr Brahimi. "A president? A president and a parliament? Just a parliament? Just a president? One chamber? two chambers?" Set against a backdrop of escalating violence and provincial power vacuums, trying to move Afghanistan towards democracy seems ever more complicated. A bloody campaign by anti-government forces, including a revived Taliban movement, has spread through the south - the desolate mountains that border Pakistan - and is creeping north. The violence reached into the heart of power on June 7, when a suicide bomber blew up a bus carrying German peacekeepers in Kabul, killing four soldiers and a civilian. Even if you can meet the timetable, say some, you cannot hold an election or debate a constitution in a country where the Taliban is still at war with a government that barely holds sway outside the capital, and whose provinces are ruled by warlords. "The constitution and the elections are the two major events in the history of this country," says Farooq Wardak, secretary of the constitutional commission. "Security is a prerequisite - without it, none of this can happen." Mr Brahimi told the UN Security Council last month that without security in the provinces, there was a real risk the Bonn process would stall. "Sticking to the timetable - at least it's something," he muses. "People will often tell you: 'Why don't you take some more time?' But it's not a good idea, because you just relax. You've got to put yourself under pressure." The risk in slavishly following the Bonn timetable, some say, is that of botching important steps in Afghanistan's path to democratic rule. In a report this week, the International Crisis Group called on the government and UN officials to give it more time for better public consultation and real security measures. But stretching deadlines will simply allow the government to defer difficult hurdles, others argue. A year after he was confirmed as head of the interim administration by a loya jirga, Mr Karzai is racing against not only the Bonn timetable but the forces bent on his downfall - including the Taliban and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a renegade warlord. He cannot afford to be waylaid on the road to democracy, observers say, while those striving to scupper the process consolidate their grip. Lacking adequate security, the Afghan government and its foreign advisers must work with what they have, Mr Brahimi says. "We will run like that French man - Inspector Clouseau - with bombs flying all over the place and hopefully we will make it through the minefield. And if we don't, it's too bad."
Posted By: mariam   August 11th 2003, 2003 4:11 PM
Kabul: Partial Reconstructions is an installation
and public dialogue project that explores the multiple meanings and resonances of
the idea of reconstruction -- as both process and metaphor -- in the context of present-day Kabul.
www.kabul-reconstructions.net is an online discussion forum, information resource, and medium for the communication of questions and answers about the reconstruction between people inside and outside the city of Kabul itself.