Limbo struggles;  what happened to the refugees’ resettlement in Indonesia

The pictures of four men with stitched mouths in Limbo Indonesia shocked me and everyone else. There’s a reason the old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” has been around as long as it has. Actually, these people went on a hunger strike in protest of the awful situation of refugees in Indonesia. I was following the Twitter campaign hashtag;  #End10yearsinlimbo a measurable discussion with media coverage. the hashtag #End10yearsinlimbo tweeted thousandths times, my colleague Basir encouraged me to write about the current situation of refugees in Indonesia.  

I could easily meet Niaz Farahmand and Bibi Rahima Farhangdost who have been living in Bogor, Indonesia since 2014. First, I met Niaz online in a striking tent. He was very tiny and his eyes looked tired. He barely smiled. He and other refugees were on strike from 13 November 2021, to protest against the UNHCR negligence in their asylum process and settlement to the third country. “According to the latest information by UNHCR, there are about 14000 refugees in Indonesia of which 7500 are Afghans. mostly from Hazara ethnicity, Said Niaz.

Niaz Farahmand in Strike tent 2021 vs Niaz Farahmand 2014 new arrived in Indonesia.

Niaz entered Indonesia illegally, like many other asylum seekers, then he registered his asylum request to UNHCR and got his refugee card after about two years. “They have accepted us as refugees, they know that we cannot be deported back to Afghanistan. Afghanistan was not and is no longer safe for us. On the other hand, we have been recently told that maybe we wait forever, and maybe no third countries accept us. That is why 14 people killed themselves, these are people who were in danger and escaped to Indonesia to save their lives. But they killed themselves after many years of waiting for an unknown future. This is our main problem here, we ask UNHCR to take our cases seriously and do something to #End10yearsinlimbo.” Added Niaz Farahmand.

Bibi Rahima is from Ghazni, she was a teacher and nurse in his town. Her father died recently and her mother and her three siblings are living in the worst ever situation in Afghanistan. When she left her hometown, as the supporter of her family, she hoped to be able to work and provide a better life for her family, but now after eight years, she lost her father, has never met her family, and has never been able to support her family. It took a while before I could see her smile either. “You are so strong and so beautiful Rahima” I told her. “Oh, do you think I am, I do not feel that” she answered.

Bibi Rahima Farhangdost’s photo in 2014 vs 2021

How is the living situation in Bogor city?

Unfortunately, Indonesia has not signed the 1951 Geneva convention and is not responsible for the destiny and situation of refugees and asylum seekers. Indonesian people are kind. We are thankful but the government does not do a single help and does not care about us. We were living in a very awful situation in detention centers before 2017 and were allowed to go out just for one hour per day. Now it is better, we are living in accommodations and can go out during the day. But we are not allowed to work, to study, children cannot go to schools”. continues Niaz

They keep the water to extract the oil from it.

Thousands of refugees from Afghanistan, most of them from the Hazara ethnic minority, who have long been persecuted by the Taliban, have lived in Indonesia for years as they await resettlement in third countries such as Canada or Australia.

What kind of support do you receive from UNHCR?

They have provided us with shelter but it is the oldest accommodation with basic facilities, water is not clean and we share the kitchen. The adults receive about 80 dollars per month and children get 40 dollars for food, clothes, and hygiene. It is not enough to just help us not to die. To buy clothes for an eight years girl, one needs to pay at least 40 dollars, while one-kilo apple costs four dollars, two-liter oil is also four dollars, and also one kilo of rice. We almost pay 70 per month for food and the rest should be used to buy shampoo and clothes. Medicine is also free but UNHCR has contracts with governmental hospitals which have the worst facilities. The list of illnesses that can be cured for free is limited.” Said Bibi Rahima.

Every two single adults share a small accommodation but families live in the same size of accommodation with children.

How is the daily life of women, do they experience domestic violence?

“Both men and women are under pressure but mostly women. Men used to work in Afghanistan. Now they are not allowed to work and they do not have economic power. This makes them nervous and angry. Both women and men are at home and this causes a lot of discussions and domestic violence against women. Women cannot leave their children here, because there is no supportive government and laws, so they are forced to bear the situation and keep silent while men do physical and mental violence. A woman can hardly survive here, especially if she has a child. I recall a woman with a nine years old daughter. They were living alone, people harassed her child in the street around the house, then they went to her door. It was hard to live, they were lucky and could change their accommodation. I hope in the next place they are at peace.“ continued Bibi Rahima Farhangdost.

How is the life of children?

Most of the children have a serious level of depression. They just eat and live. They do not have any kind of children’s rights based on the children’s rights convention. Children are not allowed to go to school. A group of activists decided to build camp schools and I am one of the teachers. I teach them English and Indonesian. Children confess a high level of tension and domestic violence at home. Parents are fighting, heating, and abusing each other and children. Children are living in a small area in each accommodation with their parents no matter how many children a family has. Each accommodation is shared between two single persons. As no one is allowed to travel from the city that they are registered to other cities, and as families are very poor there are no entertainment possibilities for children.

Children are not allowed to go to school, and as the financial support is very low they have no entertainment either.

What about sexual violence?

“We have never heard about this among refugees in this city, or maybe no one claimed it. By the way, this is a very sensitive discussion. I do not want to talk about this. Once a person talked about boys and women who sell their bodies for money in Jakarta and people criticized them a lot. I am sorry and I do not want to talk about this.” Told Bibi Rahima.

Are there HBTQ family members among these refugees? “No. I do not think so or at least I have not heard about that.” Answered Niaz

What are your last words and message?

“I ask the UNHCR to consider our situation and do not close its eyes on us. We are accepted as refugees by UNHCR and based on the Geneva 1951 convention, have the right to be protected by a third country. There were some people who after many years of waiting asked this organization to deport them back but UNHCR says that Afghanistan is not safe. From 2018 until now just 4 people from our accommodation (about 140 persons) have been resettled in a third country. Why is this process going very slow? Please #Endto10yearsinlimbo and take us out of this country. ” Told Niaz.

Niaz has a refugee card issued by UNHCR

“A woman, alone, who can’t speak a foreign language, is very brave to live in limbo for many years. When we get sick, we can’t trust anyone to ask for help. To bring clean water for us. The process is very slow and there is no hope for the future. We live a black life (undocumented) with no rights, not enough food, clean water, education, work nothing. We all are in prisons and even worse because those who are sentenced to prison know when they will be free, but we have no idea about our future. I beg the international community to pay attention to us and do not let us die here, please #End10yearsinlimbo.” Ended Bibi Rahima Farghangdost.

The main request of protesters is the resettelment to the third country fast

Their pretest is even more compelling in conjunction with the other single most resonant message we heard from them: It isn’t just that we need to defend these rights despite the ongoing crisis; these rights are essential refugee’s efforts to tackle it and survive under the circumstances.

Many refugees cannot go home because of continued conflict, wars, and persecution. Many also live in perilous situations or have specific needs that cannot be addressed in the country where they have sought protection. In such circumstances, UNHCR helps resettle refugees to a third country.

Resettlement is the transfer of refugees from an asylum country to another State that has agreed to admit them and ultimately grant them permanent residence.

What went wrong here that the resettlement cases take so long?

Indefinite waiting in limbo Indonesia drives refugees to take their own lives, on last December, two Hazara refugees, Muhammad Ikram and Adul Hussian, hanged themselves in Jabodetabek, while thirty-year-old Qasem Musa is thought to have killed himself at the Immigration detention in Medan on October 26. This is a political decision between countries to slow down the process of resettlement. 

At the end of November, 22-year-old Afghan refugee, Ahmad Shah, set himself on fire in the city of Medan in North Sumatra to protest against his lack of resettlement status, having traveled to Indonesia in 2016.

The burden of being in limbo is increasing for immigrants as clarity about obtaining resettlement is also becoming increasingly difficult, the refugees cannot cope with the current indefinite waiting. 

According to the UNHCR, refugees may be resettled depending on the availability of resettlement places provided by resettlement countries, admission criteria of the country of resettlement, and refugees’ particular needs. 

What if the Indonesian government may use the current crisis like European countries,   a consequence of an attitude of vested interests, and the need for quick political wins like Europe. 

Read more: 

Reuters Asia

South China Post

Written by: Nargis Rezai, Interview by Amazon Rezai, Edit: Basir Seerat

Resistance in Panjshir a new hope for free Afghanistan

Panshir was the last and the only state which resisted and did not accept to transfer the military power to Taliban and avoid to accept the legitimacy of Talbian. Taliban abandoned Panjshir and pressured on it by night attacks to take over the state. What matters most between people and activist on social media is that if Taliban would negotiate and govern or they would choose the dictatorship. After Taliban attacked Panjshir, people got sure that this could not be a united government in which all ethnics could be included. Young Ahmad Masoud 31, has the master of war studies at King’s College, London with no war experience and districts under his control is landlock by Taliban with no connection to borders of Tajikistan. Despite all he could lead the resistance group to push Taliban back from three districts.”We aim to build a free, independent and wealthy Afghanistan. Taliban must understand that Negotiation is the only solution” said Ahmad Masoud the young leader of resistance in Panjshir. Poeple joined the resistance by demonstration in other cities and soon two hashtags, “StandwithPanjshir and #SavePanjshir was trend in Afghanistan.

Ahmad Masoud the young leader of the resistance in Panjshir

By the way Taliban disconnected internet of these three districts and banned any kind of communication and facilitation. They show the world that they’ve kept their promises to the international community to avoid violation but local people inside Panjshir reported about night attacks. “Talibs have massed forces near the entrance of Panjshir a day after they got trapped in ambush zones of neighboring Andarab valley & hardly went out in one piece. Meanwhile Salang highway is closed by the forces of the Resistance. “There are terrains to be avoided”.Said Amrullah Saleh the vice president of former president Ashraf Ghani.

On the other way despite some disagreements between the Taliban leaders who would liked to share the power in Afghanistan. And as it took a long time to announce the new cabinet members, today a list of  temporary cabinet was announced which all are mullas from Pashtoon ethnicity. They have removed ministry of women from the list.

The latest list of Taliban cabinet.

Women of Afghanistan were the first supporters of Ahmad Masoud in other districts and cities. Women have changed, they have practiced the women rights and are connected to Social media. They are not same women in 20 years before and could not accept governing of Taliban which already removed the women ministry from the cabinet and have members from just one ethnicity. 

Kabul Today. The road healing for millions of us Afghans may be the protests led by brave Afghan women, asking for freedom. says @shahrzadAkbar

People who protect the resistance of Panjshir are getting larger. After Taliban killed Fahim Dashti the journalist and famous poet in Panjshir, Ahmad Masoud son of Ahamad-Shah-Masoud asked the nation of Afghanistan to break their silence and protect the resistance in Panjshir. “The international community has given a wrong political opportunity to Taliban and this group would show the world a fake face but Taliban has not changed and they are even worse.” said Ahmad Masoud in his voice message to the nation of Afghanistn. In response to his message, many People, mostly women came out to streets of Afghanistan and questioned the Taliban, about why they kill people in Panjshir and asked Pakistan to do not support Taliban by military facilities and forces.

Afghans in all over the world, are planning demonstrations on 11 sep 2021 in their cities to ask the world to do not support Taliban and do not recognize them as a legitimate government.

Reported and writen by Nargis Rezai

Women of Afghanistan protest against Taliban

After Taliban took over the power from Ashraf Ghani the former president of Afghanistan and shocked people by sudden entrance to Kabul on 19  August 2021, People could no longer feel safe when the national army surrendered and the security situation went to its worst stage for the coworkers of the US and foreign countries. Including myself, I saw every body were crying for help and asked their organizations and friends outside of Afghanistan to get their names in the evacuation lists to fly out of Kabul. “After former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai fled with $169 million cash and left the Afghanistan for Taliban. The Afghans do not trust Taliban and their Islam rather performed to mass migrate for an unknown destination”. said @SalehaSoadat. Girls removed their accounts in social media and changed their profile pictures and privacy settings and hide themselves under the ground. Unfortunately, this evacuation process was not succeeded and many who needed help left alone in Kabul, while people who were not in any kind of danger were evacuated. ” The whole concern is that US has evacuated the people with high capacities but I confess that there are just a few among this crowd in Qatar camp who were in danger. However saving life and dignity of all is important but this rescue operation is a complete failure.” wrote the evacuee Homaira Qaderi, an Afghan writer who tweeted from Doha Qatar camp.

Today After three weeks. I went out and joined the women of Kabul who have been protesting and demonstrating in small groups in different cities. Every day the group is getting bigger and more people raise their voice and join the women. Today women leaded demonstration in Kabul, Mazare sharif, Herat and Daykundi. Women shouted so bravely and their main slogans were “Death to Taliban”,  “Pakistan leave Afghanistan” and “Stop Genocide in Panjshir”. Taliban stopped women protester by arresting journalists according to a local news paper they arrest 14 women today. Taliban continued violence by whipping women and throwing away their mobile phones and finally opened indirect gun fires and blocked the protesters to demonstrate in front of Pakistan Embassy. Thus we had to walk to the alleys around the Embassy.

A group of women were kept for short time in Azizi Bank’s basement by Taliban in order to avoid them to join the protest. I was so inspired by brave women when I saw a Talib started gunfire and angrily said “go go otherwise I will shoot you!”. Some started to run. “Girls, do not run, just walk, do not show them that we afraid.” Said a woman among us. 

Young Hazar girl shouting “Pakistan leave Afghanistan” while she is surrounded by Taliban

“Women of Afghanistan are the first and main group which will be discriminated and deprived by Sharia Laws of Taliban, that is why they are the first groups that came to the streets.” says Amazon Rezai the women activist. In contrast to what Taliban try to show the Media, they did not let women to enter to the Herat university and In Kabul, and announced that men should to go back to work but women ought to stay at home until further notice. They also informed that in order to Sharia laws women are not allowed to work in Media and as artists. Taliban ordered the stores to remove painting or pictures of women on the billboards, walls and advertisement.

A man is removing the woman painting on the wall of his store in Kabul

In Ghor province, Taliban took the brain of Negar out of her head and brutally killed her in front of her children because she was a police officer in ex government.

Negar is a police officer. She was pregnant and brutally injured and killed by Taliban in front of her children.

Women of Afghanistan shout in social media that they do not and wont trust the Taliban anymore and they will show their real face soon. Taliban did not changed if they would change, they would not called Taliban anymore” said Muska Najib daughter of Dr. Najib the previous president who were killed by Taliban in 1990. Women in social media write that this is not the real face of Taliban. They have not yet get the control of the whole country. They are same people with same cloths and mentality. @AlinejadMAsih the iranian women right activist called women of Afghanitan brave because they are protesting against wiled Taliban who knows nothing about humanity. “As the Taliban go house to house with their lists of names, those who worked with west and prominent human rights activists are legitimately in fear of their lives. The list come from a sophisticated intelligence operation.” writes The Spectator

Sanam a famous TV presenter tells that “Taliban are not changed and the world should not trust them”

Reported and Written by: Nargis Rezai

Demonstration against Deportation of Afghan Asylum Seekers in Stockholm

A big group of the Afghan immigrants were taken under costudy by the police in Marsta police station in north of Stockholm and deported in a group back to Afghanistan on Wednesday 11th of September. This news shocked the number of people which stood against deportation as this was the first time that a plenty number of Afghan asylum seekers were deported according the Swedish legislation (86 people) to Afghanistan.

demostration
Hundereds of people demonstrated against deportation to Afghanistan on september 10th.

On Tuesday 12th of September 2019 hundreds of people including asylum seekers came together from all over of Sweden to the Sergelstorget in Stockholm city. They were standing against the decision than the migration board made without considering the latest update about current Afghanistan security situation.

They want the migration board to reconsider its policy about Afghan immigrant’s deportation.

They came together to declare that Afghanistan is not livingly secure and tens of people are being targeted by suicide attacker. Suicide bombing are taking place in major cities that previously much secured like inside of Kabul.

This event was held by “liv utan gränser” (live without borders) group and they outlined an open letter addressing migration board.

“An immediate evaluation about Afghan women and children according to the united nation convention of human right is needed. And the current security situation of Afghanistan should be taken under the consideration before any decision is made regarding deporting Afghan asylum seeker”. Said Shokufa Barez a member of “live utan gränser” group.

Demonstration were gathered not only by asylum seekers but a bunch of politicians and a number of humanitarian organizations and followed by respective politician’s representative speech.

Ali Mirzaee and Maryam Haidari
Maryam Haidari and Ali Mirzaee are both atheists and they are worried about their future in Afghanistan while they have announced in media that they are both atheists

Among the protesters some under aged were also included who were supposed to turn back once they turn eighteenth. Ali Mirzaee and Marym Haidari were one of the contestants. They reside here in Sweden for more than four years. “We have been raised in Sweden and got educated with Swedish culture, but we are supposed to turn back to Afghanistan after they are deeply changed in thoughts and believes”. Says Ali Mirzaee. Maryam Haidari and Ali Mirzaee are both atheists and they are worried about their future in Afghanistan while they have announced in media that they are both atheists. “Afghanistan is not safe for atheists and we will be death to stone like ”Farkhunda Maleekzada” if we are sent back to Afghanistan” Said Maryam and Ali.

A recent survey by TrustLaw, a project of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, polled 213 women’s rights experts on what they consider to be the world’s worst place to be a woman.” Says amnesty international. Afghanistan in one of the worst countries to live for women according to this report of the amnesty international.

Though out the last year many suicide bombing taking place that have taken the life of thousands and hundreds of innocent Afghanistan residents which mostly happened in Kabul and cities around. Recently bunch of big explosions took place at schools, wedding parties, mosques and streets targeting unarmed city residents. Innocent people are being decapitated on the side roads. Taliban beheaded Abdul Samad Amiri the acting chief of regional human rights commission of Ghor provience on the 5th of September this year and ass well as Abdul Samad Amiri many other ordinary people who have mostly been Hazara ethnicity and they are called to be “Shitta” are killed and decapitated in the main roads during the last year.

Taliban militants committed gang rapes and mass murders in Kunduz

28th September 2015 Taliban attacked on Kunduz province, Afghanistan.  Reports says the latest Kunduz results of sighting is: 296 patients admitted only at MSF, 64 babies wounded, 74 critical condition, 40 dead, 70 surgeries done MSF told BBC.

The Amnesty International said Thursday that the Taliban militants have committed gang rapes and mass murders in northern Kunduz province of Afghanistan.

Citing testimonies by the local residents and women rights activists, Amnesty International’s Afghanistan Researcher Horia Mosadiq said “The harrowing accounts we’ve received paint a picture of a reign of terror during the Taliban’s brutal capture of Kunduz this week. The multiple credible reports of killings, rapes and other horrors meted out against the city’s residents must prompt the Afghan authorities to do more now to protect civilians, in particular in areas where more fighting appears imminent.”

Mosadiq further added “Heavy fighting continues as Afghan forces try to regain full control and restore law and order in Kunduz. Protecting civilians from further onslaught and serious abuses at the hands of the Taliban is of the utmost importance.”

“Many humanitarian agencies have bravely continued their work in and around Kunduz over the past days. They must be granted access to carry out their life-saving work. With thousands forced from their homes, it is also crucial that all parties agree to a humanitarian corridor that allows civilians to leave the city safely,” she said.

According to the rights organization, the Taliban group had also prepared a ‘hit list’ with one woman who was providing assistance to victims of domestic violence in Kunduz and escaped to safety in a nearby province told Amnesty International that Taliban fighters were using a “hit list” to track down their targets.

It allegedly includes the names and photos of activists, journalists and civil servants based in Kunduz.

The woman said the Taliban’s roadblocks on exit routes from the city forced her and numerous other women and men to flee on foot. They trekked for more than seven hours over rough terrain, leaving them exhausted and with bloodied feet.

Lots of people left theirs lives and escaped to big cities around Kunduz. The Taliban has reportedly taken control of the city’s main hospital, some government facilities and UN premises. It has also reportedly freed some 700 inmates from the provincial prison, including up to 350 conflict-related detainees.

Fifty-six juveniles, including 10 girls and 10 conflict-related child detainees, reportedly fled the juvenile detention facility following the Taliban occupation of the city.

Taliban also attacked to TV and Radio stations, stole shops such as gold shops, cars, burned the city and reached to the military weapons. They frightened civilians of Kunduz specially minorities.  In a field court Taliban beat number of Shiites. Many Hazaras, Tajiks and Uzbiks were taliban target in first fights.

Said Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Said Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

“The civilian population in Kunduz has already suffered months of fighting and is now in grave danger – with very worrying signs that the violence may intensify,” Said Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in a news release.

“I urge all parties to the conflict to uphold their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law to protect civilians and to take all feasible steps to prevent the loss of life and injuries to civilians.”

“We fear that many more civilians may be harmed if fighting continues over the next few days,” High Commissioner Zeid stated.

However Afghan special forces seized control of the city in an operation that began late Wednesday and were still clearing out Taliban fighters from some areas early Thursday, said Sayed Sarwar Hussaini, a spokesman for the Kunduz police chief.

The U.S. military helped the Afghan forces during the operation through advisers on the ground and by conducting airstrikes, Hussaini said.

Sediq Sediqqi, an Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman, said on Twitter that Taliban insurgents suffered heavy casualties in the fighting. Reports CNN

People of Afghanistan declared their dissatisfaction about the government under control of president Ashraf Ghani. After about one year of Ashraf Ghani governing the number of unpleased people against is increasing every day. The high number of Afghan immigrants during one last year shows their disappointment about the future of current government.

“We are aware the Taliban leadership has directed its forces to protect civilian lives and property, but there are disturbing signs that these commitments are being breached,” the High Commissioner said.

“International law upholds the protected status of healthcare facilities and personnel, preserves humanitarian space and requires that those who have laid down their arms, are injured, detained or otherwise hors de combat, must be treated humanely.”

According to the Amnesty international report;  When the Taliban took control of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) and other government and NGO offices in Kunduz on Monday, they gained access to reams of information about NGO staff, government employees and members of the security forces – including addresses, phone numbers and photos.

Since then, Taliban fighters have allegedly been using young boys to help them to conduct house-to-house searches to locate and abduct their targets, including women.

Another woman human rights defender had her home and office burned and looted by Taliban on Tuesday night. Taliban fighters kept calling her to ask about the whereabouts of the women whom she had been helping.

She and several other women managed to receive assistance for themselves and their children to flee to safety. But she told Amnesty International she and her family escaped with nothing more than the clothes on their backs and were left terrified by the ordeal.

Quoting other local activists, the rights organization reported that Taliban fighters also raped female relatives and killed family members, including children, of police commanders and soldiers, especially those working for Afghan Local Police (ALP). The Taliban also burnt down the families’ houses and looted their belongings.

The relative of a woman who worked as a midwife in Kunduz maternity hospital told Amnesty International how Taliban fighters gang-raped and then killed her and another midwife because they accused them of providing reproductive health services to women in the city.

The Taliban released all the male prisoners held in Kunduz and gave them arms to fight against government forces. Female prisoners were raped and beaten, then the Taliban abducted some and released others.

An eyewitness told Amnesty International that a civilian woman in his neighbourhood had been shot amid fighting between Taliban and the Afghan security forces. Taliban fighters responded to her screams of pain by entering her house and shooting her point blank in the head, forcing her husband to watch her die.

“When the Taliban asserted their control over Kunduz, they claimed to be bringing law and order and Shari’a to the city. But everything they’ve done has violated both. I don’t know who can rescue us from this situation,” a female human rights defender from Kunduz told Amnesty International.

As Afghan government forces regain control of Kunduz, Amnesty International calls on them not to retaliate against any captured or injured members of the Taliban. Any Taliban fighters suspected of serious violations of human rights or international humanitarian law must be investigated and prosecuted in fair trials without recourse to the death penalty.

“Breaking the cycle of violence and returning to the rule of law means ensuring that Afghan troops and authorities do not mete out revenge on any prisoners, which would amount to a war crime,” said Horia Mosadiq.

Human trafficking in Afghanistan

According to the 2015 annual Department of state report the most target group of human trafficking in Afghanistan are children who end up in carpet making and brick factories, domestic servitude, commercial sexual exploitation, begging, transnational drug smuggling, and assistant truck driving within Afghanistan.

“The bottom line is that this is no time for complacency. Right now, across the globe, victims of human trafficking are daring to imagine the possibility of escape, the chance for a life without fear, and the opportunity to earn a living wage. I echo the words of President Obama and say to them: We hear you, and we will do all we can to make that dream come true. In recent decades, we have learned a great deal about how to break up human trafficking networks and help victims recover in safety and dignity. In years to come, we will apply those lessons relentlessly, and we will not rest until modern slavery is ended.” – John F. Kerry, Secretary of State

Bacha-Bazi 

The reports mentioned that :”Some Afghan families knowingly sell their children into prostitution, including for bacha baazi
bachabazi—where men, sometimes including government officials and security forces, use young boys for social and sexual entertainment. Some law enforcement officials, prosecutors, and judges accept bribes from or use their relationships with perpetrators of bacha baazi to allow them to escape punishment”. Boys from Badakhshan, Takhar, Baghlan, Kunduz, and Balkh provinces in the north, as well as those traveling unaccompanied, are particularly vulnerable to trafficking.

Reports indicated some government and security officials engaged in the practice of bacha baazi. The AIHRC’s report revealed the majority of those who engage in bacha baazi pay bribes to or have relationships with law enforcement, prosecutors, or judges that effectively exempt them from prosecution. Reports indicated some law enforcement officials facilitated trafficking and raped sex trafficking victims.

However, there was no progress reported toward fulfilling the goals of the action plan signed in January 2011 to combat the practice of bacha baazi by the Afghan National Security Forces.

Selling own children

Some Afghan families knowingly sell their children into prostitution, including for bacha baazi—where men, sometimes including government officials and security forces, use young boys for social and sexual entertainment.

Other families send their children to obtain employment through labor brokers and the children end up in forced labor. Opium-farming families sometimes sell their children to settle debts with opium traffickers.

Abuse of Afghans out of the country

Men, women, and children in Afghanistan often pay intermediaries to assist them in finding employment, primarily in Iran, Pakistan, India, Europe, or North America; some of these intermediaries force Afghan citizens into labor or prostitution after their arrival. Afghan women and girls are subjected to prostitution and domestic servitude primarily in Pakistan, Iran, and India. Afghan boys and men are subjected to forced labor and debt bondage in agriculture and construction, primarily in Iran, Pakistan, Greece, Turkey, and the Gulf states. Some Afghan boys are found in sex trafficking in Greece after paying high fees to be smuggled into the country.

Afghan government 

The Government of Afghanistan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. While victims of trafficking were routinely prosecuted and convicted as criminals for moral crimes, the government failed to hold the vast majority of traffickers criminally accountable for their offenses. Official complicity remained a serious problem and political will to combat the crime was low. Law enforcement and judicial officials continued to have a limited understanding of human trafficking, and the government did not develop or employ systematic procedures for the identification and referral of victims to protective services.

Edited by: Amazon Rezai

Read more: BBC 

Violence against journalists in Afghanistan is increasing

Yesterday tens of Journalists, journalism associations and social activist gathered in parke-zarnegar to ask justice for Amin Babak a Kabul TV reporter who was punched in face on last Wednesday night by a bodyguard detailed to Nazir Ahmad Ahmadzai, the second deputy speaker of the Lower House.
nai-31-december-2014
Abdul Mujib Khalwatgar, the executive director of Nai Supporting Open Media in Afghanistan condemned the action and said violence against journalists should be punished in accordance with the law. NAI also reported a 64 percent increase of violence against journalists in Afghanistan in 2014. according to this report 2014 had been the worst year for reporters in Afghanistan.

Journalists have paid a high price in Afghanistan since 2001. At least 33 have been killed in connection with the work. They include 15 foreign journalists – four German, two French, two Italian, two Swedish, one Australian, one Canadian, one Norwegian, one American, and one British. Most of these murders are still unpunished.

NAI director Sediquallah Tawhidi says that eight journalists had been killed in 2014 in Afghanistan.

Last year human rights watch in Afghanistan in a 48 pages reports announced that government, politicians and governmental organizations did the highest threat against journalists in Afghanistan. ” Afghanistan efforts for freedom of speech and its achievements will be affected by the increasing of violence against journalists” announced human rights watch.

President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai has nonetheless written a letter of commitment to support free media and journalists that has been endorsed by Abdullah Abdullah, his chief executive in the national unity government. It aims to render justice and end in impunity, and to reopen the cases of journalists who have been murdered in the past ten years.

war crimes

Destabilized by an increasingly violent civil war, Afghanistan finds its extremely difficult to protect journalists. Since the start of this spring, Taliban attacks have been directly targeting foreign civilians, regarded by the Taliban as “citizens of occupying countries” and as “state collaborators.”

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has reported a record high number of 2,937 civilian casualties during the first four months of 2015 (974 civilian deaths and 1,963 injured) – a 16 percent increase over the same period in 2014.

On 31 May, UNAMA human rights director Georgette Gagnon described these attacks as war crimes.

beside what human rights watch announced about the violence against journalists, a sector of the government is simultaneously holding peace talks with these criminals. Most of the slain journalists were directly killed by the Taliban, who are waging a war opposed to the Afghan people’s desire for peace and democracy. Afghanistan’s recent history has clearly shown that peace is impossible without justice.

At a meeting with prosecutors on 30 November 2014, First Vice-President Abdul Rachid Dostom formally asked the attorney-general to reopen all the cases of murdered journalists. He also requested the creation of a commission to monitor these cases and asked to be kept informed about progress in the investigations.

Social Media new rules

Media influencers are worried about the future of freedom of speech in Medias. Despite all, Mujgan mustafavi new deputy of publication of ministry of information and culture, announced in “Media week” that Afghanistan government will issue rules to use social media. “this rules will support personal privacy and prevent desecration of civilians and its will not limit freedom of speech or access to the social medias at all”. she added.

she also said: ten years before a small group of people had access to the internet but now the number increases to millions of afghans and social media is affecting Afghan life style and even politics, this rules are to support the right of social media users in Afghanistan.

Written by N. Farzad

Taliban did War Cirmes in Jalrez,west of Kabul

“Afghan security forces battling the Taliban in Jalrez about 30 miles west of Kabul have sustained heavy casualties” officials said Saturday, a senior members of the government criticized the response to the assault as slow and ineffective.

Details of the fighting in Wardak Province, which began Thursday, were murky, but statements by various officials said that 16 to 30

Mr. Ghani, in a statement, said “the desecration” of the bodies was a “war crime.”
Mr. Ghani, in a statement, said “the desecration” of the bodies was a “war crime.”

members of the Afghan Local Police a militia controlled by the Interior Ministry who are from Hazara ethnic had been killed, along with at least two civilians. “Some of the dead were decapitated or burned and blinded”. Officials said.

President Ghani who formed a power-sharing government with his election rival, in a statement said “the desecration” of the bodies was a “war crime.”

The ugly turn in the war comes as Afghanistan’s struggling coalition government remains without a minister of defense 10 months after taking office. President Ashraf Ghani’s third nomination (Masoom Stanakzai) for the post was rejected by Parliament on Saturday.

“The fighting was taking place in the province’s Jalrez district, which lies on a strategically important highway connecting Kabul, the capital, to the central province of Bamian. The highway was closed Saturday”. Said Masood Shneezai, deputy chief of Wardak’s provincial council.

Shneezai added: “Taliban had overrun about 11 security checkpoints since the battle began”. Security officials said hundreds of supporting forces, who reached the area on Friday and Saturday, had taken back at least seven of the checkpoints and secured the government buildings in central Jalrez.

“The Afghan Local Police members fought the insurgents until their last breath, and when the ammunition finished they were killed by the Taliban,” said one local security official on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. More than 400 Taliban fighters were involved in the onslaught, the official said. Two police vehicles were blown up, and the insurgents took two others.

Some senior officials in Kabul, including Vice President Sarwar Danish, criticized the security forces’ response to the assault, underscoring the dysfunctional nature of Afghanistan’s power-sharing government as it struggles to push back an intense Taliban offensive across the country.

Mr. Danish, who called the Taliban assault a “brutal and unacceptable tragedy”, accused officials in Wardak of “negligence and delay”.

Hajji Mohammad Mohaqeq, the deputy chief executive of the coalition government, said that 22 security personnel had been killed and “their bodies chopped up to pieces and burned after their martyrdom” while units of an Afghan police force headquartered nearby provided no support. He compared the episode to the mass killings of Hazaras that occurred in central Afghanistan under the Taliban’s rule from 1996 to 2001.

Reform and change youth network in a press conference warned about political and Security situation of the country.jalez2

“The main problem is weak leadership of high rank officials. They are not deserved for their positions and not capable and the problem is more serious in security”. Said Ehsanollah Hekmat a member of this network.

Edited by Basir Seerat

Read more: New York Times 

Afghan Court Cancels Death Sentences in Mob Killing of Woman

An Afghan court has overturned the death sentences for four men convicted of taking part in the shocking mob killing of Farkhonda in Kabul City some months ago, a judge said Thursday. farkhonda

Three of the men convicted of the murder of Farkhunda Malikzada in March were instead given 20-year sentences, and the fourth was sentenced to 10 years, said Appeals Court Judge Abdul Nasir Murid.

The ruling was made in a closed-door hearing on Wednesday and first reported by the independent Tolo TV. Tolo said the court acquitted the peddler at the shrine who allegedly incited the mob by falsely accusing Malikzada of burning a Quran.

The court’s decision, which has not yet been made public, has outraged her family, who said they are still waiting for justice. Lawmakers and activists also criticized the decision, saying the court had bowed to the conservative religious establishment and failed to uphold the rule of law.

“This is against the constitution. The courts should be open to the public, and this closed-door hearing undermines the credibility of the sentences,” said Shukria Barakzai, a lawmaker and women’s rights advocate.

The mob killing led to calls for judicial reform and stronger protection for women from violence. After the peddler at the Shah-Du Shamshira shrine falsely accused Malikzada of burning a Quran, a mob attacked her as police watched. After punching, kicking and beating her with wooden planks, the crowd threw her from a roof, ran over her with a car and crushed her with a block of concrete. They then set her body alight on the bank of the Kabul River.

The attack was filmed by many people in the mob, and the footage widely distributed on social media. Of the 49 people convicted, including 19 policemen accused of dereliction of duty, 37 were released last month ahead of their appeals.

Eddited by Afghan human right website

Read more: ABC news

Afghanistan growing more receptive on women’s rights, says British ambassador

karen pierce
Karen Pierce, the British ambassador to Afghanistan, believes the Afghan government is sincere about improving the rights of women. Photograph: UN Photo

Karen Pierce welcomes Taliban acknowledgement of women’s right to learn and work, and hails efforts of Afghan president Ashraf Ghani and wife Rula

For the first time, Afghan leaders seem willing to make sincere attempts to improve the rights of women, according to the new British ambassador to Kabul.

Speaking at her Kabul residence, where she took up her post in May, Karen Pierce said the Afghan government has taken bold and important steps towards reconciliation with the Taliban following the drawdown of foreign troops last year.
Pierce sees peace and women’s rights as inseparable. In her previous job as the UK’s permanent representative to the UN, she spent two years trying to convince UN special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to find practical ways of including women in peace efforts in Syria.

It is fitting, then, that Pierce’s appointment to Kabul, where she succeeded Sir Richard Stagg, should coincide with this year’s 15th anniversary of UN Resolution 1325, which urges member states to increase the role of women in peace building.

She arrived only weeks after the Taliban expressed support for the right of women to education and work during informal talks in Qatar with people close to the Afghan government. Shortly after that exchange, a Taliban delegation met with Afghan women’s rights defenders in Oslo.

“I think it was a sign of success for those of us in and outside Afghanistan who have been pushing the women’s agenda that the Taliban felt it would put them in a good light to meet these women and issue a statement about girl’s education. And even if the Taliban did that wholly cynically, it’s nevertheless a good sign,” said Pierce.

The Taliban’s cautious venture into diplomatic waters follows intensive efforts by the Afghan president Ashraf Ghani to reboot relations with Pakistan, long seen as a protector of the militant movement.

Ghani and his wife Rula, an atypically outspoken Afghan first lady, have been equally earnest with regard to women’s rights, said Pierce.

“What the Ghanis have brought is that they’re not afraid to discuss the problems. I think there was a little bit of a sense before that, because the world had a very negative view of Afghanistan and women’s rights, it was better not to discuss it,” Pierce said.

A security policy specialist, Pierce’s remit has included arms control as well as peace processes in the Balkans. Immediately after the September 11 attacks in New York, she also worked on Afghanistan while based in London.

The UK’s military role in Afghanistan is limited to about 470 troops who form part of Nato’s mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces. The first batch of UK-trained female cadets graduated from an officers’ academy in Kabul in June.

Annual assistance from the UK Foreign Office (FCO) and the Department for International Development also funds education and women’s rights projects, including women’s shelters and a forensics laboratory to detect rape.

Diplomatically, Pierce said, the UK lends technical assistance to potential peace talks, and lobbies for reform of the Afghan legal system, which is often skewed against women.

Pierce was last in Kabul four years ago. She said the city had developed dramatically since then, with widespread electricity, better food available and more economic activity.

In her new capacity she stands out as one of only three female western ambassadors appointed to Afghanistan since 2001. After 15 years of the international community impressing upon Afghan leaders the importance of equal participation in the labour force and politics, does she find that rate hypocritical?

“It’s a pity, but I don’t think it’s hypocritical,” she said. “There’s a global issue here with women getting to the top of any diplomatic service profession in their own country.”
Pierce agreed, however, that it was unwise to lecture Afghans. “Especially if you’re trying to influence and get the maximum number of people to buy into a progressive agenda … Leading by example is one way. But I wouldn’t say leading by example is about ambassadors.”

Pierce is an anomaly not just in Kabul’s diplomatic corps but also in the UK foreign service. In the 333-year history of the FCO, only six women with children have made it to director general level. Pierce, as the mother of two sons, is one of them. Her husband is a civil servant in the Treasury.

She said she doesn’t worry that Afghan counterparts won’t take her seriously because of her gender. Nevertheless, she has had brushes with prejudice in a country where so few women hold leadership positions. When the embassy marked the Queen’s birthday in June, Pierce and a few staff lined up to welcome guests, only to have male guests walk straight past her, assuming she was a spouse.

“So then you’ve got a dilemma. Do you do something that might be culturally insensitive and step forward and stick your hand out and say ‘I’m the British ambassador’?’ Or do you not do that and risk that you will be ignored?”

She tried both, and then went for handshakes.

Read more: TheGuardian

Dispatches: Yet Again, Afghanistan Relies on Abusive Strongmen

This research is done by Patricia Gossman (@pagossman on Twitter)

It’s déjà vu all over again in the Afghan government’s fight against the Taliban in Kunduz province as the government seeks to prop up overstretched Afghan National Security Forces with – you guessed it – abusive strongmen and their unofficial militias.

It’s not like this hasn’t been tried before – to disastrous effect.

The fighting is part of the Taliban’s spring offensive, nicknamed Azm or “resolve.” Battles have been particularly fierce in the province’s districts of Chardara, Imam Sahib, Khanabad, and Gul Tepe. Tens of thousands of civilians have been displaced, and with no end to the fighting in sight, there are fears that much of the spring planting will be lost. The intensity of the recent outbreak in fighting in Kunduz took the Afghan security forces by surprise, seriously rattling Afghan government officials and their international allies. In late April, Taliban forces came close to overrunning the provincial capital, Kunduz city, leading to the call forreinforcements.

Enter the militias. Kunduz is home to a patchwork of unofficial armed groups and estimates of the total number of militia members range from 4,500 to 10,000. Local residents have implicated many of these militiasin serious abuses. Relying on such armed groups as a bulwark against the Taliban has a long history in the Afghan conflict as a kind of short-term fix. But this “fix” has actually undermined security in Afghanistan’s north for more than a decade.

A member of the Taliban insurgent and other people stand at the site during the execution of three men in Ghazni Province April 18, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer

One of the strongmen tapped for the job of reversing the Taliban’s gains is Mir Alam, one of Kunduz’s most powerful men with thousands of militia members at his command. Mir Alam’s reputation for fueling insecurity is well-known: when his forces were deployed against the Taliban in 2011, a leaked US embassy cable called the move “a quick fix with dangerous implications: tactical gains at strategic cost.” The predatory behavior of these militias, and abuses that include extrajudicial killings of civilians, beatings, and looting, have left civilianstrapped between them and the Taliban and has bolstered some support for the insurgents.

But this lesson has not yet stuck, and the Afghan government is again reactivating militias that threaten the lives of ordinary Afghans. If there is to be any hope of a long-term security in Kunduz – and across Afghanistan – this reliance on abusive militias has to end.

source: HRW

Death penalty to a men who raped his daughter for 11 years

FDeathpanltyA Father who has nine children raped his own daughter for 11 years. Last year this father was arrested in urban area around Kabul city and his rape story was amplified in social media. The primary court sentenced him to death while he has 2 children from his raped daughter.

The primary court announced that all documents and evidences about the convict prove the mass of father.

Khatera, the daughter claims five-six time abortions.

“Many times he raped my in front of my other sisters. The family knew about father raping and arrest him with police assistance.

“According to evidences and documents and the 17th article of violence against women, the father was handled to a death penalty,” Sayed Ahmad, head of Kabul’s primary court said.

“I am happy of the court’s verdict, but I want the verdict to be implemented because if the court release him free, my live will be in danger,” Khatera said.

The civil society members who were present at the trial praised the primary court decision and called for his prosecution.

However, the suspected man who was arrested seven months ago due to his wife complaint denies all charges against him and insists that it is a conspiracy against him.

before several man received death penalty after they raped their own daughters.

Civil society is worried about this kind of violence against women inside the families and says if the government do not act seriously the number of violence will raise and it will change to a serious social problem.

Love crimes & violence against women in Afghanistan

Love crimes & violence against women in Afghanistan is a research by Amazon Rezai.

Abstract

 

In this letter I am trying to figure out about the types of violence against women in Afghanistan. Finding an imagination on real women situation after 13 years of presents of international troops in the country, Afghan women gained a series of opportunities and challenges. In addition to the letter, a photo story, in power point format about common cases of violence happened and the Afghan feminist fights for women rights in Afghanistan will be attached. Traditions and religion affect on Afghan women lives and the history of feminism is the discussed.

Introduction

Today, in all over Afghanistan women are practically ‘the first movers’. Some are the first female member in their family going to school, others to open a business or take public office. There is a tremendous awareness among Afghan women that they are trail-blazing for the next generation, for their daughters. As the first movers, women have changed the face of societies, while harsh cultural and social situations have encompassed them – wrong traditions, male-dominated environment and lack of legal support. From the other hand, international donations brought about women who act as agent changes, while, from the other hand, number of cases of violence against women are increasing. Considering the situations, the questions that might arouse is “Are women hopeful of changes? What was international community’s role for saving women right in Afghanistan?”

While, According to EU ambassador for Afghanistan, 87 percent of Afghan women have already experienced some form of violence, it is still one of the worst places for being a woman.

Afghan Human Rights in Afghanistan Organization

In 2013 I was awarded the global best blog Persian by “Deutsche welle”. Beside blogging in 2010 I got involved into the community and start social activities in Kabul.

As a human rights and social activist, I initiatively designed several Human Rights and Cultural Development campaigns to support women and minorities in the financial and technical aspects of public-donated mechanism.

As a social media activist I am proud of being the member of the “Paiwand” team, holding the first ever social media summit in Afghanistan in 2013.

To continue work for human rights, in Sweden, friends of mine and I have collected, processed and distributed news of human rights violations throughout the country using its pool of reporters.  News stories are published to inform the general public as well as various groups in Afghan and international activists abroad. We strive to provide moral and legal supports for the victims of human rights abuses by swaying public opinions inside the country while seeking help from the international community.

The facts about violence against women

 

Violence against women is one of the most serious human rights issues in

Afghanistan. Although important achievements have been made in different areas such as education, health and participation of women in civil and political spheres over last decade, deep-rooted cultural and social issues still exist against realization of and their freedom in many parts of our country. Violence against women is one of the serious violations

Types of violence against women in Afghanistan1

  1. Physical violence 26.7%

 

  1. a) Physical violence in the family, including battering, sexual abuse of female children in the household, dowry-related violence, marital rape, female genital mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women, non-spousal violence and violence related to exploitation.

(b) Physical violence within the community, including rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and intimidation at work, in educational institutions and elsewhere, trafficking in women and forced prostitution, beating, kicking, slapping, hitting with stones, burring with boiling water, pulling out hair and poisoning, cutting of body members by using of knife and weapons.

*Beating women is a common form of violence, it is almost culturally accepted

  1. Sexual violence 7.7%

 

Sexual violence against women is committed in various forms such as sexual assaults, illegitimate sexual affair/ sodomy, sexual degradation and ill -treatment, forced prostitution, forced abortion and etc.

Sexual assault is considered a very serious and concerning sexual violence against women in Afghanistan.

Sexual violence against women has negative and painful social, cultural and economic impacts on women in Afghanistan. In spite of physical injuries, women who are victims of sexual violations face with other problems such as psychological problems, AIDS, and unwanted pregnancy.

Due to the nature of sexual issues as a taboo in Afghan traditional society, therefore, addressing of these problems has been considered odious in the society. In addition, this problem is related to a family or tribe’s honor and prestige. Therefore, its publication is prevented and usually kept as a secret.

  1. Verbal and psychological violence 24.3%

Humiliation, insults and threats are the common forms of such violence that could have a serious effect on the character and spirit of women and leave adverse consequences on social and personal life of them, and finally encounter them with discouragement, isolation, frustration, anxiety and stress, and even make them feel hatred against others. In this situation they would become more vulnerable against the challenges, constraints and difficulties of life. Evidences show that verbal and psychological violence can even lead to suicide, self-immolation and dangerous ganglia in women’s lives

Verbal and psychological violence against women can happen within the family and in the local community in the form of street harassment, and put women in a dangerous and difficult situation.

  1. Economic violence 21.5%

 

Lack of economic autonomy of women in a family environment and their dependency on their husband caused women in the family environment as well as at the social level enjoys a lower status compared to men. On the other hand this issue has caused women to

stay away from decision-making positions regarding family affairs. Their will has not been considered in decisions taken for the family affairs. Economic violence against women occurs in different forms and based on the traditions dominant in the societies of Afghanistan, it appears with all its intensity.

 

Lack of authority on the family expenditures is another form of economic violence. Deprivation from right to heritage also, Selling of precious properties specially jewelries, Prevention from work and employment of women includes, misappropriation of their salary and wages.

  1. Other forms of violence 19.9%

The right to education, right to marriage and right to have access to health facilities are the basic rights of individuals that still eligible women and children are deprived of these rights due to some reasons. Many eligible girls cannot go to school. A high percentage of mothers lose their lives while giving birth to their baby.

Unpleasant cultural patterns have paved the way for early marriages such as Bad and Exchange marriages which all are happening by force.

Lack of consideration of legal age for marriage are often originated from the dominating character of undesirable traditions and customs that has put children especially girls in a difficult situation and resulted in many negative consequences. Nowadays honor killings, ascending trend of divorce, unwilling and child marriages are the main factor for running away from home.

Denial of the right to education, exchange marriages, giving as Bad and deprivation from going outside of the home, right to choose spouse, forced marriages, heavy dowries, expulsion from home… are just a few examples of a rollback of women’s rights in recent years in Afghanistan even where revolutions and political transitions have been hailed in the West.[1]

Law on the Elimination of Violence Against Women

One of Afghanistan’s important achievements in the last 10 years or so was the establishment of legal supports for human rights and in its national laws. The Afghan Constitution has emphasized on in several articles and has bound the government to make and carry out programs fruitful for women’ rights. Article 7 of the Constitution has urged the government to follow the international instruments and treaties that have been signed or ratified by it. But last year a landmark law to prevent violence against women was pushed out of parliament, the quota of seats for women on provincial councils was cut, and a proposal

to reintroduce stoning as a punishment for adultery – used more against women than men – put forward by the justice ministry.

But president Karzai rejected the law to parliament for changes.

It’s still unclear what the government might do to amend the law, but it points to two particular areas of concern.

The first is to clarify that relatives of a battered person will be allowed to give voluntary testimony, and the second is to restrict exemptions on testimony only to spouses, not all relatives. Even with those changes, this law will still cause significant damage to women who have experienced abuse and are seeking help from the justice system.

Undesirable traditions

Why do husbands, fathers, brothers-in-law, even mothers-in-law brutalize the women in their families? Are these violent acts the consequence of a traditional society suddenly, after years of isolation and so much war, being hurled into the 21st century? And which Afghans in this society are committing the violence? There are significant differences between the Hazaras, Tajiks, Uzbeks, and Pashtuns, the most populous and conservative group and the one that has dominated political life since the 1880s.

For example in the Pashtun crescent, from Farah Province in the west to Kunar in the northeast, life was—and in many ways still is—organized around the code known as Pashtunwali, the “way of the Pashtun.” The foundation of Pashtunwali is a man’s honor, judged by three possessions—zar (gold), zamin (land), and zan (women). The principles on which the honorable life is built are melmastia (hospitality), nanawati (shelter or asylum), and badal (justice or revenge). But in other ethnics such as Hazara and Tajiks, women have better situation they can participate in social and political issues, sing, study and work.

According to this sample and many other above named forms of Violence, it seems violence will remains a threat to women in Afghanistan, where horrible traditions appear as a powerful role in every aspect of women life.

Islamic Sharia

Tradition and religion are two effective phenomena affected afghan life, many injustices happen for women under the shelter of Islamic sharia.

Mullahs as effective persons and leaders in society, mostly in urban areas order and encourage daily violence such as beating, force and early marriage among the family as they say it is guidance of religion and needed for women to obey their husband or father.

Nowadays intellectuals advocate the separation of religion from politics. They believe it will decrease pressure on women, and decrease government competences to judge the violence cases.

Burqa & Freedom

Beside lack of education/literacy, lack of job opportunities, domestic violence, and forced marriage/dowry payments, new survey of Asia foundation shows that Afghan women are losing ground in the same area in compare of the past years.

Burqa is a very important Symbol that shows the degree of freedom in Afghanistan. Depends on existence of the number of women wearing long blue color cloths in the society, you can approximately measure the amount of violence against women, the degree of freedom of speech, literacy and even women political participation.

New generation who knows the Burqa as a symbol of violence against women, which separate the world of the person under it by around!

Mostly the families, who have a big control on the women and see the women as an instrument more than a human, use to order their women to wear burqa outside.

After Taliban regime women start practicing to ban burqa in society but as we are getting near to the exit time of foreign forces from the country, increasing using burqa in urban area shows the fear of people form another internal war. Burq was and is a helpful instrument for Taliban regime when they were rolling the country to show their power on controlling women and now for suicide bombing they (men) wear burqa and attacks to the goals.

 

Love marriages crimes

In Afghanistan, where people are very sensitive to the word of “love.” People do have feelings of love: they can be love fatherhood, motherhood, sisters and brothers; they can also love their children.

But if someone truly falls in love with a girl or a boy, Afghan traditionalists cannot tolerate it. Many women and men have lost their lives because of falling in love and wanting to marry their beloved. When the younger generation looks at the traditional Afghan attitude toward love, and then they fall in love with someone, they do not know what they should to do, marry, leave or run away of home…

A big campaign held by civil activist in 2013 in favor of a love marriage case happened in Bamian city, a boy belonged to Hazara ethnic fell in love with a Tajik girl and both run away of the home.

Government stopped and punished the boy but people support this couple by protesting and campaigns. They asked the world to help and save their love.

In past years it was a big step toward chooses freedom and positive change of young generation about LOVE marriage.

Achievement

How do you evaluate Afghan women’s right in the recent years?

Generally, awareness of gender equality and women’s rights issues has been increased significantly in the past several years. And many issues, such as violence against women, and sexual violence in conflict, are now openly discussed in the society, covering by media and supporting by civil activists. In addition, women’s participation in the recent presidential election was significant and this fact can be considered as a positive factor in Afghan women’s rights despite all challenges Afghan women confront in the society.

Expansion and enhancement of civic activities in a positive, constructive and consistent way is a big achievement helpful for fighting against violence, as a social activist, I see how people around me are engaging to social activities after positive influence of social activist campaigns on changing governmental organization

High ability of educated women in implementation of democratic values using social Relativity good power of traditional and social media to create secure platforms for women rights activities in Afghanistan is also one of achievements I cannot ignore.

On the other hand, it’s been pessimistically a bad year for women’s right given the increasing number of violence against women in different provinces of the country. (Around 25%) Cutting off a woman’s nose by her husband in Daykundi, the safest city for women, is a typical example of lack of law enforcement in legal areas regarding women’s right in Afghanistan. Furthermore, an Afghan father’s rape to his own daughter leading to her pregnancy and even delivering and raising two children is a horrifying fact which also created a huge shock among Afghan people. And rejection of The Violence Against Women Act by the Afghan Parliament in 2013 shows relative deterioration of women’s right activities in some points in Afghanistan.

Challenges toward implementing women rights

  1. Lake of data and statistics in order to real number of accrued violence
  2. The low level of awareness among the people and lack of their knowledge about their basic rights
  3. Human rights and democracy fund-based activities cause superficial results leaving no focus on real challenges and infrastructure services on women right and democracy building.
  4. Government corruption in women rights and democracy transgressors trial, government has a vital role to provide social change; and promote social justice. It is thought of as a society that affords individuals and groups fair treatment and a just share of the benefits of society. Social justice often equated with the concepts of human rights and equality.
  5. Islamic sharia as source of violence
  6. Lake of strong official voice to counter that reactionary voice, We need strong government policy

Conclusion

After 2001 fall of Taliban, there have been advances in protecting women’s rights, but a lot of them could not have altered women’s status in the society. Women really do not have a place to go if they’re being abused. That is, lack of access to judiciary institutions is a remarkable issue for women. There are women’s shelters, but they’re not universally accepted in Afghanistan, and they’re constantly under threat of attack or being closed down.

If a woman’s husband is beating her on a daily basis, she can’t just ask for a divorce. It’s not acceptable in the society. And if she does ask for a divorce, often her family will kill her because it brings shame to her family or she’ll be put in prison. I’ve met dozens of women in prison who’ve done nothing more than try to ask for a divorce. The international community is going to be pulling out Afghanistan, and Afghans need to make decisions for themselves. If these are the decisions they’re making, it’s pretty terrifying. It’s a very scary future for women in Afghanistan.

There is a need for continued monitoring, service delivery, and condemnation of all forms of violence against women and girls in Afghanistan—and around the world. The litmus test of Afghanistan’s transition and development will be the extent to which women’s and girls’ rights are recognized, protected, and realized.

Under the Taliban, women were confined to their homes. They were not allowed to work or attend school. They were poor and without rights. They had no access to clean water or medical care, and they were forced into marriages, often as children.

Today, women in the vast majority of Afghanistan live in precisely the same conditions, with one notable difference: they are surrounded by war. The conflict outside their doorsteps endangers their lives and those of their families. It does not bring them rights in the household or in public, and it confines them even further to the prison of their own homes. Military escalation is just going to bring more tragedy to the women of Afghanistan.

[1] http://www.refworld.org

Universal portests for rescuing #31kiddnapped Hazaras !

LookoutThirty eight days past when gunmen kidnapped 31 Hazaras in Zabul, Afghanistan. Where there no serious reaction by Afghan Government.
38 days before, the men were traveling by bus from Herat when they were seized in Zabul province, on the road to Kabul.
No group has said it’s carried out the abductions. Kidnappings for ransom are common in Afghanistan, especially by Afghan Taliban.
“The gunmen took money and phones from the Hazara men before driving them away. Their faces were covered and they were wearing military clothes.” One bus passenger told BBC Persian.
He said he and another man had been left behind because the gunmen had no room for them in their vehicles.

Afghan government reaction:

While Interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqi said police were “doing everything to ensure their safe release”, eyewitnesses, internal medias and internationals confirm that “police arrived very soon after there and they could see [the kidnappers]. people showed them to the police. Police said they would find them but didn’t chase them.”
District Governor Abdul Khaliq Ayoubi blamed the Taliban for the attack, Afghanistan’s Tolo News reported.

Although security officials have not spoken about the incident, local leaders such as Atta Jan Haqbayan, the head of the Zabul Provincial Council, have confirmed the incident.

The Afghan military forces launched a rescue operation in southern Zabul province t to free the 30 Hazara passengers who were kidnapped by unknown masked men, but the operation failed and they could not rescue the passengers yet.

The operation was launched in Khak-e-Afghan district of Zabul. So far, 36 insurgents have been killed and 50 others injured. Leading the operation was Kandahar Police Chief Gen. Abdul Raziq, Military Commander of Atal 205th Corps Maj. Gen. Abdul Hamid Hamid, and Zabul security officials. Tolo News reported.

Also Zabul acting Governor Mohammad Ashraf Nasiri had warned that if negotiations between the tribal elders and the armed masked men did not triumph that military action will be taken. and recently Mohammad Sarwar Danesh, second vice president in a meeting with Social Activists told in Parliament: “Government will use any possible way to rescue the passengers”

And this speech was all the government did.

Social Activists :

After the day when this case accident, happened people start holding Facebook campaigns, street protests, gatherings in different cities inside Afghanistan and all over the world and asked the government to take a serious step toward 30 kidnapped passengers and it still continues.

Social activists, students and Afghan migrants in foreign countries in their street gathering asks the international community that use their influence and force the Afghan government to take action for Afghans lives safety.

People believes that government is not following seriously such cases to rescue this citizens of Afghanistan. this activists  says that government must explain to the people about why they could not rescues this passengers after about 2 months.

Activist says: …Hazaras are peaceful, friendly people who are civil activists and eager to bring changes in good ways, and they are always willing to pursue their goals through education in order to be useful in society. regretfully the Hazara Afghans have always been targeted by other tribes and nationalities inside Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran only because they are Afghan, Hazara and Shi Muslim . instance: 62% of them were killed in 1890s, by king Abdulrahman, thousands were murdered in 1992 at Kabul Afshar, thousands in Mazarisharif in 1998… We as humans should not watch and sit Apathetically! It’s our duty, specially the International Communities such as UN agencies and the Afghan government to investigate and handle the issue of 31 Hazara passengers who have been abducted for several days.

Bring Back

People and the families of the abducted Hazaras are still waiting on news about the fate of their beloved ones, keeping eyes at their doors for the past days.

“I want my dad back home,” said a little daughter of one of the abducted passenger who was returning from Herat to Kabul after taking her sister to a hospital.
His family called on the government to help their beloved ones return home safe and sound.

LOOK UP ! Your eyes could save 31 #kidnapped Hazaras, Ask for justice, supports and encouragements for rescuing them A Live !

Read more:

http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18349-masked-men-abduct-30-hazara-passengers-in-zabul

http://www.kabulpress.org/my/spip.php?article227965

http://www.rferl.mobi/a/afghanistan-hazaras-mass-abduction-islamic-state/26869255.html

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/02/24/asia/afghanistan-kidnapping/

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/southasia/2015/02/shia-muslims-kidnapped-afghanistan-150224081251654.html

Open letter to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

FarkhoAfter Many days mob killed 27 years old Farkhonda, social and human rights activist are still holding different campaigns to ask justice for Farkhonda. But shamefully, Afghanistan government and high officials did not have any talks about this violence case happened in center of Kabul.

People are following the case very seriously, they ask justice by protests in the street in big cities of Afghanistan and other countries such as Australia, UK, Canada, Indea, Tajikistan and Sweden…

Read the open letter to the High commission of Human rights of Afghanistan, written by the activist in Goteborg, Sweden.

Farkho2

Open letter to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

The Statement and open letter by the organizers committee of the memorial and commemoration of Farkhunda, regarding to the heartbreaking incident of killing and burning her on March 19, 2015.

***

Murdering Farkhunda led the whole world into a shock. She was lynched on accusation of burning holy Quran, which turned out to be false. But a huge number of angry men, without any investigation and only based on a false accusal beat her, threw her from the roof of the Mosque to the ground, stoned her, drove a car on her, and finally burned her body.

This tragic felony was taken place during the day and in one of the most crowded areas of Kabul city while the police forces, which are meant to keep security of citizens, were watching it.

After the incident, some of the high-ranking officials of Afghanistan government and some religious figures supported the crime with justifications based on religion of Afghanistan people. But we, on our stronghold against the violation of women rights and civil rights, in-order to stand for equality of both genders, and to respect humanity and social justice, for Farkhunda and all women of Afghanistan, ask for justice to be implemented.

In-order to bring up justice for Farkhunda’s judicial record, we ask the following conditions to be considered:

1. Stop religious discrimination and Islamic radicalism. And ban all kinds of radicalism fetishistic activities and superstitious jobs, such as soothsaying, divination, foretelling, and etc…

2. Confirm and approve of the complete version of prevention of violence against women act as soon as possible.

3. Recognition, capture, and retribution of those who were involved in the heartbreaking lynching of Farkhunda. In this regard, all of those who caused the incident, including the instigators, appellants, motivators, justifiers, and vindicators should be arrested. Especially we ask to bring Molavi Ayaz Niazi to the court. He is the religious figure who justified the lynching and is encouraging religious discrimination and Islamic radicalism.

4. Creation of a committee by the Afghan government to observe and control the activities of Ulema Council, missionaries, Mosques, and religious schools.

5. One of the main reasons, which caused the incident, was the irresponsibility and failure of the police forces. We ask the Afghan government to reprimand and punish the responsible people at the Ministry of Interior, specially the Minister and Kabul General Commander.

6. We ask the Afghan government to investigate and handle the issue of 31 Hazara passengers who have been abducted for several months.

7. We are asking from United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, governmental influences, the international organizations, communities, and legal assemblies to follow up the elimination of racial discrimination and gender bias, and elimination of violence against women at Afghanistan.

At the end, we express our sympathy with Farkhunda’s family. We promise that we will not give up until the murderers and motivators of this historical and humanitarian tragedy have been brought to the court, and until our demands have been achieved. Otherwise we will not settle down and we will continue our protests and ask for justice.

We are all Farkhunda.

This movement was arranged by  the Committee of the memorial and commemoration of Farkhunda –

Gothenburg, Sweden:

Soheila Haidari

Jalil Taghizadeh

Fereshta Haidari

Alex Afshar

List of association’s representatives:

Svenska Afghanistankommittén: SAK

8:e marskommittén i Göteborg

Kvinnorättsförbundet

Fanos Förening

Medusahuset rådgivning center

and Rumi förening

Afghan woman burned after mob heard she burned Koran

 #Farkhunda

farkhondaYesterday in center of Kabul city in Afghanistan mob beats 27 years old Afghan woman, Farkhonda to death before burning her body and dumping it in a river because she set fire to a Koran.

Farkhonda was burned while her parents insist she had suffered from mental illness for past 16 years and that she had not meant to burn Kuran. Attack happened near Shah-e Doh Shamshira mosque in the heart of Kabul

Afghan Human rights website reporter says: In last 24 hours shocking videos of crowds of men has emerged in Medias of mob kicking, stoning and burning Farkhonda. Some of the men stamped on the victim’s limp body while others could be seen in the videos punching and kicking her.

Sediq Sediqi spoke man of the ministry of interior confirms and add that six have been arrested in connection with the attack on his twitter account. The police did not comment immediately on any circumstances that might have led to the attack.

Human rights groups and activists are concerning if the Kabul police done enough to stop the mob or not.

BBC reports one eyewitness to the lynching as saying: ‘I heard noise, I went and people said that a woman is burning Koran. When I went closer I saw angry people shouting they want to kill the woman.

‘They beat her to death and then threw her on the river side and burned her. Firefighters later came and put out the fire and took the body.’

Such public attacks and outdoor courts was began under Taliban rule after 1990 and unfortunately still violence against women in Afghanistan is exist and women remain under this risks

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-3004110/Afghan-police-7-arrested-Kabul-mob-kills-woman.html

Afghanistan: Abusive Strongmen Escape Justice

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Atta Mohammad Noor, the influential governor of northern Balkh province is one of those the report says profited from Nato projects to expand the security forces, using them to absorb and fund his own militias, hundreds of men strong

(Washington, DC) – Afghanistan’s new government should prosecute officials and commanders whose serious human rights abuses have long gone unpunished, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. US officials should press President Ashraf Ghani to take up justice for past abuses as a top priority during Ghani’s expected March 2015 visit to Washington, DC.

“The previous Afghan government and the United States enabled powerful and abusive individuals and their forces to commit atrocities for too long without being held to account,” said Phelim Kine, deputy Asiadirector. “The Ghani administration has already taken the welcome step of launching a national action plan to eliminate torture. The United States, which helped install numerous warlords and strongmen after the overthrow of the Taliban, should now lead an international effort to support the new government to remove serious human rights abusers from their ranks.”

The 96-page report, “‘Today We Shall All Die’: Afghanistan’s Strongmen and the Legacy of Impunity,” profiles eight “strongmen” linked to police, intelligence, and militia forces responsible for serious abuses in recent years. The report documents emblematic incidents that reflect longstanding patterns of violence for which victims obtained no official redress. The impunity enjoyed by powerful figures raises serious concerns about Afghan government and international efforts to arm, train, vet, and hold accountable Afghan National Police units, National Directorate of Security officials, and Afghan Local Police forces.

The government of former president Hamid Karzai failed to bring these individuals and their forces to justice, fostering further abuses and fueling local grievances that have generated support for the Taliban and other anti-government forces. Ghani has pledged to hold security forces accountable for their actions and end official tolerance for torture, but will need the full support of Afghanistan’s international supporters to carry out this politically sensitive task.

The report is based on 125 interviews Human Rights Watch carried out since August 2012 with victims of abuse and their family members, as well as witnesses, government officials, community elders, journalists, rights activists, United Nations officials, and members of Afghan and international security forces. It does not look at abuses by the Taliban and other opposition forces, which Human Rights Watch has addressed in other contexts.

A resident of Kunduz province whose father was murdered by a local militia in 2012 told Human Rights Watch, “I went on the roof of the house and saw we were surrounded by armed men…. My father was sitting there and said: ‘Say your whole kalima [the Muslim profession of faith], because I think today we shall all die.’”

Officials and commanders whose forces have a history of abuses typically go unpunished. For instance, forces under the command of Hakim Shujoyi have killed dozens of civilians in Uruzgan province, yet despite a warrant for his arrest he remains at large and evidence suggests he has enjoyed the support of US forces. In Paktika province, Afghan Local Police forces under the command of Azizullah,an ethnic Tajik who, as of June 2014, was a commander of the local ALP in Urgun district, have committed multiple kidnappings and killings. Azizullah has worked closely with US Special Forces despite their awareness of his reputation for unlawful brutality.

Gen. Abdul Raziq
The provincial chief of police in Kandahar, Brig. Gen. Abdul Raziq, has been directly implicated in ordering extrajudicial executions

The provincial chief of police in Kandahar, Brig. Gen. Abdul Raziq, has been directly implicated in ordering extrajudicial executions. And when the former head of the National Directorate of Security Asadullah Khalid sought medical care in the United States, he received a personal visit from President Barack Obama, sending a powerful message of US support for a notorious human rights violator.

“Since the defeat of the Taliban government in late 2001, Afghanistan has made limited progress in developing institutions, such as professional law enforcement and courts, that are crucial for the protection of human rights,” Kine said. “Afghanistan’s international allies have exacerbated the problem by prioritizing short-term alliances with bad actors over long-term reforms. It’s time for this pathology to end.”

Human Rights Watch urged the Afghan government to investigate all allegations of abuse by Afghan security forces, and remove from office and appropriately prosecute officials and commanders implicated in serious abuses. The Ministry of Interior should disband irregular armed groups and hold them accountable for abuses they have committed.

The United States and other major donors to the Afghan security forces should link continued funding to improved accountability, including prosecutions for killings, enforced disappearances, and torture. Donors should ensure that direct assistance to Afghan security forces is benchmarked to improvements in justice mechanisms. The US should fully implement the Leahy Law, which prohibits the provision of military assistance to any unit of foreign security forces where there is credible evidence that the unit has committed gross violations of human rights and that no “effective measures” are being taken to bring those responsible to justice.

“The Afghan government and its supporters should recognize that insecurity comes not only from the insurgency, but from corrupt and unaccountable forces having official backing,” Kine said.  “Kabul and its foreign supporters need to end their toxic codependency on strongmen to give Afghanistan reasonable hope of a viable, rights-respecting strategy for the country’s development.”

“The previous Afghan government and the United States enabled powerful and abusive individuals and their forces to commit atrocities for too long without being held to account. The Ghani administration has already taken the welcome step of launching a national action plan to eliminate torture. The United States, which helped install numerous warlords and strongmen after the overthrow of the Taliban, should now lead an international effort to support the new government to remove serious human rights abusers from their ranks.”
Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director

HRW

Read full Report

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Afghanistan officials sanctioned murder, torture and rape, says report

Human Rights Watch accuses high-ranking officials of allowing extrajudicial killings and brutal practices to flourish after fall of Taliban

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Kandahar’s police chief Abdul Razziq was praised by Kabul and Washington despite claims of extrajudicial killings, according to the Human Rights Watch report. Photograph: Romeo Gacad/AFP/Getty Images

Top Afghan officials have presided over murders, abduction, and other abuses with the tacit backing of their government and its western allies, Human Rights Watch says in a new report.

A grim account of deaths, robbery, rapes and extrajudicial killings, Today We Shall All Die, details a culture of impunity that the rights group says flourished after the fall of the Taliban, driven by the desire for immediate control of security at almost any price.

“The rise of abusive political and criminal networks was not inevitable,” the report said. “Short-term concerns for maintaining a bulwark against the Taliban have undermined aspirations for long-term good governance and respect for human rights in Afghanistan.”

The report focuses on eight commanders and officials across Afghanistan, some of them counted among the country’s most powerful men, and key allies for foreign troops. Some are accused of personally inflicting violence, others of having responsibility for militias or government forces that committed the crimes.

Kandahar’s most powerful commander, the former head of the intelligence service and a key northern governor are among those implicated. All of the accused have denied the allegations against them.

Some have ties to the former president Hamid Karzai, who as early as 2002 warned that security would be his first priority. “Justice [is] a luxury for now; we must not lose peace for that,” the report quotes him saying soon after coming to power. While he was in office, a blanket amnesty law for civil war-era crimes was passed.

There are also multiple links to America’s military and government, sometimes beyond the liaisons that were essential for troops on the ground.

When Assadullah Khalid, the former head of the country’s spy agency, was badly injured in a Taliban assassination attempt, Barack Obama and the former defence secretary Leon Panetta both went to visit him in the American hospital where he was recovering.

In doing so they chose to ignore a long history of accusations of rape, torture, corruption and illegal detentions, some of it from US diplomats or their allies, detailed in the HRW report.

A confidential Canadian government report from 2007 warned that “allegations of human rights abuses by [Khalid] are numerous and consistent” and he was described as “exceptionally corrupt and incompetent” in a leaked US embassy cable.

Khalid has previously dismissed the allegations against him as fabrications. “I know there is nothing (in terms of evidence),” he said in 2012, when his nomination as spy chief stirred up controversy about his past. “This is just propaganda about me.”

Another favourite of US forces, Kandahar’s police chief Abdul Razziq, was pictured last year arm in arm with a beaming three-star US general, who credited him with improving security in the political and cultural heart of southern Afghanistan.

KARZAI
Hamid Karzai accepts the Freedom award from the International Rescue Committee in New York, 2002. The president said he would make security his first priority after he came to power. Photograph: Mark Lennihan/AP

Yet his rise to power he has been dogged by a trail of allegations of extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances and torture, some described by HRW in gruesome detail. As early as 2006, when still leading a unit of border police, he was accused of the abduction and murder of 16 men, said to be in a revenge killing for the death of his brother.

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“The acting commander of border police in Kandahar, Abdul Razzaq Achakzai [Raziq], has acknowledged killing the victims, but has claimed (claims now proved false) that the killings took place during an ambush he conducted against Taliban infiltrators,” a report by the office of the EU envoy to Afghanistan said then.

Since he took control of the province’s police in 2011, the United Nations has documented “systematic” use of torture in Kandahar’s police and intelligence units, and the Human Rights Watch report lists multiple cases of men detained by Kandahar police, whose mutilated corpses were found discarded days later. Raziq has repeatedly denied all allegations of wrongdoing.

Raziq has categorically denied all charges of abuse, as attempts to undermine him. “When someone works well, then he finds a lot of enemies who try to ruin his name,” he told the Atlantic in 2011.

Last year he told the New York Times: “I don’t think people fear me … at least I don’t want them to fear me.”

The report also details large-scale corruption, that is said to have eroded both security and confidence in the government, while stuffing the coffers of abusive strongmen. Lucrative contracts for logistics and security allowed some to maintain militias under official cover, and pay off the Taliban instead of trying to defeat them, HRW said, while other security officials were involved in drug production and trafficking.

Afghanistan is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, according to Transparency International, and the compromised justice system also badly undermines accountability, with little sense among ordinary Afghans that abusers will ever be held to account.

“Initiatives ostensibly undertaken to curb corruption and other abuses have had virtually no impact, for the same reasons there has been no progress tackling impunity in other areas,” the report said. “Officially, the United States has backed anti-corruption measures, while at the same time reportedly protecting officials accused of corruption who have been deemed vital to the war effort.”

Atta Mohammad Noor, the influential governor of northern Balkh province is one of those the report says profited from Nato projects to expand the security forces, using them to absorb and fund his own militias, hundreds of men strong. They have been accused of abuses for which HRW says Atta bears responsibility, even if he is not head of a formal chain of command. Atta denies the allegations in the report.

“The informal nature of militias can make it difficult to establish who has ultimate command responsibility for their actions,” the report says. “However, the available evidence indicates that they could not operate without Atta’s consent and have been effectively under his control, including at the time of the alleged abuses.”

It quotes him telling one villager who complained about killings by a militia group under his command in 2011. “Please forgive [the killer], it was just a mistake.”

Atta in 2011 said that two of the militias he ran were needed to secure his province because Karzai’s government refused to increase police and army ranks there. “The people who complain about militia are people who have links with the Taliban,” he told the Wall Street Journal.

Human Rights Watch called on the Afghan government and its international backers to do more to hold the security forces to account. Despite meticulous documentation of many cases of abuse, there has not been a single prosecution for torture.

Afghanistan’s new president, Ashraf Ghani, said his government would not tolerate torture and thanked HRW for the report, but did not respond to the individual allegations.

The Guardian

Herat Afghanistan; Husband cut his wife’s virgin when refused to sell her daughte

zanIn western part of Afghanistan, Herat city, a husband cut his wife’s virgin when refused to sell her 40-daysbaby.

Tolo News repots that, 22 years old Rahima who is mother of three children was taken to Herat’s Gynecology and obstetric Hospital in injured condition, after her husband attacked her.

“My husband is addicted and I have tough life with him” Rahima said

Rahima Explained: “My husband took my two daughters out and send them to his sister’s house and when my father in law left the home, my husband locked me in a room and wounded me”

Maryam, the Rahima’s mother says: the Husband treated Rahima: “Now I will cut that part of your body, that you won’t be able to show it to the doctors or police and also, you won’t be able to marry again”

Doctor Fariba Baha, working in Heart Hospital said that Rahima was brought to the hospital in critical condition but now she is feeling better.

Abdul Qadir Rahim from the Human Rights Commission in Herat province while condemning the action asked government for punishment for the culprit.

Security officials are searching the culprit in suspected areas, according to Herat’s Headquarter Police officers told.

Jowzjan Afghanistan; gang raped eight months pregnant women

Local official of Jawzjan a north province of Afghanistan reported that; a pregnant 17 years woman, a policeman’s wife has been gang-raped by a group of five men on last Monday in Sheberghan city.

Provincial police chief Faqir Mohammad Jawzjani said: two individuals have been arrested in connection to the gang rape of this woman and are in police custody for further investigation.

The relatives of the victim have said that the men had initially tortured her and a number of her teeth are broken after she was beaten, her jewelries stolen by the rapists, who tied hands and feet of her father.

Jawzjan civil hospital director Dr. Mohammad Haroon Elbegi confirmed medical test showed the woman had been raped. He said the victim had signs of torture on her head.

The victim called on the relevant security and judiciary institutions to take an immediate action in trying the perpetrators and warned that she would commit suicide if the authorities remained reckless.

Provincial human rights commission head Maghfirat Samimi called the incident as “shocking” and asked security officials to arrest the perpetrators and punish them. “Not punishing rapists is the main cause of increasing sexual assaults,” she added.

Deputy Governor Abdur Rahman Mahmodi said two of the suspects had been arrested and efforts to capture the rest were underway.

This kind of incidents involving rape of women and children has been rampant across the country specifically in Northern provinces.

At least four rape cases were reported in northern Jawzjan province last month, which also included an incident where a brother raped his teenager sister.

Terrorist attack on 3 April in Farah province of Afghanistan

4 April 2013 – The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the terrorist attack on 3 April in Farah province of Afghanistan, causing numerous deaths and injuries of mostly civilians.

The members of the Security Council expressed their deep sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims, and to the people and Government of Afghanistan. They wished the injured a speedy recovery.

The members of the Security Council underlined the need to bring perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism to justice, and urged all States, in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate actively with the Afghan authorities in this regard.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their serious concern at the threats posed by the Taliban, Al-Qaida and illegal armed groups to the local population, national security forces, international military and international assistance efforts in Afghanistan.
The members of the Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations is criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of its motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed, and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed the need and reiterated their determination to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and all obligations under international law, in particular international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.

The members of the Security Council reiterated that no terrorist act can reverse the path towards Afghan-led peace, democracy and stability in Afghanistan, which is supported by the people and the Government of Afghanistan and the international community.

KABUL, 4 April 2013 – The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) strongly condemns an attack against a Government compound in the south-western province of Farah on 3 April that resulted in the deaths of at least 41 civilians, most of whom were civilian Government workers, and injuries to more than 100 others.Among the civilians killed were two judges and six prosecutors, as well as administration officers and cleaners working at the site. The attack was the deadliest for Afghan civilians since December 2011.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, stating that they intended to target civilian Government employees, in particular workers in the courts and prosecutors’ offices.

“The United Nations again calls on the Taliban to follow through on their previous public commitments to protect civilians,” said the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA, J

án Kubiš. “Who is a ‘civilian’ requiring protection is not a matter of controversy; the term is defined in international law and parties to the conflict, including the Taliban, are obliged to abide by this definition.”

UNAMA notes that international humanitarian law defines civilians as all those who do not take a direct part in hostilities and who are not combatants – such as civilian Government employees. Attacks against civilians are prohibited at all times and may amount to war crimes.

The civilian toll of Afghanistan’s armed conflict has already increased in 2013. UNAMA has repeatedly called on all parties to the armed conflict to increase their efforts to protect civilians. With the onset of the spring fighting season, UNAMA again highlights the obligations of parties to take all necessary measures to protect civilians.

UNAMA expresses its deepest condolences to the victims of the attack and their families, and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured.

Correcting Details: More on the NYT Reporting the Human Rights Mapping

by: Kate Clark

The New York Times piece ‘Top Afghans Tied to ’90s Carnage, Researchers Say’ ‘revealed’ what everyone knows and rarely says, that many of today’s senior Afghan politicians have murky pasts. Talking about the war crimes of the last thirty years has proved difficult for Afghans and the international powers alike. The decision, in 2005, to put together a Conflict Mapping Report of the alleged war crimes from 1978 and the communist coup d’état of 1978 to December 2001 and the transition of power to Hamed Karzai was taken partly to help the nation discuss its troubled history. The Times article raised the possibility of those senior politicians trying to block publication of the report. Unfortunately, says AAN analyst, Kate Clark, the article was so peppered with inaccuracies that it risked giving ammunition to those who want to bury the crimes of the past together with the report. She also asks why did the Times yet again duck mention of the alleged presence of US Special Forces at one of the massacre sites.

In a guest blog for AAN last week, Ahmed Rashid accused The New York Times of arrogance in claiming an exclusive on a subject which many other journalists and human rights activists had been risking their lives to cover for years. For me, reading through the piece, it was the inaccuracies which were glaring – and surprising because the reporter, Rod Nordland, is usually excellent.

People in Kabul, including journalists, whom I spoke to about the article had assumed the Nordland had read a leaked copy of the Conflict Mapping Report, the ‘monumental’(1) work put together by the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) detailing the war crimes of the 1978-2001 period. However, if you read his piece carefully, he said only that he spoke to Afghan and foreign sources who had worked on the report. This is important because almost all the allegations he makes are garbled in some way. It is not that the men he names necessarily have clean hands, but that Nordland makes factual errors, including attributing crimes to men when there is no evidence of a link. No-one, apart from its authors, has read the Conflict Mapping Report and as Nordland’s sources are anonymous, it is impossible to judge where the inaccuracies came in. However, it is difficult to imagine anyone with any knowledge of the war crimes of the last thirty years making the basic errors which feature in the Times piece.

As the Times is a paper of record and Nordland’s allegations are serious, I wrote to the foreign editor asking for corrections. The paper made only two, I thought, therefore, that readers might find it useful if I detailed what I think the factual errors in the piece are (drawing on the good published sources on the war crimes of 1978-2001, see footnote 2, below, as well as my own background) and what the consequences of it might be:

1) [The Conflict Mapping Report covers] human rights abuses in Afghanistan the Soviet era in the ’80s to the fall of the Taliban in 2001, according to researchers and officials who helped compile the study over the past six years.

The Report starts with the coup of 1978, not the Soviet invasion. Indeed, it is often forgotten that the pre-Soviet era featured the most concentrated blood-letting of the entire war, with mass arbitrary detention, torture and killings. An estimated 100,000 people were disappeared by the Taraki and Amin governments; they included ulema, students, school pupils, suspected Parchamis, Maoists, Islamists and members of the old elites, both in Kabul and in the provinces, including tribal elders. Entire extended families were wiped out. This is important. Otherwise, anyone reading the Times article could be forgiven for thinking the Conflict Mapping Report focuses on the war crimes of the mujahedin/Northern Alliance and to a lesser extent, the Taleban only. (In response to my letter, the Times admitted this error, saying it had crept in at the editing stage.)

2) Named specifically in the [Conflict Mapping] report as responsible for war crimes in massacres of prisoners in Mazar-i-Sharif are two Taliban commanders now held at the Guantánamo Bay prison camp — Mullah Fazul Akhund and Mullah Khairullah Khirkawa (sic) — and whose release is thought to be a condition of negotiations with the insurgent group.This allegation is simply not true. Indeed, it seems the Times has mixed up the Mazar massacres.

In 1998, the Taleban massacred an estimated 6000 people in Mazar(3); they were predominantly civilians, but some fighters from Hezb-e Wahdat who were prisoners – who had been captured or had surrendered(4) – are believed to have been summarily executed.(5) In command of this massacre was Mulla Niazi.

Khairkhwa was in Herat at the time as governor. No sources have placed him in Mazar at the time of the 1998 massacre. Indeed, he is not accused of any crimes that I know of, with one possible exception: 35 to 45 civilians were killed in Dehdadi, a district just outside Mazar-e Sharif, by retreating Taleban and/or their local Hezb-e Islami allies in 1997, after the Taleban lost Mazar. Khairkhwa may have had command responsibility; he was in charge of the part of the Taleban army which retreated from Mazar to the west and may have ordered or failed to prevent the killings or failed to discipline subordinates who carried them out.

The victims in Dehdadi were Hazara civilians and they were killed in particularly brutal ways. However – and this is number 3 in the list of mistakes – the Times misattributes these killings to ‘General Dostum and his Hazara allies.’

There is also no evidence pointing to Mulla Fazl having been in Mazar at the time of the 1998 massacre, either. However, he is accused of many other war crimes, including: as a field commander, along with the late Mulla Dadullah, leading the wanton destruction of civilian property and associated killings in the Shomali in 1999 and; as Army Chief of Staff, having strategic command and control responsibility for the massacre of civilians in Yakaolang, January 2001 and the village burnings and associated killings in Northern Hazarajat later that year.

As neither Fazl nor Khairkhwa is at liberty to defend himself, it seems especially important to be scrupulous about reporting allegations against them. Khairkhwa actually had a comparatively good reputation during his time in the Taleban leadership. For details on both men, see an earlier AAN blog which has biographies of all five senior Taleban in Guantanamo who have been talked about for possible release as part of peace negotiations.

For the record, there were two notable massacres of prisoners in Mazar, but the victims in both cases were Taleban. In 1997, General Malek, who had ousted Dostum and invited the Taleban to Mazar, is accused of ordering the massacre of at least 3000 Taleban prisoners of war. Then there was the November 2001 massacre of Taleban prisoners, which is referred to later in the Times piece:

4) In all, 13 mass graves have been identified in the Mazar-i-Sharif area, including one detailed by human rights workers in the Dasht-e-Leili desert in the neighboring Jawjzan Province, believed to contain 2,000 Taliban prisoners slaughtered by General Dostum’s forces.

In 2001, an unknown number of surrendered Taleban fighters (estimates range from several hundred to two thousand) were crammed into containers and transported west to Jawzjan; they died through suffocation, thirst or when the containers were shot at from outside. Given the history of container deaths in the Afghan war, it could reasonably have been predicted that men neglected in this way would die. The prisoners were under the control of forces loyal to General Dostum. There is no evidence that Dostum ordered the killing, although at the least, he may well have been guilty of command responsibility by omission (ie, failing to prevent subordinates from carrying out war crimes or failing to discipline them afterwards). The accusation that he later ordered the destruction of the site and the evidence they contained is much firmer.

5) Remarkably, however, the Times makes no mention of the credible allegation that US special operations forces were present at the site in 2001 and may have been complicit in the killings. This is the second time the paper has failed to mention this. In 2009, James Risen reported on how the Bush government had resisted investigating the massacre. However, the allegation that US special operations forces had been present, made by one of Risen’s main sources for the story, an FBI agent called Dell Spry, did not make it into the published piece.

When President Obama was asked about Risen’s story, he promised an investigation, telling CNN, ‘… if it appears that our conduct in some way supported violations of the laws of war, then I think that, you know, we have to know about that.’(6) The wording was certainly strange – was he just referring to the resistance to investigate US allies or had he been briefed on the Special Forces allegation – which would suggest the Times had discussed this before they published? If Obama’s investigation was carried out, it has never been made public nor, as far as I know, referred to officially again. (For sources on the 2001 massacre and possible US military presence, see here, here, here and here.)

Nordland’s reporting on the US currently objecting to the release of the Conflict Mapping Report is interesting and important. As it has done for the last 11 years, Washington continues to argue that now is not the right time to discuss war crimes and that such talk will ‘reopen all the old wounds’. (Don’t mention the war crimes – until 2014 when we’re out of the door was the clear message of the un-named embassy official quoted in the Timespiece.)

6) A researcher for the Afghan rights commission who investigated both of the graves in Khalid Ibn al-Walid [a neighbourhood of Mazar] said the victims were killed by General Noor’s [Ustad Atta] political party [Jamiat-e Islami], which had what the researcher called a ‘human slaughterhouse’ on the site in the 1990s, as well as by the Taliban, who later took over the same facility for the same purpose.

This allegation looks unsound to me: if Atta (or indeed the Taleban) had a ‘human slaughterhouse’ in Mazar, it seems likely those of us who follow war crimes would have heard about it. For the record, the one credible allegation I have seen against Atta personally from the pre-2001 period is that he ordered his forces to fire on unarmed demonstrators in Mazar in the period after the Taleban first took and then lost Mazar in 1997 and finally took it the following year. At the same time, it should be stressed that all the war crimes reporting on this period details accusations that forces loyal to Atta (hardly a ‘political party’, although they belonged to Jamiat indeed) and those of Dostum and Muhaqiq carried out ‘criminally-minded’ abuses of the civilian population, including looting, murders and forced marriage and rape. This, along with their infighting (the Times does refer to how they ‘fought bitterly among themselves’), was so appalling that the civilian population did not stand with them against the Taleban as they had done in 1997; when, in August 1998, the Taleban again massed to take Mazar, it fell.

Correcting the factual mistakes in the Times article is important because, not only are the allegations serious, but readers may have come away with the impression that the Conflict Mapping Report is sloppy or that the AIHRC has concentrated on the alleged crimes of the mujahedin/United Front (also known as the Northern Alliance). A spokesman for one of the successor organisations to the United Front has indeed reacted exactly that way very recently. It is unfortunate that the Times may have given ammunition to the very powerful politicians named in the article whom we can assume would like the Conflict Mapping Report not to be published.

It is an irony of course, that these men are powerful today in no small part because of the US intervention in 2001 and the arms and continuing political support Washington has given most of them. Those of us who did warn in the autumn of 2001 about the murky background of many of the men chosen to be America’s anti-Taleban allies can surely be forgiven for pointing out that the Times’ revelations, far from being an exclusive, are actually 11 years too late.

(1) The word is the New York Times’. This does seem accurate.

(2) Until the Conflict Mapping Report is (I hope) published, the best published sources on the war crimes of 1978-2001 are by the Afghanistan Justice Project and the UN (another Conflict Mapping Report which the UN suppressed, although it was briefly and inadvertently published and was cached) and, additionally for the Kabul civil war, by Human Rights Watch:

You can also find earlier sources (including by the UN, Helsinki Watch, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the ICRC and the media) in these reports.

(3) The following estimates were made: 2000 (Human Rights Watch), 6-8000 (Ahmed Rashid), who also wrote: ‘The UN and ICRC later estimated between 5000 and 6000 people were killed.’ (Taleban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia).

(4) Rashid says there were about 1500 Wahdat fighters, out of whom only 100 survived, but it is not known how many died in combat or were executed.

(5) Under the laws of armed conflict, soldiers who are hors de combat, ie they are in the power of the enemy because they are wounded or captured, are protected persons.

(6) The full excerpt (broadcast on 12 July 2009) from a CNN interview is:

ANDERSON COOPER: And now it seems clear that the Bush Administration resisted efforts to pursue investigations of an Afghan warlord named General Dostum, who was on the CIA payroll. It’s now come out, there were hundreds of Taliban prisoners under his care who got killed…

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Right.

ANDERSON COOPER: …some were suffocated in a steel container, others were shot, possibly buried in mass graves. Would you support – would you call for – an investigation into possible war crimes in Afghanistan?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Yeah, the indications that this had not been properly investigated just recently was brought to my attention. So what I’ve asked my national security team to do is to collect the facts for me that are known. And we’ll probably make a decision in terms of how to approach it once we have all the facts gathered up.

ANDERSON COOPER: But you wouldn’t resist categorically an investigation?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I think that, you know, there are responsibilities that all nations have even in war. And if it appears that our conduct in some way supported violations of the laws of war, then I think that, you know, we have to know about that.

Top Afghans Tied to ’90s Carnage, Researchers Say

Kuni Takahashi for The New York Times
A human skull and bones at a mass grave near the Afghan town of Mazar-i-Sharif. Such graves still litter the countryside.
MAZAR-I-SHARIF, Afghanistan — The atrocities of the Afghan civil war in the 1990s are still recounted in whispers here — tales of horror born out of a scorched-earth ethnic and factional conflict in which civilians and captured combatants were frequently slaughtered en masse.
Kuni Takahashi for The New York Times
A mass grave, covered by the brick structure on bottom right, was found near Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan.
Kuni Takahashi for The New York Times
Tarpaulin covers the site of the mass grave where, experts say, the remains of at least 16 victims were found.
Clockwise from top left: Zaheeruddin Abdullah/Associated Press; Caren Firouz/Reuters; Ahmad Jamshid/Associated Press; Musadeq Sadeq/Associated Press
Clockwise from top left, Ahmed Shah Massoud, Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum,Vice President Marshal Muhammad Qasim Fahim and SecondVice President Karim Khalili are named in the report.
The New York Times
The mass graves that were found include sites in the Dasht-e-Leili desert, and at Dehdadi, Khalid Ibn al-Walid and Kefayet Square.
Stark evidence of such killings are held in the mass graves that still litter the Afghan countryside. One such site is outside Mazar-i-Sharif, in the north. It lies only half-excavated, with bones and the remains of clothing partially obscured by water and mud from recent flooding. Experts say at least 16 victims are here, and each skull that lies exposed is uniformly punctured by a single bullet-entry hole at the back.
The powerful men accused of responsibility for these deaths and tens of thousands of others — some said to be directly at their orders, others carried out by men in their chain of command — are named in the pages of a monumental 800-page report on human rights abuses in Afghanistan from the Soviet era in the ’80s to the fall of the Taliban in 2001, according to researchers and officials who helped compile the study over the past six years.
The list of names is a sort of who’s who of power players in Afghanistan: former and current warlords or officials, some now in very prominent positions in the national government, as well as in insurgent factions fighting it. Many of the named men were principals in the civil war era after the Soviet Union withdrew, and they are also frequently mentioned when talk here turns to fears of violence after the end of the NATO combat mission in 2014. Already, there is growing concern about a scramble for power and resources along ethnic and tribal lines.
But the report seeking to hold them accountable is unlikely to be released anytime soon, the researchers say, accusing senior Afghan officials of effectively suppressing the work and those responsible for it. For their part, human rights activists say the country is doomed to repeat its violent past if abuses are not brought to light and prosecuted.
At the same time, some officials here — including some American diplomats — express worry that releasing the report will actually trigger new civil strife.
Titled simply, “Conflict Mapping in Afghanistan Since 1978,” the study, prepared by the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, details the locations and details of 180 mass graves of civilians or prisoners, many of the sites secret and none of them yet excavated properly. It compiles testimony from survivors and witnesses to the mass interments, and details other war crimes as well.
The study was commissioned as part of a reconciliation and justice effort ordered by President Hamid Karzai in 2005, and it was completed this past December. Some of the world’s top experts in forensics and what is called transitional justice advised the commission on the report and provided training and advice for the 40 researchers who worked on it over a six-year period.
Three Afghan and foreign human rights activists who worked as researchers and analysts on large sections of the report spoke about its contents on condition of anonymity, both out of fear of reprisal and because the commission had not authorized them to discuss it publicly.
According to Afghan rights advocates and Western officials, word that the report was near to being officially submitted to the president apparently prompted powerful former warlords, including the first vice president, Marshal Muhammad Qasim Fahim, to demand that Mr. Karzai dismiss the commissioner responsible, Ahmad Nader Nadery.
At a meeting on Dec. 21, including Mr. Karzai and other top officials, Marshal Fahim argued that dismissing Mr. Nadery would actually be too mild a punishment. “We should just shoot 30 holes in his face,” he said, according to one of those present. He later apologized to other officials for the remark, saying it was not meant in earnest.
Mr. Karzai did remove Mr. Nadery. But a spokesman for the president, Aimal Faizi, said it was “irresponsible and untrue” to say that the president fired Mr. Nadery because of the mass graves report or was trying to block its release. He also called the accounts of the Dec. 21 meeting with Marshal Fahim and other officials “totally baseless.”
Mr. Nadery had finished two five-year terms as a commissioner and the president was legally entitled to replace him, Mr. Faizi said. “This decision has nothing to do with any A.I.H.R.C. report on war atrocities,” he said. “We believe that if there is any such report by the A.I.H.R.C., sooner or later it will come up and will be published one day.”
The figures accused in the report of playing some role in mass killings include some of the most powerful figures in Afghanistan’s government and ethnic factions, including the Northern Alliance that fought the Taliban in 2001.
Among them are First Vice President Fahim, a Tajik from the Jamiat Islami Party, and Second Vice President Karim Khalili, a Hazara leader from the Wahdat Party; Gen. Atta Mohammed Noor, a Tajik from the Jamiat Islami Party and now the governor of the important northern province of Balkh, of which Mazar-i-Sharif is capital; and Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, a former Uzbek warlord from the Jumbush Party who holds the honorary title of chief of staff to the supreme commander of the Afghan Armed Forces, among many others.
Those men gave no response to verbal and written requests for comment about their naming in the report.
In all, the researchers said, more than 500 Afghans are named in the report as responsible for mass killings, including the country’s revered national martyr, Ahmed Shah Massoud, one of the last militia leaders to hold out against the Taliban sweep to power and who was assassinated by Al Qaeda just before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
The report also investigates killings of civilians and prisoners said to be carried out by the Taliban and other insurgents, including Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the leader of the Hezb-i-Islami insurgents.
Named specifically in the report as responsible for war crimes in massacres of prisoners in Mazar-i-Sharif are two Taliban commanders now held at the Guantánamo Bay prison camp — Mullah Fazul Akhund and Mullah Khairullah Khirkawa — and whose release is thought to be a condition of negotiations with the insurgent group.
Entombed Evidence
As the report languishes, evidence in the graves is being destroyed, sometimes as a function of poor care of the sites and sometimes intentionally.
One mass grave containing more than 100 dead was discovered in the Kefayet Square area of Mazar-i-Sharif, where General Noor holds sway, during a road-building project in March. The half-dozen bodies that were turned up were simply relocated to a cemetery and the construction went on, bulldozing over most of the rest of the remains.
In 2007, two mass graves in the Khalid Ibn al-Walid township of Mazar were simply covered over by construction of a new residential complex that researchers said was developed and owned by General Noor.
A researcher for the Afghan rights commission who investigated both of the graves in Khalid Ibn al-Walid said the victims were killed by General Noor’s political party, which had what the researcher called a “human slaughterhouse” on the site in the 1990s, as well as by the Taliban, who later took over the same facility for the same purpose.
In the case of the grave with exposed skulls, it was discovered in January by American and Afghan workers during a United States Army Corps of Engineers construction project in Dehdadi District, six miles outside Mazar-i-Sharif — one of at least two graves found there so far. Human rights investigators said that grave dated from the period when General Dostum and his Hazara allies controlled the site; the victims, their wrists still bound in many cases with stout twine, included women and children, judging from the clothing found with them.
During the civil war period, after the Communists were defeated and before the Taliban took power, warlords like General Noor, General Dostum, and the Hazara leader Hajji Mohammad Mohaqiq fought bitterly among themselves as well as against the Taliban, who are mostly ethnic Pashtuns. The conflict among these leaders, who had all fought in the jihad against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, was on both political and ethnic grounds.
For many Afghans, the warlords’ atrocities are taken as a given — old news better left unrevived.
“It will take us centuries to forget this,” said an Afghan National Army lieutenant colonel. “We don’t want to go back to those bad days again.”
In all, 13 mass graves have been identified in the Mazar-i-Sharif area, including one detailed by human rights workers in the Dasht-e-Leili desert in the neighboring Jawjzan Province, believed to contain 2,000 Taliban prisoners slaughtered by General Dostum’s forces.
“That grave was there and then suddenly it was not there,” said a second human rights worker who worked on the investigation in Jawjzan. “They just got rid of all the evidence.”
He said bulldozers were brought in during 2008 to remove the bodies, leaving huge pits behind. The remains were reportedly incinerated at a secret location, he said.
A Question of Will
Mr. Nadery would not discuss the contents of the mapping report except in the most general way. “You open the map in the report, you see there are dots everywhere,” he said. “Everyone should know that what they suffered was not unique. We should be able to tell our people: ‘This is our past, this is our history. It’s ugly, it’s bad, but we should be able to face it.’ ”
He said he still hoped that the commission would be able to submit the report, although he conceded that those prospects looked dim.
“I don’t want the report to become an event, just a headline for one day,” he said. Instead, he said, it needs to be presented officially so it can be acted on officially, whether by the Afghan government or by the international community.
He said the report tallied more than a million people killed in the conflict and 1.3 million disabled, although not all of those are necessarily victims of war crimes.
Other human-rights officials in Afghanistan also expressed urgency about releasing the report.
“There are lots of examples where a report like this was an important first step to bringing justice for the victims,” said Heather Barr, head of the Human Rights Watch office in Afghanistan. “It does put pressure on people who are named; it leads at least to marginalizing them.”
The volatility of the accusations was on full display in April, when a well-established but small political bloc, the Afghanistan Solidarity Party, held a demonstration against what it said were war criminals in government. “For us there is no difference between the Taliban and these war criminals,” said Hafizullah Rasikh, a party spokesman. “They are like twin brothers.”
Parliament responded with a declaration accusing the party of treason and demanding its disbandment.
A former mujahedeen commander, Abdul Hafiz Mansoor, who is now an editor of a weekly publication called Mujahed, did not deny that many atrocities took place, on all sides.
“One cannot make war with rosewater,” he said, referring to a popular ingredient in sweets and perfumes here. “If this war and all these killings were so bad, then why aren’t we putting their international backers on trial? If we talk about violation of human rights, we should accuse the U.N. special representative for Afghanistan, who supported the mujahedeen at the time and now calls them warlords. Or President Ronald Reagan, who provided these warlords and human rights violators with Stinger missiles.”
The American Embassy here has been another source of objection to the mass-graves report. American officials say releasing the report would be a bad idea, at least until after Afghanistan’s 2014 presidential election — which is also when the NATO combat withdrawal should be complete. “I have to tell you frankly on the mapping thing, when I first learned about it, it scared me,” said a senior American official, speaking on condition of anonymity as a matter of embassy policy. “There will be a time for it, but I’m not persuaded this is the time.”
“It’s going to reopen all the old wounds,” the official said, noting that several men who were bitter rivals during the civil war were at least nominally working together in the government now.
For its part, the United Nations has supported release of the report. “The U.N. position has always been that such reports should always be released publicly,” said Georgette Gagnon, the top human rights officer for the United Nations mission in Afghanistan. “But it’s up to the commission and we would support whatever they decide to do.”
Of the 180 graves documented in the report, only one has so far been exhumed forensically because the Afghan authorities lack the facilities to carry out DNA testing and the sort of scientific identification of remains that was done systematically in Bosnia.
That one was a grave on the grounds of the Interior Ministry in Kabul, according to M. Ashraf Bakhteyari, head of the Forensic Science Organization, a foreign-trained group that carried out the exhumation. Mr. Bakhteyari said he was ordered by the Interior Ministry not to divulge who the victims were. “It is classified information,” he said.
He is frank, though, about the prospects for investigating the rest of Afghanistan’s mass graves. “It is impossible to prosecute those who are responsible for the mass graves,” Mr. Bakhteyari said. “Neither the international community nor the Afghan government have the will to do that.”
Alissa J. Rubin contributed reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan.

Taliban publicly execute woman near Kabul: officials

 A man Afghan officials say is a member of the Taliban shot dead a woman accused of adultery in front of a crowd near Kabul, a video obtained by Reuters showed, a sign that the austere Islamist group dictates law even near the Afghan capital.
In the three-minute video, a turban-clad man approaches a woman kneeling in the dirt and shoots her five times at close range with an automatic rifle, to cheers of jubilation from the 150 or so men watching in a village in Parwan province.
“Allah warns us not to get close to adultery because it’s the wrong way,” another man says as the shooter gets closer to the woman. “It is the order of Allah that she be executed”.
Provincial Governor Basir Salangi said the video, obtained on Saturday, was shot a week ago in the village of Qimchok in Shinwari district, about an hour’s drive from Kabul.
Such rare public punishment was a painful reminder to Afghan authorities of the Taliban’s 1996-2001 period in power, and it raised concern about the treatment of Afghan women 11 years into the NATO-led war against Taliban insurgents.
“When I saw this video, I closed my eyes … The woman was not guilty; the Taliban are guilty,” Salangi told Reuters.
When the unnamed woman, most of her body tightly wrapped in a shawl, fell sideways after being shot several times in the head, the spectators chanted: “Long live the Afghan mujahideen! (Islamist fighters)”, a name the Taliban use for themselves.
The Taliban could not be reached for comment.
Despite the presence of over 130,000 foreign troops and 300,000 Afghan soldiers and police, the Taliban have managed to resurge beyond their traditional bastions of the south and east, extending their reach into once more peaceful areas like Parwan.
HARD-WON WOMEN’S RIGHTS IN JEOPARDY?
Afghan women have won back basic rights in education, voting and work since the Taliban, who deemed them un-Islamic for women, were toppled by U.S.-backed Afghan forces in late 2001.
But fears are rising among Afghan women, some lawmakers and rights activists that such freedoms could be traded away as the Afghan government and the United States pursue talks with the Taliban to secure a peaceful end to the war.
Violence against women has increased sharply in the past year, according to Afghanistan’s independent human rights commission. Activists say there is waning interest in women’s rights on the part of President Hamid Karzai’s government.
“After 10 years (of foreign intervention), and only a few kilometres from Kabul… how could this happen in front of all these people?” female lawmaker Fawzia Koofi said of the public execution in Parwan.
“This is happening under a government that claims to have made so much progress in women’s rights, claims to have changed women’s lives, and this is unacceptable. It is a huge step backwards,” said Koofi, a campaigner for girls’ education who wants to run in the 2014 presidential election.
Salangi said two Taliban commanders were sexually involved with the woman in Parwan, either through rape or romantically, and decided to torture her and then kill her to settle a dispute between the two of them.
“They are outlaws, murderers, and like savages they killed the woman,” he said, adding that the Taliban exerted considerable sway in his province.
Earlier this week a 30-year-old woman and two of her children were beheaded in easternAfghanistan by a man police said was her divorced husband, the latest of a string of so-called “honour killings”.
Some Afghans still refer to Taliban courts for settling disputes, viewing government bodies as corrupt or unreliable. The courts use sharia (Islamic law), which prescribes punishments such as stonings and executions.
(Additional reporting and writing by Amie Ferris-Rotman; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Man kills three member of his family

 

Local officials in Ghazni said a man in an
unprecedented crime in Ghazni province killed his wife, son and daughter by
knife.

Shukrea Wali, head of provincial women affairs department by confirming the
incident said that the victims include a 30 year old divorced woman, Hakim an
eight year old boy and Setara the ten year old girl.

Head of women affairs department of Ghazni province said “dead bodies have been taken to hospital” she added that the woman and her son’s and girl’s are likely to have been murdered by her husband.

Chief of provincial women affairs department said “the women had been beaten by her husband last year which let to divorce between them”. She adds that it has been a year that the woman was living with her three children in the Third plan are of Ghazni city.

Head of provincial women affairs department said “woman`s husband is an addicted and he also had beaten her wife many times last year”

Meanwhile, Baz Mohammad Hemmat, head of Ghazni civilian hospital in a news conference said that the dead bodies were taken to hospital at early hours of morning today.

Earlier, Mohammad Hussain, head of Ghazni police told Bokhdi News Agency that the escaped father of the family is the accused and police department is trying to arrest him and hand him over to justice.  

Taliban killed five family members in Helmand province

Most of the time when the local people cooperate with the central government or receive any help from the government they come under the attack of the Taliban.
In the recent incident in Sangin district of southern province of Helamand Taliban killed five members of a family.
Dawood Ahmadi provincial governor spokesman confirmed and told Bokhdi News Agency: “last night Taliban entered in a residential house in this district shot and killed five members of this family”.
It comes the time that this family one day prior to this as they were killed received a few bags of formed seed on behalf of Helmand Agriculture and Irrigation Department. 
Ahmadi added initial investigation show the reason behind this incident is the distribution of formed seed but he declined to give further details onward and said, it needs more investigation.
Helmand province is located in the south part of the country and in its some part the Taliban groups have active presence.
Most of the time when the local people cooperate with the central government or receive any help from the government they come under the attack of the Taliban. 
Recently Helmand agriculture and irrigation department distributed a few bags of formed seed of wheat among the residential people of Sangin district to encourage the people to do not cultivate poppy in their farmland.
Elham Sorosh-Helmand

Top Afghan lawyer Kabir Ranjbar arrested on rape charge

A PROMINENT Afghan lawyer close to a possible presidential candidate has been arrested on charges of kidnapping and raping a woman.
Kabir Ranjbar, the president of the Afghan Lawyers’ Union and a former member of parliament, was detained on Saturday, deputy attorney-general Rahmatullah Nazari said.
Mr Nazari said the woman, now aged 20, was kidnapped from Dehsabz district, northeast of Kabul, about two and a half years ago and held at the home of Mr Ranjbar’s niece.
Mr Ranjbar, a familiar face on Afghan television talk shows, allegedly got the woman drunk and raped her, the prosecutor said, and two months ago she gave birth to his child.
“I can confirm Kabir Ranjbar, a former Kabul MP in the lower house of parliament, has been arrested by the attorney-general’s office yesterday, accused of kidnapping and raping a girl,” Mr Nazari said, adding that the investigation was at an early stage.
Mr Ranjbar is a key member of the Right and Justice Party, led by ex-interior minister Hanif Atmar, who is seen as a potential candidate for the presidential election in 2014

Afghanistan – The People’s December Review December 25, 2010

Afghanistan – The People’s December Review
December 25, 2010

In the first person voice of Abdulai, a fifteen year old Afghan boy whose father was killed by the Taliban:

“The place where I live is the worst place on earth in which to be born . Good thing my mother survived her pregnancies . But my father — he didn’t survive the war. Isn’t it strange that there is a graveyard marked out especially for children in my small remote mountain village? A quarter of all children do not live beyond five years of age and they are buried there; we already have to find new space because the graveyard is filled. As 42 percent of Afghans live in poverty , my family could not afford a proper grave for my father for five years. My father would have understood our predicament: in a land with the worst food risk in the world , we make do with whatever food and clean water we can get. Since we don’t have electricity , we are grateful for diesel lamps. And most importantly, my father would have understood that we still struggle to stay away from the killings.

Since War World II, wars have killed mainly civilians and this war in Afghanistan is no exception. In fact, we now have nowhere to turn and nowhere to hide . We face night raids , computerized aerial bombings and the armed players who neither recognize our language nor our faces.

Many of our families and friends have sought refuge in far-away places . What can our people do? Wait to die of sickness or violence? Be pawns in the warlords’ games? I made hand-sewn leather cell-phone peace pouches for our ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’ in Kandahar and I know that before the NATO commander had launched the current offensive there, 94% of Kandaharis said they wanted peace talks , not war. But the US led coalition went ahead and launched its deadly military operation. They proved their utterly un-democratic, unimaginative addiction to an unchanging military solution.

Karzai said that more than 42 percent of children in Afghanistan still have no access to schooling : at least, that’s not as fatal as the three children killed daily in the conflict last year . If you don’t grasp how the Afghan state is the third most corrupt in the world , come take our school exams to experience the rampant bribery and cheating this war encourages. Like other war-torn countries, the influx of weapons and un-accounted monetary aid fosters corruption, fuelling deceit at all levels of our society.

Drugs made from poppies grown in our country are everywhere, with more than a million drug addicts in country . Perhaps, being doped is better than putting up with our sheer lack of work and recourse to government services or justice. Last year, estimates are that we Afghans had to pay $2.49 billion dollars in bribes to our own government officials , which is equivalent to 23% of our country’s GDP.

But heck it….we don’t even want your money! Two billion of which you spend on the military weekly and the remaining dirty trickle cannot even be accounted for by your Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) .

My mother and sister say to you that you can forget about promoting ‘women’s rights’ with your uniformed pride. Last year, there were 2300 suicides related to depression among women and girls . And don’t ever claim that a military strategy can stop them from taking their lives. Neither the US-NATO coalition nor our warlords can, with their violence, stop the desperation of our people. In fact, like the people caught in the Helmand operation that was declared a success, the women of Afghanistan want you, with full responsibility, to transition out as soon as possible .

President Obama, please completely rethink the ‘progress’ you declared in the
December review . To Ms. Hillary Clinton and Mr Robert Gates, we’re sorry for
your dismissal of world public opinion . Now, get ready for its flood!

This People’s December Review sought to speak from the ‘hearts and minds’ of ordinary Afghan people, commoners who share the same pain experienced by the impoverished and unheard masses everywhere.

It is a reflection of life as it really is for the people of Afghanistan.

The world should listen.

The people of the world should be listening to one another, because governments are not.

President Obama declared in his administration’s December Review that there was ‘significant progress’ for America’s goals in Afghanistan.

He claimed to be ‘on track.’

But, Abdulai’s People’s December Review shows how far off-track Obama is from the people’s concerns and how U.S. foreign policy gives no alternative options for any citizen.

There ARE alternative options and views, a small number of which we’ve listed below, starting off with Prof. Noam Chomsky’s views expressed in the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers’ recent conversation with him.

In the bigger scheme of history, for too long now, the strategies for resolving global conflicts have been built predominantly around military force.

Soul-force must be given a chance.

Excerpts of interview with Prof Noam Chomsky
In a conversation with the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers on the 17th of December 2010 for The People’s December Review.

On Obama’s claims of ‘significant progress’
…it’s worth noting that a few days ago the International Commission of the Red Cross released a report which is extremely unusual for them, -they rarely do it,- in which they said that the situation on the ground has deteriorated radically. They gave particulars and said it’s now far worse than it’s been in the past. They’re actually working there and have experience. Plainly that’s not consistent with the picture of progress.

On self-determination by the people
I know for me at least and the people I work with in the antiwar movement the goal for Afghanistan would be for Afghans themselves to take over the planning, the determination of what will happen ,so that there won’t be a review conference in Washington where they have their own goals, –the welfare of the people of Afghanistan is not high among them,– but rather the decisions will be made by people like you and others in Afghanistan who have the fate of your country and your lives at heart and people of the US here should support your efforts in whatever way we can.

….But there is extensive study that demonstrates that there is a very wide gap between the decisions of the government and the will of the population. That’s true on domestic issues. It’s true on international issues, and it reflects the fact that though the U.S. is an unusually free country by comparative standards, it’s only in a very limited way a functioning democracy.

Power does not lie in the hands of the population except in a very limited way and popular opinion does not determine policy. And that’s in fact one of the reasons why there’s such hysteria over the leaks of government documents. Anyone who has studied secret documents for many years, as I have, knows one of their main purposes is to protect the government from the population, not security, but just keeping the public controlled and obedient. That’s a battle that has to be constantly fought in the more free societies as well to try to overcome this dysfunctional element of formal democracy which keeps it from functioning properly. Popular movements have in the past and should in this case too integrate themselves with those of other countries and form a common force, often against their own governments.

On reparations
Afghanistan has a very dramatic, important history of independence, but for the last thirty years it has simply been a plaything of the great powers which have virtually destroyed it. All of them. All of the ones who were involved owe Afghanistan not aid but reparations. Apology and reparations. That includes Russia, of course, and certainly the United States and it also includes Pakistan. Aid sounds like something we give out of our good nature or good will. Reparation means what we are responsible for providing because of the extreme damage we have caused. And yes, that‘s a very important demand. It should be made here and should be made in Afghanistan.

On the question of U.S. intentions in Afghanistan: eventual withdrawal or permanent presence?
At this point, I think it’s not unlikely that even just for domestic, political reasons, the U.S. will try to find a way to withdraw most of its forces and try to portray it as some kind a victory. That’s for domestic reasons.
But, I don’t think that’s what should concern us. We’re not concerned with making officials in Washington look good to their associates.
We should be concerned with what matters for the people of Afghanistan. And that’s of course for you and others like you to decide. Success, I would understand as meaning success in achieving your aims, not Washington’s aims.

On what Afghan and international peace activists should focus on
What Afghans should focus on is finding ways to join together to formulate their own ideas and plans as to the course of policy, internal to Afghanistan, and their demands on other countries that are engaged in Afghanistan. That means primarily the US but also others that are involved.

Afghans should formulate those goals and policies jointly with people in the rest of the world, in particular in the United States that work to support those plans, so the activists in the United States should be and to an extent are waiting to hear from people of Afghanistan. What do you want us to do?

A Sample of Alternative December Reviews

“So what’s my option?” the president asked his war cabinet, seeking alternatives…
You have essentially given me one option. …It’s unacceptable.”
Obama’s Wars, Bob Woodward

“Why not talks?”
“Why not reconciliation?”
“Why not non-violence?”

1. World Public Opinion Polls

International public opinion is largely opposed to the war in Afghanistan

The latest ABC polls show that 60 % of Americans think that the war in Afghanistan is not worth fighting.

An earlier ABC/Washington Post Poll showed that Afghans have turned more negative in their assessment of the presence and performance of U.S. and NATO forces

Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates tried to belittle this significant public opinion. Read how they dismissed public opinion and democracy.

2. Letter from Afghan Experts to Barack Obama
Read how these Afghan Experts call Obama’s strategy unsustainable

3. National Intelligence Estimates NIE
Read how 2 new NIE reports cast doubts on the Afghan war progress

4. Other Studies/Reports
A New Way Forward: Rethinking US Strategy in Afghanistan published by Washington-based Afghan Study Group

“Strategic Survey 2010” released by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies

Both studies above conclude that “a Taliban takeover is unlikely even if Washington reduces its military commitment” in Afghanistan, in good measure because the conditions that allowed the first Taliban takeover in the 1990s no longer exist and can’t easily be repeated. As important, “there [are] no significant Al Qaeda presence in Afghanistan today, and the risk of a new ‘safe haven’ there under more ‘friendly’ Taliban rule is overstated.”

Afghan Women Speak by David Cortright of Kroc Institute which expresses Afghan women’s recommendations to the US and NATO governments for a responsible withdrawal.

UNICEF calls for a comprehensive Child Act in Afghanistan

Kabul, 23 November 2010- Afghanistan needs a comprehensive Child Act fully in line with the provisions and principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

In Afghanistan today one in five children die before reaching their fifth birthday – mostly from easily preventable diseases like diarrhoea and pneumonia – five million children are still out of school, over three million of whom are girls, and only six percent of children are registered at birth, leaving the great majority without a legal identity, protected and cared for by law.

”We are acutely aware of the difficulties facing the Government of Afghanistan in seeking to fulfill the rights of children in the country, especially in light of the ongoing conflict”, said UNICEF Representative Peter Crowley. “It is the responsibility of the Government of Afghanistan to ensure the existence of a complete legal framework to fully protect all children. UNICEF will continue to assist in that process”.

UNICEF welcomes the several important pieces of legislation and policies that have been developed and adopted since 2002; however inconsistencies remain between national legislation and the provisions of the Convention, as do challenges in ensuring effective implementation. Furthermore, while the Constitution of Afghanistan adopted in 2004 provides for progressive guarantees of international human rights standards, there is little direct reference to the specific rights of children.

It is for these reasons that UNICEF recommends to the Government that it prepare a comprehensive Child Act to encompass the full array of children’s rights, backed by the necessary resources for implementation, as well as means to monitor and provide appropriate forms of redress. The Act would supersede all preceding legislation not in line with the Convention, and accord to the Convention a legal status that could be directly invoked within the domestic legal system. Once in place the successful implementation of a Child Act will require the fullest possible ownership and commitment from the senior-most levels of the Government of Afghanistan.

It is clear that legislative and policy frameworks alone will not automatically lead to the effective protection of child rights in Afghanistan. Awareness-raising on children’s rights among the general population will be vital, as will specific training for all relevant professionals with a duty of care towards children, including all law enforcement officials, national security forces, and education and health personnel. Furthermore, the specific integration of child and human rights education into the school curriculum is needed so that all children in Afghanistan understand the rights to which they themselves are entitled.

Finally, despite the efforts already made to ensure the rights of all children, both girls and boys, from all areas of Afghanistan, there continue to be clear disparities among the child population of the country.

Poverty, disabilities, the impact of conflict, gender inequalities and the rural-urban divide all clearly affect access, or the failure of access, to basic education, health and other services. Targeted measures will therefore be required to address all such disparities. Equity considerations must be foremost in all planning and budgeting decisions that impact the welfare of children whoever they are and wherever they may live in the country.

UNICEF

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