Afghanistan: death for downloading and discussing

Over at TechCrunch, Australian journalist Duncan Riley tells the story of a 23-year-old Afghani who’s been sentenced to death in a secret trial for discussing a document he found on the Internet.

Sayad Parwez Kambaksh’s crime was printing a document… that allegedly “violated the tenets of Islam.” Kambaksh then allegedly took the printout to Balkh University, where he discussed the contents with his teacher and classmates, resulting in a complaint to the US-backed Government.

Duncan asks:

What exactly are Americans and coalition forces (including British and Australian troops) fighting for in Afghanistan again? Feel free to remind me in the comments.

And the comments have gone beserk, even for TechCrunch. I’ll share some of it with you ‘cos someone who read my own comment emailed me privately to call me a genius and say that following the link to my website, i.e. here, was the best decision he ever made! Poor chap.

Here’s what I said:

We’re fighting for the security of an oil transportation path from Central Asia southwards through Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Indian Ocean, so all the profits from massive as-yet-untapped oilfields go to the English-speaking empire. Otherwise those lovely, lovely petroleum products might go north through Russia where those awful Communists will profit, or east through China and they’re even more beastly. A brief study of a decent terrain map of Central Asia shows that there’s only three possible routes which can be…

Sorry, there’s a sudden pain in my ear. Where was I? Oh yes.

We’re fighting for peace and democracy.

Internet entrepreneur Rehan Allah Wala added:

I came to write what Stilgherrian did on Comment 3, but I guess he already posted it.

I am from Pakistan, and they need the port of Gwadar in Pakistan. Next to bring the pipeline down to the port.

It is a specially-built port for this purpose. For those who think it’s a conspiracy theory, Google on Gwadar Pakistan.

And then it kicked off. Hit the comments link and scroll down for the fun. I added a few more comments, but I’ll probably stop now that the trolls are taking over.

My best wishes to Rehan Allah Wala Sayad Parwez Kambaksh and your family. I hope that concepts like “freedom of speech” and “freedom of thought” come to prevail in your country.

[Update 26 January 2008:I certainly wish Rehan Allah Wala no ill will, but I really intended my best wishes to go to the young man facing a death sentence for reading and discussing in idea.]

One Reply to “Afghanistan: death for downloading and discussing”

Comments are closed.