Things you need to know

* Police in Kandahar have arrested 10 men connected to the acid attacks of November 12th. President Hamid Karzai has called for the public execution of the attackers.

* Imam Samudra, Amroza Nurhasyim and Ali Ghufron – the “Bali bombers” – were executed on November 8th. The executions had been put off for some time due to security concerns in Indonesia. Jemaah Islamiyah’s steady rise in influence, which includes the ability to mobilize university-age students for disruptive demonstrations – means that an execution like this could trigger a backlash of Islamist violence. 

Thankfully, the security situation on the ground has remained stable. Increased police presence has helped, to be sure – but so has the fact that Indonesians themselves have no sympathy for terrorists – and no appreciation for the lack of remorse demonstrated by the Bali bombers.

More about the situation in Indonesia soon – including commentary on a controversial (and I think absolutely frightening) proposed measure to track HIV/AIDS patients with microchip technology.

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Afghanistan: female students attacked with acid in Kandahar

AP Photo / CNN
AP Photo / CNN

 “Kandahar is not safe. But we can’t stay at home, we want an education.” -Atifa, 16, acid attack victim – Kandahar, Afghanistan

Kandahar: this morning, two men sprayed a group of female students with acid – blinding at least two of them. It is unclear how many of the students were injured. Government spokesman Parwaz Ayoubi called the attackers “enemies of education”, suggesting that the insurgents who attacked the pupils were objecting to the education of females.

According to Al-Jazeera’s coverage of the incident, Latefeh – one of the injured students – says that this attack will not prevent her from pursuing her education or stop her from learning. The Afghan government reinforces their commitment to education, saying that attacks like these, by “unIslamic enemies of the country” will not prevent six million children from attending school.

Unfortunately, though, schoolrooms today were largely empty. Parents have held their children home for fear that they may be attacked – and children are afraid for their safety.

See BBC coverage here. (Also, Spanish speakers: check out coverage of this very blog entry here.)

To help:

* Learn about and support the work of Barakat.

* Check out some of the positive work being done by female educators and UNICEF.

* RAWA was founded by Afghan women for Afghan women. Educate yourself about their efforts here.

* Afghan-Network has a list of NGOs needing your help to support their work in Afghanistan, including Islamic Relief. Please click here to see this list and offer your support.

* Acid attacks are a pervasive problem. Learn about how women in Pakistan are fighting acid attacks, keeping their faith, and restoring hope.

* These attacks also happen in places like Vietnam, Cambodia, Colombia, the UK and the United States. Here is more coverage and some tips on what you can do to help.

Afghanistan: the latest

                     

A friend recently wrote to me on the subject of Afghanistan. She wondered if, given all of the attention being given to other situations worldwide – Afghanistan has slipped many people’s radar screens. She elaborated: people are still suffering there. Civilians and military forces are still losing their lives. Yet, it seems that people are talking about the situation less and less. 

We can’t forget about Afghanistan. And we’ve just been issued a serious reminder.

Last week, Taliban insurgents (did you think Bush got ’em all? Sorry to disappoint) invaded the region just north of Kandahar – taking over 7 to 18 villages.

The Taliban may be making a comeback. That is, if you believe they were successfully suppressed to begin with.

See also: Afghan President Hamid Karzai on the potential risk of conflict with Pakistan. There are plenty of reasons to be concerned.

More to come, but for now: let us not lose sight of this devastating situation. And let us not forget those who are still suffering.