Taliban takeover, safe houses for women have vanished

On the 6th of December, Amnesty International issued a statement expressing concern about the closure of all safe houses in Afghanistan. In a traditional-patriarchal society with a high rate of domestic violence, gender-based violence, it is vital to run and build as many safe houses as necessary. 

A woman calls to a friend in Kabul,  “I’m really worried I’m not going to be alive tonight.” This means she is sacred and perhaps she needs a safe haven far from the violence! But are there any safe houses in Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover? Are the Taliban willingly jailing the victims? 

Victims of violence are sheltered for many years across Afghanistan, these safe houses due to the dangers and Taliban takeover faced serious challenges, and the women needed immediate intervention for help. Beating, rape, physical and sexual violence, and forced marriage are among the most common forms of gender-based violence in Afghanistan as in many countries.

The woman, Reza Gul, 20, was attacked by her husband with a knife on Sunday in Shar-Shar, a village in an impoverished and Taliban-controlled part of Faryab Province.  2016

Amnesty International quotes from the interviews; women from the shelters have vanished, the security personnel of these shelters in the Badghis, Bamyan, Daikundi, Herat, Kabul, Kunduz, Nangarhar, Paktika, Sar-e-Pul, and Takhar provinces have been abolished. Safe houses were closed.

Many of the safe houses were looted and occupied by Taliban members, and the ability to provide essential services to women and girls who are facing violence has been eliminated.

In some cases, Taliban members harassed or threatened and jailed their staff, the women who remain alongside the other staff have no access to the safe houses.  The women lawyers, judges, governmental officials are now at risk of death, lashing punishment, and serious violence.

Soon after the Taliban takeover, they attacked the women shelters in many cities; they gave the women two options: Return to their abusive families some of whom had threatened them with death for leaving, or go with our Taliban mujahideen, it means there is no safe heaven under our Islamic authority than to accept Jihad ul Nikaah

Over the past two decades, activists set up dozens of women’s shelters around Afghanistan. But even before the Taliban takeover, conservative Afghans, including government officials, viewed them with suspicion, as places that help women and girls defy their families or abet moral crimes. 

A shelter in Kabul in 2014. Whether such centers will continue is firmly in the hands of the Taliban, who are expected to announce their own laws soon about women’s conduct.Credit…Lynsey Addario for The New York Times

Should Afghan women accept the barbaric violence by the family or Taliban?  

Most of the women chose to return back home, fearing the Taliban were more than fearing life from their own families. According to Afghan news agencies, the Taliban imprisoned women instead of giving them shelter, clothes, and basic needs. 

“Amnesty International Secretary-General, Agnes Kalamar said the Taliban had opened prisons across the country, without considering the dangers posed by criminals convicted of women and girls who were the actual victims, and those who worked for survivors.”

There should be always several obligations to those who rule Afghanistan;

They should protect and support women under any circumstances, and the UN and international organizations can observe meaningful support received by women as well as guarantee the accessibility of the shelters. 

To protect women and girls from further violence, Amnesty International has called on the Taliban to “support the reopening of all shelters and the restoration of other protection services for survivors. Taliban are encouraged to the revitalization of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, ensuring free and fearless retaliation.”

Amnesty International also asked the Taliban to allow women who have been or are experiencing violence to re-enter safe houses to ensure that its employees continue to work without any fear.

By: Marziye Vafayi writer & psychologist

TALIBAN’S FIGHT AGAINST HOMOSEXUALITY SINCE THEY TOOK OVER! 

Since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan at the end of August, the persecution of the country’s LGBT+ community has ramped up – forcing many to live in hiding, fearing for their lives.  The Taliban regime is not an only existential threat to the journalists and media activists, but the minority groups who live there face serious existential threats. 

During the Taliban Islamic regime in the past and even now, the ethnic groups were severely repressed and in some cases, they were massacred. The situation for the LGBT+ community in Afghanistan has never been easy, fundamentally same-sex relations have always been taboo and even crimes in the Muslim-majority countries. Under the Taliban regime and so many other Islamic fundamentalist governments – non-heterosexual relations were illegal and could lead to the death penalty, or even up to years in prison.

Najib Faizi, 21, describes himself as the first drag queen of Afghan descent. 
Najib Faizi/YouTube

According to Powell who has spoken with France24.com the Taliban most likely profited from the power vacuum that took place in the days and weeks leading up to the US withdrawal deadline to draw up these “kill lists” by paying close attention to the names of people that foreign rights groups were trying to evacuate. “After the fall of Kabul, there was a lot of information sharing,” he said, noting that the people who never made it aboard any of the departing flights were instead left vulnerable, with their identities exposed. 

The Taliban has a hit list for the Afghan LGBT, ​​they are also the most vulnerable minority groups under direct threats and there are no extensional negotiations to save their lives under the new circumstances. Despite, the same-sex LGBT community having had many problems in the last twenty years, the lives of these people have faced many limitations and difficulties due to the existence of extremist groups and the Taliban. 

The last time the Taliban was in power from 1996 to 2001, there were reports of the stoning of gay men, women, and minority groups. When the Taliban spokesperson calls human rights under the Islam law and its regime framework, means there is no place for the same-sex and LGBT+ community. 

Taliban are undermining the Human rights organizations, and so the Taliban calls them to go to hell with your LGBTQ community.

By: Marziye Vafayi writer & psychologist

Journalists got killed after Taliban takeover

By: Marziye Vafayi

Center for the Afghan Journalists announced that Hamid Saighani, a prominent journalist for Ariana television network was killed in Kabul.  The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its Afghanistan affiliate, the Afghanistan Independent Journalists Association (AIJA), strongly condemn the attack and call on the international community to better assist in securing the safety of all Afghan media workers.

Ariana television journalist, Hamid Saighani, was killed on November 13. Credit: Twitter

Today Fawzia Vahdat, Hamid Saighani’s wife, has confirmed her husband’s death on her Facebook page. She recently informed that Mr. Saighani got killed two hours before the explosion happened west of Kabul, and it’s absolutely miss informed by the Taliban authorities.

A Tunis car explosion happened shortly afternoon at west-Kabul Dasht-i-Barchi where Hazara community lives there, and according to the eyewitnesses; explosives had already been smelt in the vehicle, one body was discovered dead and four others injured badly.

 Zabihullah Mujahid the Taliban’s spokesperson Twitter” the Tunis car explosion that happened at the Dasht-e-Barchi area of Kabul, was apparently caused by a fire, not a bomb. He also confirmed one person was killed and four were injured in the blast. The eyewitnesses told the media that it was a bomb that exploded and more casualties have been reported than official figures.

This incident took place at Dasht-i-Barchi west of Kabul, where most of the Hazara citizens live and were recently repeatedly targeted by the Taliban or ISIS. 

ISIS attacks have intensified in the country since the Taliban takeover on August 15 this year, which the Afghan analysis calls Taliban’s group with ISIS masks.

According to the Afghan Journalists defender, the situation of journalists in Afghanistan is deteriorating day by day and most of them are abandoned by the International community to auscultate safely. 

Taliban takeover raises fears about the future of Afghan media, although a number of journalists have evacuated Afghanistan, many others remain in the country with absolutely no freedom to publish what’s happening there, they are in extreme danger with various threats and economic problems. 

Afghan media workers and their families became targets as the Taliban raided their homes, forced female reporters off the air, and beat and arrested journalists.

CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon has warned that an entire generation of reporters is at risk and, as part of its advocacy efforts, the organization has called on the U.S. and other G-7 governments to do more to support their safe passage out of the country.

Fears were raised about the safety of Afghan journalists and the future of the vibrant media landscape that developed in the country over the last 20 years. Afghan media workers and their families became targets as the Taliban raided their homes, forced female reporters off the air, and beat and arrested journalists.

CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon has warned that an entire generation of reporters is at risk and, as part of its advocacy efforts, the organization has called on the U.S. and other G-7 governments to do more to support their safe passage out of the country.

Note:

If you are an Afghan journalist needing help CPJ is devoting the resources at its disposal to help Afghan journalists where possible. We are not equipped to evacuate people and only governments are able to issue visas but are registering and vetting cases of Afghan journalists at risk of Taliban reprisals. If you are an Afghan journalist seeking help, please send your information to emergencies@cpj.org.

Bamiyan’s Criminal Governor

Since Afghanistan fell into the hands of the Taliban regime, the conflict and human conflict have become broader and broader. The last three months continued to claim large numbers of civilian casualties under the Taliban regime. Attacks continued by the Taliban and other armed groups deliberately targeted all Afghan civilians and especially the Hazaras. Women and children continued to face violence, harassment, and intimidation.

 Still, Taliban armed groups were collectively responsible for the deliberate targeting and killing of civilians, including human rights and civil society activists, women rights activists, provincial government members, artists, humanitarian workers, judges, tribal and religious leaders, NGO and state employees. 

Currently, the Hazara people, due to their ethnicity and religion, are the main target of violence and human rights violations from the Taliban regime and other armed groups. From August 2021 till now, more than 100 Hazara’s have been killed by the Taliban and other armed groups. 

Amnesty International also reported that: Taliban forces unlawfully killed 13 ethnic Hazaras, including a 17-year-old girl, in Afghanistan’s Daykundi province after members of the security forces of the former government surrendered, and also Taliban have killed ten other Hazaras in Ghazni province. 

In the last three months, hundreds of Hazaras have been forced to leave their hometowns and their properties in different districts. The Taliban regime has displaced them, and their properties were given to the Taliban members. Reports say that it is still continued, and the Taliban has displaced many Hazara families. 

The enmity of the Taliban regime is a long-standing enmity with Hazara, because of their ethnicity, beliefs and has been going on for many decades. With their re-dominance in the country, this enmity intensifies and shows its new faces every day. 

Recently the Taliban appointed a new governor for Bamiyan province, and he is a criminal and human rights violator. Unfortunately, all Taliban board members are criminals and human rights violators. Each of them is directly responsible for the killing of many civilians. Abdullah Sarhadi, who has been appointed as the new governor of Bamiyan, is the one who has ordered to kill hundreds of Hazara civilians in the Yakowlang district.

When the Bamiyan city fell into the hand of the Taliban in 1999, the current governor of Bamiyan was the armed leader of the Taliban. He ordered directly to kill hundreds of Yakawlang civilians.  He is also one of the Taliban leaders who destroyed the Bamiyan Buddhas in 2001. 

During 1999 and 2001, Abdulla Sarhadi was one of the most criminal leaders of the Taliban regime who had a strong role in the Hazaras genocide in Bamiyan. Hundreds of civilians have been killed by the current governor of the Taliban. Unfortunately, he has been appointed again, and he is not trustworthy and will accomplish his unfulfilled goals in Bamiyan. 

Certainly, he will try to kill some more Hazara’s under the name of human rights activists, artists, and others. He will also destroy the remaining cultural heritages of Bamiyan, which is the beauties of Land. 

Writer: N. Farzad

From where I stand: “If women are not part of decision-making processes… all the achievements we made would vanish”

Naheed Farid was among many women leaders who left Afghanistan, fearing for their lives, as the Taliban took over in August 2021. Farid spoke at the UN recently, calling for international support to address the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and to safeguard women’s rights.

UNWomen

Portrait of Naheed Fareed, former Parliamentarian, Parliament of Afghanistan. United Nations Headquarters, New York, 20 October 2021. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

For me, the tragedy didn’t mean a disaster, it meant having to choose between two difficult choices – to leave Afghanistan or stay under the Taliban. I left Afghanistan one week before Kabul fell, with my children. They said, Herat, my city, would be surrendered to the Taliban.

I left behind the house where I fell in love with my husband and had children. I was a public representative for 12 years… I knew every part of the city, its problems, its strengths. I had my staff, my constituents, and people who helped me. I left all that behind, taking only clothes, my phone and diapers for the baby. As I left, I thought, am I going to see my city, my home again?

Shortsighted policies jeopardized Afghanistan’s situation. Afghanistan is a humanitarian disaster that needs immediate and concrete action by the international community. We want a trusted corridor to be established immediately, where civil society and humanitarian actors can help the people in need. Half of Afghanistan’s population is experiencing food insecurity.

The Taliban want recognition, but they have to be held accountable to safeguarding human rights. They must set up an inclusive government, not all-male, all-Taliban cabinet. They must allow girls and women to study. Afghanistan is the only Islamic country right now where girls cannot go to secondary school.

Women’s rights are human rights. If women are not part of decision-making processes, if they are not part of the political space, all the achievements we made would vanish. We had reserved seats for women in the electoral law, we established six months of maternity leave for women in the labor law, we passed the citizenship law that allows women to pass on citizenship to their children. We made it mandatory that mothers’ names would be on birth certificates. Women parliamentarians made a lot of difference. When the law on ending violence against women was lacking implementation, we asked, why, and persisted.

After 20 years of so many insecurities and impediments, Afghan women became ministers, women’s rights activists, pilots, athletes and led robotic teams. The women of Afghanistan are a source of pride for the country. And we had to fight for whatever we have today. When you gain something, you don’t give it up. We will fight for this… you will see.”

At 27, Naheed Farid became the youngest elected Parliamentarian in Afghanistan in 2010. Farid has also founded and led various NGOs assisting women and children and supporting rural community development. She is a vocal advocate for women’s access to education, employment, political leadership, and for ending gender-based violence. Farid had to flee from her home in Herat with three children, aged twelve, six and two, as the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August 2021.

UN Women

Human Rights Violations against Hazaras in Malistan

The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) reports that the Taliban deliberately targeted civilians following the capture of Malistan district in Ghazni province. They reportedly killed 43 civilians and security force members, according to the Hinustan Times.

They attacked people’s homes, stole their property and burnt shops and houses, too. These actions are outright war crimes.

Malistan district of Ghazni province fell to the Taliban on the 21st of May 2021. The terrorist group also reportedly evicted a number of civilians from their homes and shot them. During the terrorist group’s control of the district, thousands of families were displaced and fear and terror were commonplace.

The Independent Human Rights Commission asserts that the Taliban cut telecommunication networks and set check-points in the villages to identify government employees and people involved in popular uprisings.

The terrorist group is famous for violating the basic principles of humanitarian law and the rules of armed conflict.

The AIHRC notes the number of civilians killed or injured by the group to be 37, which includes persons such as farmers, blacksmiths, children, women and elderly.

Written by N. Farzad

Bomb kills 50 people, including teenage girls, near school in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — Nabih Bulos and Los Angeles Times

A student receives treatment at a hospital in Kabul after a explosions near a school in the west of the Afghan capital. EPA

A blast ripped through an area near a high school in the Afghan capital Saturday, government officials said, killing 50 people — many of them schoolchildren — and wounding scores of others.

The number of wounded in the attack has also climbed to more than 100, Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian told the Associated Press.

So far no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred sometime after 4 p.m. and appeared timed to cause maximum damage: when dozens of mostly teenage schoolgirls were leaving the Kawsar Institute, an educational center near the Sayed Ul-Shuhada High School in west Kabul’s Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood, with families out shopping before iftar, the evening breaking of the Ramadan fast.

The area is heavily dominated by the Hazara, an ethnic minority that is Shiite Muslim and a frequent target of Islamic State.

Onlookers stand next to the backpacks and books of victims after a series of blasts outside a girls’ school in Dasht-e-Barchi on the outskirts of Kabul on May 9, 2021. AFP

Many of the casualties were taken to the Muhammad Ali Jinnah hospital in west Kabul, with people coming forward to donate blood for the wounded. Elsewhere, parents and family members began the grim task of burying their dead.

In the hours after the blast, residents and journalists shared harrowing images of students sprawled on the ground, with schoolbooks and bloodied sneakers scattered around them. One video uploaded to social media depicted the bedlam in the explosion’s aftermath: people moving in a dazed rush, their wails joined by an insistent car horn blaring as they raced to check on loved ones; a blackened husk of a car in flames and blood splattered on the pavement.

It remained unclear if the attack was the work of a solitary suicide bomber with an explosive vest walking up to the institute’s gates, a car bomb or a series of explosions involving rockets as part of a larger onslaught on Dasht-e-Barchi.

Whatever the cause, the blast, which coincides with U.S. and NATO troops’ move to leave the country, served as yet another potential harbinger of increased violence facing minorities — not to mention women and members of civil society — in Afghanistan’s post-withdrawal future.

With talks between the Afghan government and its Taliban adversaries in limbo, many fear a Taliban reenergized by the U.S. withdrawal will swat away government troops soon after their foreign partners leave. Hopes for a cease-fire before the end of Ramadan have been dashed by the group’s spring offensive, which has seen furious assaults on government positions across the country.

Afghan men try to identify the dead bodies at a hospital after a bomb explosion near a school west of Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, May 8, 2021. A bomb exploded near a school in west Kabul on Saturday, killing several people, many them young students, an Afghan government spokesmen said. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

The Taliban, however, denied involvement in the explosion.

“We condemn today’s blast in Dashti Barchi #Kabul which targeted civilians & sadly caused heavy losses,” Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, tweeted Saturday.

He blamed the attack on “sinister circles operating in the name of Daesh under the wings & intelligence cover of #Kabul admin,” referring to Islamic State by its Arabic acronym.

The Sunni extremist group counts Shiites as apostates who must be killed. It claimed responsibility for similar explosions in the area in October as well as August 2018, with students the main victims of both attacks.

With troop numbers plunging below 2,500 U.S. servicemen and foreign forces accelerating their withdrawal ahead of a September deadline, Washington’s deal with the Taliban has shifted focus from attacking the group to a more targeted campaign against Al Qaeda and Islamic State’s Afghan affiliate. It remains unclear what support the U.S. will maintain for Afghan paramilitary groups it had trained to hunt the extremists in blitz operations across the country.

The United Nations’ mission in Afghanistan expressed “its deep revulsion” at the blast in a tweet Saturday evening, describing it as “an atrocity” that had killed and injured many civilians.

U.S. Charge d’Affaires Ross Wilson tweeted: “This terrorist attack on a Kabul girls’ school is abhorrent. With scores murdered, this unforgivable attack on children is an assault on Afghanistan’s future, which cannot stand. My deepest condolences to the students & families who have suffered.”

Recent Terrorist Attacks on Educational Facilities

Afghan Human Rights team condemns the barbaric attacks on the Kabul University and the Kausar-e-Danish college preparation center in Kabul, Afghanistan. These atrocities are targeting the very soul of an enlightened Afghanistan. These attacks are outright war-crimes and underscore the threats to the Hazara community in particular and the younger generation of Afghans who choose scientific studies over religious studies. 

While ISIS has taken responsibility for these war-crimes, we believe that the Taliban are responsible. The Taliban’s hatred of education, mainly women’s, is existential to their ideology. They have a long record of burning schools, torturing school and university students, and teachers. Their animosity with religious freedom is no less hidden. The Afghan government also reports that the Taliban are behind the attacks.

We are also concerned about the overall trend of terrorist attacks by the Taliban amid the peace negotiations. We call upon the international community, human rights groups, and the Afghan citizens–particularly the diaspora–to hold parties to this war and perpetrators of these attacks accountable.
We also call upon educational facilities to strengthen their security measures and continue their service to the people, now more than ever. We share our heartfelt condolences to the families of the following heroes of science and education:

Full Name  Affiliation
Abdul Hamid  Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Abdullah Jan Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Ahmad Tamim Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Ali Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Ali Nasir Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Ali Nasir Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Alireza Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Amin Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Aminulla Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Arif  Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Asadullah Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Azizullah Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Basir Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Ehsanullah Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Ehsanullah Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Hadi Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Hussain Agha Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Ismail Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Jan Ali Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Kanishka Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Karim Bakhsh Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Khudayar Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Mahdi Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Mahdi Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Mahdi Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Maisam Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Marzia Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Mirwais Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Mohammad Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Mohammad Hussain Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Naseeba Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Noor Ali Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Rohullah Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Roqia Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Sadiq Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Saleha Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Sayed Agha Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Sayed Ali Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Sayed Hussain Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Sayedullah Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Sayera Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Shogofa Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Toufiq Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Yadulla Kawsar-e Danish Educational Center
Mohammad RAHID Kabul University
Mohammad Bilal Kabul University
Mohammad Edris Kabul University
Mohammad Ali Kabul University
Dawood Kabul University
Mohammad Rauf ARIF Kabul University
Madina Kabul University
Marzia Kabul University
Mariam Kabul University
Sara Kabul University
Husna Kabul University
Hanifa Kabul University
Sohaila Kabul University
Malika IBRAHIMI Kabul University
Mohammad Amir MOHAMMAD Kabul University
Zaki Qaseem Kabul University
Mohammad Amin RASOOL DAD Kabul University
Ali Akbari Kabul University
Hedayatullah Kabul University
Kawsar-e-Danish Educational Center

Kabul University

Written by: N. Farzad

Afghan Citizens Burnt to Death; Abuse and Drowning in Iran

Afghan citizens burned to death, abuse and drowning in Iran. Recent incident of Iranian police shooting at refugees’ vehicle and causing it to catch fire was followed by beating, torturing and drowning of several other Afghan refugees.

This comes only weeks after multiple Afghan migrants drowned in Iran, as border police forced them to cross the river at gunpoint. Afghan Government, In a statement, the Afghan Foreign Ministry said it is closely monitoring, investigating, and evaluating the burning of a car carrying Afghan citizens in Yazd, which resulted in three deaths and several injuries.

Afghans have taken to social media to denounce Iranian police after a video of a car carrying with Afghan refugees set ablaze in Iran went viral, arousing new anger weeks after Afghan officials accused Iranian border guards of drowning migrants.

Video footage posted on social media showed a boy escaping from the blazing car with burns on parts of his body and begging for water. The ministry said the video was genuine and Afghans in Iran were trying to identify the victims.

The boy’s plea of “give me some water, I am burning” was widely circulated on social media and taken up by rights group demanding justice.

“Iran has no right to kill Afghan refugees, they can seal their borders, expel all Afghans but not kill them,” said Ali Noori, a lawyer and rights activist said on Facebook.

An online petition, aimed at the UN and the Afghan and Iranian governments, has gathered more than 40,000 signatures over the past three days.

The mistreatment of Afghan nationals in Iran has long been documented by human rights groups. “The horrific and repeated attacks on Afghan migrants in Iran cannot go ignored,” Omar Waraich, Amnesty International’s head of South Asia, told the Guardian.

According the Guardian almost 3 million Afghans live in Iran, many of them escaping war or economic hardship. Tens of thousands have returned home in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic that has hit Iran hard.

As protests gain momentum in Afghanistan – inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and the global outcry over the killing of George Floyd and other black US citizens – prominent Afghans have spoken out. 

“What happened to your culture, neighbour? We burned in the fire of your deceit,” Afghan singer Ghezaal Enayat wrote in a new song. 

Case two:

Reported Abuse and Drowning of Afghan Refugees Aiming to Cross the Border to Iran. AIHRC talked to the survivors of this incident and local officials in Herat, Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) now confirms the beating, torturing and drowning of several Afghan refugees by Iranian security forces. This incident occurred on May 01, 2020 in Karez-e-Elyas village of Gulran District in Herat which shares border with Iran.  Report has it that some refugees have drowned and some have escaped. The Commission is still working on the case for more exact statistics.

AIHRC is expressing sympathy and condolences to the survivors of this incident and regards such brutal behavior by Iranian security forces as a serious violation of human rights principles and values. In addition, the rights of refugees and immigrants, and the commitment of states to international conventions have been violated.

AIHRC In their Press Release urges on the government of Afghanistan, specifically Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to form a committee including officials from both countries, Iran and Afghanistan, in cooperation with the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, and UNHCR to thoroughly investigate the case. It is expected that the perpetrators would be identified and brought to justice to prevent such incidents from happening again. In addition, the victims shall be compensated.

State Injustice in the Name of God

Apostasy includes acts in the forms of “blasphemy, heresy, and mockery of the Islamic community”[i]. This article by Farshad details the legal codes that are used to address apostasy cases in Afghanistan, the injustices they inflict and calls for a few actions to protect the life and freedom of Afghans from its ailing justice system.

Zaman Ahmadi’s Case

Mohammad Reza Zaman Ahmadi is the face of contemporary controversy surrounding apostasy. According to Etilaatroz (Shaheed, 2019), Zaman had written an article about perpetrators of the destruction of famous Buddha statues in Bamyan. The local magazine had avoided publishing the article, and in-stead, had reported Zaman to the local police.

Documents obtained by the Etilaatroz show the attorney involved in the case maintaining that Zaman had confessed being a Buddhist. Jurists of the 3rd District Court in Kabul had deduced that Zaman had committed blasphemy and that his infidelity was obvious. He was sentenced to 20 years of prison by the court in 2012. As of now, he has served 7 years of the term.

After months of advocacy by human rights groups, independent advocates and Zaman’s lawyers, the Supreme Court of Afghanistan reversed the 20 years jail sentence on December 4th, 2019. It is expected of the Attorney General to reassess the case and refer it for a retrial[ii].

The Bigger Picture

Mohammad Ali Farhang—a renowned lawyer—says[iii] that there isn’t any law and penal code concerning apostasy in Afghanistan. As a result, jurists refer to article 130 of the Constitution of Afghanistan that reads:

“In cases under consideration, the courts shall apply provisions of this constitution as well as laws. If there is no provision in the constitution or other laws about a case, the court shall, in pursuance of Hanafi jurisprudence, and, within the limits set by this constitution, rule in a way that attains justice in the best manner[iv].”

“Another Afghan, Pervez Kambaksh, was sentenced to death in 2007 for “blasphemy and distribution of texts defamatory of Islam” (Azami, 2014).

Hanafi School rules [https://www.dawn.com/news/1215304] that “a Muslim blasphemer of the prophet PBUH will be killed under hudd and his pardon won’t be acceptable.” – (Ibn Abidin, Kitab al Jihad, Bab al Murtad). This school of Islamic thought also requires female apostates to be imprisoned, rather than killed[v]. “Blasphemers who ask for a pardon would be spared the death penalty[vi]“.

“In 2006, an Afghan, Abdul Rahman, who announced his conversion to Christianity escaped a possible death sentence” (Azami, 2014).

Ironically, while the Constitution does not provide any code concerning apostasy, it does explicitly support freedom of expression in the article 34 that reads “Freedom of expression shall be inviolable. Every Afghan shall have the right to express thoughts through speech, writing, illustrations as well as other means in accordance with provisions of this constitution. Every Afghan shall the right, according to provisions of law, to print and publish on subjects without prior submission to state authorities. Directives related to press, radio and television as well as publications and other mass media shall be regulated by law”, (the Constitution).

Loopholes and added injustice

1. In order for blasphemy codes to be applicable, “the accused must no longer consider himself a Muslim[vii]”. In Zaman’s case, the documents show, that he had denied being a Buddhist, and had confirmed in writing that he was a Muslim. Despite that, the court had deduced that he had committed blasphemy and that his infidelity was obvious! It is evident that starting from the print magazine, the police, public attorney and the jurists collectively misinterpreted his article, ignored the obvious and misused their authority in Zaman’s case.

2. Mohammad Ali Farhang maintains that “article 130 of the constitution is ambiguous. Judges can impose sentences as different as 20 days or 20 years”.

Further, “given the divergence between the two camps, other punishments have been adopted and are intended to affect an offender’s civil status. For example, apostates can have their marriages annulled. Anyone punished in this way can re-unite with their spouse if and when they recant to Islam. Similarly, an apostate can no longer serve as a marriage guardian for his daughter unless he comes back to Islam. Third, an apostate loses the right to inherit property from relatives and those relatives also lose the right to inherit from him. The Hanafi School regards an apostate’s property as spoils for the community. These spoils are kept as part of the public treasury and are utilized for Muslim community interests[viii]”.

The legal ambiguities surrounding apostasy makes individuals at increased risk of being disproportionate targets. Past incidences have involved false cases motivated, possibly, by personal vendettas. On March 19th 2015, a clergy at a mosque in Kabul accused Farkhunda Malikzada, 27 year female religious scholar, of burning Quran after she had picked up a religious argument with the clergy. Savage mob lynched her to death and set her on fire. In Farkhunda’s case, an anti-Western sentiment was also reported. “Some attackers shouted that she was working with foreigners. By the next day, imams and government officials were denouncing her as having colluded with infidels”.

“Acts for which individuals have been charged with blasphemy range from condemning the treatment of women in Islamic societies, to condemning crimes committed by individuals who claimed to be acting in the name of Islam, to publishing an unofficial translation of the Qur’an. Additionally, as stipulated by the Afghan Supreme Court, belonging to the Baha’í faith is an act of blasphemy[ix]”.

“In October 2005, Afghan journalist and editor Ali Mohaqiq Nasab was imprisoned after being found guilty of charges of blasphemy and “insulting Islam.” The purported “crime” of Nasab, editor of the journal Haqooq-i-Zan (Women’s Rights), was to question discrimination against women and the use of certain harsh punishments under traditional Islamic Law, including amputation and public stoning”.

3. Despite the Constitution of Afghanistan ensuring freedom of expression, the media law passed in March 2004[x] prohibits ”writings deemed anti-Islamic”. This empowers police to detain writers and journalists with the approval of 17-member commission.

4. Taliban’s probably strong return to power makes the situation grimmer. They have been the ultra-right movement who publicly executed Afghans for even minor behaviors that went against teachings of orthodox Islam.

Call for Actions

1. Zaman Ahmadi has already spent seven years of his precious life becuase of the illegal and unjust ruling by the 3rd District Court. I commend Etilaatroz’s initiative in publicizing his case. This ignited a growing call for action by independent human rights activists and the general public, resulting an ongoing appeal of his case. Although we have came a long way, justice has yet to prevail. In his case, he should not only be set free but also should be compensated for the undeserved harms inflicted upon him in the process. Social media, journalists and rights advocates will be able to act as formidable saviors, Zaman and previous cases of blasphemy proved.

2. Article 34 of the Constitution that ensures freedom of expression should be upheld. In order to so, the Afghan government should repeal the media law that goes against this article of the Constitution, in that it prohibits freedom of expression and legalizes detention of journalists.

3. Mohammad Ali Farhang says that according to an enactment of the high council of the Supreme Court, no judge is allowed to refer to article 130 of the constitution[xi]. If so, rulings based on referral to article 130 must be revisited and nullified.

References:

[i] STANFORD LAW SCHOOL, ALEP (2016, March). An Introduction to the Criminal Law of Afghanistan . Retrieved January 1, 2020, from https://www-cdn.law.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/ALEP-Criminal-Law-2d-Ed_English.pdf.

[ii] Shaheed , A. (2019, December 4). Court Reverses 20-Year Sentence, But Process Not Over. Tolonews. Retrieved January 1, 2020, from https://tolonews.com/afghanistan/court-reverses-20-year-sentence-process-not-over.

[iii] Mehryar, S. (2019, August 28). 20 Years in Prison for an Unreleased Memo; is it a Fair Trial. Etilaatroz. Retrieved January 1, 2020, from https://www.etilaatroz.com/82815/20-years-in-prison-for-not-releasing-a-memo-is-it-fair-trial/

[iv] The Constitution of Afghanistan. (2004, January 26). Retrieved January 1, 2020, from http://www.afghanembassy.com.pl/afg/images/pliki/TheConstitution.pdf

[v] STANFORD LAW SCHOOL, ALEP (2016, March). An Introduction to the Criminal Law of Afghanistan . Retrieved January 1, 2020, from https://www-cdn.law.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/ALEP-Criminal-Law-2d-Ed_English.pdf.

[vi] [Kingston, J. (2019). The Politics of Religion, Nationalism, and Identity in Asia. Retrieved January 1, 2020, from https://books.google.ca/books?id=rHahDwAAQBAJ&dq=Hanafi+blasphemy&source=gbs_navlinks_s%5D rce=gbs_navlinks_s.

[vii] STANFORD LAW SCHOOL, ALEP (2016, March). An Introduction to the Criminal Law of Afghanistan . Retrieved January 1, 2020, from https://www-cdn.law.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/ALEP-Criminal-Law-2d-Ed_English.pdf.

[viii] STANFORD LAW SCHOOL, ALEP (2016, March). An Introduction to the Criminal Law of Afghanistan . Retrieved January 1, 2020, from https://www-cdn.law.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/ALEP-Criminal-Law-2d-Ed_English.pdf.

[ix] Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs at Georgetown University. (n.d.). National Laws on Blasphemy: Afghanistan. Retrieved January 1, 2020, from https://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/essays/national-laws-on-blasphemy-afghanistan

[x] Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs at Georgetown University. (n.d.). National Laws on Blasphemy: Afghanistan. Retrieved January 1, 2020, from https://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/essays/national-laws-on-blasphemy-afghanistan

[xi] Mehryar, S. (2019, August 28). 20 Years in Prison for an Unreleased Memo; is it a Fair Trial. Etilaatroz. Retrieved January 1, 2020, from https://www.etilaatroz.com/82815/20-years-in-prison-for-not-releasing-a-memo-is-it-fair-trial/

Afghanistan Cemetery of civilians, especially women and children

Writer : Zalmay

The reflection of the most painful killings and beheadings of ISIS in Afghanistan is not complete. From suicide bombings and mass bombings by men to landmines to roadside mines, beheadings, shootings, wars, captives, hostages, and hundreds more, daily in a land as large as Afghanistan, It happens

On September 10, 2019, Sher Ahmad Ahmadi was working in a pharmacy where several people were dressed in strange clothes and with long beards, messy and dirty clothes, all of which were covered with lameness and the big tent of the famous Afghan and Pakistani religion. They came in to get the medicine they needed. “I have never forgotten that day,” he says. Their behavior was suspicious when they entered the pharmacy, they spoke Pashto with a foreign accent. They did not have a doctor’s prescription and they showed me some of their medicine pens on their mobile page. I took his mobile phone to find medicines, and I heard one of them whispering that the police force was approaching, and suddenly they left the pharmacy very quickly without receiving any medicine. I think they realised that they might fall into the trap of Afghan forces.

He has lost his wife Golsum Ahmadi and two daughters, 7-year-old Khadijah and 17-year-old Fatemeh, both of them were beheaded by ISIS forces.

It was not long before the police forces attacked the pharmacy and slapped me, accusing me of collaborating with them. I did not know who they were, and in any case, the drug dealer had to provide services to everyone. According to the commander of the Afghan force, they were ISIS and we did not attack these wanted and suspected ISIS members for fear of retaliation. In fact, ISIL members fled the house easily before being arrested.

ISIS is the most dangerous and hated terrorist force in the world, and it does not matter if it is the battlefield of Jalalabad or late at night in Syria. First, this terrorist group is trying to establish its presence in more parts of Afghanistan, and for this reason, it is trying to take over the events that have taken place in different parts of the country. On the other hand, ISIS wants to present itself as a force to be reckoned with in the Afghan process, as well as a threat to its neighbors. This is the goal that the ISIS terrorist group pursued after its emergence in Iraq and Syria.
For these reasons, the ISIS terrorist group and Taliban terrorists target most of Afghanistan’s major minorities, including Hazaras, Uzbeks, or other minority brothers and sisters in Afghanistan, in brutal and inhumane attacks. By attacking civilians, these groups seek to “muddy the water and catch fish” by attacking civilians, and their main goal is to intimidate, intimidate, and perpetuate unrest.

Sher Ahmad Ahmadi is an Afghan citizen who was caught in an accident due to a mistake made by government forces, which ultimately led to an irreparable tragedy. His wife Golsum Ahmadi and two daughters, 7-year-old Khadijeh and 17-year-old Fatemeh were beheaded by ISIS forces.
He says; In a situation where you do not have life expectancy and security and your life is always in danger. And every moment you expect torture and death, maybe death is like the only refuge for someone who has no point of hope and motivation to survive. Survival and fear are always captivity in the hands of the torturer who sips the sip of death. So, facing the scene of the murder of his wife and children, he decides to commit suicide, but his employer tries to help him.

The rise of ISIS in Afghanistan during the National Unity Government began in the Achin district of Nangarhar. In its first attempt, the group bombed a group that, according to ISIS, were members of the Taliban. The group surpassed the Taliban in a show of anger and violence and carried out suicide attacks on the country’s Shiite mosques to prove that ISIS was on its way to Iraq and Syria.

And the War Crime Continues; Taliban Shot Dead Afghan Human Rights Defender

We at the Ahrhome.com condemn the barbaric killing of Abdul Samad Amiri; acting director of Afghanistan Human Rights Commission in Ghor province. Abdul Samad Amiri was kidnapped on his way to Ghor by the Taliban and his body was found earlier on September 5.

This killing follows Amnesty International‘s most recent publication that underscores the threat Afghan Human Rights Defenders are facing. Frontlinedefenders reported that Amiri “combat[ed] the surge in the murder and suicide of women which is closely linked to the general climate of violence and specifically the entrenched nature of domestic violence”.

In his most recent post on social media, Abdul Samad Amiri had promised to work towards betterment of his country:

“I have seen the trauma of more than 40 years’ civil war and feel wholeheartedly the affliction imposed on my people… whatever I do for my country, though insufficient to what I owe, makes me happy. I can’t forget or ignore the dreams for Afghanistan’s future and her place as a part of this world. Positive change will come to Afghanistan when every citizen knows we have a responsibility to work for her improvement. Despite the difficulties, I owe my life to this land and will work for its betterment so long as I live.”

Abdul Samad Amiri belonged to the historically persecuted Hazara community in Afghanistan.

Amnesty International: Human Rights Defenders are being targeted in Afghanistan

Farshad

Amnesty International released its finding about Human Rights Defenders in Afghanistan who are being targeted both by state and non-state actors and facing the neglect and inability of state, too. BBC Persian quoted Omar Waraich—Deputy South Asia Director—that “Human Rights Defenders not only live in a dangerous environment but are also being threatened by the government and armed groups”.

The study finds that these activists face “intimidation, harassment, threats and violence” all over Afghanistan. Those interviewed as part of the study, reported that they were asked to procure their own weapon.

The study which was published on 28th August, reports that activists based in Kabul are more vulnerable than the rest, and that the situation for female activists is worse—particularly in provinces. Female activists were asked to abandon their job and stay in the safe side, in provinces.

Human Rights Defenders find limited space since President Ashraf Ghani took office in 2014, to advocate and expose serious human rights violations. In what is brought as an example, an organization was asked to remove names of high-ranking officials from a shadow report that was addressed to UN Committee against Torture in 2017.

“I believe it was 4pm that the report was sent to the CSOs… around 10pm, someone called “EIiyas”* [his colleague, whose name is anonymized] that you in your report named key and important figures. People named [in the report] were… [names are omitted to prevent any possible security repercussions to the civil society organization.] and a few others. They had threatened that, ‘You must remove their names because they are the ones who are standing against the Taliban. If they are not here you will not be here, too…’ We were forced to removed them [their names]:”

This study further notes that cases of threats, intimidation, harassment and violence against Human Rights Activists remain unprosecuted in Afghanistan. Khalil Parsa—an activist based in Herat—was shot at seven bullets and was told by the provincial office of National Directorate of Security to “report the matter if the assailants reappeared”.

But, they [the security institutions] did not investigate well. All CCTV footage existed, and they could have reviewed them… after two weeks, they went to review the security cameras. Then, they [police] were told that these cameras are recording for one week and erasing them the next week. They told the security [police] that if they have a recovery system, they can bring them to recover the [earlier] videos. Everything was clearly recorded in the security cameras. But, they did not investigate my case.”

“HRDs live in constant fear as cases of threats, intimidation and attacks were not investigated nor prosecuted. This situation was exacerbated by the government’s failure to provide protection to members of CSOs who have been threatened with death.”

In another report that was compiled by UNAMA in the aftermath of Taliban’s attack in Kunduz on 28th September 2016, it is noted that the Taliban had immediately started searching houses and locating Human Rights Defenders (particularly women), NGO and UN employees, media and government personnel.

Taliban Threatens Media as a Military Target

By: Fatima H Bakhsh

On June 24, the Taliban threatened media and journalists in Afghanistan to stop their anti-Taliban ads funded by the Afghan and US governments. This happens while the Taliban leaders are negotiating over peace with the US officials to end the ongoing war in Afghanistan.

The Taliban’s military commission gave a week deadline to all Afghan media organizations including radio stations and TV channels to stop advertising against them. The nature of broadcasted advertainments was based on fighting the Taliban’s narrative, discouraging recruitment and promoting the local to report on Taliban’s suspicious activities.

The commission also added that if there are any continued broadcasts against them by any media agency, their journalists and staff members will no longer be safe as they will no longer be treated as media outlets but military targets aiding the Western-backed government of Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is the world’s deadliest country to be a journalist. According to International Federation of Journalists 16 journalists were killed in 2018 marking Afghanistan first on list of the most dangerous places for media workers. Also, in 2019, Reporters without Borders (RSF) reports that there have been at least 45 cases of violence against journalists and the media, including threats, physical violence and destruction of media outlets.

This is not the first time the media has been threatened by the Taliban. In January 2016, the group claimed responsibility for a bomb attack targeting TOLO TV, the most popular private TV station in Afghanistan, killing 7 employees. The Taliban claimed the attack to pay off for what it said was false and unfair reporting by TOLO TV where they reported that the Taliban raped female students in city of Kunduz’s battle.

The counited peace talks between the US and the Taliban at the beginning of 2019 has not brought any positive hopes to improved security for journalists in Afghanistan. Journalists safety and freedom of press are of the main concerns if a peace deal happens with the Taliban. While, threatening and putting limitations on media work shows the Taliban’s fear of a free and independent press, there is a concern over partial or total ban on media if the Taliban return to power.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid stated if they return to power, they would implement an Islamic version of freedom of press. “We won’t allow propaganda, insults and humiliation to people in society and religious values. We will allow those who work for the betterment of the society,” he told AFP.

Concerns remain despite progress in a condition-based ceasefire. The US officials and the Taliban representatives have been working to agree on foreign troops exit in return for not allowing Afghanistan’s soil to be used for any threats against the US. However, human rights and media activists worry to lose gained achievements over 18 years including freedom of press and improved conditions for women and other minority groups in Afghanistan.

 

Taliban Shot a Man and a Woman who had Run Away in Ghor Province

Local officials in Ghor province have informed Deutsch Welle—Persian that Taliban militants have shot dead a man and a woman in Ghor province. According to Daily Etilaat Roz and DW—Persian, Abdul Ghafar (28-30 years old) and Bibi Jan (20-22 years old) had fled from their homes in Shahrak district in Ghor on 22nd May.

Sources have reported that both the accused were married to another woman and man and had fallen in love with each other. After fleeing their home, Taliban terrorists under Gul Mohammad’s command capture them in Masjid Nigaar district and try them in a Kangaroo court and kill them subsequently.

Taliban are notorious for unlawful persecution in cases that involve reported adultery, running away from home and kidnapping. In certain circumstances, local strongmen also join hands with the Taliban. While most of these informal and unlawful persecutions take place in areas controlled by the Taliban, there have been cases that fall in government-controlled areas. Weak government institutions force residents to resort to local strongmen and even the Taliban to settle legal disputes.

As per Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission [AIHRC, 2017], number of cases of run-away from home increase by 3.7% in 2018 as compared to 2017, predominantly because of domestic violence. AIHRC (Tolonews, 2017) also reported that Taliban killed 12 persons and lashed 5 more in informal courts across Afghanistan in 2017.

Report by: Farshad

Urgent Call to Stop Taliban Atrocities Against Hazaras in Afghanistan

Letter poster

Each person one letter

لینک فارسی نامه را اینجا بخوانید

We exist not to let the history repeat itself. As we fight in the trenches against the armies of terror and horror, as we cry out loud in the streets against apparatus of discrimination and prejudice, we will raise our voice for justice by any means we can in order to deliver our message to the world. We are everywhere. In the trenches, on the street, at the university, in the media, on the Internet, and in the post offices.

We, the Hazaras, who have been targeted by the ISIS and Taliban terrorists these days, along with our fellow countrymen and all those who for the sake of humanity, believe in justice and equality, will send a letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, which has been written for explaining the invasion of Hazara areas by terrorists and to protest the discriminatory and fanatical attitudes of the Afghan government circles towards to the Hazara people.

Guidance:

  1. Each sender will sign the letter and send it to the Secretariat of the United Nations at the following address by entering his/her own address:

Office of the Secretary-General

United Nations Headquarters

405 East 42nd Street,

New York, NY, 10017

U.S.A

 

  1. In addition to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, we can send this letter to other authorities via email or post by changing the name and title of the addressee. Political and social activists can send this letter to parliamentarians and the effective government officials in their respective countries as well as to the international organizations involved in Afghanistan.

The letter can be downloaded as a PDF file from the here.

With respect

A group of cultural activists from Afghanistan and other countries

لینک فارسی نامه را اینجا بخوانید

#Letters4Hazara2UN

#UNMustActInAfg

Rising Concerns about sectarian Wars in Afghanistan

Urozgan, Afghanistan. More than a week of fighting between Taliban and Hazara villagers and its loyal fighters has heightened fears of a dangerous new phase of sectarian violence in Afghanistan.

In the violence where the Afghan government itself has its influences to the sectarian war and ethnic cleansing, to get its political agenda with Taliban territories.

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Displaced families comprise kids, women & elderly due to ‘s brutality & gov’s implicit oppression & explicit discrimination in . This ppl have been taking away the Historical & Current suppressions & wounds simultaneously

The clashes in the central province of Uruzgan, which have killed over 50 civilians and soldiers, and have highlighted concerns that Hazaras, minority targeted by Islamic State attacks over recent years, may take up arms in frustration at a lack of action by the government.

While the Taliban, made up mainly of ethnic Pashtun Sunni Muslims, has not explicitly targeted Hazaras in the past, officials fear the violence could escalate into an ethnic battle.

The fighting is very intense and is now becoming an issue of ethnic violence between Hazara and Pashtun, according to ethnic activists, the government has its own arrangement between them even there are risks of a massacre.

Recently, Ashraf Ghani add his comment that there is a war between the villagers, it seems not terrorism agenda behind, but the Taliban has claimed as its own war and has clear message to kill one of the loyal Hazaza commanders Hakim Shujae.

Screenshot 2018-11-05 at 13.46.16

According to the Routers, “Sectarian violence had until recent years been relatively uncommon in Afghanistan but suicide bombings at Hazara mosques and cultural centers by Islamic State as well as attacks on Hazaras traveling on provincial highways have fueled growing anger. Many Hazaras blame Sunni Pashtuns for the sectarian attacks since king Abdurahman.

This is not a holy war, rather than this an ethnic cleansing war against the Hazara minorities, says human rights activist Basir Ahang.

Screenshot 2018-11-05 at 13.20.47

Activists on Twitter highlighted the sectarian war between the Taliban and Hazaras. Meanwhile, Afghan and Western security officials, fearing the kind of sectarian violence that has devastated Iraq, have been deeply concerned that Hazaras could be again the main victims of ethnic cleansing by Sunni terror organizations.

The recent violence started when Taliban fighters attacked a remote cluster of Hazara villages in Uruzgan province after they refused to pay tax to the insurgents, provincial officials said.

According to the Reuters, the Hazara commander, Abdul Hakim Shujaee, a former leader in the U.S.-funded Afghan Local Police, has been accused of serious human rights abuses and faces an arrest order from the central government, which has struggled to impose its authority on remote parts of the country.

Uruzgan, squeezed between the Taliban heartlands of Kandahar and Helmand and the Hazara-dominated province of Daikondi, is home to both Pashtuns and Hazara families and the two groups have long had an uneasy co-existence.

The Hazaras have always been treated as slaves throughout the centuries of brutality in Afghanistan. The 18th-century massacre of Hazara by Abdul Rehman marked the worst mass-displacement, migration, and massacre of Hazaras. About 62% of Hazaras were forced out of their lands in Kandahar, Uruzgan and Zabul provinces under the brutal rule of Abdul Rehman. Taliban reminded Hazaras of the Abdul Rehman era a decade ago, when thousands were cold-bloodedly massacred in Bamyan, Mazar-i-Sharif and other provinces.

The international troops led by the US has increased the dangers of Hazaras in Uruzgan with their temporary military operations against insurgents and compromises most of the times.

The case echoes a standoff last month in central Ghor province involving a prominent Hazara commander called Alipur, known as “Commander Sword”, seen by supporters as a kind of Robin Hood figure but denounced by the government as a bandit.

Screenshot 2018-11-05 at 13.20.19.png

With the tempo of the Afghan conflict steadily increasing, it was a bad few days for the Hazrars minority beyond the Afghan government war against terrorism. The fighting has demonstrated that the insurgents have a capacity for carrying out ambitious operations on multiple fronts, while the government has struggled to respond some single fronts in Ghazni, not the Uruzgan war which can be a planted theory in the benefits of Pashtons beside the Taliban.

 

Afghanistan: Death Toll Soars to 68 in Suicide Bomb Attack

Aljazira News.jpg
Medical staff have struggled to treat people wounded by the powerful blast in Nangarhar province [AFP]

At least 68 killed and 165 injured in attacks targeting demonstrators and schools in eastern Nangarhar province.

The death toll from a suicide bomb attack at a protest gathering in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar on Tuesday has risen to 68, with 165 wounded, a government official said.

The provincial governor’s spokesman, Attaullah Khogyani, issued a statement with a revised casualty total on Wednesday after earlier estimates put the death toll at 32.

Scores of demonstrators had blocked the highway between the provincial capital Jalalabad and a key border crossing with Pakistan when the bomber struck.

The protesters had come from Achin district to demand the removal of a local police commander.

The attack was one of the worst in Afghanistan for months but security officials have warned that similar attacks are likely if crowds gather for campaign rallies ahead of parliamentary elections in October.

“… the explosion happened and I found myself surrounded by blood and flesh,” Zar Khan, one of the injured, told AFP news agency.

Bombing schools

The deadly suicide attack came hours after multiple bombings targeted schools in Jalalabad.

One blast went off at the entrance of Malika Omaira girls’ school in the morning, killing a 14-year-old boy and wounding four other people. It was followed by two explosions in Behsud district, also near two schools.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani condemned the suicide attack, as well as the school bombings in Nangarhar.

In a statement, he said that “attacks on civilian facilities, mosques, women, children, are all crimes against humanity”.

The Taliban denied any involvement in the attacks and no other group claimed responsibility for the violence.

Nangarhar has been a main stronghold of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) fighters since early 2015.

Attacks continue

A number of attacks across Afghanistan in recent weeks have killed hundreds of civilians and prominent journalists.

Twin bombings at a sports club in the capital Kabul last Wednesday killed at least 20 people and wounded 70 others. Two journalists – a reporter and cameraman – working for local Tolo News were among the dead.

On Sunday, a suicide bomber detonated his explosives close to a procession commemorating the death of a former anti-Soviet and anti-Taliban commander, Ahmed Shah Massoud, killing at least seven people and wounding 24.

A ceasefire in June between the Taliban and the government – as well as talks between US officials and Taliban representatives in Qatar in July – raised hopes the 17-year conflict could end with negotiations.

However, the country has since seen a rise in deadly attacks that have targeted civilian

Aljazira News

Pyramid of Terror and Atrocities

Upon the withdrawal of the Soviet Forces, notorious warlords dominated the political climate in Kabul and overthrew Najeeb’s Government. These warlords were party to a brutal and far-reaching civil war that claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands.

Subsequent rule by the Taliban brought a new face to this horror. Taliban deprived Afghans of their civil liberties and fundamental human rights. Women, children and ethnic minorities were severely targeted.

Upon fall the of the Taliban, most of the former Mujahidin warlords and re-emerged as key government officials. As a prospect of peace deal between the US and Taliban is gaining momentum, Taliban terrorists also are likely to own a big share of this climate. What we will end up is a government that is run by terrorists and gross violators of human rights who have had major roles in Afghanistan’s worst nightmares and massacres.

Farshad and Fatima H Bakhsh attempt at identifying and introducing Gross Violators of Human Rights and Terrorist Leaders in Afghanistan. It is based on interviews with informants and draws references from other national and international institution reports.

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Asadullah Khalid

Status: Defense Minister, NUG

Haji Asadullah Khalid at the time of Karzay regime was Governor of his home Ghazni, governor of Kandahar, Minister of Borders, besides being in-charge of the Ministry, he was appointed as special representative of the president to Loi Kandahar provinces( Kandahar, Helmand, Zabul, Rozgan).

In April 2010, CBC News revealed the existence of top-level Canadian government documents reporting the personal involvement of Khalid in serious human rights abuses in his own private dungeon. At 2012 Afghan human rights and Multiple sources report that the private detention centre was located under Khalid’s guest house while governor of Kandahar. Documents says, that Asadullah Khalid had ordered the killing of five United Nations workers by bombing, presumably to protect his narcotics interests.

Draft legislation on torture is finally emerging after years of political and bureaucratic battles, but torture is on the rise. While in a few cases police have been dismissed or relocated following investigations, in places were torture is used systematically, the Afghan government has done nothing to hold the most egregious offenders accountable. Afghanistan’s strongmen, and the forces loyal to them, remain above the law. These include not only Dostum, but also Police Chief Raziq of Kandahar, among others. Human Rights Watch has documented cases of torture by other prominent political figures, including Asadullah Khalid, former head of the National Directorate of Security.

A year later, in September 2012, the National Assembly of Afghanistan approved him as head of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), which is the Afghan intelligence service.  He sustained injuries in Taliban attack in December 2012.  Khalid was appointed Minister of Defense in September 2018.

Abdul Rashid Dostum

Status: 1st Vice President to Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai

In the 1980s, Dostum was in command of an Uzbek militia that fought with AK-47s on horseback. A former general in the Afghan army, he fought against Mujahidin fighters as well as the Taliban. He has been accused of being responsible for mass killings of the Taliban prisoners.

Dostum: Afghanistan’s Embattled Warlord, written by Brian Glyn Williams in CIA’s Terrorism Monitor Journal contains details of Dostum’s violent engagement up to 2008.

Forces loyal to Dostum have reportedly been accused of war-crimes and killings of civilians. Human Rights Watch, on June 2016, reported that his militiamen had entered villages in Faryab Province and had killed more than 5 civilians and injuring many more.

In most recent of these atrocities, he kidnapped and detained his rival, Ahmad Ischi and reportedly beat him and raped him. Subsequently, he was exiled to Turkey. He returned back to Afghanistan in 2018. He is yet to be tried for these allegations.

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, “the Butcher”

Status: Candidate, Afghan Presidential Elections

Hekmatyar is designated a terrorist by the United States and leads the Hezb-i-Islami political party. During the war against Soviet Union, Hekmatyar’s mujahideen fighters received funding from the CIA, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. But his role during the war came under criticism, as he ordered attacks on rival groups to strengthen his power. After taking refuge in Iran for some time, he was thought to be moving in and out of the tribal areas between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Hekmatyar was a key player in 1990’s civil war and repeatedly shelled Kabul, killing and wounding thousands. He returned to Kabul in 2017 as part of a peace deal signed in 2016, which gave him amnesty against all his previous atrocities. His convoy of supporters entering Kabul were heavily armed. Top commanders related to his insurgency group–2nd largest–were also pardoned. Since then, he has remains an outspoken critic of free media and at times has sparked controversy by criticising his rivals and ethnic minorities.

Ismail Khan

Status: Member, Council for Security and Stability of Afghanistan

Khan rose to power while battling the Soviets in Afghanistan. He fought them for 13 years to retake Herat province and became its governor. When Mohammad Omar attacked and captured Herat in 1995, Khan was thrown into a prison in Kandahar. After he escaped in 1999, he joined forces with Ahmed Shah Massoud in the Northern Alliance. He fought alongside U.S. forces against the Taliban in 2001 and then quickly consolidated his control over Herat, appointing himself as the governor. After Karzai removed him from power in 2005, he took an offer to become the minister of water and energy.

Although Khan has not been accused of severe war crimes–the likes of which Dostum an Hikmatyar have been–forces loyal to him in early 2000’s were accused of atrocities against civilians (particularly Pashtuns) in Herat province. (HRW–2003, and Thomas Johnson–Strategic Insights, Volume III, Issue 7–2004).

In a public speech in late 2018, Ismail Khan had proposed a military-dictatorship as a response to existing instability (Pajhwok, Sep 2018).

Mohammad Mohaqiq

status: Deputy CEO of the NUG

Mohaqiq, a Hazara commander, played an active role in fighting against Soviet troops after they invaded in 1979. He was one of the key leaders of the Wahdat Party who was a party to the civil war and accused of atrocities against the civilian (HRW–2005). After the fall of the Taliban in 2001, Mohaqiq was appointed vice-president and oversaw the Ministry of Planning, but he was removed from the government over his differences with Karzai. Militiamen and forces loyal to Mohaqiq–among others–were reported to have massively looting, torturing, abusing Pashtun villagers in early 2002 (HRW,2003).

Mohaqiq commands support within the Hazara community and is a deputy to Abdullah Abdullah–Afghan CEO. In most recent controversies, Mohammad praised Iranian recruitment of Afghans to fight armed oppositions and ISIS alongside the Syrian Regime.

Atta Mohammad Noor

Status: Chief Executive of Jamiat-e Islami Party

Atta Mohammad Noor served as the senior commander for the Northern Alliance forces in Mazar-e Sharif before the fall of Taliban in 2001. Three years later, Karzai appointed him as the governor of Balkh province. He ruled the northern region with an iron fist, leading to accusations of widespread looting and mass executions. In the initial years leading to 2003, forces under his command in Mazar-e-Sharif were accused of serious human rights violations, particularly towards the Pashtuns. With his warlord legacy tucked in, he has now transformed himself into an ultra-rich businessman.

In 2015, HRW reported that, “[the entity] has documented Atta’s maintenance of a network of militias under his effective command that has been implicated in serious human rights abuses”. The report indicates number ranging from 452 up to 1500 militiamen and arbakis. 

The entity also has evidence that Atta supported a notorious kidnapper named Habib Rahman, prevent his transfer to Kabul for prosecution and then ensuring his comfort in jail.

In its 2017 Country Report on Human Rights Practices, State Department detailed reports of Atta and his sons attacking his rival Asif Mohmand, detaining him and biting off piece of his ear, an assault that killed at least 3 and injured 13 more.

Abdurrab Rasul Sayyaf

Sayyaf, a religious scholar turned mujahideen commander, built a close relationship with Osama bin Laden during their fight against Soviet forces. Sayyaf continued to maintain his training camps, helping recruit jihadists to fight in conflicts as far away as the Philippines, where his name inspired a dangerous separatist group now known as Abu Sayyaf (The Economist, 2014).  He also reportedly trained the 9/11 mastermind Sheikh Mohammad.

During 1990’s, Sayyaf’s Ittihad faction was a strong party to the civil war. Human Right’s Watch records that fighting over control of Kabul against the Wahdat forces started as early as 1992 and resulted in high civilian casualties and massive destruction. HRW implicates Sayyaf, centrally, in war crimes–including the massacre in Afshar–as he was commander of the this faction.

After 2001, Sayyaf continued to serve in various capacity with the Afghan government, yet, soldiers and commanders loyal to him continued to rob people, threaten journalists and musicians.

Gul Agha Sherzai

Status: Minister of Borders and Tribal Affairs,

A former Mujahideen commander, Sherzai helped topple Mohammed Najibullah’s government. He became the governor of Kandahar twice, and he used his power to strengthen his position and help his tribe. When the Taliban conquered Kandahar after 1994, he left the city and remained hidden until 2001, when he recaptured Kandahar with the help of U.S. forces. During the Karzai administration, he served as governor of Kandahar and then Nangahar province. Until he was removed as Kandahar Governor, he reportedly kept most of the customs revenue, worth $ millions (Politics and Governance in Afghanistan: the Case of Nangarhar Provinc, Ashley Jackson, 2014).

Mullah-Abdul-Ghani-Baradar

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar

Status: Head, Taliban’s Qatar Office

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar is one of the four men who founded the Taliban movement in Afghanistan in 1994. He went on to become a linchpin of terror after the Taliban were toppled by the US-led invasion in 2001. He was eventually captured in a joint US-Pakistani raid in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi in February 2010.  Little was heard of Mullah Baradar’s fate until late in 2012 when his name repeatedly topped the list of Taliban prisoners the Afghans wanted released in order to encourage nascent peace talks. At the time of his arrest he was said to be second-in-command to the Taliban’s spiritual leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, and one of his most trusted commanders. He was released last year and was appointed on January 2019, as the political head of Taliban’s Qatar Office.

Mullah Abdul Salaam Raketi

Abdul Salam Rocketi,

Status: Lives in Afghanistan

Haji Mullah Abdul Salam Raketi is the son of late Haji Manzar. He was born in 1958 in Naubahar district of the southern Zabul province. He continued his religious education until 1978 and then migrated to Pakistan. Rakity launched jihad against the regime in southeastern Paktika province in 1979. He continued fighting in Kandahar and Zabul till the fall of the government of Dr. Najeeb in Kabul. He was commander of the 27th brigade in the mujahideen after 1992. He joined  the Taliban in 1994 on the request of the Taliban leadership in 1995.
Mulla Abdul Salam Rakity remained imprisoned with the Americans for eight months in 2002. He was elected member of the Wolesi Jirga from southern Zabul province in 2005.

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Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil

Status: lives in Kabul

Mutawakil served as the Foreign Affairs Minister in the Taliban government. He was the highest ranking Taliban official to surrender to US forces. He was held by the Americans for 18 months and eventually released in October 2003. The western media has labeled Mutawakil a “moderate Talib”. On May 2, 2005, Mutawakil went on a Pakistan-based pashto TV channel (Khyber TV), and urged the Taliban to reconcile their differences with President Hamid Karzai’s government.

Abdul Hakim taliban

Abdul Hakim Mujahid,

Status: Lives in Kabul

Mujahid served as the Taliban representative and point of contact for the United Nations. He is currently the head of the political wing of a Taliban splinter group called Jamiat-i-Khuddamul Furqan. He is labeled by the western media as a “moderate-Talib”. Mujahid told the Pajhowk Afghan news agency in early May 2005 that they are trying to have their party registered with the Justice Ministry and set up an office in Kabul. Hakim Mujahid was appointed a member of the High Peace Council and was sacked, subsequently, in response to his controversial remarks.

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Amir Khan Muttaqi

Status: Alive, whereabouts not obvious

Mullah Amir Khan Muttaqi was born in 1968 in Shin Kalai village, Zurmat District, Paktia Province. He is an important Taliban official who held various posts in the past, including minister of Information and Culture. His current whereabout is said to be somewhere in Pakistan. He was the Taliban representative in UN-led talks under the Taliban regime

Mullah Amir Khan Muttaqi is a member of Taliban`s Shura Council and Official in Charge of its Media Committee. He was reported wounded in an airstrike on a Taliban gathering in Nawa district of Ghazni province in July 2018. Pajhwok reported that he was a participant in the UAE peace meetings, in late December 2019.

karim khalili

Karim Khalili

Status: Chairman of the Afghan High Peace Council

Karim Khalili served as Wahdat Party’s Deputy during the Afghan civil war. After Mazari was killed by the Taliban, Khalili became leader of the party. Karim Khalili did have leading role during Mazari’s rule of the party and both had acknowledged to taking civilians as hostages. This was reported by the HRW too, back in 2005. Under their rule, the Wahdat party regularly assaulted public. Khalili served as cabinet member of Hamid Karzai’s government. As of early 2003, UN officials confirmed cases where commanders loyal to Khalili engaged in rapes, kidnappings and forced marriage of girls in districts of Ghazni province. This included commanders like Irfani (Jaghori), Itimadi (Sharistan) and Qasemi (Malistan). (UN via HRW, 2003). Khalili later became vice president to Hamid Karzai for two terms and now heads the Afghan High Peace Council.

Zardad Faryadi

Zardad Faryadi (wild dog Zardad)

Status: Head, General Council of Karawane Haq

Zardad Faryadi was a mid-rank commander of the Islamic Party led by Hekmatyar and controlled checkpoints along the route to Jalalabad. This notorious commander was guilty of preying over civilian who would flee the civil war in 1990’s. As noted by Human Rights at the Crossroads, edited by Marck Goodale, Zardadi was sentenced to 20 years in prison by ICC in the United Kingdom, maintaining that “he had shown a (total disregard for humanity)”.

Zardad was deported to Kabul in 2016 and intended to run for Parliamentary Elections in 2018. Nonetheless, he was banned from running for the elections for his criminal records. He teamed up with President Ashraf in the 2019 presidential elections.

Din Muhammad Jabar Khel

Din Muhammad Jabar Khel

Status: Deputy, Afghanistan High Peace Council.

Din Muhammad Jabar Khel served as minister of security and education during Mujahidin’s short-lived rule. He was also deputy Chairman of Islami Party led by Molawi Khalis. The party was a key faction during the Soviet Union intervention of Afghanistan and later on during the civil war.  Jabarkhil was a key ally to the Hamid Karzai government. He was born in Jalalabad and served as governor of Nangarhar and then Kabul. Musa Khan Jalalzai in his book “Whose Army? Afghanistan’s Future and Blueprint for Civil War” termed him as a profoundly corrupt and illiterate warlord. He is a deputy to the Afghanistan High Peace Council, right now.

Juma Khan Hamdard

Jumma Khan Hamdard

Status: Senior Member, Islamic Party

Jumma Khan Hamdard is an ethnic Pashtun from the North who had a key role in the civil war and human rights abuse as  Commander of the Junbesh Party’s 8th Corps. See, “THE ETHNICISATION OF AN AFGHAN FACTION: JUNBESH-I-MILLI FROM ITS ORIGINS TO THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS”, Antonio Giustozzi and “Warlords, Strongman Governors, and the State in Afghanistan.

By Dipali Mukhopadhyay”. He later joined the Karzai government from Islamic party side, and served as governor to Paktia province.

One of the US embassy cables published by Wikileaks relates to  Juma Khan Hamdard. It contains detailed allegations that the governor is not only illegally amassing a personal fortune from US government-funded contracts, but is also fuelling money to active members of his tanzim, Hezb-e Islami terrorists , who are currently fighting the government in Balkh province.

haji zahir qadir

Zahir Qadir

Status: Former member of Parliament,

Zahir Qadir is son of Haji Qadir–ex vice president to Hamid Karzai who was killed in 2002. Zahir Qadir and his family are accused to run a complex network and a private militia of hundreds strong in Nangarhar. His men are accused to have committed gross violations of human rights in the forms of kidnapping, extortions (HRW 2004, see Politics and Governance in Afghanistan: the case of Nangarhar written by Ashley Jackson). They are also accused of drug trafficking and land grabs.

serajuddin haqqani

Serajudin Haqqani

Status: Deputy of the Afghan Taliban

Sirajudin Haqqani took operational control of the the Haqqani Network in 2001. He is now deputy to the Afghan Taliban Leader. Under his command, the Haqqani Network has launched their most deadly attacks against the government and civilian targets, killing and injuring thousands. They have undertaken mass beheadings, assassinations and torturing of the civilian and government forces(http://web.stanford.edu/group/mappingmilitants/cgi-bin/groups/view/363). Serajudin Haqqani has also been included in the designated terrorists list of the UN Security Council, in 2007.

Annas Haqqani

Annas Haqqani

Status: Negotiating Member, Taliban’s Qatar Office

Annas Haqqani is the younger brother of Taliban’s deputy commander—Haqqani—and younger son of Haqqani Network’s founder. Annas was arrested on 14th October 2014 by Afghanistan’s Intelligence Agency and was held near Bagram air base. Annas Haqqani was sentenced to death, in August 2016, by primary and appeal courts of Bagram district for charges of financing terrorism.

Haqqani Network is accused of committing murder, intentionally targeting civilians and humanitarian personnel, conscripting children and treacherously killing or wounding combatant adversaries. The network is also behind kidnapping Joshua Boyle, his wife Caitlan Coleman, and their infant children both born in captivity, in 2012. Members of this Canadian-American family were severely tortured, and were subjected to cruel, inhumane and degrading punishment by the kidnappers. They were rescued on October 12th 2017 by Pakistani troops.

Annas Haqqani was freed on November 19th 2019 in exchange for Kevin King and Timothy Weeks—both professors of American University of Afghanistan. These professors were kidnapped in 2016. While this swap is praised by officials, others criticizes it in that the move may further embolden the terrorist group towards additional kidnappings of the civilian.

Other terrorist Haqqani members who have been listed as sanctioned by the UN Security Council are:

Mohammad Ibrahim Omari (TAi.042), listed on 23 February 2001,
Ahmad Taha Khalid Abdul Qadir (TAi.105), listed on 23 February 2001,
Nasiruddin Haqqani (TAi.146), listed on 20 July 2010,
Khalil Ahmed Haqqani (TAi.150), listed on 9 February 2011,
Sangeen Zadran Sher Mohammad (TAi.152), listed on 16 August 2011,
Abdul Aziz Abbasin (TAi.155), listed on 4 October 2011,
Fazl Rabi (TAi.157), listed on 6 January 2012,
Ahmed Jan Wazir (TAi.159), listed on 6 January 2012,
Abdul Rauf Zakir (TAi.164), listed on 5 November 2012

Others associated to the Haqqani Network:
Ibrahim Haqqani, whose whereabouts is unknown.

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Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai

Status: Chief Negotiator of the Taliban

Born in 1965 and a graduate of the Kabul Military Academy (nunn.asia, 2018),  Abbas Stanikzai was a commander with Sayyaf’s Ittihad Islami and at times as head of the Harakat-e-Inqilab Islami’s military committee led by Nabi Mohammadi in 1990. He served as deputy minister at Ministry Public Health and Ministry of Foreign Affairs during the Taliban rule (https://goo.gl/B9RuPy and Pajhwok, 2019). He was sanctioned, along with 152 other individuals of the Taliban government, in 1999 by the UN (www.unis.unvienna.org/unis/en/pressrels/2001/afg169rev1.html ). He was appointed as head of the Qatar Office in 2015 (BBC, 2015), and currently is a lead negotiator in peace talks with the US government.

Shabudin Delawar

Mullavi Shahabudin Delawar:

Status: Negotiating Member, Taliban’s Qatar Office

Born in 1950’s, Delawar is one of the 152 Taliban officials sanctioned by the UN, UK, EU, Australia and France (www.unis.unvienna.org, https://www.counterextremism.com/extremists/shahabuddin-delawar, https://www.uaf.gob.ni/images/Pdf/Listas_ONU-2018/Lista_1988-_10.04.18.pdf). He studied religious studies in Logar Province and during the Soviet invasion with the Darul Oloom-e-Haqqania in Khatak, Pakistan (nunn.asia, 2018). He served in various capacities with the Taliban government in the 1990’s. He has been a Taliban negotiator since 2012. He reportedly had attended recent talks in Qatar with the US Special Representative.

Qari Din Mohammad Hanif
Photo: Tolo News, 2015

Qari Din Mohammad Hanif

Status: Member, High Peace Council of the Taliban

Qari Din Mohammad Hanif is an ethnic Tajik (bbc, 2013). He was an active Jihadi during the Soviet Invasion (nunn.asia, 2018) and was Minister of Planning and Higher Education during the Taliban era (Pajhwok, 2019). Din Mohammad Hanif was sanctioned by the UN, in 2001, alongside other Taliban government officials, pursuant to “list pursuant to paragraph 4 (b) of resolution 1267 (1999), pages 1-5” (unis.unvienna, 2001). He was appointed as the Taliban’s military commander for Badakhshan province, subsequent to 2001 and was later appointed as member of the political commission (nunn.asia,2018). Reported to be slightly reasonable than others (AAN, 2013), he is currently a member of High Peace Council of the Taliban in Qatar.

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Haji Muhammad Zahid Ahmadzai

Status: Member, High Peace Council of the Taliban

Zahid comes from Logar, studied religious studies in Peshawar’s Darul Nejat and was part of Harakat-e-Nejat Islami led by Maulavi Mohammad Nabi (nunn.asia, 2018). He served as Taliban’s third secretary in the Taliban Embassy in Islamabad (AAN, 2013 and Pajhowk, 2019, UN Resolution 1988). He too was listed in the sanctions list by the UN, in 2001 for arms embargo, travel ban and assets freeze (unis.unvienna, and Interpol). Upon fall of the Taliban regime, he reportedly chaired Taliban’s Leadership Council and Political Office. He is a member of the HPC of the Taliban, currently.

abdul salam hanifi
Pavel Golovkin, AP Photo

Mullah Abdul Salam Hanafi

Status: Member HPC, Taliban

He is an Uzbek and graduate of Dar ul Ulom Karachi, Pakistan (Pajhwok, 2013, nunn.asia, 2018). He was Deputy Minister of Education during the Taliban and was listed in the sanctions list by the UN, in 2001 for arms embargo, travel ban and assets freeze (unis.unvienna, and Interpol). After fall of the Taliban, he was appointed as military commander of the Taliban for Jauzjan province. He currently is a member of the HPC for the Taliban.

Ghani baradar

Abdul Ghani Baradar

Status: Leader of the Taliban’s political office in Qatar

Abdul Ghani Baradar is 45 years old and one of the four co-founders of the Taliban group in 1994 (BBC). He is known as the brain of the group by the Taliban (BBC). He studied Sharia/Islamic studies in Pakistan’s Madrasas and had fought for several years on the battle field for Taliban’s victory. After collapse of the Taliban, the Queeta Shura which was the main Taliban structure was led by him. He was the deputy minister of defense during the Taliban and after the Taliban withdrawal, he became Mullah Omar’s deputy.

He has been on the side of peace for over a decade. After he was arrested in Pakistan, he was released and later named the leader of the Taliban’s political office in Qatar amid talks with the US to begin the peace negotiations.

Sohail Shaheen
Source: Tolo News

Sohail Shaheen

Status: Spokesman for the Taliban’s political office in Doha

Sohail Shaheen is a Totakhel Pashtun from Paktia. He got his education in the International Islamic University in Islamabad, Pakistan. He is known as a fluent English speaker and prolific writer and former journalist during Mujahedin.

Before the Taliban, Shaheen was a journalist covering the mujahedin uprising against the Soviets, and the days afterwards when he was editor of the Kabul Times. Later, he was appointed as the Taliban’s representative to the UN in New York and also as deputy ambassador to the Afghan embassy in Pakistan. After 2001, he lived in Hezb-e- Islami controlled area in Peshawar in a refugee camp while writing for a Hezbi newspaper and later worked for the UN in Pakistan.

He accompanied Taliban envoy to meet representatives of the UN in Qatar in Dec 2011 over opening an office for the Emirates of Afghanistan in Doha, Qatar.

Western media highlighted that the age of warlords in Afghanistan may finally be ending. But, it has not happen yet.  The beginning of the end started before Afghanistan attracted the world’s attention on September 11, 2001. From that time up to now, Afghanistan has been witnessing many dead, killed and assassinated warlords. Yet, the country’s remaining warlords still have their grip on power. Due to factionalism, inability of the government and international community, they still pose huge threats to thousands of lives. 

Mullah Dadullah, 

Status: Killed

Mullah Dadullah lost a leg when he fought with the mujahideen against the Soviet forces in the 1980s. He was said to be close to Taliban leader Mohammad Omar and served as the minister of construction in the Taliban government. Dadullah was killed by U.S. and British troops in Afghanistan in 2007.

Mohammed Qasim Fahim

Status: Dead

A capable commander, Fahim worked closely as a deputy for Ahmed Shah Massoud. After Massoud was assassinated in 2001, Fahim led the Northern Alliance forces and fought against the Taliban, recapturing Kabul. In Blood Stained Hands, HRW documents that Fahim held at least one of the military posts on the Television Mountain and was key to Afshar campaign. Up to 1000 civilians were killed in this campaign (the Guardian).

He later became the defense minister of Afghanistan and served as vice president under Hamid Karzai. Throughout his tenure, police forces under his command were accused of torturing civilians, according to HRW (2003).

Ahmed Shah Massoud

Status: Assassinated

Massoud was a charismatic military leader who led the resistance against Soviet occupation and was known as the “Lion of the Panjshir”. Massoud’s Jamiat Party was an integral side of catastrophic civil war of the 1990s. He and many of his commanders have been accused of war crimes. HRW, among others, had interviewed witnesses of Jamiat’s artillery attack of west Kabul in 1992, that resulted in numerous deaths (Blood Stained Hands, HRW, 2005).  

“On February 11 1993, Massoud and Sayyaf’s forces entered the Hazara suburb of Afshar, killing – by local accounts – “up to 1,000 civilians”, beheading old men, women, children and even their dogs, stuffing their bodies down the wells” (A Gruesome Record, The Guardian, 2001). 

Massoud formed the United Front, also known as the Northern Alliance, to counter the advance of the Taliban. He became defense minister in 1992. He was assassinated two days before the Sept. 11 attack.

Mohammed Omar

Status: Dead

Omar, often referred to as Mullah Omar, is the spiritual leader of the Taliban and ruled Afghanistan as its de facto head of state from 1996 to 2001. He came to power only a few years after he gathered a group of his old mujahideen fighters and formed the Taliban, which under his leadership defeated some of the most powerful warlords in Afghanistan. When U.S. forces entered Kabul in 2001, Omar disappeared, and died in 2013. He was wanted by the United States for his role in sheltering Osama bin Laden and continuing to operate an insurgency in Afghanistan. Taliban, headed by Mohammad Omar notoriously engaged in massacres. In a report in 2001, HRW documented two massacres that continued for days and resulted in killing of hundreds of civilians (in January 2001 and May 2001) of the Hazara People in Yakaolang. They committed gross atrocities against other ethnicities in other cities and were gruesome abusers of women.

Abdul Ali Mazari

Abdul Ali Mazari

Status: Killed

Abdul Ali Mazari led Wahdat Party from 1992 until his death in 1995 and was a principle convict of the war crimes during the Afghan civil wars. Under his leadership, the party led the civil war in west Kabul and reportedly keeping civilian prisoners and shelling the city (HRW report). As mentioned in the Alliance Formation in Civil Wars by Fotini Christia, Wahdat Party was an important side and it’s members are also the victims of the Afshar massacre that resulted in thousands of civilians being killed, injured or imprisoned.

Commander Matiullah Khan

Commander Matiullah Khan

Status: Killed

Commander Matiullah Khan was Oruzgan province’s Police Commander and a close ally to Hamid Karzai. A report by the Human Rights Watch reported him as implicated for human rights violations.  Shifting power structures have led to the appointment of individuals implicated in serious human rights abuses, including Matiullah Khan as Uruzgan police chief and Abdur Rezaq Razziq as Kandahar police chief.

Matiullah Khan was also a NATO Contractor escorting Nato cargo trucks from Kandahar to Urozgan. He was killed in 2015 in Kabul by the Taliban.

sakhi vasiq

Ghulam Sakhi Wasiq

Status: Dead

Lieutenant General Ghulam Sakhi Wasiq was a local commander in associated to Nehzate Islami Party during the civil war. He and forces under his command are accused of extensive Human Rights violations that include rape, murder and extortions. He died last year.

burhanuddin rabbani

Burhanudin Rabbani

Status: Killed

Rabbani led  Jamiat-e Islami-yi Afghanistan during the civil wars and served as a president for a short tenure. Under his presidency, and throughout the infamous civil war, rabbani and his commander Ahmad Shah Massoud committed extensive and gross war crimes (“Transitional Justice in the Twenty-First Century: Beyond Truth versus Justice

edited by Naomi Roht-Arriaza, Javier Mariezcurrena”, and “People on War, Country report Afghanistan, Report by Greenberg Research, Inc.

1999). As documented by the HRW reports in 2005, reported by independent investigative journalists, they detained civilians and tortured them for ransom. His government also initiated the Afshar battle against Wahdat Islami Party led by Mazari in 1993. The battle resulted in killing and disappearance of hundreds of civilians, widespread rape, mutilation, looting and forced labor. Reports indicate that over 5000 houses were looted in the campaign. Rabbani was killed in a suicide attack.

ch1_015_afghanistan_02_117edit2

Jalaludin Haqqani

Status: Dead

Jalaludin Haqqani is founder and spiritual leader of the Haqqani Network. He led the group until late 2001. His network of 4000 strong (web.stanford.edu/group/mappingmilitants) have been in battle with the Afghan government and have carried deadly attacks against with high civilian casualties. He and the Haqqani Network have been convicted of serious human rights violations that include kidnapping, suicidal attacks on civilian targets, killing of humanitarian aid workers and kidnapping. (see, Killing the Cranes: A Reporter’s Journey Through Three Decades of War By Edward Girardet). He was included in UN Security Council’s sanctioned individuals and entities. Haqqani was reported dead on September 2018.

syed hussain anwari

Sayed Hussain Anwari

Status: Dead

Sayed Hussain Anwari was a military commander of Harakat-e Islami-yi Afghanistan and was a faction involved during the civilian war in 1990s. He was mainly supported by Iran and has been accused of war crimes and human rights violations. He is reported to have been involved in the Afshar attack in 1993 in Kabul that led to killing of hundreds of civilians and widespread abuses (Blood-Stained Hands, Past Atrocities in Kabul and Afghanistan’s Legacy of Impunity, HRW). After 2001, he served the Afghan government at various capacities, including as minister, yet, men associated with him were accused of harassment. He served as senior military advisor to President Ghani and died in 2016.

Abdul Raziq

Status: Assassinated

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.

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 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 was assassinated on October 2018 in an insider attack in Kandahar.

Supported links & sources:

  1. https://books.google.com/books?id=vsQjCmfWBWIC&pg=PA396&lpg=PA396&dq=Jalaluddin+Haqqani+and+war+crimes&source=bl&ots=XHV6s-D7_W&sig=emyrLIa_4o3xmYp8uLPIo6bIx_4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjqiLHNt8LXAhWB6iYKHZVwAqc4ChDoAQhGMAI#v=onepage&q=anwari&f=false
  2. https://books.google.com/books?id=4gjlrp7TYjEC&pg=PA5&lpg=PA5&dq=Jalaluddin+Haqqani+and+war+crimes&source=bl&ots=XdG0o2LAQy&sig=apKvY5HbO14d2iyL7FTqZ0xTWyk&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjqiLHNt8LXAhWB6iYKHZVwAqc4ChDoAQhgMAk#v=onepage&q&f=false
  3. http://web.stanford.edu/group/mappingmilitants/cgi-bin/groups/view/363
  4. https://www.hrw.org/report/2005/07/06/blood-stained-hands/past-atrocities-kabul-and-afghanistans-legacy-impunity#https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwj80d6Ev8LXAhWKJCYKHc_jD7MQFgg2MAE&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.hrw.org%2Freports%2F2005%2Fafghanistan0605%2F&usg=AOvVaw3TatVkIoK10nUFvzyN1-UY
  5. https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2015/country-chapters/afghanistan
  6. https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/277519.pdf

This is an active and changing report.

Taliban Lashed Afghan Lovers

football-ground taliban Kangroo kurt
Public lashings and executions were common under the Taliban when they were ruling the country from 1996 to 2001.

In a Kangaroo Court, the Taliban militants lashed a couple on charges of having affair.
The young lovers had escaped from village of Kohistanat district to Ghor province while their family rejected their marriage and than returned back to their houses by inductions of elders.

They were back to their home region following mediation by elders and as Taliban became aware of the matter, the group punished them with 80 lashes in public, Faryab police spokesman Abdul Karim Yuresh said.

Public lashings and executions were common under the Taliban when they were ruling the country from 1996 to 2001.

Unfortunately, the Taliban-controlled kangaroo courts are increasing day by day, as we have seen countless kind of such cases this year which last month on February 14, Taliban also stoned a young man for adultery in the northern province of Sar-e-Pull.

Most of the victims are often women and girls who are brutally being killed and beaten by the people and Taliban.

Recently the Independent Human Rights commission registered many cases of kangaroo courts in last one year.

– The Taliban are openly active in 70 percent of Afghanistan’s districts, fully controlling 4 percent of the country and demonstrating an open physical presence in another 66 percent, according to a BBC study published on Tuesday 31 January 2018.

by Farshad

Afghanistan suicide bomb attack: Dozens killed in Kabul

UN SECRETARY-GENERAL ON AFGHANISTAN

NEW YORK – The Secretary-General condemns the attack today on the Tabyan Cultural Center as well as a media outlet in Kabul. The indiscriminate attack caused hundreds of civilian casualties, including women and children.

The Secretary-General extends his deepest condolences to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured. He expresses his solidarity with the people and the Government of Afghanistan. He firmly believes that a peace process is the only path to ensure Afghanistan’s stability.

 

At least 50 people have been killed and more than 90 wounded in a suicide bomb attack in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

A Shia Hazara cultural organisation was the target but the Afghan Voice news agency was also hit. So-called Islamic State said it was behind the attack.

The interior ministry told the BBC an explosion at the Shia centre was followed by at least two more blasts.

IS has been behind a number of attacks on Shia targets across the country in recent months.

What do we know about the attack?

The main blast went off inside the Tabayan cultural centre, but offices of Afghan Voice are also at the location of the attack.

Dust blows down a street after one of the explosionsImage copyrightAFP
Image captionDust blows down a street after one of the explosions

Students were among those who had gathered at the Shia centre for a discussion forum.

The interior ministry said the event was to mark the 38th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

The initial explosion was followed by at least two others, although the ministry said these did not cause any fatalities.

The health ministry’s latest figures say 41 people died and 84 were hurt, with women and children among the casualties.

Map

Student Mohammad Hasan Rezayee told Tolo News: “We were inside the hall in the second row when an explosion from behind took place. After the blast there was fire and smoke inside the building and everyone was pleading for help.”

Another witness, Sayed Jan, told reporters from his hospital bed: “There was a book reading event and academic discussion, and I was one of the participants. During the speech a huge bang was heard and smoke rose from inside the hall.

“My face was burning. I fell down from the chair and I saw the other colleagues around me on the ground. The smoke was everywhere.”

Sayed Abbas Hussaini, a journalist at Afghan Voice, told Reuters that one reporter at the agency had been killed and two wounded.

Distraught relatives gathered at local hospitals, which are treating the dozens of wounded people.

Who carried it out?

The Islamic State group said on its propaganda outlet Amaq that it had targeted the Shia centre with a suicide bomber and other bombs.

The Taliban had earlier issued a statement saying they were not involved.

The Taliban are not known to specifically target Shias, although both militant groups have carried out frequent attacks across the country.

Presentational grey line

Shia fears

Analysis: Zia Shahreyar, BBC Persian, Kabul

In recent months IS has attacked many Shia targets in the west of Kabul, where the majority of the city’s Shia population live.

The Tabayan centre also has offices in the Iranian cities of Tehran and Mashhad and is believed to have close ties with religious and cultural centres in Iran.

There are growing fears that IS is trying to spark a Sunni-Shia sectarian war in Afghanistan and the Shia community is increasingly dissatisfied with President Ashraf Ghani’s government for failing to protect them.

US-led foreign forces meanwhile continue to engage IS in eastern Afghanistan and President Trump, in his new Afghan strategy, has pledged to root out IS in the country, as it has been in Iraq and Syria.

Presentational grey line

How is IS involved in Afghanistan?

IS announced the establishment of its “Khorasan” branch – an old name for Afghanistan and surrounding areas – in January 2015.

It initially gained ground in the east and north, although it has lost territory there and was largely eliminated from southern and western Afghanistan by the Taliban and operations conducted by Afghan and US/Nato forces.

Afghan security forces patrol during ongoing clashes between security forces and Islamic State (IS) militants in Kot District in eastern Nangarhar province on July 26, 2016.Image copyrightAFP
Image captionAfghan security forces have been battling IS fighters, but the group has survived the onslaught

IS has since resorted mainly to guerrilla tactics and is estimated to have a force of between 1,000 and 5,000 fighters.

IS considers Shia apostates and aims to turn the conflict in Afghanistan into a sectarian war between Sunnis and Shias.

In October, at least 39 people were killed in an attack on a mosque belonging to the Shia minority.

In April, the US said it had dropped the “Mother of All Bombs” on IS in eastern Afghanistan, but the group continues its attacks.

What has the reaction been?

President Ashraf Ghani’s spokesman issued a statement describing the latest attack as an “unpardonable” crime against humanity.

Amnesty International’s South Asia director, Biraj Patnaik, said: “This gruesome attack underscores the dangers faced by Afghan civilians. In one of the deadliest years on record, journalists and other civilians continue to be ruthlessly targeted by armed groups.”

Nato’s Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan called the attack “heinous”.

Are the media under specific attack?

It is unclear whether Afghan Voice was a specific part of the target, but it has been a difficult year for the media. Afghanistan remains one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists and media workers.

In November, IS said it was behind a gun attack on the Shamshad TV station that killed one staff member.

In May, two media workers, including a BBC driver, were killed in a massive bomb attack in Kabul.

The first six months of 2017 saw a surge in violence against journalists, with local monitor the Afghan Journalists Safety Committee recording 73 cases, an increase of 35% in comparison to the same period in 2016.

Last year seven members of staff from the private Tolo television station were killed in a Taliban suicide bombing in Kabul.

REPORTS ON THE PROTECTION OF CIVILIANS IN ARMED CONFLICT

UNAMA prepares regular reports in accordance to its mandate under UN Security Council resolution 2274 (2016) “to monitor the situation of civilians, to coordinate efforts to ensure their protection, to promote accountability, and to assist in the full implementation of the fundamental freedoms and human rights provisions of the Afghan Constitution and international treaties to which Afghanistan is a State party, in particular those regarding the full enjoyment by women of their human rights.”

SCR 2274 (2016) recognizes the importance of ongoing monitoring and reporting to the Security Council on the situation of civilians in the armed conflict, particularly on civilian casualties.

UNAMA undertakes a range of activities aimed at minimizing the impact of the armed conflict on civilians including: independent and impartial monitoring of incidents involving loss of life or injury to civilians; advocacy to strengthen protection of civilians affected by the armed conflict; and initiatives to promote compliance with international humanitarian and human rights law, and the Constitution and laws of Afghanistan among all parties to the conflict.

Since 2012, the reports have been prepared jointly with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Reports using a consistent methodology have been maintained since 2009. Note that earlier reports from 2007 and 2008 follow a previous reporting system and are included here for reference purposes only.

Special Report on Attacks on Places of Worship (released November 2017)
Read the report:PDF iconEnglish | PDF iconDari |PDF icon Pashto
Press release: PDF iconEnglish | PDF iconDari | PDF iconPashto

2017 Quarterly Report (released October 2017)
Read the report: PDF iconEnglish | PDF iconDari | PDF iconPashto

Special Report on Attacks in Mirza Olang (released August 2017)
Read the report: PDF iconEnglishPDF iconDariPDF iconPashto
Press release: PDF iconEnglish | PDF iconDari | PDF iconPashto

2017 Midyear Report (released July 2017)
Read the report: PDF iconEnglish | Executive Summary: PDF iconDari | PDF iconPashto
Press release: PDF iconEnglish | PDF iconDari | PDF iconPashto

2017 Quarterly Report (released April 2017)
Press release: PDF iconEnglish | PDF iconDari | PDF iconPashto

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2016 Annual Report (released Feb 2017) PDF iconEnglish PDF iconDariPDF iconPashto
Executive Summary and Recommendations: PDF iconDari PDF iconPashto
Press release: PDF iconEnglish PDF iconDari | PDF iconPashto
Press conference transcript PDF iconEnglish

2016 Quarterly Report (released October 2016)
Press release: PDF iconEnglish | PDF iconDari | PDF iconPashto

Special Report on 23 July 2016 Kabul Attack (released October 2016)
Read the report: PDF iconEnglish | PDF iconDari

2016 Mid-Year Report (released July 2016) PDF iconEnglish
Executive Summary and Recommendations: PDF iconDari |PDF iconPashto 
Press release: PDF iconEnglish PDF iconDari PDF iconPashto
Press conference transcript: PDF iconEnglish

2016 Quarterly Report (released April 2016)
Civilian Casualty Data for the First Quarter of 2016

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2015 Annual Report (released February 2016) PDF iconEnglish PDF iconDari | PDF iconPashto 
Executive Summary and Recommendations:  PDF iconDari PDF iconPashto
Press release PDF iconEnglish PDF iconDariPDF iconPashto
Press conference transcript PDF iconEnglish 

Special Report on Kunduz Province  (released December 2015)
Read the report PDF iconEnglish | PDF iconDari Press release PDF iconEnglish |  PDF iconDari |  PDF iconPashto

2015 Mid-Year Report (released July 2015) PDF iconEnglish | PDF iconDari | PDF iconPashto 
Executive Summary and Recommendations PDF iconEnglish PDF iconDari | PDF iconPashto
Press release PDF iconEnglish | PDF iconDari | PDF iconPashto
Press conference transcript PDF iconEnglish

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2014 Annual Report (released February 2015) PDF iconEnglish PDF iconDari | PDF iconPashto
Press release PDF iconEnglish | PDF iconDari | PDF iconPashto

2014 Mid-Year Report (released July 2014) PDF iconEnglish
Executive Summary and Recommendations PDF iconEnglish PDF iconDari | PDF iconPashto
Press release PDF iconEnglish | PDF iconDari | PDF iconPashto
Press conference transcript PDF iconEnglish

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2013 Annual Report (released February 2014) PDF iconEnglish | PDF iconDari | PDF iconPashto
Press release PDF iconEnglish | PDF iconDari | PDF iconPashto
Press conference transcript PDF iconEnglish

2013 Mid-Year Report (released July 2013) PDF iconEnglish | PDF iconDari | PDF iconPashto
Press release PDF iconEnglish | PDF iconDari | PDF iconPashto
Press conference transcript PDF iconEnglish

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2012 Annual Report (released February 2013) PDF iconEnglish |PDF iconDari | PDF iconPashto
Press release PDF iconEnglish | PDF iconDari | PDF iconPashto
Press conference transcript PDF iconEnglish

2012 Mid-Year Report (released July 2012) PDF iconEnglish | PDF iconDari | PDF iconPashto
Press release PDF iconEnglish | PDF iconDari | PDF iconPashto

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2011 Annual Report (released February 2012) PDF iconEnglish PDF iconDari | PDF iconPashto
Press release PDF iconEnglish | PDF iconDari | PDF iconPashto

2011 Mid-Year Report (released July 2011) PDF iconEnglish | PDF iconDari | PDF iconPashto
Press release PDF iconEnglish | PDF iconDari | PDF iconPashto

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2010 Annual Report (released in March 2011) PDF iconEnglish | PDF iconDari | PDF iconPashto
Press release PDF iconEnglish | PDF iconDari | PDF iconPashto

2010 Mid-Year Report (released in August 2010) PDF iconEnglish | PDF iconDari | PDF iconPashto
Press release PDF iconEnglish | PDF iconDari PDF iconPashto

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2009 Annual Report (released January 2010) PDF iconEnglish | PDF iconDari | PDF iconPashto
Press release PDF iconEnglish | PDF iconDari | PDF iconPashto

2009 Mid-Year Report (released July 2009) PDF iconEnglish | PDF iconDari | PDF iconPashto
Press release PDF iconEnglish

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2008 Annual Report (released January 2009) PDF iconEnglish
Executive Summary and Recommendations PDF iconEnglish PDF iconDari | PDF iconPashto
Press release PDF iconEnglish | PDF iconDari | PDF iconPashto

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2007 Annual Report (released mid-2008) PDF iconEnglish

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Booklet on ‘Protecting Afghanistan’s Children in Armed Conflict’ (released May 2014)
PDF iconEnglish | PDF iconDari PDF iconPashto
Press release PDF iconEnglish | PDF iconDari | PDF iconPashto

Source : UNAMA

Situation of Women Employed in Defense and Security Sectors

It is for more than a decade and a half that Afghan women have gained significant achievements and such accomplishments have always been appreciated in the assemblies as one of the best developments of the Afghan government and the positive impact of the international community’s presence in Afghanistan. The presence of women in our society has flourished more than before, and now a significant number of women in the country are active in various political, social, economic and cultural areas, and their role is increasing more and more with every passing day.

The effective presence of women is important in all areas of collective life, but the role of women in those areas that have not been common and was considered as taboo by conservative people is more important. One of these areas is the inclusion of women in the defense and security sectors of the country which, despite some challenges in this area, has made some good progress. It should be said that the presence of women in the defense and security sectors of the country has not been free from challenges, and there are still some problems that we will deal with later.

Undoubtedly, the role of women in defense and security sectors is of paramount importance. In addition to the fact that women as individuals, have the right to equal opportunities like men in all areas of life and to have access to all their human rights, the Afghan society today needs women’s presence and activities in defense and security organs. Afghan women need to enjoy of the services of defense and security sectors of the country, and this can be possible only when a significant number of women be employed in the defense and security sectors of the country so that other women and men benefit from their services.

read more here AIHRC

Human Rights and Fight against Corruption

The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) held the Conference on “Human Rights and Fight against Corruption” on Wednesday, 8 November, 2017. At this Conference, in addition to the leadership of the AIHRC, a number of government officials and ambassadors from the countries supporting Afghanistan also participated. At the Conference, it was emphasized that, as long as corruption is not eliminated in the country, the increase in the security forces will not help security, and billions dollars of financial aid of the world countries cannot bring improvement and progress in the country.

The conference was held at the AIHRC headquarters in which representatives of civil society, media and justice and judicial institutions participated.

At the beginning of the Conference, Dr. Sima Samar, said that human rights values are universal, regardless of color, gender, ethnicity, language and geography. She emphasized that peace, stability and sustainable development can be possible in a country and a society where human rights are being realized. On the other hand, in the societies and countries where human rights values are not respected, there is no peace and stability, and the development process is also problematic.

The abuse by authorities and officials in the governmental and non-governmental institutions for their private and own benefits is also a form of corruption that according to the Chairperson of the AIHRC, violates the human rights of citizens of a country.

The honesty of government officials and non-state actors were another issue that Dr. Samar pointed out and said, when honesty does not exist, officials and authorities are trying to abuse their positions and take advantage of their position for their own interests, which is itself is a corruption.

The Chairperson of the AIHRC, referring to countries where human rights are violated, said that these countries are suffering from corruption. If corruption occurs, people are deprived of their human rights. Dr. Samar said: “Corruption is a violation of human rights and there is no doubt about it.”

Dr. Samar while pointing out the practical and unpleasant consequences of corruption on society and future generations said: “When a person obtains a college diploma against money and by the mediator, the result is that the engineer, doctor or teacher fails to work professionally; the patients are not being treated properly,” so the right to health, and economic rights of citizens is violated. Corruption in education and higher education also causes engineers to work unprofessionally; in such a case (for example) collapsing of a building deprives people of their right to life.

Referring to the ratification and approval of the law of demonstrations and gatherings, the Chairman of the Independent Human Rights Commission said that this law restricts the human rights of citizens, because the government is not capable of ensuring the security of the Demonstrations and, as a result, people lose their trust on the government. Dr. Samar added that ensuring human rights is the main duty of governments: “Human rights implementation is an unconditional duty of governments”. The government is empowered when to employ capable, competent and expert people. In such a case, the human right of the people will also be ensured. ”

Corruption is the cause of war:

According to the Chairperson of the AIHRC, corruption is the cause of misery, war, insecurity, and distrust of people in government institutions and damages in the process of democracy. “If competent and honest people, based on their ability and meritocracy, take the responsibility for democratic institutions, we will trust the elections,” she added. Otherwise the election itself provides grounds for corruption, fraud and insecurity.

The Chairperson of the AIHRC stressed on the fight against corruption in the judiciary organs, and said that if people are to be governed by the rule of law and justice, which is the basic right of man, the trust of the people in these institutions should be restored. Referring to people’s complaints about the non-implementation of justice, she said, when people say “the law is only applied to poor people,” it is true because they see that they are not treating equally and fairly with everyone.

Referring to the SDGs, Dr. Samar emphasized that meeting these goals has a direct relationship with human rights and the fight against corruption. She stressed that the fight against corruption is not possible until a culture of impunity exists. The government must also have a serious political will to fight corruption. “One entity cannot fight corruption alone, and this is not possible,” said Samar. Fighting corruption is a long-term task, and all institutions, including the people, must contribute to it. ”

Consequences of Corruption

Dr. Gholam Haidar Allama, Deputy Attorney General’s Office, spoke at the Conference emphasized on national and international anti-corruption mechanisms and stressed that corruption has serious consequences for the human rights of citizens of a country. He added that corruption and financial fraud is one of the crimes against human rights. Mr. Allama added that in the international arena, after the corruption became widespread in the countries, the United Nations felt responsible and started taking action concerning the fight against corruption. Among these was the adoption of the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Crimes and Organized Crime that could have a negative impact on the international community beyond the borders.

Mr. Allama said that in 2003 the United Nations passed the Convention on Combating Bribery and Corruption. The convention specifically deals with corruption and called on the countries to criminalize corruption in their own country, and take on appropriate politically motivated measures to fight corruption.

Deputy Attorney General added that the Afghan government also approved at least two laws to fight corruption, and certain offices are working in this regard. He said, corruption has very dangerous and harmful consequences, because it hurts confidence in the government and discredit democracy.

According to Mr. Allama, in the corrupt countries, the government and the parliament are exposed to corruption by the mafia and criminal groups and transparency comes under question. He stressed that power in the corrupt countries would not be passed on to the market, because corrupt mafia groups would fill the entire market with counterfeit goods in their favor. He said that in corrupt countries, the power of government is not transferred to the administration either, because corrupt circles recruit individuals and turn the offices into their own interest and will.

Danish Ambassador, Mr. Jakob Brix Tange said that corruption undermines the organizational administration and cause unequal division of power and opportunities in the community. He said the Danish Dmbassy is supporting anti-corruption mechanisms in Afghanistan, and its tolerance for corruption is zero. Denmark’s Ambassador emphasized that combating corruption need involvement of strong institutions, civil society organizations, media and investigative journalists should cooperate in this regard.

Danish Ambassador added that the complete elimination of corruption is impossible, as he pointed out to the country of Denmark, saying that while the country is on the top list of transparency and anti-corruption benchmark of transparent countries, but there is still a relatively low degree of corruption in Denmark.

Mr. Tange added that corruption affects social transactions, and that social relations become fragile and then insecure. He stressed that corruption is a major obstacle to nation-building. The ambassador said the embassy supports anti-corruption programs and institutions in various areas in Afghanistan. This country, along with supporting the government anti-corruption institutions, also supports civil institutions to increase their capacity to fight corruption.

Mr. Tange said that the Danish Embassy has been supporting the fight against corruption since 2010. A recent anti-corruption strategy developed by the Afghan government is an important step in fighting corruption. He added that the Danish Embassy sponsors a program at the American University of Afghanistan, which will boost the capacity of young people and future generations in Afghanistan, especially in the area of effective administration and fight against corruption.

The Danish Ambassador emphasized that bottom-up struggle against corruption is crucial. He added, it would be very important, if people and civil society participate in the fight against corruption and constantly criticize corruption. Mr Tange said that the people should talk and criticize the government in this regard so that those involved with corruption would be identified.

In the afternoon panel, AIHRC’s Commissioners spoke on the fight against corruption. The conference continued with panels and group work until 4pm.

The Pain Behind the Numbers of Afghanistan’s Deadly Attacks

Slight Fall in Ground Fighting Civilian Casualties by Government Forces

When I was in Kabul a few days ago, I caught up with an old Afghan friend, who remarked that the relentless violence in Afghanistan is hard for outsiders to comprehend. The mounting toll of dead and wounded has become abstract, he said, hard to attach to individual lives lost, and too easily forgotten as each new atrocity grabs the headlines.

Yesterday, he told me he had lost a close friend in the latest suicide bombing in Kabul, making his words seem prophetic. The October 20 attack on a Shia mosque killed at least 65 people and wounded 87. Bombings targeting Afghanistan’s minority Shia population at mosques and religious ceremonies are on the rise this year, with at least 149 people dead and more than 300 injured since January. The Islamic State of Khorason Province (ISKP), the local franchise of the so-called Islamic State, also known as ISIS, is believed responsible for most of these. That same day, October 20, another attack on a mosque, this one in Ghor province, killed up to 33 people.

The mosque attacks came just a week after the latest United Nations report on civilian casualties in Afghanistan, and it seems 2017 may be the deadliest since the UN began keeping track in 2007. The report says deaths from suicide bombings and other insurgent attacks have increased compared to 2016, along with targeted attacks on individuals linked to the government, such as judges and religious figures. It also said that civilian casualties caused by the Taliban and ISKP during ground fighting are up 7 percent.

However, the UN also reported a 52 percent rise in civilian casualties from Afghan military and US airstrikes, with many women and children among the 205 dead and 261 injured. It’s clear that the Afghan government and its US ally need to do much more to protect civilians in such operations.

There was one bright spot in the otherwise grim report: a 37 percent fall in civilian casualties by government forces during ground fighting, a figure that may actually reflect the static nature of the current front lines. Acting Defense Minister Lt. Gen. Bahrami told Human Rights Watch that the decline was in line with a new national policy on reducing civilian harm.  The litmus test on the success of this policy will be if civilian casualty numbers from all Afghan government operations – as well as international ones supporting them – decline.

mass graves in kabul
Many of the victims of the attack on the mosque in Kabul were buried in the mosque’s garden on Saturday. Credit Rahmat Gul/Associated Press

 

Correction

The October 20 attack on a mosque in Ghor province killed up to 33 people. Bombings targeting Afghanistan’s minority Shia population at mosques and religious ceremonies are on the rise this year, with at least 149 people dead and more than 300 injured since January. An earlier version of this dispatch misstated the sect targeted in the October 20 attack at the mosque in Ghor province, and the number of people who have died in bombings targeting Afghanistan’s minority Shia population at mosques and religious ceremonies.

Migration, the only way to survive for afghan teens

afghan-migrants
They are protesting against a deportation order and want the Migration Board to allow them and their families to stay in Sweden. The picture is from 2013 despite the situation is worse than past years.

Perhaps no one is willing to accept the absence of their homeland, family, and friends. Accepting a way full of uncertainty and danger through smugglers to arrive in a place where you can survive is also not an easy task to do but all these become very easy to do so if you find yourself in a land of conflict, where living is dangerous and you don’t want to be killed by the next bomb, where you saw your friends and family members have been killed, just because they were at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Three Afghan teens asylum seekers ended their life last one month in refugee camps in Sweden. According to VOA, 7 afghan refugees attempted to end their life in last two weeks which 3 of them were successful. The reason behind this is tougher asylum rules after EU-Afghanistan aid-deal. Their asylum application was rejected once by immigration authority and they were scared of being deported to their country of origin.

On 3 June 2016 another 16 years old afghan asylum seeker, Mustafa Ansari ended his life. Sweden Migration authority had not managed to take his asylum application interview during nine months.

In October 2016 the European Union and Afghanistan signed an agreement so-called conditional aid or deportation-aid deal which allows EU members to return back dozens of asylum seekers to Afghanistan and in return EU pledged aid to the Afghan government to rebuild the country and the EU can get rid of the Afghans that reached Europe in 2015 and 2016.

According to Transparency International, Afghanistan is among the most corrupt countries in the word. The country is also already facing the crisis of internally displaced people fleeing violence within its borders some 3.7 million are living in IPD camps around the country. An additional 2.5 million Afghan refugees are also facing deportation from Pakistan. Afghanistan remained one of the poorest countries in the word. Asylum seekers returning back to the war zone face serious challenges including persecution, war, insurgency, and poverty. International human rights law pose an obligation on states not to deport those whom they face threat and persecution in their country of origin.

Fighting and insurgency in Afghanistan are not only limited to the countryside, the Taliban carries out regular attacks in Kabul as well.

More than four suicide bomb and militant attacks in Kabul, Kandahar, and Helmand killed up to 80 people and wounded more than 150 most of them civilians in just first one and half month of 2017.

At least 20 people have been killed and 41 wounded in a most recent suicide bombing at Afghanistan’s Supreme Court in Kabul on 7 February 2017.

Targeting Hazara community

On 13th October 2016, a gunman wearing Afghanistan National Armey Security Forces Uniform on Ashura night opened fire on Shia Hazara mourners at Sakhi, Kabul, killed 14 and wounded 54. The following morning a blast of explosive device killed at least more than 10 in northern Afghanistan, Balkh province. Another deadly bombing targeted the most peaceful protest on 23 July 2016 that left more than 85 dead and 400 wounded.

The security environment is worsening for all Afghans notably for Hazaras because they are most vulnerable to insurgency and attacks, identifying physical features, Hazaras are more likely to be targeted. Traveling from Kabul to central parts of Afghanistan often pose significant security challenges to them. Over past 3 years, insurgents have specifically targeted Hazaras traveling on rural roads, they were kidnaped and killed. There have been several mass kidnapping from buses and other vehicles.

UNAMA reported 146 Hazaras were abducted in 20 different incidents in 2015 and several other abductions in the first half of 2016.

On November 2015, three buses were stopped by armed forces on the main road between Kabul-Kandahar, the armed men allegedly singled Hazara passengers and abducted them. This is one incident among many.

Afghans, the majority of them Hazaras fled war and conflict constituted second largest refugees arrived in Europe in 2015 and 2016 are now fearing of being deported to the war zone where they face serious threats, security challenges, widespread unemployment and uncertain future.

Article by Qasim Sahil

Hazara Massacre Continues in Afghanistan

Hazara minority protests against TUTAP power project
epa05437502 Afghan protesters from Hazara minority shout slogans during the protest against rerouting of the TUTAP power line, in Kabul, Afghanistan, 23 July 2016. Reports state thousands of people from Hazara minority are protesting the proposed route of the Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan (TUTAP) power line, calling on the government to re-route the line through Bamiyan province which has a majority of Hazara population. The government says the proposed route saves millions of dollars in cost. EPA/JAWED KARGAR

The July 23rd, 2016 attack on peaceful Hazara protesters was the deadliest attack since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001. 107 Hazaras, the majority of whom were university students, were killed and over 500 others were wounded in a double suicide attack followed by a volley of gunfire by unknown gunmen.

Although the national and the international media initially reported 84 were killed and over 230 wounded, as time passed it became clear that the number of casualties was significantly higher than indicated by these initial reports.

Reasons behind the protests by Hazaras:

Over the past three centuries, Hazaras have been massacred, their lands have been grabbed by numerous Afghan governments and they have been forcefully displaced. Deprived of their citizenship rights, they have been living in their homeland as if they are aliens.

Over 62 percent of Hazaras were massacred by the Afghan King Abdur Rahman Khan between the years 1890-1892, and much of their lands were seized by the Afghan government during that historical period. Currently, Hazaras live in remote, mountainous areas of central Afghanistan.  They almost always, in subsequent years, have been deprived of their due rights.

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During the Taliban regime, Hazaras were massacred inhumanely in different cities such as the Kande Pusht area of Zabul, Baghlan, Mazar-e Sharif and Bamiyan.

Based on reports by human rights organizations, the Taliban systematically massacred over 8,000 Hazaras including women and children in August 1998 during two days in Mazar-e-Sharif. In addition to several mass killings of Hazaras in Bamiyan, the Taliban also demolished the two Buddha statues of Bamiyan, which had been the most important historical and cultural symbol for Hazaras.

afshar
On February 11, 1993, Massoud and Sayyaf’s forces entered the Hazara suburb of Afshar, killing – by local accounts – “up to 1,000 civilians”, beheading old men, women, children and even their dogs, stuffing their bodies down the wells.

After the fall of the Taliban, Hazaras took part in all political and democratic procedures of the new Afghanistan state. However, systematic discrimination against them continued.

Despite the presence of the global community in Afghanistan and billions of dollars in foreign aid to the country, very few development projects were considered for Hazaristan, the Hazara-inhabited areas of the country. There are few paved roads in Hazaristan, schools of these areas are often working without buildings and students have to attend schools in open areas.

The government has not built any hospital or health center of the place where Hazaras live and the few hospitals present in Bamiyan have been built by international organizations such as the Agha Khan Foundation.

In Bamiyan, the heartland of  place, currently, thousands of Hazaras live in caves where they are deprived of any services by the government.

All routes ending in this area  are considered insecure as dozens of Hazara passengers are abducted and then murdered by terrorist groups on a daily basis.

Due to the existence of such a situation, Hazaras have often staged peaceful protests against systematic discrimination over the past 14 years.

Their protests have often focused on becoming beneficiaries of the basic services which should be provided by the government to every citizen. Hazaras have repeatedly come to the streets to protest against their deprivation of security, poor roads and health and education services. However, their protests have not received adequate attention from the Afghan government and the global community.

Over the past 2 years, thousands of Hazaras were forced to leave Afghanistan, seeking asylum in western countries, as they had suffered from insecurity and the continuation of systematic discrimination in their homeland. Between the years 2014-2015 over 140,000 Hazaras had to flee from Afghanistan. They do not have any hope to live their life in Afghanistan where their lives are in constant danger.

As discrimination against Hazaras became more widespread in 2016, a significant number of Hazara activists, especially students, and academics, decided not to remain silent about discrimination anymore. In order to fight systematic discrimination, they formed small groups inside and outside Afghanistan that observed the important issues of the country and acted against discrimination and injustice.

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Their protests have often focused on becoming beneficiaries of the basic services which should be provided by the government to every citizen. Hazaras have repeatedly come to the streets to protest against their deprivation of security, poor roads and health and education services.

In April of the current year, Afghan media reported a sudden change to the route of a 500 kV power transmission line originating in Turkmenistan through Salang, rather than Hazara-inhabited Bamiyan.

Based on the 20-year electricity master plan of Afghanistan prepared by a German firm named Fichtner, the line was expected to pass via Bamiyan after routing through the northern Afghan provinces. However, the Afghan government, in a hidden session on April 30, 2016, decided to route the line through Salang, rather than the impoverished Hazara-inhabited Bamiyan. While the government cited cost and length of time for construction as reasons for the change, because the Salang route incudes considerable drawbacks, it can only be supposed that the real reason for the change was discriminatory policies against Hazaras.

Following the change in the route of the line, Hazaras inside and outside Afghanistan quickly protested against the Afghan government’s decision and a blatant discrimination against Hazaras. Just a few days after the government’s decision, and following many protests which started in Bamiyan and then carried on in many cities throughout the country, thousands of educated Hazaras gathered in western Kabul in the area called Mosala of Shahid Mazari (Mosala).

In the wake of the protests which had started in Bamiyan these Hazaras formed a civil movement called the Enlightenment Movement to show their protest against the government’s decision.

The Enlightenment Movement is led by a specific group of students and academics called “The People’s High Council”.

The People’s High Council set a two-week deadline for the Afghan government to annul its discriminatory decision and to route the line through Bamiyan. They also threatened that Hazaras from all around the world, but particularly in Afghanistan would carry out acts of civil disobedience and stage protests.

After about two weeks passed, Hazaras staged a huge protest in Kabul and other provinces on May 16, 2016. Around one million people participated in a protest in Kabul in which they tried to reach the center of the city to stage a sit-in in front of the presidential palace. However, the government blocked the path to the palace by blocking roads with shipping containers. The huge crowd stayed in Dehmazang Square for hours and chanted slogans against systematic discrimination. Although the majority of protesters intended to remove the obstacles to continuing their march towards the city center, the leaders of the Enlightenment Movement prevented them from doing so.

The People’s High Council to the Enlightenment Movement decided to end the protest without resorting to violence. On that day, government forces had been deployed to different parts of the city with enough equipment to suppress the protesters, leading organizers to believe there was a possible threat of bloody suppression.

Following this strategic retreat, the protests of the Enlightenment Movement continued outside Afghanistan. Hazaras in Australia, Canada, the US and different European countries staged protests against the systematic discrimination of their countrymen in Afghanistan.

During the NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland on June 9, Hazaras from different European countries gathered and staged a widespread protest. Because of the potential embarrassment and controversy that might have been caused by the presence of Hazara protesters, the Afghan president Ashraf Ghani had to cancel his press conference as he did not have any answer for the protesters.

Following the Warsaw Summit and the Afghan government’s disgrace, protests of Hazaras continued. However, the government stubbornly neglected to pay attention to their protests. The government had over one month to enter into negotiations with protesters. Instead, by giving empty promises, authorities tried to persuade traditional Hazara leaders to leave the protesters and to end their protests.

MP Mohammad Mohaqiq, Karim Khalili former Vice President of Afghanistan and other traditional Hazara leaders initially stood with the people at the outset of the protests, but later they left the protesters and their cause, likely for reasons of political convenience. Currently, Hazaras have withdrawn support for the traditional Hazara leaders. Thus, despite having lost most of their influence on the Hazara population, these leaders try to symbolically take part in decision-making by standing with the government.

 

Currently, a significant change has come about regarding Hazaras’ perspective of their traditional leaders. The majority of Hazaras do not want to follow their traditional leaders anymore. Instead, they support the new and educated generation in a bid to create a new leadership in the Hazara community; an innovative act which is not tolerable for both the government and Hazara traditional leaders.

Fatima Faizi Paiwandgah (75)
Enlightenment Movement’s public demonstration, which was to carry on for an unlimited time, started at 7 am, the 23rd of July 2016 from Dast-e-Barchi in West Kabul. Dasht-e Barchi is a Hazara majority area in Kabul.

The new generation of educated Hazaras have come to the political arena with a new tool as all of them are familiar with the latest political affairs and their demands are unchangeable. They know that one cannot rely on the empty promises of the Afghan government and traditional leaders. Furthermore, they try to expand the changes brought to the Hazara community among other ethnicities of Afghanistan, reaching out to activists from other ethnic communities in an attempt to build bridges.

How Hazara protesters were attacked in Kabul

Enlightenment Movement’s public demonstration, which was to carry on for an unlimited time, started at 7 am, the 23rd of July 2016 from Dast-e-Barchi in West Kabul. Dasht-e Barchi is a Hazara majority area in Kabul.

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Relatives and friends inspect shoes and other belongings of those who were killed in the twin suicide attack, gathered on the ground at a mosque in Kabul on July 24, 2016 Islamic State jihadists claimed responsibility for twin explosions on July 23 that ripped through crowds of Shiite Hazaras in Kabul, killing at least 80 people and wounding 231 others in the deadliest attack in the Afghan capital since 2001. / AFP PHOTO / SHAH MARAI

The streets were full of protesters. Old and young women were marching in front of the protesters carrying bunches of flowers in their hands. Many children were also walking alongside them. The number of female protesters was significant. In recent years, it was the first time Kabul witnessed such a large crowd mixed of men and women in a male-dominated Afghanistan.

They had come to demand their rights and justice and stand against the systematic discrimination against a certain ethnic group. Hazaras have been discriminated against, survived massacres, and endured the most inhumane degradations over three centuries. Let’s not allow them to discriminate against and degrade our people anymore. We have a very human demand. We will never resort to violence. We demand equal rights.”

The nightmare of the potential massacre, of the bloody crackdown, had turned real.

People were under gunfire from the surrounding buildings. The third suicide bomber was killed by police before he reached the crowd.”

Targeted and Deadly Attacks 

Two hours after the attack, the Afghanistan Intelligence Service, the National Directorate of Security (NDS) announced that has been carried out by Daesh, a local branch of the Islamic State, and was organized from the Achin district of Nangarhar in eastern Afghanistan.

Later Daesh (IS) announced that they had not carried out the attack on the 23rd July protesters. The surprising thing after the attack was that the Taliban followed a similar line sketched by the NDS. Strikingly, both the Taliban and NDS sent similar statements to media. Both had attempted to direct public attention to IS.

At the same time, the NDS announced that the explosive used in the attack was the type of RDX which is only accessible to the military.

 

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The nightmare of the potential massacre, of the bloody crackdown, had turned real. People were under gunfire from the surrounding buildings. The third suicide bomber was killed by police before he reached the crowd.”

Clearance of the Crime Scene

After the crowd was forced to leave, the Afghan government cleared and water-washed the scene of the tragic massacre in order not to leave any sign for later investigations about the deadly attack. This act of the government further strengthened suspicions of the government’s hand in the attack.

The day after the attack, Ashraf Ghani assigned a truth-finding commission to investigate the attack on the Enlightenment Movement’s protesters. But the Enlightenment Movement and families of the victims rejected Ashraf Ghani’s commission and asked the United Nations for an impartial investigation of the massacre of their loved ones. Hazaras suspect that this attack  targeted  them specifically and that some of Ashraf Ghani’s government officials were behind the attack on their fellow community members.

The Afghan government is a suspect in the attack and does not have the authority and legitimacy to assign a truth-finding commission.

While the Enlightenment Movement and Hazara people have asked for a UN truth-finding commission, they set a deadline, the 40th day after the attack, which is a traditional day of remembrance for people who pass away or are killed, for the government to respond to the Enlightenment Movement’s demand positively and route the 500 kv imported power transmission line from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan according to Afghanistan Power Supply Master Plan prepared by Fechtner, the German consultancy firm, via Bamiyan and Maidan Wardak provinces.

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The Twitter Storm: Social Media Campaign

After the massacre of peaceful Hazara protesters and on the burial day of victims who lost their lives, the Afghan government banned any demonstration and gathering for ten days. The government feared that the protest would spread on the burial day of the martyrs. At the same time, the government wanted to hide the extent of the tragedy by limiting people’s freedom to gather and protest and by censorship. However, Hazara youth across the world resorted to another innovative way of campaigning and raising their voices.

They decided to coordinate a twitter storm in order to raise awareness about the demands and goals of the Enlightenment Movement.

The twitter campaign was scheduled on 28 July and started at 9 am Kabul Time and continued till midnight. More than 8000 users from around the world joined the campaign with the #enlightenment hashtag. They sent more than 400,000 tweets with the #enlightenment and #EnlightenmentMovement hashtag.

 

The campaign sent an average of 4000 tweets per hour, and around 897 thousand twitter users per hour viewed those tweets. It was an unprecedented social media campaign in Afghanistan.

The literal meaning of their activism is that they cannot tolerate discrimination against their people anymore. They will continue their struggle until their demands are met.

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The international community has also not tried to recognize the hands behind the Hazara massacre. This negligence and underestimation from the international community’s side leave a narrow space for a non-violent struggle against systematic discrimination.

The international community has also not tried to recognize the hands behind the Hazara massacre. This negligence and underestimation from the international community’s side leave a narrow space for a non-violent struggle against systematic discrimination.

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Basir Ahang is a Hazara poet, journalist, and human rights activist from Afghanistan.

While their peaceful protests are targeted and their screams for justice fall on deaf ears, Hazara people of Afghanistan are showing themselves to be so resilient that it will be very difficult to silence their voices any longer.

There will come the day in which our people and our peaceful struggle will be remembered and celebrated, maybe not today, but it certainly will happen. Be sure about that.

by Basir Ahang 

 

 

‘God forgot Afghanistan’ trending equal rights

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On Saturday 23 July, 80 people were killed and about 230 wounded by a double suicide attack on marchers in Kabul. The majority of them were from the country’s Hazara minority.

Afghan Independent human rights Commission strongly condemned <bomb blast and mercilessly killing of civilians during protest “Enlightening Movement ” is a great tragedy and unforgivable crime. The AIHRC condemns it in the strongest terms possible, and expresses its condolences and sympathy to the families of the victims>.

AIHRC Also added in their press release that launching peaceful protests and rallies is a human right of citizens, and ensuring the security of the participants is the first duty of the government and security agencies in the country. In today’s incident, it is apparent that security agencies to fulfill their legal obligation, which is ensuring the security of the demonstrators, were extremely weak and reluctant. And they would be accountable under the law. There are clear signs of unpreparedness, reluctance and lack of necessary measures to ensure the security of the protestors and handle emergency situations. Delivering assistance and urgent consideration to the victims, the wounded and dead bodies at the scene did not exist.

In the early hours of Friday morning, the hashtag #enlightenment commenced trending in Afghanistan and briefly in Pakistan and Europe. It speedy won traction, and at the time of writing, greater than 380,000 tweets had been despatched out the usage of the tag. Tragic events in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul, from the earlier week, had spilled over into social media.

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“Enlightenment” refers to the Hazara Enlightenment motion. They signify Afghanistan’s 1/3-biggest ethnic crew.

Hazaras  originally come from vital Asia, and mostly reside in the highlands of imperative Afghanistan “residing in rural areas manner they are stated to have little get right of entry to to public services and products”.

Political abuse or technical problems?

The TUTAP project is designed to deliver electricity from Turkmenistan and Tajikistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan (the acronym comes from the names of the countries involved), making power available to millions of Afghans by connecting preexisting infrastructure. The German technical advising firm Fichtner originally recommended that the power route run through Bamyan province, near planned Chinese and Indian natural resource projects and a power station that could be connected to the line.

The Hazara minority continued to occupy Demazang Square on Sunday, which was bombed as the demonstrator’s peaceful protest was winding down.

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They recited verses from the Koran and held candlelight vigils, despite a 10-day government ban on public gatherings for security reasons. Leaders of the protest movement have said they will not leave until three conditions had been met by the government.

He said the Enlighten Movement, which organized the protests, wants to have its own representatives and members of international human rights organizations take part in the commission Ghani set up to investigate the attack.

AIHRC wants the Afghan government to seriously address this issue, and make a full investigation in this regard, and provide the ground for the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators and the officials who have committed negligence of official duty in this regard, and take urgent and immediate action to help the victims, the injured and those affected and suffered damages in this incident.

UNAMA: The  attack on a gathering of Afghans exercising their right to peaceful assembly was the deadliest single incident recorded by the UN in Afghanistan since 2001. The attack killed at least 73 civilians and injured 291 others. The majority of the victims were reportedly of Hazara ethnicity.

The lines of Afghan men and women who queued to donate blood for their injured compatriots was a poignant indicator of the Afghan peoples’ resilience and solidarity in the face of terrible violence. The display of unity shows the Afghan peoples’ determination to challenge extremism, to remain united and strive for a stable and prosperous future.

The United Nations family stands together with every Afghan, of every ethnicity, united in grief, outrage and condemnation of yesterday’s attack.

The online campaign has been launched in Twitter social media as the users have vowed to launch an online revolution to protest against what they call discrimination in Afghanistan.

Twitter users are saying that the campaign will be historic in the history of social media in the country, specifically in Twitter which is the second most popular social media website in Afghanistan.

The Hazaras lunched campaign on many ways : We sign this petition and request the support of the international community, in particular NATO, to put pressure on Afghan government in every possible way to respect the constitution and the principle of equality among all the citizens. The Afghan government should give a positive response to the request of Afghan citizens regarding the TUTAP project to pass through Bamiyan, as recommended by the international experts in the Afghanistan’s energy master plan.  We ask you to put pressure on the Afghan government to end its discriminatory policies towards the central regions and start working on national development projects in this region. The Afghan government must stop its ethnic-centred policies and not let further ethnic divisions.  

 

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#enlightenmentmovement strongly continues to demand equal rights and fight #distcrimination

 

The collective campaign are not new in Afghanistan, people write and express their point of views on many cases, perhaps Hazaras are strongly continues their peaceful protests to demand equal rights in Afghanistan.

We, the collective of intellectuals, artists and writers of Afghanistan, firmly believe in a fair development of the entire territory, and we understand that the deprivation of a part of the country is the deprivation of the entire country in totality. For this reason we announce that our full and unconditional support of the civil demands are presented to the “movement for enlightenment”.

We join our voice to the people’s voice and ask firmly to all Afghanistan government officials, that the TUTAP energy project will be developed according to the guidelines of the original technical report and according to the will of the people themselves.

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Finally, we trust that this movement will be just the beginning of a long journey on the road of sustainable and equitable development for all so that one day the entire Afghanistan shall benefit basic services and required infrastructure necessary to the progress of the country.

The next online campaign will be soon, and the Hazrars are going to protest at the European Union and the government of Afghanistan called co-host the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan.

This conference will gather up to 70 countries and 30 international organizations and agencies. It will provide a platform for the government of Afghanistan to set out its vision and track record on reform.

 

 

 

Memory Box 2015-16: A Continued Struggle to Break the Cycle of Tragedy in Afghanistan

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AHRDO conducted two Memory Box workshops in 2015 with the victims of the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan. Each workshop was followed by an inter-workshop participants Memory Box exhibition. In the first Memory Box workshop, participants came from the members of the victims of Afghan conflict in the last one and a half decade. In the second Memory Box workshop, the participants came from the family members of victims who had lost their lives in catastrophic bomb blasts and suicide attacks in Kabul in 2015. Most of the victims in those incidents were ordinary daily-wage workers, school/university students and other civilians.

Using the Aesthetics of the Oppressed, AHRDO trainer, Salim Rajabi, worked with the victims to help them revitalize their creativity, retell their stories of loss and memories of their loved ones, imagine their ideal Afghanistan and draw favorite flags for Afghanistan they wish to see.  Inter-workshop participants exhibitions were aimed to connect the victims’ survivors to each other and the public exhibition was held to share their memories and stories with the wider public, media and human rights organizations and activists.

The day of the second inter-workshop participants exhibition was planned to coincide with December 10th, International Human Rights Day and National Victims’ Day in Afghanistan.  Families and relatives of victims, some other people from the victims’ community and a number of journalists visited the exhibition. This time, AHRDO tried to convene the exhibition in an innovative way by combining parts of the Infinite Incompleteness, a documentary theater play that tells the story of Afghan war victims, with the Memory Box exhibition. This play was developed and produced by AHRDO in late 2010. A short documentary from the event was prepared by AHRDO, which is available both on YouTube and AHROD’s social media pages along with English subtitle.  Starting the exhibition with the infinite incompleteness encouraged the victims’ survivors to share their stories and tell their experience of grief and suffering due to loss of their immediate family members.

Memory Box Public Exhibition 2016: ‘Humanizing the effects of war’

 The Memory Box Public exhibition took place on February 17, 2016 at AHRDO office where 24 memory boxes of the victims who had participated in workshops in 2015 were displayed publicly.

Husain Hasrat, peace and human rights researcher, talked at the opening of the exhibition. Mr. Hasrat emphasized on the importance of memorialization in preventing the recurrence of tragedies. He also maintained that without coming into terms with our painful past, we would not be able to make our way toward a peaceful future. He also noted that in the countries with an agonizing past, there have been great efforts to preserve the memories of conflict, and creation of museums of war in these countries to let succeeding generations not forget the tragedies of past and have access to the legacies of the conflict. But unfortunately, such efforts have been hampered by political unwillingness and a lack of unanimity about how to come into terms with past in the top leadership level in Afghanistan.

More than one hundred people from different organizations, victims’ communities, media entities and human rights activists visited the exhibition, interviewed the victims’ survivors, and talked to the relatives of the victims. They expressed their empathy and wrote impression notes regarding the victims of conflict in general and the exhibition in particular.

Kara Lozier, who visited the exhibition for the first time, wrote: The Memory Box exhibition was a really moving way to humanize the effects of war. It is too easy to be desensitized by the media accounts of war without giving thought to the family members and loved ones who are left behind. It was particularly moving to speak with some of the surviving family members and to feel firsthand how their lives have been affected.

Ali Reza Yasa, a teacher and educator, wrote: I was deeply touched and affected by the exhibition. This way of remembering the lost dear ones are very creative. Beans and toothpaste [used by victims] and the pains associated with them, creates an emotional storm in the visitor. While visiting the exhibition, I was imagining myself who could be a victim and today one of the memory boxes belonged to me.

Daud Naji, another visitor, wrote in his note that “this exhibition reminds of our mistakes as a nation. This is very important. More important is documenting and preserving our memories of such a history because it can help us to prevent from the recurrence of the tragedies.”

Read full reports : AHRDO

Afghanistan: Taliban Child Soldier Recruitment Surges

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“More than 200 Taliban children, many recruited as suicide bombers, are being held in special prisons across Afghanistan. Brought to you by the foremost documentarian on the Taliban and film maker of ‘The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan’, we meet these captured child fighters and hear their stories.

Children Trained in Madrasas to Fight, Plant IEDs

(New York) – Taliban forces in Afghanistan have added scores of children to their ranks since mid-2015 in violation of the international prohibition on the use of child soldiers, Human Rights Watch said today.

New Human Rights Watch research shows that the Taliban have been training and deploying children for various military operations including the production and planting of improvised explosive devices (IED). In Kunduz province, the Taliban have increasingly used madrasas, or Islamic religious schools, to provide military training to children between the ages of 13 and 17, many of whom have been deployed in combat.

“The Taliban’s apparent strategy to throw increasing numbers of children into battle is as cynical and cruel as it is unlawful,” said Patricia Gossman, senior Afghanistan researcher. “Afghan children should be at school and at home with their parents, not exploited as cannon fodder for the Taliban insurgency.”

Human Rights Watch interviewed relatives of 13 children recruited as Taliban soldiers over the past year, and verified these claims through interviews with civil society activists, political analysts, and the United Nations. Despite Taliban claims that they only enlist fighters who have achieved “mental and physical maturity,” and do not use “boys with no beards” in military operations, some of the children recruited from madrasas in Kunduz, Takhar, and Badakhshan provinces are 13 or younger. The Taliban have previously denied “the use of children and adolescents in Jihadic Operations,” but its deployment of individuals under the age of 18 violates international law applicable in Afghanistan and in cases involving children under 15 is a war crime.

Kunduz residents and analysts say that the increase in recruitment and deployment of child fighters coincided with the Taliban’s major offensive in northern Afghanistan that began in April 2015. Human Rights Watch interviews with activists and analysts indicate that the Taliban-run madrasas have been functioning in Kunduz, as well as other northern provinces, since at least 2012. As the Taliban made substantial inroads in 2013-2014, gaining ground in Kunduz’s Chahardara and Dasht-e Archi districts, they gained more influence over education in the province. Taliban commanders increasingly used madrasas not only for indoctrination, but also for military training of children. Previously, Taliban commanders sent boys selected for military training to North Waziristan in Pakistan, where despite Pakistan’s military operations, the Taliban operates freely in large swathes of territory. While such training still occurs, the Taliban has solidified its control over at least three districts in Kunduz and residents and analysts told Human Rights Watch that the group is carrying out more of the military training locally.

The Taliban recruit and train children in age-specific stages. Boys begin indoctrination as young as six years old, and continue to study religious subjects under Taliban teachers for up to seven years. According to relatives of boys recruited by the Taliban, by the time they are 13, Taliban-educated children have learned military skills including use of firearms, and the production and deployment of IEDs. Taliban teachers then introduce those trained child soldiers to specific Taliban groups in that district.

“The Taliban’s increasing use of children as soldiers only adds to the horrors of Afghanistan’s long conflict both for the children and their families,” Gossman said. “The Taliban should immediately stop recruiting children and release all children in their ranks, even those who claim to have joined willingly.”

Please see below for additional information including accounts from relatives and friends of Taliban child soldiers.

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New Human Rights Watch research shows that the Taliban have been training and deploying children for various military operations including the production and planting of improvised explosive devices (IED). In Kunduz province, the Taliban have increasingly used madrasas, or Islamic religious schools, to provide military training to children between the ages of 13 and 17, many of whom have been deployed in combat.

Taliban Recruitment and Training of Children

The Taliban have recruited and used children as fighters since the 1990s, but Kunduz residents whose sons have been among those recruited, together with analysts who have monitored the recruitment drive, believe that recruitment increased in 2015 due to expanded Taliban operations against Afghan government forces. The establishment of training centers in madrasas in the Taliban’s expanded zone of control in Kunduz also led to increases in child soldier recruitment. Kunduz residents told Human Rights Watch that the Taliban had recruited and deployed more than 100 children from Chahardara district alone in 2015.

Because the Taliban begin the indoctrination of children from an early age, they are easily persuaded to fight. Relatives of child soldiers in Kunduz told Human Rights Watch that the Taliban target children because it is easy to convince them of the righteousness of jihad, and because they are at an age where they do not feel responsible for providing for a family and so are easily persuaded to take on dangerous tasks. In general, children are not recruited by force. However parents who have tried to retrieve their children are usually unable to do so because the Taliban claim that the boys are of age, or are committed to jihad regardless of their age.

The Taliban madrasas attract many poor families because the Taliban cover their expenses and provide food and clothing for the children. In some cases they offer cash to families for sending their boys to the madrasas. An expert on Kunduz told Human Rights Watch that traditionally, even before the Taliban established madrasas in these areas, rural and village families sent at least one son to the local madrasa because of the prestige associated with the status of becoming a mullah (someone educated in the basics of Islamic law). In the cases of child soldiers Human Rights Watch investigated, some boys attended the madrasas in the early morning hours and then attended government schools later in the day. Other boys who had been recruited attended the madrasas full time. For example, “Razeq,” (a pseudonym) 16, a resident of Chahardara district in Kunduz province, is a student in Class 6 at a government-run school, which he attends between 8 a.m. and noon every day. Between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. he attends a madrasa controlled by Malawi Abdul Haq, a Taliban commander in the district. As of late 2015, the madrasa had about 80 students, most of them children between the ages of 13 and 17. All of them are vulnerable to recruitment.

According to some reports, children as young as 10 years old fought with Taliban forces in the battles that led to the Taliban’s temporary takeover of Kunduz. Leila Zerrougui, the UN special representative of the Secretary-General for children and armed conflict, told Al-Jazeera that “children between the ages of 10 and 15 were used by the Taliban and dozens of them were deployed” during the fighting in Kunduz in September and October 2015.

International Law

International humanitarian law, or the laws of war, prohibits the recruitment or use of children under 15 by parties to a conflict. “Conscripting or enlisting children under the age of fifteen years into armed forces or groups or using them to participate actively in hostilities” is a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), to which Afghanistan belongs. Those who commit, order, assist, or have command responsibility for war crimes are subject to prosecution by the ICC or national courts.

The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (“the Optional Protocol”), which Afghanistan ratified in 2003, states that non-state armed groups may not, under any circumstances, recruit persons under 18 or use them in hostilities. The Optional Protocol also places obligations on governments to “take all feasible measures to prevent such recruitment and use, including the adoption of legal measures necessary to prohibit and criminalize such practices.” Military forces also have an obligation to provide children with special respect and attention. The Convention on the Rights of the Child requires that governments “take all feasible measures to ensure protection and care of children who are affected by armed conflict.”

Relatives and Friends of Taliban Child Soldiers Speak Out

The following accounts are based on Human Rights Watch interviews with the relatives of 13 boys recruited into the Taliban in 2015, and interviews with community elders who have worked with the families to try to get the boys released. The names of the boys and other identifying details have been changed for their families’ security. In all cases, the parents tried unsuccessfully to secure the return of their sons. In some cases the children were killed during the fighting in Kunduz in 2015. In each of these cases the Taliban commanders responsible for recruiting the boys were based in Kunduz. Because it was not possible to contact the Taliban for their views on these allegations, we have not referred to these commanders by name.​

-Qasem, 15, was a resident of Chahardara district, Kunduz province, where he attended a local madrasa. In June or July 2015, a Taliban military unit recruited him as a soldier. A community elder who has been assisting the families of boys who have been recruited told Human Rights Watch:

On three occasions in July, August, and September 2015, Qasem’s parents contacted Taliban Commander A who was in charge of the unit, begging to have their son returned to them, but they were refused. They told Commander A: “We will send him to you after three years when he is of age. He should study until that time and be with his parents,” but the commander refused to release their son.

-Ahmad was the son of a merchant in Chahardara district. In May 2015, when he was 14 years old, Taliban forces under a senior Taliban commander, Commander B, recruited Ahmad as a soldier. According to members of the family, about a week after her son was recruited, Ahmad’s mother appealed to Commander B to release her son, but he refused.

In June 2015 Afghan government forces launched a clearing operation in Chahardara district, and both Qasem and Ahmad were deployed. According to a source close to the family who lived in the village where the operation took place:

When the government forces counter-attacked, both Qasem and Ahmad, along with a civilian woman named Zahra who was living nearby, were killed. The boys’ families recovered their bodies.

-Mohammad, 15, was a resident of Chahardara district, Kunduz province. He was in Class 7 at the local government school, but also attended a local madrasa. In June 2015 an armed group under Taliban Commander A recruited him as a child soldier. Mohammad’s parents have said that when they went to Commander A and asked for the return of their son, he refused to release him.

-Farhad, 17, is from a village in Chahardara district of Kunduz province. A family source said:

Farhad joined the Taliban over his father’s objections. He is currently a fighter in Commander B’s group. His parents together with local elders went to the Taliban several times and asked another commander in this group, Commander C, to free Qari [an honorific bestowed on someone who has learned to read the Quran ] Farhad. Commander C then asked Farhad if he wanted to go back to his family, but as Qari Farhad wanted to stay, Commander C told his parents and other local elders that “your sons are better Muslims than yourselves. They don’t leave jihad.”

-Atar, 17, is from Chahardara district. He was a student at a local madrasa, which he had attended from the time he was 6 years old. In May or June 2015, forces under Taliban Commander B recruited him as a soldier. His parents have unsuccessfully tried to secure his release.

-Mati, 15, was also the resident of a village in Chahardara district. In June 2015, after his father died, the Taliban recruited him into an armed group under the command of Commander D. A relative said:

They cheated him. Mati’s uncle went to bring him back, but the Taliban would not let him go with his uncle. Then fighting [with Afghan government forces] erupted [in July 2015], and in the fighting Mati was killed in an airstrike. Friends who lived in Khotagert, the area he died, found the body and told his uncle, who came and buried him.

-Mansur, 15, was a resident of a village in Chahardara district, Kunduz province. In May 2015 he was recruited into an armed group. A relative said:

Commander A sent him to Waziristan in Pakistan for training in making explosives. His responsibility in the armed group is to plant IEDs in government agencies and government cars. The family has been unable to secure his release.

-Najib, 16, is from a village, in Chahardara district. A relative said that the Taliban recruited him against the family’s wishes:

His father is not alive and his grandfather sent him to Turkey to avoid Taliban recruitment, but he came back and the Taliban recruited him into the group of commander B.

-Hesam, 16, is also from Chahardara district. Forces under Taliban commander A recruited him when he was 14 or 15. On May 5, 2015, he was injured in Kunduz while fighting for the Taliban, and treated in a clinic in Kunduz. When his father tried to bring him home after his treatment, he ran away and joined commander A’s group again.

-Malek, 14, a student at a local madrasa, was recruited by his teacher, Commander E, one of the Taliban’s principal recruiters in Chahardara district. A relative said:

Before recruiting Malek, the Taliban took his cousin Esmat by force over his father’s objections. However, Esmat’s father succeeded in getting Esmat released and sent him to Iran to save him. Currently Qari Malek is tasked with carrying RPGs [rocket-propelled grenades] in Commander B’s unit.

-Burhan, 14, is also from Chahardara district. A relative told Human Rights Watch:

Qari Burhan was recruited in March or April 2015 into Commander B’s armed group, where he is armed with a Kalashnikov [assault rifle]. After he was recruited, he was sent to Waziristan [in Pakistan] to be trained in using explosive materials. He came back to the front after three months training in July 2015 and is active in Commander B’s armed group. Two of Burhan’s uncles are with the Taliban.

-Emad, 16, is a resident of a village near Kunduz city center. He was a student in a local government-run school until he was recruited into commander E’s armed group, over his family’s objections. According to a family member, “Emad’s widowed mother requested that the Taliban release him from their group, but they refused.”

-Navid, 16, is a resident of Kunduz center. According to his family, he has been made part of commander B’s bodyguard. He sits at the back of a Taliban commander’s motorcycle and rides with him, carrying a Kalashnikov.

Note: Report lunched by HRW

 

CPJ condemns attack on Tolo TV employees in Afghanistan

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A suicide bombing in Kabul today killed seven people, including six employees of the Afghan station Tolo TV

New York, January 20, 2016–A suicide bombing in Kabul today killed seven people, including six employees of the Afghan station Tolo TV, according to news reports. The attack on staff returning from work at the privately owned station injured 27 others, including 26 staff, according to Tolo TV. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. In October, CPJ documented how a Taliban website threatened journalists associated with Tolo TV and the Afghan broadcaster 1TV with “elimination.”

“Attacks aimed at crushing independent media organizations in Afghanistan are a direct assault on the very foundation of Afghan democracy–a free and open press,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “Today’s killings not only underscore the vulnerability of the media in the country, but the fragility of Afghan security under which the media must operate. We call on the government to seek out and prosecute the perpetrators of this crime as quickly as possible.”

According to media reports, a Toyota sedan, apparently laden with explosives, neared the company minibus on Wednesday evening. Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi told American broadcaster NBC News that four of the seven dead were women. Tolo TV reported that those attacked worked for its Kaboora Production company, which produces local programming including television commercials for private and government clients, music video clips, scriptwriting, graphic design, equipment hire, and event planning.

Dear American misogynists: Afghan women are not oppressed for you

By Noorjahan Akbar

Today is the last day of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. Every year, reading the powerful testimonies of woman who have overcome this most common form of violence inspires me and reminds me of how global inequality is.

For the past six years, I have had the privilege of speaking at American universities and private schools about my experiences working on and writing about human rights issues in my homeland of Afghanistan. One of the most common responses Americans have to my speeches and to my articles is a dismissal of women’s rights advocacy in the United States by comparing the atrocities women face in Afghanistan to the “lesser” oppressions “overzealous” feminists are fighting in their own country.

The marginalization of women in Afghanistan is also propped up as a tool through which Americans can rationalize the unjust status quo at home. These men, and sometimes women, tell me about how disappointed they are in American feminists who are “complaining about cat-calls while Afghan women are being butchered by backwards Afghan men.”

This is a response to those who pretend to sympathize with Afghan- and by extension Muslim and Middle Eastern- women while attacking women’s rights activists in their own backyard.

Perhaps my biggest opposition to this sentiment is that it portrays Afghan women as victims in need of saving. Anybody who has worked with Afghan women at the grassroots level knows that we are not victims. It is no news that the women of my country face an enormous amount of oppression because of radical Islamists, gender-based violence, on-going war and insecurity, poverty, illiteracy and a wide range of other problems. To assume, however, that we have no agency is a disservice to Afghan women.

I have seen Afghan women who have grown up in war in the most rural areas of the country with little to no opportunities for education, stand up for their rights in heroic ways. I learned this important lesson on the power of Afghan women myself when I was traveling in Badakhshan and Takhar a few years ago. I was researching women’s folkloric songs and realized that they were singing about and fighting gender-based violence and child marriage in a more effective and articulate way than many of the educated advocates I knew.

Afghan women are singing, writing, running businesses, getting degrees, teaching, learning, managing non-profit organizations, organizing protests and finding thousands of new ways to tell their stories- despite Daesh and the Taliban threatening them on a daily basis. That resilience and struggle does not a victim make.

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Taj Bibi (not real name), 15, is a middle school student, 3rd grade teacher and pregnant with her first child. Despite being a child bride, her insistence on her right to education is an example of the multi-faceted identities of Afghan women.

But jumping to the support of “voiceless” Afghan women while telling American feminists to stop complaining about rape on college campuses is telling of an even bigger patriarchal mindset. Disguised in this sentiment is the notion that women deserve protection and support in so far as they remain “voiceless victims” to physically violent crimes. However, the moment they find the ability to speak up and demand equality- real equality that will dismantle all patriarchy, not just the most overtly violent patriarchy- their voices are no longer worth paying attention to.

In other words, if there is no need for a male savior but rather for male accountability, women’s voices are irrelevant.

Let’s also not overlook the racism hidden in assuming that Afghan women should be saved from Afghan men. In one instance after a speech I had given, someone suggested that we should bring all the women out of Afghanistan to America. As in, we should literally fly all Afghan women out of their country in order to protect them from the men. When Americans tell me about how sad they feel about the “poor Afghan women” who are violated by their fathers and brothers, they are also telling me that the more civilized American men would never treat women like those savages in Afghanistan.

Gender-based violence is a global issue, not one specific to brown women. The United States has some of the highest rates of sexual violence anddomestic abuse in the world. Every day, three American woman are killed by an intimate partner. The war on women certainly has more American casualties than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I do not pretend that American women and Afghan women have the same problems or face oppression to the same degree. But we shouldn’t be comparing a country that has little to no infrastructure and has endured fifty years of trauma and war to one that has maintained peace on its own soil since 1865. Afghan women face a much higher rate of violence than women in America and most other countries. That is why I do what I do. However assuming that gender-based violence is somehow inherent or pathological in Afghan men, and not a problem in the U.S., is racist.

Another reason I can no longer silently tolerate the misuse of my oppression as a means to dismiss American women’s rights advocates is that women’s oppression is global. During my speeches I often use the metaphor that patriarchy is the same monster everywhere, but it has different faces. The root essence of patriarchy- to take away power from women, to own and exploit women’s bodies, to diminish women’s contribution to society- are the same in nearly every context, but the symptoms are different.

Whether we are forcing girls into marriage in Afghanistan or blaming women for getting raped in the U.S., the message we are sending is this: Women’s bodies do not belong to themselves. Women do not get to choose what to do with their bodies or where to exist. This is why women who say “no” to their solicitors are punished both in the U.S. and in Afghanistan. The moment women take ownership of their bodies, they are seen as criminals.

Not only are the roots of patriarchy similar round the world, its enforcers are often cut from the same cloth.

Enter the global misogynists’ brotherhood. I have advocated for ending sexual harassment and assault in Afghanistan and in the U.S. In both contexts, people blame women for dressing “improperly” and causing rape and harassment. Apparently, women’s bodies are provocative whether they are covered in burqas in Afghanistan or skirts in America. In both contexts, and around the world, women are held responsible for the lack of morality among men.

In both countries, I have heard people say that if women did not go to certain places, act a certain way or appear in public at certain times, they would be safer.

The same Afghan men who opposed the killing of Farkhunda, argued that if women were dressing properly in Afghanistan and not provoking men, this crime would have been prevented. Misogynists on my American college campus, where I joined protests to change our school’s policies on sexual assault, also argued that if women dressed more modestly they would not be raped. It is curious then that when women are dressed “properly” and staying at home being “proper” wives, they are still murdered and raped by their husbands, both in America and in Afghanistan.

Once again, the violence committed against their bodies and souls is justified using the same arguments. It is enraging that I have heard the sentence “she must have done something” more often than I have heard the sentence “he shouldn’t have killed her.” This should enrage you too.

Not only do misogynists in both contexts use the same excuses to protect their status in society, they also use each other to defend their own behavior. I run a blog for gender equality and social justice in Afghanistan. Nearly every time I publish an article about gender-based violence or other forms of abuse women face, I receive comments about how Afghan women should be thankful because they are treated with more respect and dignity than Western women “who are objectified and exploited as sex toys.”

The men who write these comments point to the sexualization of women in Western media and pornography or to the hideous TV characters who perpetuate this sexualization. They remind me of all the things I should thank them for and tell me, “Well, we might hit our wives when they get out of line, but at least we don’t treat them like sexual objects and dress them in bikinis for men’s pleasure.” The truth is that hitting women and selling them in marriage is as objectifying- if not more so- as using their bodies in humiliating TV commercials to sell products. In addition, Afghans who watch American pornography- and they do- are as impacted by its misogyny as Americans.

On the other hand, American women who write about sexual violence and street harassment are told, “you call our compliments harassment, but hey, at least, you are not getting stoned to death like those Afghani women.” In both situations, the issues women face are belittled and women are told that their demands for safety- which is the least they deserve- are bogus.

In these arguments, misogynists on both sides help each other maintain control. The only losers are women and girls whose bodies and souls continue to be exploited, abused, trafficked, sold, and disrespected.

Don’t get me wrong. I do not imagine that there is a global sisterhood. There is no united feminist movement where brown, black, white and all other women are speaking out with each other with mutual respect and understanding to fight all forms of oppression. I am as quick to critique privileged feminism as I am misogyny. There is a lot to criticize when many privileged feminists spend more time writing about Miley Cyrus than about the fact that women of color in prisons do not have access to pads and tampons and Native American women do not have equal legal protection against sexual violence. I realize that in the fight for racial, economic, and gender equality my other sisters of color and I often stand marginalized and alone.

Privileged- most often but not always, white- feminists, will cheer for us when we speak about misogyny, but silence us when we explore its intersections with race and global inequality. This is not news to me. However my allies are not the misogynists who discredit those feminists who speak against sexual violence, street harassment or any of the other real injustices women face.

To American misogynists, I say: my oppression, as a woman of color from the global south, is not a weapon to hide your misogyny. The fact that the Taliban kill women for speaking up in Afghanistan, does not diminishyour threats to kill American women who are talking about inequality in STEM. The fact that some 80 percent of Afghan women face violence at home does not make the sexist hateful murders by Elliot Roger dismissible. In fact, your reasoning is too familiar to me. You justifying the Reddit sex crime, euphemistically misnamed “the fappening,” is the same as Afghan misogynists fabricating pornographic photos of my family members to silence my activism.

Yes, I want the world to care about Afghan women. But Americans’ concern should not come at the expense of seeing us as voiceless, agentless victims in need of rescuing, nor through a lens that sees Afghan men as savages and American men as heroes. Gender-based violence is global.

Ashraf Ghani is part of our shame!

Full video interview is here at DW.DE News 

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani says women’s rights are a priority commitment. But how is he planning on ensuring them and how will he fight corruption, security threats and human rights violations in his country?

2015 has been a tough year for Afghanistan. In the first eight months alone, the country saw a spike in the number of civilian casualties and 120,000 Afghans fleeing the country to seek asylum abroad,accordingto the United Nations.

In an exclusive interview with DW, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani described the year of 2015 as “one of the most difficult years, if not even the most difficult year of the last 15 years.”

When asked if things could get worse, the president said it depends on how much regional cooperation Afghanistan could achieve. Ghani said cooperation with neighboring Paksitan was also crucial.

“Sovereignty of Afghanistan must be accepted categorically by Pakistan so that we can move forward.”

Women’s rights a top priority

According to Ghani, women’s rights are a top priority for him. “As long as I am president, the rights of women will be protected,” he said.

When confronted with a photograph published by Human Rights Watch showing a 22-year-old Afghan woman who was sentenced to 100 lashes after being accused of sex outside marriage, Ghani held up the photo and said:

“This is part of our shame. We have inherited situations that are shameful, that are absolutely despicable.”

Government-affiliated militia groups violate human rights

Abuse of women isn’t the only problem Afghanistan is facing. According to a report by the United Nations from August 2015, local and national militia groups carried out deliberate killings, assaults, extortion, intimidation and property theft with the backing of the government.

But Ghani rejected these accusations in the interview, saying: “We don’t have militias.”

The 65-year-old president, who assumed office in September 2014, then admitted that local police behaved like militias prior to his inauguration, saying the government has “taken systematic measures” to deal with the issue and to remove the powerful political protection these groups have had in the first six months of 2015.

Ashraf Ghani im Interview für DW
It’s part of our shame !

“This is our shame,” Ghani said, holding up a picture of an Afghan woman being lashed

“We’ve had a difficult legacy of 40 years, and cleaning up is not going to be a one day job. But we are engaged in a systematic effort, we have not allowed formation of new militia groups, and we are reforming the local police systematically so that there won’t be abuse,” Ghani said.

Dealing with impunity and corruption

Reforming local police also means dealing with corruption, Ghani added in the interview.

“The Kabul Bank case that became the emblem of impunity has been dealt with. We’ve already collected 450 million dollars out of the 800 million dollars that was stolen from the public purse.”

But just one month ago, the former CEO of Kabul Bank, Khalilullah Frozi, who was supposed to be serving a 15 years sentence for fraud, was released from prison and seen smiling with government officials.

Ghani said he was shocked to see the man free. “My shock didn’t turn into anger, but into action. And it sent a very strong signal that I will not tolerate it. (…) He’s back in prison, in solitary confinement and under close attention.”

Ashraf Ghani im Interview für DW“We’ve had a difficult legacy for 40 years and cleaning up is not going to be a one day job,” Ghani told Tim Sebastian

Afghanistan’s president added that he’s also dismissed the officials that were involved in the scandal and has ordered a full inquiry to deal with the case.

Economic instability and global threats

Since Ghani was elected, polls show many Afghans losing confidence in where their country is headed. According to a poll conducted by the Asia Foundation, 54 percent of those surveyed in 2014 thought the country was going in the right direction. This year that figure dropped to just 36 percent.

Ghani explains this loss of confidence from his people with the economic challenges Afghanistan is facing.

“We’ve had to deal with an economic transition cost by the departure of over 600,000 troops and contractors that were the most important consumers and spenders in the country. We’ve had to impose an austerity program because the promises of the Afghan government to the national community were not credible.”

Urging Afghanistan’s elite to make the most of opportunities at home

What doesn’t help Afghanistan’s economy is the fact that the families of elite leaders often live abroad, such as the families of Ghani’s vice presidents, who live in Turkey and Iran, and the family of Ghani’s chief executive, who lives in India. In fact, the families of the top cabinet ministers, presidential advisers and deputy ministers all live outside of the country.

In the interview with DW, Ghani urged Afghanistan’s elite to make the most of opportunities at home rather than moving abroad.

Österreich Flüchtlinge bei Mistlberg an der Grenze zu DeutschlandAccording to German authorities, some 31,000 Afghans arrived this year through October

“The privileged elites are part of the globalization moment that we live in. What is significant is to create opportunities for the generations to come. If the families of the privileged live abroad they are not going to have careers abroad. Their careers are back in Afghanistan. (…) If they live abroad they become dishwashers. They don’t become part of the middle class.”

Ghani himself, however, did rather well when living abroad in the United States, completing a doctorate in anthropology and becoming a professor at Johns Hopkins University before returning to Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban.

Confronted with this fact, Ghani said: “The minute opportunity was created in 2001 I returned. I hope that the new generation of our friends will have the same sense of patriotism and respond to the conditions of our country.”

The president said he was hopeful the Afghan people would succeed in dealing with the numerous issues the country is facing.

“We are a free society, we engage in debate, and that is our characteristic.” Ghani said. “Our job is to heal and to move forward. Not to perpetuate, not to get poked down.”

Gallery

Hazara take protests to Kabul as Afghan sectarian fears rise, Top photos by Jawad Hamdard Kia

UNAMA condemns murder of seven civilians in Zabul

Thousands Of Women Join Protest Over Beheading Of Zabul Seven
Thousands Of Women Join Protest Over Beheading Of Zabul Seven

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) condemns the murder by anti-Government elements of seven civilians, including two women, one girl and two boys, in the southern province of Zabul.

The seven civilians were abducted last month and executed between 6 and 8 November in Arghandab district while armed clashes were reported there between two rival groups of anti-Government elements.

“The deliberate murder of civilian hostages, including women and children, is particularly abhorrent” said Nicholas Haysom the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA. “These senseless murders may amount to war crimes and the perpetrators must be held accountable.”

UNAMA recalls that the murder of civilians, as well as the taking of civilian hostages, are serious violations of international humanitarian law that all parties to the armed conflict – including all anti-Government elements – are required to uphold.

The UN Mission expresses its sincere condolences to the families of the victims.

The story: Afghan Hazara killings spur thousands to march in Kabul

Afghan security forces have fired warning shots into the air at a protest in Kabul, injuring seven people, according to officials.

Police fired the shots to disperse protesters marching outside the presidential palace.

Thousands are protesting against the recent abduction and killing of seven civilians from the Hazara ethnic minority.

It is not clear who carried out the killings.

The bodies were found in the southern province of Zabul where fighting between Taliban factions has escalated recently. Some of the victims had had their throats slit.

The marchers carried the coffins of the dead through the streets of Kabul in the pouring rain.

“Today they kill us, tomorrow they kill you,” some chanted. Others carried banners bearing photos of the victims and shouted “Death to the Taliban”.

The murdered Hazaras included four men, two women and a nine-year-old girl.

Officials said they were among dozens of Hazaras kidnapped in a number of abductions dating back to last year.

Afghan security forces have reportedly stopped live coverage of the protests by private television channel Ariana News TV.

Afghanistan has a large population of minority Hazaras who are mostly Shia Muslims. But unlike in neighbouring Pakistan they have been largely spared attacks by Sunni militants in recent years.

The killings have fuelled concern over security in Afghanistan. President Ashraf Ghani’s government has come under increasing pressure to address the issue.

“This issue doesn’t belong to a family, a tribe or an ethnic group, but it belongs to all Afghans,” said Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi, speaker of the lower house of parliament.

Even more: Afghan terror groups beheaded Hazras in Afghanistan

Taliban and other terrorist groups in Afghanistan have beheaded three women and four men of Hazara hostages in southern Zabul province of Afghanistan.

According to the local government officials, the victims were Hazrara hostages who were kidnapped by the terror groups from a main highway in this province.

The provincial police chief Jilani Farahi confirmed the dead bodies of the deceased individuals were left in Khak-e-Afghan district on Sunday.

He said the dead bodies were transferred to the district hospital in Shahjoi with the help of the local tribal elders.

Recently Assailants shoot dead 13 Harazas travelling in vehicles in usually tranquil northern province, while sparing a woman.

“The gunmen stopped two vehicles, lined up all the male passengers and shot them dead,” said Jafar Haidari, the governor of Zari district in Balkh, where the incident occurred.

“They spared the life of one woman who was in one of the vehicles. All the victims were Hazaras.”

The head of the provincial council Ata Jan Haq Parast also confirmed that the abducted passengers, including the women were brutally killed by the militants.

It is yet not clear if the victims belonged to a group of 31 people who were kidnapped from the highway earlier this year.

At least 19 of the hostages were freed three months after when government freed back Talibans.

The militants had abducted at least nine passengers from Kabul-Kandahar highway in the restive southeastern Ghazni province of Afghanistan in mid August this year.

Lookout

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.

Why Hazaras ?

Persecution of Hazara people refers to systematic discriminationethnic cleansing and genocide of the Shia Hazara people, who are primarily from the central highland region of Hazaristan in Afghanistan. Significant populations of Hazara people are also found in QuettaPakistan and MashadIran as part of the Hazara and Afghan diaspora. The persecution of Hazara people dates back to the 16th century, with Babur from Kabulistan.[1] It is reported that during the reign of Emir Abdur Rahman (1880-1901), thousands of Hazaras were killed, expelled and enslaved.[2] Syed Askar Mousavi, a contemporary Hazara writer, claims that half the population of Hazaras was displaced, shifted to neighbouring Balochistan of British India[3] and Khorasan Provinceof Iran. However, “it is difficult to verify such an estimate, but the memory of the conquest of the Hazārajāt by ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Khan certainly remains vivid among the Hazāras themselves, and has heavily influenced their relations with the Afghan state throughout the 20th century.”[2] This led to Pashtuns and other groups occupying parts of Hazarajat. The Hazara people have also been the victims of massacre by Taliban and al-Qaeda. Although the situation of Hazaras has not yet improved in Afghanistan even after ousting of Taliban government from power in 2001, thousands of Hazara People have been persecuted in neighboring Pakistan, by sunni extremists groups in recent years.

Afghanistan

Hazara people are historically the most restrained ethnic group and have witnessed slight improvements in the circumstances even with the setup of modern Afghanistan. The discrimination against this Shia ethnic group has subsisted for centuries by Mughals,[1] Pashtuns and other ethnic groups.[4] Syed Askar Mousavi, a contemporary Hazara writer, estimates that more than half of the entire population of Hazaras was driven out of their villages, including many who were massacred. “It is difficult to verify such an estimate, but the memory of the conquest of the Hazārajāt by ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Khan certainly remains vivid among the Hazāras themselves, and has heavily influenced their relations with the Afghan state throughout the 20th century.”[2] The British from neighboring British India, who were heavily involved in Afghanistan, did not document such a large figure. Others claim that Hazaras began leaving their hometown Hazarajat due to poverty and in search of employment mostly in the 20th century.[5] Most of these Hazaras immigrated to neighbouring Balochistan, where they were provided permanent settlement by the government of British India.[3]Others settled in and around Mashad, which is in the Khorasan Province of Iran.[5]

The Hazaras of Afghanistan faced severe political, social and economic tyranny and denial of basic civil rights.[4] In the late 19th century, the Hazaras along with their Shia counterpart Qizilbash sided with the invading British-led Indians against the native Sunni ethnic groups of Afghanistan. In 1933, Abdul Khaliq, a Hazara student assassinated Afghan King Nadir Khan.

Afshar

Main article: Afshar Operation

Human Rights Watch documented victim accounts that describe some 80 summary executions and more than 700 kidnappings in three days; of these, 80 to 100 were freed after ransoms were paid. The rest never came home.

Human Rights Watch documented victim accounts that describe some 80 summary executions and more than 700 kidnappings in three days; of these, 80 to 100 were freed after ransoms were paid. The rest never came home.

In February 1993, a two-day military operation was conducted by the Islamic State of Afghanistan government and the Saudi-backed Sunni Wahhabi Ittihad-i Islamimilitia led by Abdul Rasul Sayyaf. Ittihad-i Islami during that time was allied to the government of Burhanuddin Rabbani. The military operation was conducted in order to seize control of the Afshar district in west Kabul where the Shia Hezb-e Wahdat militia (and allied to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar‘s Sunni Hezb-i Islami backed by Pakistan) was based and from where it was shelling civilian areas in northern Kabul. The operation also intended to capture Wahdat leader Abdul Ali Mazari. The Afshar district, situated on the slopes of Mount Afshar west of Kabul, is a densely populated district. The area is predominantly inhabited by Shia Hazara people. The Afshar military operation escalated into what became known as the Afshar massacre when the Saudi backed Wahhabi militia of Ittihad-e-Islami went on a rampage through Afshar, killing, raping, looting and burning houses. Two out of nine Islamic State sub-commanders, Anwar Dangar (later joined the Taliban) and Mullah Izzat, were also reported as leading troops that carried out abuses. The Islamic State government in collaboration with the then enemy militia of Hezb-e Wahdat as well as in cooperation with Afshar civilians established a commission to investigate the crimes that had taken place in Afshar. The commission found that around 70 people died during the street fighting and between 700 and 750 people were abducted and never returned by Abdul Rasul Sayyaf’s men. These abducted victims were most likely killed or died in captivity.[6][7] Dozens of women were abducted during the operation as well.[8]

Mazar-i-Sharif

Following the 1997 massacre of 3,000 Taliban prisoners by Abdul Malik Pahlawan in Mazar-i-Sharif[9] some 8000 Hazara men, women and children were massacred by other Taliban members in the same city in August 1998. Human rights organizations reported that the dead were lying on the streets for weeks before Taliban allowed their burial due to stench and fear of epidemic. It is ironic that Hazara civilians were killed to avenge the massacres ordered by Uzbek commander Abdul Malik Pahlawan.

Robatak Pass

The pass connecting the settlements of Tashkurgan and Pule Khumri is known as Robatak Pass. A mass murder was carried out there by Taliban in May 2000 in which 31 people were reported dead. Twenty-six of the victims were Ismaili Hazara from Baghalan province. Their remains were found to the northeast of the pass, in a neighborhood known as Hazara Mazari, on the border between Baghlan and Samngan provinces. The victims were detained four months before their execution by Taliban troops between January 5 and January 14, 2000.[10][11]

Yakawlang

In January 2001 Taliban committed a mass execution of Hazara people in Yakawlang District of Bamyan province, Afghanistan. This started on January 8 and lasted for four days which took the lives of 170 men. Taliban apprehended about 300 people, including employees of local humanitarian organizations. They were grouped to various assemblage points where they were shot dead in public view. Around 73 women, children and elderly were taking shelter in a local mosque when Taliban fired rockets at the mosque.[11][12]

Pakistan

The history of Hazara people in Pakistan dates back to the 1840s, when Hazara tribesmen from Hazarajat began migration to colonial India because of persecution by Pashtuns and Tajiks. Many Hazaras were enlisted in the British Indian Army during the first Anglo-Afghan War (1838-1840). The mass-migration and permanent settlements started in the 1890s when Emir Abdul Rahman Khan started persecuting the Hazaras of Afghanistan.[13] The majority of Hazara are Shi’a Muslims with a sizable Sunni minority. Although sectarian violence in Pakistan, home to an estimated 20% Shia Muslim population, started during the reign of military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq in the 1980s, Balochistan had remained peaceful until the turn of the century in 2000. Peace activist Ali Raza said in 2015 “43 Shias are killed every month on average”.[14]

Quetta

Further information: Persecution of Hazaras in Quetta

Mass-grave of Hazara's, show's that people suffering from long time ago and the exist with traffic valiance's in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Mass-grave of Hazara’s, show’s that people suffering from long time ago and the exist with traffic valiance’s in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In recent years, the persecution of Hazaras in Quetta has left at least 1300 dead and more than 1500 wounded. The victims include high-profile community members, laborers, women and children.[15] One third of the victims are children. No one has yet been arrested for these murders.[16][17] The major attacks included assassinations of Hussain Ali YousafiOlympia Abrar Hussainbombing of a Hazara mosqueAshura massacreQuds Day bombingPlay ground massacreMastung massacre, January 2013 Quetta bombings, February 2013 Quetta bombing, Hazara Pilgrims carnage, Akhtarabad massacre & other terrorist attacks on Hazara People in Quetta.[17][18]

The Al-Qaeda affiliated Pakistani Sunni Muslim extremist militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, has claimed responsibility for most of these attacks.[19][20] Other theories suggest the involvement of Taliban’s Quetta Shura,[21][22][23][24][25][26]

In response to these killings, worldwide demonstrations were held to condemn the persecution of Hazaras in Quetta. The Hazara diaspora all over the world, namely inAustraliaWestern EuropeNorth America as well as the Hazara in Afghanistan, have protested against these killings and against the silence of international community.[27][28] Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq, the political leader of the Hazara in Afghanistan, has also expressed solidarity with the Hazara community in Quetta.[29][30]The persecutions have been documented by the United NationsAmnesty InternationalHuman Rights Watch, Asian Human Rights Commission, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.[31][32][33][34][35][36] EU parliamentarian Rita Borsellino has urged the international community to address the plight of Hazara people in Quetta.[37] The members of British ParliamentAlistair BurtMark LancasterAlan Johnson, and Iain Stewart asked the government to pressure Pakistani authorities concerning the absence of justice for Hazara community in Pakistan[17][38]

As a consequence of the attacks, and the alleged impunity by which they are perpetrated, there has been a recent exodus of Hazaras trying to flee the violence. They are headed mainly to Australia & other Western Countries, where thousands of them have taken shelter and successfully relocated after obtaining refugee status. To get there, they complete an illegal and treacherous journey across Southeast Asia through air, land and sea that has already left hundreds of them dead.[39][40]

Karachi

So far Hundreds of Hazara individuals have been killed in Karachi, but none of the killers has never been brought to Justice. Among the dead were social workers & intellectuals.[41] In Karachi terrorists shot dead Agha Abbas, owner of famous fruit juice outlet Agha Juice.[42] Sindh police announced the arrest of Akram Lahori, chief of a banned religious group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (lej) along with his four accomplices, for their alleged involvement in sectarian killings, including the murder of Agha Abbas.

BBC/ AHRH/ HAZARA PEOPL/  WIKIPEDIA

Afghan terror groups beheaded Hazras in Afghanistan

The killings bore chilling similarities to another incident in Wardak province south of Kabul, where assailants opened fire on a bus and killed 13 passengers in late March.
The killings bore chilling similarities to another incident in Wardak province south of Kabul, where assailants opened fire on a bus and killed 13 passengers in late March.

Taliban and other terrorist groups in Afghanistan have beheaded three women and four men of Hazara hostages in southern Zabul province of Afghanistan.

According to the local government officials, the victims were Hazrara hostages who were kidnapped by the terror groups from a main highway in this province.

The provincial police chief Jilani Farahi confirmed the dead bodies of the deceased individuals were left in Khak-e-Afghan district on Sunday.

He said the dead bodies were transferred to the district hospital in Shahjoi with the help of the local tribal elders.

Recently Assailants shoot dead 13 Harazas travelling in vehicles in usually tranquil northern province, while sparing a woman.

“The gunmen stopped two vehicles, lined up all the male passengers and shot them dead,” said Jafar Haidari, the governor of Zari district in Balkh, where the incident occurred.

“They spared the life of one woman who was in one of the vehicles. All the victims were Hazaras.”

The head of the provincial council Ata Jan Haq Parast also confirmed that the abducted passengers, including the women were brutally killed by the militants.

It is yet not clear if the victims belonged to a group of 31 people who were kidnapped from the highway earlier this year.

At least 19 of the hostages were freed three months after when government freed back Talibans.

The militants had abducted at least nine passengers from Kabul-Kandahar highway in the restive southeastern Ghazni province of Afghanistan in mid August this year.

Lookout
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.

Why Hazaras ?

Persecution of Hazara people refers to systematic discriminationethnic cleansing and genocide of the Shia Hazara people, who are primarily from the central highland region of Hazaristan in Afghanistan. Significant populations of Hazara people are also found in QuettaPakistan and MashadIran as part of the Hazara and Afghan diaspora. The persecution of Hazara people dates back to the 16th century, with Babur from Kabulistan.[1] It is reported that during the reign of Emir Abdur Rahman (1880-1901), thousands of Hazaras were killed, expelled and enslaved.[2] Syed Askar Mousavi, a contemporary Hazara writer, claims that half the population of Hazaras was displaced, shifted to neighbouring Balochistan of British India[3] and Khorasan Provinceof Iran. However, “it is difficult to verify such an estimate, but the memory of the conquest of the Hazārajāt by ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Khan certainly remains vivid among the Hazāras themselves, and has heavily influenced their relations with the Afghan state throughout the 20th century.”[2] This led to Pashtuns and other groups occupying parts of Hazarajat. The Hazara people have also been the victims of massacre by Taliban and al-Qaeda. Although the situation of Hazaras has not yet improved in Afghanistan even after ousting of Taliban government from power in 2001, thousands of Hazara People have been persecuted in neighboring Pakistan, by sunni extremists groups in recent years.

Afghanistan

Hazara people are historically the most restrained[clarification needed] ethnic group and have witnessed slight improvements in the circumstances even with the setup of modern Afghanistan. The discrimination against this Shia ethnic group has subsisted for centuries by Mughals,[1] Pashtuns and other ethnic groups.[4] Syed Askar Mousavi, a contemporary Hazara writer, estimates that more than half of the entire population of Hazaras was driven out of their villages, including many who were massacred. “It is difficult to verify such an estimate, but the memory of the conquest of the Hazārajāt by ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Khan certainly remains vivid among the Hazāras themselves, and has heavily influenced their relations with the Afghan state throughout the 20th century.”[2] The British from neighboring British India, who were heavily involved in Afghanistan, did not document such a large figure. Others claim that Hazaras began leaving their hometown Hazarajat due to poverty and in search of employment mostly in the 20th century.[5] Most of these Hazaras immigrated to neighbouring Balochistan, where they were provided permanent settlement by the government of British India.[3]Others settled in and around Mashad, which is in the Khorasan Province of Iran.[5]

The Hazaras of Afghanistan faced severe political, social and economic tyranny and denial of basic civil rights.[4] In the late 19th century, the Hazaras along with their Shia counterpart Qizilbash sided with the invading British-led Indians against the native Sunni ethnic groups of Afghanistan. In 1933, Abdul Khaliq, a Hazara student assassinated Afghan King Nadir Khan.

Afshar

Main article: Afshar Operation

Human Rights Watch documented victim accounts that describe some 80 summary executions and more than 700 kidnappings in three days; of these, 80 to 100 were freed after ransoms were paid. The rest never came home.
Human Rights Watch documented victim accounts that describe some 80 summary executions and more than 700 kidnappings in three days; of these, 80 to 100 were freed after ransoms were paid. The rest never came home.

In February 1993, a two-day military operation was conducted by the Islamic State of Afghanistan government and the Saudi-backed Sunni Wahhabi Ittihad-i Islamimilitia led by Abdul Rasul Sayyaf. Ittihad-i Islami during that time was allied to the government of Burhanuddin Rabbani. The military operation was conducted in order to seize control of the Afshar district in west Kabul where the Shia Hezb-e Wahdat militia (and allied to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar‘s Sunni Hezb-i Islami backed by Pakistan) was based and from where it was shelling civilian areas in northern Kabul. The operation also intended to capture Wahdat leader Abdul Ali Mazari. The Afshar district, situated on the slopes of Mount Afshar west of Kabul, is a densely populated district. The area is predominantly inhabited by Shia Hazara people. The Afshar military operation escalated into what became known as the Afshar massacre when the Saudi backed Wahhabi militia of Ittihad-e-Islami went on a rampage through Afshar, killing, raping, looting and burning houses. Two out of nine Islamic State sub-commanders, Anwar Dangar (later joined the Taliban) and Mullah Izzat, were also reported as leading troops that carried out abuses. The Islamic State government in collaboration with the then enemy militia of Hezb-e Wahdat as well as in cooperation with Afshar civilians established a commission to investigate the crimes that had taken place in Afshar. The commission found that around 70 people died during the street fighting and between 700 and 750 people were abducted and never returned by Abdul Rasul Sayyaf’s men. These abducted victims were most likely killed or died in captivity.[6][7] Dozens of women were abducted during the operation as well.[8]

Mazar-i-Sharif

Following the 1997 massacre of 3,000 Taliban prisoners by Abdul Malik Pahlawan in Mazar-i-Sharif[9] some 8000[citation needed] Hazara men, women and children were massacred by other Taliban members in the same city in August 1998. Human rights organizations reported that the dead were lying on the streets for weeks before Taliban allowed their burial due to stench and fear of epidemic. It is ironic that Hazara civilians were killed to avenge the massacres ordered by Uzbek commander Abdul Malik Pahlawan.

Robatak Pass

The pass connecting the settlements of Tashkurgan and Pule Khumri is known as Robatak Pass. A mass murder was carried out there by Taliban in May 2000 in which 31 people were reported dead. Twenty-six of the victims were Ismaili Hazara from Baghalan province. Their remains were found to the northeast of the pass, in a neighborhood known as Hazara Mazari, on the border between Baghlan and Samngan provinces. The victims were detained four months before their execution by Taliban troops between January 5 and January 14, 2000.[10][11]

Yakawlang

In January 2001 Taliban committed a mass execution of Hazara people in Yakawlang District of Bamyan province, Afghanistan. This started on January 8 and lasted for four days which took the lives of 170 men. Taliban apprehended about 300 people, including employees of local humanitarian organizations. They were grouped to various assemblage points where they were shot dead in public view. Around 73 women, children and elderly were taking shelter in a local mosque when Taliban fired rockets at the mosque.[11][12]

Pakistan

The history of Hazara people in Pakistan dates back to the 1840s, when Hazara tribesmen from Hazarajat began migration to colonial India because of persecution by Pashtuns and Tajiks. Many Hazaras were enlisted in the British Indian Army during the first Anglo-Afghan War (1838-1840). The mass-migration and permanent settlements started in the 1890s when Emir Abdul Rahman Khan started persecuting the Hazaras of Afghanistan.[13] The majority of Hazara are Shi’a Muslims with a sizable Sunni minority. Although sectarian violence in Pakistan, home to an estimated 20% Shia Muslim population, started during the reign of military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq in the 1980s, Balochistan had remained peaceful until the turn of the century in 2000. Peace activist Ali Raza said in 2015 “43 Shias are killed every month on average”.[14]

Quetta

Further information: Persecution of Hazaras in Quetta

Mass-grave of Hazara's, show's that people suffering from long time ago and the exist with traffic valiance's in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Mass-grave of Hazara’s, show’s that people suffering from long time ago and the exist with traffic valiance’s in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In recent years, the persecution of Hazaras in Quetta has left at least 1300 dead and more than 1500 wounded. The victims include high-profile community members, laborers, women and children.[15] One third of the victims are children. No one has yet been arrested for these murders.[16][17] The major attacks included assassinations of Hussain Ali YousafiOlympia Abrar Hussainbombing of a Hazara mosqueAshura massacreQuds Day bombingPlay ground massacreMastung massacre, January 2013 Quetta bombings, February 2013 Quetta bombing, Hazara Pilgrims carnage, Akhtarabad massacre & other terrorist attacks on Hazara People in Quetta.[17][18]

The Al-Qaeda affiliated Pakistani Sunni Muslim extremist militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, has claimed responsibility for most of these attacks.[19][20] Other theories suggest the involvement of Taliban’s Quetta Shura,[21][22][23][24][25][26]

In response to these killings, worldwide demonstrations were held to condemn the persecution of Hazaras in Quetta. The Hazara diaspora all over the world, namely inAustraliaWestern EuropeNorth America as well as the Hazara in Afghanistan, have protested against these killings and against the silence of international community.[27][28] Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq, the political leader of the Hazara in Afghanistan, has also expressed solidarity with the Hazara community in Quetta.[29][30]The persecutions have been documented by the United NationsAmnesty InternationalHuman Rights Watch, Asian Human Rights Commission, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.[31][32][33][34][35][36] EU parliamentarian Rita Borsellino has urged the international community to address the plight of Hazara people in Quetta.[37] The members of British ParliamentAlistair BurtMark LancasterAlan Johnson, and Iain Stewart asked the government to pressure Pakistani authorities concerning the absence of justice for Hazara community in Pakistan[17][38]

As a consequence of the attacks, and the alleged impunity by which they are perpetrated, there has been a recent exodus of Hazaras trying to flee the violence. They are headed mainly to Australia & other Western Countries, where thousands of them have taken shelter and successfully relocated after obtaining refugee status. To get there, they complete an illegal and treacherous journey across Southeast Asia through air, land and sea that has already left hundreds of them dead.[39][40]

Karachi

So far Hundreds of Hazara individuals have been killed in Karachi, but none of the killers has never been brought to Justice. Among the dead were social workers & intellectuals.[41] In Karachi terrorists shot dead Agha Abbas, owner of famous fruit juice outlet Agha Juice.[42] Sindh police announced the arrest of Akram Lahori, chief of a banned religious group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (lej) along with his four accomplices, for their alleged involvement in sectarian killings, including the murder of Agha Abbas.

Taliban Stone Woman To Death In Afghanistan

afghan_judge_hits_a_woman
On August 31, a young man and woman found guilty of adultery were lashed publicly.

RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan has obtained video footage from an eyewitness that appears to show the brutal stoning last week of a 19-year-old Afghan woman in the central province of Ghor.

The two-minute clip shows a group of men throwing stones with increasing intensity at a covered individual crammed in a hole in the ground. A crowd of onlookers are seen capturing the incident on their mobile phones and a woman’s pitiful cries can plainly be heard.

Local official Mohammad Zaman Azimi, in a previous report, blamed Taliban militants for the execution.

Azimi said the woman, identified as 19-year-old Rokhshana, was stoned to death after being accused of having premarital sex with her fiance, a 23-year-old man named Mohammad Gul, who was reportedly lashed.

It was unclear why the young woman would have received a more severe punishment, although Taliban and religious courts in the past have been more lenient toward men.

Azimi added that the stoning took place in the village of Ghalmin on the outskirts of Firoz Koh, the provincial capital.

The couple allegedly had fled their families in a bid to find a place to be married.

Unmarried girls in Afghanistan are often restricted to their homes and banned from having contact with men outside their immediate families.

Brutal punishments often await Afghan women and girls who break the social norm.

Death by stoning for convicted adulterers is banned under Afghan law, although offenders face long prison terms. The penal code, originating in 1976, makes no provision for the use of stoning.

Afghanistan’s Constitution prescribes that “no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam” and sometimes appears at odds with more liberal and democratic elements within it.

Capital punishment was widely practiced by the Taliban regime, which ruled much of the country from 1996-2001, when convicted adulterers were routinely shot or stoned in executions conducted in front of large crowds.

In rural areas, where Taliban militants exert considerable influence, some Afghans still turn to Taliban courts for settling disputes, as many view government bodies as corrupt or unreliable. The Taliban courts employ strict interpretations of Shari’a law, which prescribes punishments such as stoning and executions.

In many Taliban-controlled areas, men or women found guilty of having a relationship outside marriage or an extramarital affair are sentenced to death, or in other cases publicly flogged.

Afghan officials often blame the Taliban for such punishments.

Since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001, there have been sporadic reports of stonings.

In 2012, a 22-year-old woman was shot dead for alleged adultery in Parwan Province, just north of the capital, Kabul. Later the same year, a 16-year-old girl in the western city of Herat was flogged and then killed along with her alleged boyfriend.

Afghanistan is an Islamic country and Ghor is one of the provinces of Afghanistan, and we cannot disobey what the law of Islam and our constitution says.”

In 2013, there was a government proposal to reintroduce public stoning as punishment for adultery. But the government backed away from the proposal after international condemnation.

The abandoned legislation had set the punishment for extramarital sex between unmarried individuals at 100 lashes; sex outside marriage was punished by stoning to death if the adulterer or adulteress was married.

Masooma Anwari, the head of women’s affairs in Ghor, expressed grave concern over the situation of women in the province.

She said the “incompetence” of the local authorities in governance and security has paved the way for such incidents.

The stoning is just the most recent in a string of public punishments in Ghor that have sparked outrage.

On August 31, a young man and woman found guilty of adultery were lashed publicly.

Sima Joyenda, Ghor’s embattled female governor, came under criticismfrom rights activists at home and abroad for supporting the sentence. Joyenda, who is under pressure to resign, added that the sentence, which was carried out based on the ruling of a primary court, was in keeping with the law.

“Afghanistan is an Islamic country and Ghor is one of the provinces of Afghanistan, and we cannot disobey what the law of Islam and our constitution says,” Ariana News quoted her as saying last month.

Ghor, a mountainous and remote province in the central highlands, is one of the poorest and most unstable areas in the country.

http://english.share.rferl.org/flashembed.aspx?t=vid&id=27340764&w=640&h=363&skin=embeded

The provincial government’s power extends little beyond Firoz Koh. Dozens of illegal, armed groups run by former warlords and militia leaders are active in Ghor, a key transit route for arms and drugs, and the resulting clashes are seen to be the source of much of the violence in the province.

Frud Bezhan / bezhanf@rferl.org

Refugee crisis: The 105-year-old Afghan woman struggling to find asylum in Europe

Bibhali Uzbeki has spent a large amount of her journey from Afghanistan on the back of her 67-year-old son!

Bibihal Uzbeki, 105, from Kunduz, Afghanistan, rests in Croatia's main refugee camp at Opatovac, Croatia, near the border with Serbia AP
Bibihal Uzbeki, 105, from Kunduz, Afghanistan, rests in Croatia’s main refugee camp at Opatovac, Croatia, near the border with Serbia AP

There are few refugees as remarkable as Bibihal Uzbeki. The 105-year-old woman has made an arduous journey to Europe in search of a better life, often carried on the back of her 67-year-old son and her teenage grandson due to her fragile health.

“We had problems many times. I suffered a lot,” she told a reporter from the Associated Press in Croatia. “I fell and injured my head. I have scars on my head.”

However, Uzbeki’s path to a new life in Europe is going to face a serious complication: She’s from Afghanistan.

Uzbeki and her family are just a small part of an enormous movement of people from Afghanistan who have fled to Europe this year, most of whom have traveled via Turkey and onwards on what has been called the “Black Route.” Afghans make up about 20 percent of the 560,000-plus arrivals by sea that Greece has seen in 2015, second only to Syrians fleeing their country’s civil war. There are more than three times as many Afghans asylum-seekers as from the next-largest group, Iraqis.

While the majority of Syrians and Iraqis are accepted as refugees in Europe, would-be refugees from Afghanistan face a more unpredictable response from European authorities. In a recently released report, the European Asylum Support Office, a European Union agency designed to help coordinate asylum practices, had found that Afghan asylum seekers faced a wide variation in rates of acceptance across member states.

Even Germany, with its reputation for openness to refugees, has a complicated stance on Afghans. On Wednesday, Germany announced that Afghans who apply for asylum in the country would most likely be sent back home. The number of Afghans coming to Europe had created an “unacceptable” situation, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told reporters, adding that many were members of the middle class who “should remain and help build the country up.”

While  Germany had allowed failed Afghan asylum seekers to remain in the country in the past, officials now favor deportation. According to a report published Sunday in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany has called on the European Commission to help negotiate a readmission agreement with Afghanistan that would allow more of the asylum seekers to be sent back to their homeland. The newspaper wrote that the Interior Ministry no longer felt that the situation in Afghanistan was similar to that of Syria, and that Afghans could be deported back to Kabul or other safe areas of the country.

“Many European governments increasingly argue that if a person is only likely to face serious harm in one part of the country, then they should move to a safe part of that country rather than seek asylum,” Alexander Betts, director of the Refugee Studies Center at Oxford University, says. “It is a very worrying practice with implications for many Afghans.”

Afghanistan’s refugee crisis has been around a long time. You can trace its roots to the 1980s, when about 5 million Afghans fled a war that broke out with the Soviet invasion. Most headed to neighboring Pakistan and Iran. It was only after 2002 that these refugees began to head home, but many found that return difficult. Some ended up internally displaced, others elected to leave the country again.

Liza Schuster, a sociologist from City University in London who studies Afghan asylum seekers, says that over the past year, there has been a growing sense in Afghanistan that things are never going to get better. She points to disappointment in the economy since the election of President Ashraf Ghani last September and a growing feeling of danger due to a continued Taliban insurgency and a new Islamic State one.

“The feeling is that after 15 years, very little progress has been made,” Schuster says. “It doesn’t matter that in reality some progress has been made. The feeling is that we’re slipping backward fast. Hope is shriveling up.”

Afghan refugees in Pakistan are also part of the new surge of Afghans trying to reach Europe. Many are concerned that Pakistan’s limited tolerance of their communities is coming to an end, and they are willing to risk a journey to Europe rather than a return to a chaotic and troubled Afghanistan. Some are of the Hazara Shia minority who have legitimate concerns about violence from the Taliban.

Despite the very real problems Afghans faces at home, over the past year, their plight has been overshadowed by the situations in a number of other countries.

In a meeting with Washington Post editors this week, Antonio Guterres, the United Nations high commissioner for Refugees, said that while Syrians, Iraqis and Eritreans would be included in a new program being established by the European Union to process asylum-seekers landing in Greece, Afghans would face a “more complex situation” and would not be automatically assumed to have legitimate asylum claims.

According to Betts, part of the problem is that Afghans represent an uncomfortable grey area for Europe. While many do not meet the full definition of a refugee, they are not really economic migrants either. “We collectively lack an institutional framework to respond to the needs of people who flee fragile states such as Afghanistan, Libya and Yemen but who are not refugees,” Betts says.

While some Afghan leaders have pleaded for refugees to stay in the country, warning of a potential “brain drain,” others have expressed sympathy for their plight and asked Western states to be more accepting. In an interview with Deutsche Welle, Afghan Minister of Refugees and Repatriations Sayed Hussian Alimi Balkhi said that the security situation in Afghanistan was getting worse and that he had been urging E.U. states to take in more Afghan refugees and stop deporting failed asylum seekers.

The complicated situation may create big problems for would-be Afghan refugees in the future. The Uzbeki family are hoping to make it to Sweden, a country that has deported Afghans – against the Afghan government’s wishes – very recently. Each asylum case is judged on its own merits, however, and Bibihal Uzbeki’s age may well help her case. “Anything is possible,” Schuster says.

Source: Independent 

Gunmen kill 13 Hazara passengers in north Afghanistan

Assailants shoot dead 13 Harazas travelling in vehicles in usually tranquil northern province, while sparing a woman.

The killings bore chilling similarities to another incident in Wardak province south of Kabul, where assailants opened fire on a bus and killed 13 passengers in late March.
The killings bore chilling similarities to another incident in Wardak province south of Kabul, where assailants opened fire on a bus and killed 13 passengers in late March.

Unknown gunmen have killed 13 members of the ethnic Hazara minority travelling in two vehicles in a usually tranquil northern Afghan province.

The victims, all male passengers, were plucked from their vehicles and shot dead from close range in Balkh in a rare attack targeting ethnic minorities on Saturday.

“The gunmen stopped two vehicles, lined up all the male passengers and shot them dead,” said Jafar Haidari, the governor of Zari district in Balkh, where the incident occurred.

“They spared the life of one woman who was in one of the vehicles. All the victims were Hazaras.”

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the incident, but it comes as Taliban fighters ramp up attacks amid a disputed leadership transition.

Abdul Razaq Qaderi, the deputy police chief of Balkh, confirmed the fatalities, adding that officials were investigating who was behind it.

The killings bore chilling similarities to another incident in Wardak province south of Kabul, where assailants opened fire on a bus and killed 13 passengers in late March.

Masked assailants seized 31 Hazaras from a bus in the southern Afghan province of Zabul in late February as they were returning from Iran.

Nineteen of them were released in May in exchange for scores of Uzbek militant fighters held in government prisons.

President seeks foreign support

Saturday’s killings came as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani implored international donors for their continued support, saying the country faced a host of security and economic challenges.

“Rebuilding Afghanistan is going to be a long-term endeavour,” Ghani said at a conference of donors in Kabul attended by Western delegates and non-governmental organisations.

“Afghanistan is a wounded country. Widespread unemployment, a violent insurgency, and the advance of extremism across the region are increasing the likelihood that (our) economic reform agenda will be undone by political unrest.”

Taliban fighters are stepping up their summer offensive launched in late April amid a simmering leadership succession dispute after the confirmation of longtime chief Mullah Omar’s death.

Mullah Akhtar Mansour, a trusted deputy of Omar, was named as the insurgents’ new chief in late July, but the power transition has been acrimonious.

Afghan security forces, stretched on multiple fronts, are facing their first fighting season without the full support of US-led NATO forces.

NATO ended its combat mission in Afghanistan last December and pulled out the bulk of its troops although a 13,000-strong residual force remains for training and counter-terrorism operations.

Aljazeera News

Dispatches: A Court-Sanctioned Lashing in Afghanistan

By Heather Barr Senior Researcher, Women’s Rights Division.

It’s a scene we associate with the Taliban. A woman covered head to toe in a flowing veil, huddled on the ground before a man in a turban. His right arm is raised, in motion, holding a lash, a second away from bringing it down on her. An audience of men – only men – sit in a circle around them. They have chairs – a nod to their comfort while they watch what may be intended as a cautionary lesson, or spectacle.

This is not the Taliban. This photo emerged on September 1, and reportedly shows the lashing of a woman named Zarmina, 22, who was arrested with a man named Ahmad, 21, several weeks ago in Afghanistan’s Ghor province. The two were accused of zina, or sex outside of marriage, which under Afghan law is a crime carrying a sentence of 5 to 15 years in prison. The two were sentenced to 100 lashes each by a court – not a Taliban tribunal, not a convening of elders, but a formal court of law that is part of the same Afghan government that the international community has been working to strengthen and legitimize since the fall of the Taliban government in 2001. The punishment of lashing is illegal, as it is not authorized by law, but Afghan courts hand out corporal punishment with sufficient regularity that district judges have been known to keep a lash hanging in their office.

Expand : An Afghan judge hits a woman with a whip in front of a crowd in Ghor province, Afghanistan August 31, 2015.

REUTERS/PAJHWOK NEWS AGENCY

Sex between two consenting adults should never be a crime. But even more horrifyingly, a conviction for zina in Afghanistan is often based on the shakiest of evidence. When I interviewed dozens of women and girls imprisoned for zina and reviewed their cases, I learned that judges hand down harsh sentences based on women having left the home without permission, having been alone in the presence of a man who is not a relative, on malicious statements from angry and abusive husbands and fathers, and on abusive “virginity exams” – vaginal examinations that are medically meaningless.

On September 5, donor governments will convene in Kabul for a “senior officials meeting” to agree on a road map for international aid to Afghanistan for the next four years. This photo should be one more reminder of the extent to which the Afghan government continues to violate human rights, especially those of women. Ahead of the conference, President Ashraf Ghani has negotiated hard with foreign donors to reduce the human rights expectations they will place on his government. Instead, donors need to be much tougher about keeping rights at the top of the agenda.

They owe it to all of Afghanistan’s Zarminas and Ahmads.

Source HRW

Letter re: Afghanistan Senior Official Meetings

Pauline HayesHRW
Deputy Director, Western Asia and Stabilization Division
Department for International Development
United Kingdom

Dear Mrs. Hayes,

We write to you ahead of the Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) in September in Kabul to urge the United Kingdom to strengthen its support for the protection and promotion of human rights in Afghanistan through continued emphasis on the deliverables of the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework (TMAF).

We are concerned that the withdrawal of most international forces at the end of 2014 has created a real risk that international partners will reduce their commitment to Afghanistan on the basis that the core security mission has been accomplished. We ask that you and other international donors not adopt this approach, but rather recognize that safeguarding human rights is crucial for a more stable, inclusive, and prosperous Afghanistan.

We understand that donor countries are currently working with the National Unity Government of Afghanistan to develop the SOM agenda. There are indications that the Realizing Self-Reliance paper, presented by President Ashraf Ghani at the December 2014 London Conference, will be the centerpiece of the agenda. If this is the case, we are concerned that measurable commitments to human rights included in the TMAF are at risk. Rather than moving away from the TMAF, donors and the Afghan government should be looking to build on the TMAF by updating it and looking for areas of agreement on new tough but realistic – and, importantly, measurable – commitments to add, including on human rights.

The July 2012 Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan marked the first time that the Afghan government and the international community reached an agreement about specific and measurable targets the Afghan government was expected to meet in return for a commitment by donors to provide ongoing financial and technical support. The Senior Officials Meeting held in Kabul in July 2013 was the first time the Afghan government and its international supporters sat face to face to update each other on progress in TMAF deliverables.

In contrast, the Realizing Self-Reliance paper, while reaffirming Afghanistan’s human rights commitments, including its obligation to implement the Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) Law, lacks specific goals and measurable benchmarks for progress on human rights. Instead, the paper focuses primarily on fiscal reforms to curb corruption and ensure sustainability, and on economic development. These are important concerns, of course, but depart from the TMAF structure of benchmarked government goals in a way that largely frees the Afghan government from delivering on previously agreed upon commitments to human rights. The Realizing Self-Reliance paper is also a return to the model that proved ineffective in pre-Tokyo Conference efforts at setting goals, such as the 2010 London Conference, where the lack of specific measurable benchmarks made it impossible to monitor progress concretely.

Defending the gains of the last decade requires continued support to, and pressure on, the National Unity Government. Afghanistan is at a critical juncture, and it is more important than ever to ensure that protecting civilians and strengthening human rights remain priorities for the government in the continuing conflict and in the negotiations for any eventual agreement to end hostilities. The representation of women in all peace efforts represents one such commitment.

We include specific recommendations for the United Kingdom and other international donors to commit to at the SOM in Kabul. These recommendations relate to three main areas: security force accountability, women’s rights, and the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.

Full letter here HRW

What Latest Attacks Mean for Afghanistan’s Path to Peace

An Afghan woman cries as she looks for her son after a suicide attack at the entrance to the Police Academy in Kabul killed more than 20 cadets. (Photo: Wakil Kohsar/AFP)
An Afghan woman cries as she looks for her son after a suicide attack at the entrance to the Police Academy in Kabul killed more than 20 cadets. (Photo: Wakil Kohsar/AFP)

Friday is a rest day in Kabul, our weekend. I was staying with my sister and her family Thursday and woke in the middle of the night to a loud noise and whispers about whether what we had just heard was a rocket. The next day we learned Kabul had suffered its deadliest attack since 2009.

Forty-two civilians were killed and over 300 seriously injured in separate incidents in the city; more were killed and injured in several provinces. The first explosion in Kabul happened around 1 a.m. on Friday. Two other incidents in the capital followed. I spent a lot of that day on the phone inquiring after friends’ and colleagues’ health, as we often do these days. It was a bloody and brutal weekend.

The violence led to both anger and despair—anger at the Afghan government and in particular its peace process with the Taliban, which many see as “fruitless”; and despair, hopelessness, and fear, as heart-shattering media reports about the victims and their families sent our city into mourning.

Like other parents in the city, my sister, mother of a two-year-old boy, spoke about the uncertainty and everyday violence that children here grow up with. But she also realized that life must go on. We both went for a drive together around our neighborhood on Friday evening to reassure ourselves that no one will ever be able to take the streets of Kabul back from the women of Afghanistan.

Elsewhere in Kabul, this mix of anger, despair, and resilience also emerged. Youth activists, writers, and poets spread messages of hope in the face of terrorism. Radio and TV stations blasted patriotic music and voiced resistance to the Taliban. A group of youth volunteers who paint Kabul’s walls and security barriers with messages of hope and unity relaunched their campaign and asked for more to join them. Politicians, members of parliament, activists, and ordinary citizens reemphasized their commitment to stay in Afghanistan and work for a better future.

This wave of resistance was small, but there was hope amidst all the negativity and pain.

Civil society played a particularly important role in this resistance. It helped initiate a campaign that saw hundreds of women and men from different parts of Afghan society lined up to donate blood on Saturday despite the grave security situation. Civil society leaders spoke powerfully about the duty of the government and the Taliban to ensure the safety of civilians. They questioned the legitimacy of the peace negotiations in the wake of the Taliban’s brutal attacks.

President’s Ashraf Ghani’s statement in his press conference on Monday seemed to reflect this public pressure, as it took a harsher tone towards Pakistan and its unclear commitment to the peace talks, than might have happened otherwise. Friday rocked our confidence in the peace negotiations, but they must go on. And civil society and the public must continue to be involved in the process.

There is no easy or quick end to war in sight. Complex regional dynamics and shifts in Taliban leadership make sure of that. The brutal violence inflicted upon civilians on Friday might continue to claim more victims. This violence will influence public opinion and, as the Taliban intended, generate fear and uncertainty.

But Afghan civil society and media can, amidst all of this, continue to encourage resilience, unity, and hope; monitor human rights violations on both sides; ensure the public’s voice is heard in the peace process; and continue to press the government to fulfill its promises.

Civil society in Afghanistan is young and fragile. For the past 14 years, it has been seen for the most part as project-driven and donor-funded. To gain real legitimacy, civil society organizations will need to display more initiative in driving local agendas and amplifying the public’s concerns. They have the unique potential to stand above the divides that fragment Afghanistan’s political discourse, and to lead initiatives that bring Afghans closer.

Fear and lack of hope are two of our greatest enemies; they can damage the social fabric that sustains democracy and that resists Taliban ideology.

But strengthening tolerance and pluralism can lead to lasting peace. In this turbulent period of transition, civil society can be a voice of reassurance for all Afghans, especially the youth, to encourage us all to persevere and push for change.

Open Society

Relations between law and violence against women, need for an action!

Farkhunda

By : Khatera Kamal Nateqi

Farkhonda was killed in the capital, Kabul, the event once again Showed that women still do not have security in Afghanistan. Government is obliged to prevent these disorders of legal, cultural, Social and religious causes and do not let such similar events happen in the future.

No doubt that attack on Farkhonda is not the first attack, nor will be the last of this kind, and it is clear to everyone such incidents occurring daily in the country, mostly because the beliefs and traditions of the tribes is not realistic.

All responses about Farkhonda murder were questionable and society even government reacts to the supporters and defenders of her death. In this article I will try to give an answer to these questions and that these events needs to get a new check.

Alarm for all

Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission said that the last seven months of the year 1393 Hijri, the violence against women in Afghanistan is reached 2950 figure shows that violence against women has increased 25 times compared to previous years. The figure recorded in the office of the commission, but many cases of violence against women occurs away from human rights organizations and the media and the victim is buried in the heart.

Many girls are murdered after being raped and many of the perpetrators of the rape and violence against women are the family and relatives. The basic question is that Afghan judicial system which is corrupt, has addressed some of this violence? And do justices to the relatives of the victim have been given?

In some cities and most villages in Afghanistan women because of misconceptions and misinterpretations of religious culture are kept away from the public, they do not have go out of the house or the right to participate in meetings and public meetings.

Due to the oppressive conditions, violence against women is increasing, and this has caused women do not trust even their family members and close relatives.

What happened in the “shah du Shamshyrah” was that perpetrators of violent against Farkhonda unintentionally, film and video tapes is taken by friends and their accomplices. If I held court in this case, without a doubt the movie would be used against the perpetrators of the incident.

The result of a murder

Violence against women are still not ruling even in Afghanistan law. This cause increasing violence against thousands of women, but Farkhonda murder distinct two issues:

First Afghan society, particularly institutions of civil society have reached to a level of awakening and it brought the hope that social and religious norms can be criticism,second, for the first time in Afghanistan, a close traditional country, this incident initiated the resistance power against wrong religious believes. 

No need for thinking

“Shah du Shamshyrah” (mosque) incident showed that it is the time to change the view about religion and ask people know what they do not know about religion. A general look shows that we are standing in first years of Islam with no improvement.  the time that people used to sacrificed everything to get near to God, even God.

Many of the prophets came to invite people to worship with the message of “religion is part of life, not all of life”

We are still at the beginning of the Islamic religious texts and beliefs, with respect to the development of science nowadays, we are still arguing if a woman can go out without his husband permission or not.

The nature and extent of violence in laws

Aggression and violence in history was sentenced, without a doubt, the Afghan government also rejected this phenomena, but how much the government,scholars, legislators have been agreed to prevent this phenomena ?

It must not be forgotten that the government always has the upper hand to control society. If we look at the issue of violence, according to figures undoubtedly negative response to the question.

Social violence is caused of two factors, the absence of law, and violent and despotic law.

A – The lack of law: during the past fourteen years it became clear that some criminals and suspects of violence against women were acquitted because they did some kind of crime was supported in order the other law.

An obvious example of this can be mass rape of women in Kabul’s Paghman, there criminal were sentenced in accordance of kidnapping and armed robbery law in Afghan constitution but their real guilt, mass rape of women in front of their husbands were ignored.

(B) the violent and despotic law: some criminal case base on Islamic law happens that not only crimes are not considered, but also the criminal is a good religious person.

Conclusion

In addition, some violence against women and criminals scape of law reasons is as follows:

(A) false reading of religion, traditional beliefs. women’s rights support organizations believe that the violence in the metropolis where they have more access to information and the media decreased but in rural and remote areas, this phenomenon has been raising.

(B) Administrative corruption in the legal system that acquits criminals, international research shows that Afghan judicial system is the most corrupt institution known. to continue the process will damage general mental health and cause lack of trust to government.

(C) violent religious laws gives the perpetrators the sense of good believers in God that during recent years, in addition to the Taliban and other armed groups, especially in Shiite areas, this believers Issued sentence in order their religious believes.

(D) government has failed to apply the sentences against perpetrators of violence against women. many of the perpetrators of violence are living out of prisons because the law could not put them in prison.

(H )Most villages people address legal issues to the Taliban and this extremist terrorist group (Taliban), in all cases without investigating, sentence the death penalty, stoning, lashings against women.

Free our artist and photojournalist Najibullah Musafer !

Najibullah Musafer the father of Afghan Photography, director of 3rd Eye Film & Photojournalism Center, Photojournalist at Killed Group, sentenced to six months in prison and was transferred to Puli Charkhi prison where douzen of terorist and Taliban members are in.
Najibullah Musafer the father of Afghan Photography, director of 3rd Eye Film & Photojournalism Center, Photojournalist at Killed Group, sentenced to six months in prison and was transferred to Puli Charkhi prison where douzen of terorist and Taliban members are in.

Najibullah Musafer famous Afghan artist and photographer transferred to Puli- Charkhi Prison.

Najibullah Musafer the father of Afghan Photography, director of 3rd Eye Film & Photojournalism Center, Photojournalist at Killed Group, sentenced to six months in prison and was transferred to Puli Charkhi prison where dozen of terrorist and Taliban members are in.

He received a letter from the second primary court and police office, that he have to come, when the latter comes Musafir was working and he leaves office to visit police station.

The police took him to the central police station court, he was under pressure of the police officers, the court sentenced him to six months charge in jail, where he wasn’t present at the court.

Professor Musafer was attended to Gazi Studoum where President Karzai was at an event spot ceremony, where dozen local and foreign journalists have been attended too in 2005.

Two young ladies were carrying a symbolic status for encouraging national sport, he take photos and the afterward the photos were sold to another advertising company.

The advertising company misused the photo widely with his partner Etisalat tele company at that time for industry promotion.

One of the girls went to police and to Etisalat, that why they replaced the national sport symbol to Etisalat Logo by Photoshop ?

Afghan justice institutions by receiving near 50 thousand dollars as bribes from companies to resolve their case and unfortunately Mr. Musafer a well known artist, photographer is imprisoned on charges of taking and sell photo.

Najibullah Musafer was born in Qol Abchakan of De Afghanan area in Kabul city in 1963. He got his certificate from Faculty of Fine Arts in Kabul University in the field of drawing. In addition to interest in design and color from the beginning, Musafer was interested in filming and photography too. Having primary facilities, he recorded seconds and hunted the moments skillfully, and took unique photos.

In 1997, he established an art-training center and trained many nominated students such as Sher Ali and Ali Khan Yazdaney who is currently teaching at the Kabul University. During the Taliban regime, Musafer developed his photography skills with the help of Kate Clarke. Musafer is now the director of 3rd Eye and he is also teaching in Bakhtar and Kabul Universities.

When I joined Aina Photo, I was its oldest member (at 40), and I probably still am, says Najibullah. I was the only person to successfully film a documentary on the Taliban among the Hazara minority located in central Afghanistan. I spent seven months in prison of Taliban for “photograph related crimes.” Had the Taliban discovered my film, I would have certainly been sentenced to death. I am now working as deputy assistant editor and photographer for two weekly Afghan magazines, Kallid and Morsell. Kallid focuses on current affairs, while Morsell is a magazine that explores women’s issues in post-Taliban Afghanistan.

In recent days, Gunmen in southern Afghanistan kidnapped 30 members of the Hazara ethnic community, authorities said Tuesday, in what appeared to be the latest in a series of attacks on Shiites in the predominantly Sunni country.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack Monday afternoon, police and officials said.

The gunmen kidnapped the 30 people, all men, from two vehicles on a major road in Zabul province, provincial Gov. Mohammad Ashraf said. He said all women, children and non-Hazaras were left behind.

Authorities were searching for those kidnapped, some of whom may be government officials, Ashraf said.

Security is an enormous challenge for all Afghans in every sector. However, due to the fact that reporting the news is dangerous even in peaceful countries, this challenge is stronger for the media in Afghanistan.

The situation in Afghanistan is horrible in these days, in that cause Mr. Massoud Hassanzadeh instillation artist and singer fired his instillation artwork to protest against the present situation.
The situation in Afghanistan is horrible in these days, in that cause Mr. Massoud Hassanzadeh instillation artist and singer fired his instillation artwork to protest against the present situation.

Security threats mainly come from the Taliban and opposition armed group, but not only these groups. Shadowy armed groups with un-verifiable links frequently threaten and attack reporters. In the past 13 years, more than 40 journalists have been killed in Afghanistan (Nai 2014b). Dozens of cases, including some killings, are attributed to such mysterious armed groups. Only one case, the killing of a German journalist, was directly blamed on the government.

The situation in Afghanistan is quiet horrible, in that cause Mr. Massoud Hassanzadeh instillation artist and singer fired his instillation artwork to protest against the present situation.

Although the 3rd Eye Film and Photojournalism Center calling from the officials to free our artist photojournalist from the jail, where the jail isn’t for such positive artist and journalist who struggled for peace and democracy in past 20 years of his life in Afghanistan.