U.N. Dispatch: Embedded with Afghan Civil Society, Part Three, Bamiyan City


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In May 2010, I was given the opportunity to accompany the Afghanistan Human Rights and Democracy Organization (AHRDO), an NGO that promotes human rights through arts and culture, as its staff conducted participatory theater workshops as psycho-social therapy and organized civilian war victims to take an active role in shaping the national debate over the government’s intention to negotiate with some of the insurgent factions currently battling Afghan and international forces.


Bamiyan. Via Markhumphreys.com.


Bamiyan city is not a city in the developed world sense. It has one commercial street with a rambling bazaar of small shops that sell local silver, carpets, medicine, food and bicycle repair supplies. The tallest buildings in sight are two stories.

My party’s guesthouse is located at the very top of a hill overlooking the city. It belongs to the Shohada Organization, which was founded by Dr. Sima Samar, current chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) and long-time defender of the rights of Afghanistan’s women.

The guesthouse is surrounded by high fences, and satellite antennas stick up from its roof. Only the first floor belongs to the Shohada Organization; the second is occupied by the Bamiyan provincial office of the AIHRC. From the hill, I can see the cliffs where the Bamiyan Buddha statues once stood, before they were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001.

Read the rest at U.N. Dispatch.


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