Frontline World

Afghanistan - A House for Haji Baba, Ocotber 2003

Related Features THE STORY
Synopsis of "A House for Haji Baba"

Behind the Lens

Danger, Determination and Destiny

Politics, Security, Health, Education

Government, Population, Economy

Background, Reconstruction Efforts, Warlordism




Links and Resources

• General Background
• Sarah Chayes
• The Warlordism Threat
• Reconstruction Efforts
• Afghan Media and News

General Background

BBC Country Profile
The BBC country profiles provide information on a country's history, politics and economic background. The Afghanistan profile contains a brief account of the country's recent history -- its role during the Cold War, the rise and fall of the Taliban, and the recent war. Visitors will find useful links, including one to a historic timeline that covers from 1919 to the present and another to a BBC profile of the country's current leader, Hamid Karzai.

CIA World Factbook
The CIA World Factbook is updated annually but contains selected information added throughout the year. The Afghanistan page contains detailed geographic and demographic information on the country.

UT Library Online
The library of the University of Texas at Austin provides an assortment of maps of Afghanistan, its regions and its cities. Particularly useful are the thematic maps, both the library's and the sites reached by links. The thematic maps show the country's ethnic structure geographically, areas of land mines, the location of refugee camps and opium poppy fields, and more.

InfoPlease Encyclopedia
This site offers a brief chronological history of Afghanistan, from the Persian conquest in 500 b.c. to the December 2001 inauguration of Karzai's cabinet.

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Sarah Chayes

Sarah Chayes on Now with Bill Moyers
Sarah Chayes was featured on Now with Bill Moyers on October 24. She spoke with co-host David Brancacci about the current situation in Afghanistan and the remaining challenges for Afghan women. The site contains the interview transcript and a brief biography of Sarah Chayes.

"Sarah Chayes and Afghan Independent Radio"
This is Sarah Chayes's account of how she established Afghan Independent Radio, the country's first indigenous nonprofit radio station. Despite difficulty logging on to the Internet, Chayes continues to update this site with the latest developments at the radio station and beautiful photos from the field. Readers can post questions or comments and engage in a forum-style conversation with Chayes.

Photographic Overview
This photo gallery of life in Afghanistan was produced by WBUR in Boston. It includes photos taken by Sarah Chayes of her home in Kandahar, photos of scenes from Akokalacha, the village in the film that her organization is helping rebuild, and many more.

Afghans for Civil Society
Founded by Qayum Karzai, the brother of President Hamid Karzai, Afghans for Civil Society aims at fostering "a society based on the rule of law, where participation by ordinary citizens, including women, can have an effect." Current projects include rebuilding war-damaged houses and historical sites and developing sister-school projects between Afghan and American schools. Sarah Chayes is the organization's Kandahar field director.

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The Warlordism Threat

"Afghanistan: A Return to Warlordism?"
This 2002 report from the Center for Defense Information's Terrorism Project identifies the various factions and warlords that control different parts of Afghanistan, with maps marking their spheres of power.

"Unfinished Business in Afghanistan: Warlordism, Reconstruction and Ethnic Harmony"
This report by the United States Institute of Peace, a nonpartisan federal think tank, concludes that a complex ethnic structure, a weak central government, fading international attention and U.S. policies on Afghanistan, past and present, contribute to the continued chaotic scrambles between armed factions.

"Killing You Is a Very Easy Thing for Us: Human Rights Abuses in Southeast Afghanistan"
This July 2003 Human Rights Watch publication reports that warlords and political strongmen supported by the United States and other countries are committing human rights abuses throughout Afghanistan, especially in the southeast. According to the report, army, police and armed factional forces resort to kidnapping, extortion, robbery, sexual assaults against women and girls, and political intimidation. A brief summary of the report can be found here. Other Human Rights Watch documents on Afghanistan are listed here.

"Afghanistan Risks the Return of Warlord Rule"
New York Times reporter Carlotta Gall writes in June 2003 that "for Afghanistan, one key to establishing order is the disarmament of factional armies around the country." The country, says Gall, runs a high risk of sliding back into the quagmire of warlordism. (Registration required)

"Afghanistan: Warlordism Proliferates, Threatening Security and Reconstruction"
This report by Ron Synovitz appeared in the July 25, 2002, issue of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Inc.'s Afghanistan Report.

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Reconstruction Efforts

Online NewsHour: "Rebuilding Afghanistan"
This comprehensive package provides coverage of efforts to rebuild Afghanistan, including updates on attacks against peacekeepers, humanitarian workers, civilians and journalists in Afghanistan, and analysis of efforts to find stability within the region.

ReliefWeb: Afghanistan
This site offers news releases by major international aid agencies about humanitarian aid and reconstruction in Afghanistan.

FAO in Afghanistan
The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization in Afghanistan is working with the interim government to provide agricultural support and environmental evaluation. Its Web site provides news about its projects in the country.

This is the official site of United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. It contains links to almost all U.N. branches in Afghanistan and documents relief, reconstruction, human rights and gender problems in postwar Afghanistan.

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Afghan Media and News

Note: Probably as a result of years of armed conflicts, poor infrastructure and repressive rule, indigenous Afghan online news providers are extremely rare. The news sites given below are mostly based overseas and run by Afghan exiles or foreigners.
This site is run by a group of Afghan students based in the Netherlands. It includes up-to-date news reports about Afghanistan by major news agencies.
This nonprofit Internet radio station based in Toronto declares itself to be neutral on political, religious and ideological issues and focuses instead on traditional Afghan music.

Afghanistan Times
The Afghanistan channel of the international online news group World News Network offers breaking news.

Afghanistan Press Agency
This is an Afghan-related news site run by a group of Belgium-based students, mostly Afghan and French. The site also has French- and German-language versions.

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