The UN May Have Silenced the Afghan Public

“Today, Afghanistan and the U.S. initialed and locked the text of the strategic partnership agreement,” said President Hamid Karzai’s spokesman, Aimal Faizi. “This means the text is closed….”

Why “lock” or “close” the future of Afghanistan to 30 million ordinary Afghan citizens?

While the world may accept that the U.S. and Afghan governments have some “state” or “noble” considerations for not revealing the contents of the U.S. Afghan Strategic Partnership Agreement, what about the democratic consideration of involving Afghans in their own future?

Even the Afghan parliament was in the dark and uninvolved until it was recently given a peek when Afghanistan’s national security adviser, Rangin Dadfar Spanta, read “portions” of the Agreement to assembled parliamentarians on April 23, saying that the U.S. will defend Afghanistan from any outside interference via “diplomatic means, political means, economic means, and even military means.”

The U.S. has said it expects to keep about 20,000 troops in the country after 2014.

What is the Afghan public’s opinion regarding the U.S. Afghan Strategic Partnership Agreement?

Does anyone know?

In an article dated July 11, 2011, Iman Hasan of The News wrote:

[T]he Afghan public has outright rejected the U.S. plans as the results of a survey conducted by U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) suggest. UNAMA with its 23 offices in Afghanistan conducted the survey across the country some two months back and hasn’t published it. Although, the survey’s findings are widely known. If published, the stark survey results will undermine the U.S.’ future strategic plans.

Out of curiosity, the Afghan Peace Volunteers pursued the question of whether the U.N. had actually conducted such a survey.

We sent emails to friends with the Fellowship of Reconciliation U.S.A. who have correspondence and contact with the U.N. Below was the reply that was forwarded to us.

April 14, 2012

Dear XXX,

I sent an email inquiry to the U.N. coordinator in Afghanistan to ask about the survey.

As I suspected, I did not receive any response. It seems they are not willing to talk about it.

But I will keep watching for any future publications. 



We also asked a staff member at McClatchy newspapers in Kabul if he could ask some questions at the U.N. office in Kabul. We have not heard any news from the McClatchy staff.

So we still don’t know if there was ever such a survey conducted by the U.N. office in Kabul.

We feel that even if there was no such survey, then a survey should be conducted under the auspices of the U.N. and its results made known before the signing of the agreement, to rebuild trust in the U.N., the U.S., and Afghan governments’ democratic processes.

The contents of the U.S. Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement should be “unlocked” to the American and Afghan publics, and the survey should be conducted among Afghans in every province, particularly in the provinces where the joint military operations of the Strategic Partnership Agreement will continue to be launched beyond 2014.

Has the U.N. silenced the Afghan public?

But perhaps, participation in today’s democracy is designed to be “locked” away.

We, the Afghan Peace Volunteers, respectfully ask for the key.