Extraordinary Session of the National Assembly

An extraordinary session of the National Assembly will be held today, Monday, by order of the President. The session was ordered in accordance with Article 107 of the Constitution. Fighting corruption, increasing the defense budget and curbing the internal destructive system are the main topics of the President’s talks with the representatives in the extraordinary session of the National Assembly.

This session of the National Assembly is being held at a time when the centers of at least five major provinces are in danger of collapsing. Government customs revenues have also fallen sharply following the collapse of at least six major trade routes. Tens of thousands of families have been displaced during the Taliban’s war with the government, also known as the humanitarian crisis. In addition, thousands of civilians were killed and wounded during the war. According to the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, civilian casualties in the last six months of this year have increased by 80% compared to the same period last year.

On the other hand, government leaders have concluded that the Taliban are not committed to peace and intend to resolve the Afghan issue militarily. Given this threat, the government has prepared a plan to “change the situation” for the next six months. The program requires the financial, weapons and political support that the government is seeking.

According to the third and fifth paragraphs of Article 64 of the Constitution, “the supreme leadership of the armed forces” and “making the necessary decision in the case of defending territorial integrity and maintaining independence” are within the competence of the President. Also, according to the second and fourth paragraphs of this article, the “determination of the basic lines of the country’s policy” and the “declaration of war and secession” by the president need the approval of the National Assembly.

The presidency believes that the Taliban’s advance over the past three months has jeopardized the country’s territorial integrity and independence. The decision taken by the organization in response to this threat is to fight the Taliban. The president’s decision to “declare war” on the Taliban certainly needs to be approved by the National Assembly as talks with the group continue.

The government, on the other hand, has suspended some development projects. The budget for these projects is to be transferred to the defense and security sectors. Adjusting the budget in the current war situation is one of the government’s proposals to the National Assembly.

The total national budget for the FY 2021 is more than 473,41,000,000 Afghanis. Of this, 24% (115 billion Afghanis) is devoted to defense. The government has now come to the conclusion that it needs more funding as the war with the Taliban continues. This need is to be met by amending the budget document. The Ministry of Finance proposes that the “optional” development projects and the NTA staff contract be suspended or canceled. A kind of austerity has also been proposed for government departments. Ghani had previously said that the government could save up to $ 1 billion a year by adopting austerity policies. This is a considerable amount of money for the government involved in the war in Afghanistan.

The positions and statements of high-ranking government officials, including the president, show that war is a bad but necessary choice for the survival of the state. For this reason, these officials are currently trying to prepare for this war. A large meeting was held two days ago at the Presidential Palace with the aim of involving political figures and Jihadi commanders in the war. Once the declaration of “war” by the president is approved by the National Assembly, the government will be more open in its fight against the Taliban.

Unfortunately, the Taliban have destroyed all opportunities for peace in the country with the intention of seizing full power. Even Qatar, as the host of the Taliban’s political bureau, has missed out on the group’s opportunities. Abdullah’s recent visit to Qatar also returned to Kabul without success. Thus, the prospect of peace in Afghanistan is very bleak, and with the government’s decision to fight the Taliban, bloodier days await the country than ever before.

In a situation where the Taliban are unwilling to take even one step towards a just peace and to stop killing and advancing, full support for the government is a necessity. This support for the government must continue both nationally and internationally. Therefore, the National Assembly is expected to vote in favor of the government’s proposals to adjust the budget and increase defense spending. Although defending war as an evil is not the right thing to do, it is a necessity for survival.



Afghan Photographers in Salzburg Museum Exhibitions in Austria

Masooma Erfan

Amid the news of horror, war and fear, it is a pleasure to see the new face of Afghanistan from behind the artists’ camera. Afghanistan, which has only been seen as bloodshed, poverty and death, can now be seen from the artistic point of view of a few artists. Alleys and neighborhoods that hundreds of people pass through every day, but are less aware of their surroundings and see the unseen. There are people who walk, but they seem to communicate with the air, the soil and the objects of the earth, and put the individual elements together in their minds, and then take photographs. The photographer speaks, not with language, but with images. The members of the Induction Photographers Group also pursue their professional careers and try to create a dialogue by following the style of artistic photography in the philosophical, psychological and truth sections of the art of photography.

Mohammad Shahab Eslami, a member of the group of inductive photographers, says: “Inductive photographers seek to discover how they can capture and present the world around them with a research and creative approach. To ask some unspoken questions about existence and humankind, try to design and prepare a space for the audience so that they are eager to see the photos and search and talk with the photographer, looking for a relative answer.”

In the spring of 2018, the group of induction photographers held its first exhibition entitled “Induction”. This exhibition was held with the participation of six photographers in the hall of Esteghlal High School. After that, other programs such as the second step of the induction exhibition called Perseus to Revelation, Digital Culture Exhibition, two photo presentation events and inductive discourse (examining the relationship between weekly arts and photography), were held by the group.

The Induction team tries to invite different photographers each time according to the type of activities and events it has defined. After its first performance, the group became known as an art photography group in Afghanistan that seeks to train a new generation of Afghan photographers with the aim of defining and promoting research-oriented and compositional photography approaches. Induction, according to the concepts in contemporary art, proposes new and critical alternative designs to deal with media deprivation and consumption in the field of photography in Afghanistan.

The Induction Photographers try to make art and concept photography more colorful in Afghanistan by holding several exhibitions inside Afghanistan and creating an artistic discourse among young photographers. The Salzburg Baroque Museum in Mirabell Garden, this time seeing the photographs of a group of induction photographers, invited them to exhibit their photographs in the exhibition “Factory, Free Art Space” organized by the Salzburg University of Art, Austria. The exhibition opened in Austria on the 23rd of July with the works of more than 50 visual artists in the fields of photography, painting, arrangement and performance from different countries. Induction photographers are the first group of photographers from Asia to succeed in this exhibition.

“The reception of the photo audience at this exhibition was very good,” said Mohammad Saddiqi Ayazbeg, executive director for the “Induction Selection” presentation. “They were happy that photographers in Afghanistan could capture their situation with an artistic vision. While in Afghanistan we are told why you do not take pictures of the social and political climate in the country, even though we are working on the situation from our own point of view.” In its first exhibition this year, the Baroque Museum attracted the interest of many artists from Austria and Europe when it invited a group of young photographers from Afghanistan and Asia. The audience of this exhibition was mostly artists, tourists and art students who were encouraged to see the works of inductive photographers and emphasized to see more of their works. Hamid Sultani, Moheb Ali, Mohammad Saddiqi Ayazbeg, Mohammad Shahab Islami and Abbas Asi are the photographers of the induction group whose photographs were exhibited. Inductive photographers have tried to make their photographs follow more than a purely structural connection and a purely photographic approach, rather than a content connection, to concepts such as observing and paying attention to life as well as personal experiences that make one think about certain issues. Outline the kind of relationship that can exist between humans and different phenomena of the universe. Mohammad Shahab Islami says about the photos: “‌In the photos, we can see some subjects very well. One is the forgotten urban space that actually exists around our lives, and we can refer to it as the forgotten parts of urban commuting. While watching these images, the audience can reflect on concepts such as the alienation of humanbeings from their surroundings, which is unknown to them, and secondly, how one can free oneself from the domination of imposing conditions and space and seek a way of liberation.”

Hamid Sultani, another member of the induction group photographers who started photography as an amateur and also works as a photographer, is one of the 50 artists who have participated in the exhibition. By photographing his surroundings, he tries to challenge his audience by thinking and pondering about the phenomena around themselves. He believes more in visual thinking and feels that seeing and observing are the most important part of a photographer’s job.

Hamid Sultani says about the photos of the factory exhibition: “People always want to go from one state to another, better and different state. Especially for the youth of Afghanistan who want to actually get better as their age increases, which they think is a way to get away from Afghanistan. More and more they want to get rid of Afghanistan’s internal problems. I wanted to capture the same action more with a photo. I see the same action of theirs that they want to get through this situation.”

Abbas Asi, another photographer in the induction group and one of the exhibitors at the factory fair, focuses more on the subjects that arise in his mind and the effects that war has on a country. He is a student of photography at Kabul University and has entered the group in the second step of the induction exhibition called “Persecution to Revelation”. Asi sees his photographs as a kind of feedback between nature and humankind. “In the collection of photographs that have been shown of me, there are mostly people who cannot be fully seen, and the audience thinks that they are either asleep or dead,” he says. “Around the margins, we seem as though the nature has been damaged and is slowly disappearing. For me, this was more of a relationship in which human beings have a violent relationship with nature, without knowing that one day they will die.”