A new breed of warlord, force marriage treats

by Ms. Khoda Bakhsh

In the twilight that passes for reality in Afghanistan, the story of Hakim Shujoyi does not add up neatly – but there’s enough in its different parts to suggest that a monster is stalking the eastern flank of Oruzgan province.


Hakim Shujai

Personal detail is opaque, but not the contradictions from which Shujai draws inordinate power in Khas Oruzgan, a wild and mountainous swath of the province in which the Kabul government is yet to assert its authority beyond the confines of the Khas Oruzgan bazaar.

“He’s a cruel killer as people speaks about, but he has big support behind him,” As a minority Hazara, Shujai ordinarily might be expected to step gingerly around the majority Pashtuns, but a reputation as a fearless “Taliban hunter” has earned enough US military protection for him to cast himself as a new warlord – even as the Americans were backing him into the leadership of a new grassroots community protection service, the Afghan Local Police or ALP.

Shielding him from official pursuit and prosecution are fellow Hazaras who hold senior positions in the Karzai government – in particular vice president Mohammad Karim Khalili and now the time has changed with his inordinate power.

“He takes revenge on village farmers and the like. Elders and other prominent people are safe from him, so it’s the lowly and the innocent who he makes pay the price,” says a local observer, as he explains that Shujoyi’s collective punishment of villages for the real or imagined wrongdoings of individuals perpetuate cyclical violence.

Retaliatory attacks by Pashtuns include a massacre in which 11 Hazaras were beheaded, all by the hand of the brother of a man who died in an assault on his village by Shujai ‘s men. The Pashtun man who did the mass beheadings used a knife which, several sources say, he had recovered from a gaping wound in his brother’s throat after the initial Shujai’s  attack.

A former chief of police in Oruzgan, Juma Gul Heimat, explains that he arrested Shujai on the orders of President Hamid Karzai. “We flew by US aircraft to pick him up and the Americans held him for about a week as we started an investigation, but then he disappeared from custody,” Juma Gul says.

“His people do a lot of bad things – they rape and loot in the name of the Hazara. Hundreds of people die in disputes between the Hazara and the Pashtuns. But the problem is, thousands would be dying if the American Special forces were not there.”

Even prominent Hazara figures are wary of Shujai . Recently we got case that Shujai has been treated sister of an Afghan journalist and human rights activist for force marriage, we can’t write name of the victim who been treated and his brother’s name particularly one who is a known journalist and media activist. 

Such cases are happening every single day in Afghanistan, with in Hazara community and other parts of the country such north and west Afghanistan.

As we had discussion with Afghan Journalist about her sister case, Shujai is still a warlord with much power to use for his empire but let’s not count on week government who create space for such inhuman warlords to use it’s own play.

Perception becomes reality in a region in which tit-for-tat hostage-taking is common enough between Pashtuns and Hazaras, distrustful of each other after decades of reciprocal abuse. Repeated US denials of support or protection for Shujai count for little because of what the people claim to see and hear.

Recently, a 40-man delegation went to Kabul to complain, delivering photographic evidence of what purportedly were the breast wounds suffered by several women.

Afghanistan is suffering from rampant violence, as a result of sectarian and ethnic strife, which is gradually increasing as the time line of NATO forces withdrawal is ending.  This would rapidly exacerbate, if no international peacekeeping force stays in the conflict ridden areas, and will hamper all the gains achieved up till now.

The withdrawal of international forces from conflict-ridden areas is subject to the availability of efficient replacement for the administration of security matters.  Unfortunately, the Afghanistan army is not capable enough to protect Afghanistan at this stage. The rising defections trend in Afghanistan army speaks for itself. These soldiers eventually regroup with Taliban, and attack on foreign forces.

The reasons for increasing defections are due to professional incompetence of Afghanistan National Army, corruption within army ranks, inferior quality of arms and ammunitions et cetera. There are chances that ANA future operations will completely halt, due to absence of operational support from foreign forces.

Afghan Journalist and human rights activist who lives now in Sweden, he has allot to tell about such cases and according to the ethnic information he is also from Hazara community and from the same district of Ghazni province that Shujai has made his own empire.


He is welling to share story of her sister but he is much worry about his mother who she is still around.

At the end, the women rights issue will rekindle once again. Women in Afghanistan have suffered tremendously since the last three decades. Since the invasion of Afghanistan, these incidents have diminished due to law and order apparatus, but still there emerge cases of domestic abuse, force marriages and burning alive like a mob of male attackers viciously attacked 27-year-old Farkhunda. They beat her, set her body ablaze, and tossed her into the shallow waters of Kabul river on March 19, 

A former woman law maker Ms Atmar was divorced by her husband and shunned by family, after she helped pass the landmark legislation for the protection of women. Mr. Atmar is now Afghan National Security Adviser for Ashraf Ghani’s government. 

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


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.


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.

By : Marziye Vafayi

Empowering Women in Afghanistan: Interview with Anita Haidary at Global Voices


Anita Haidary is an Afghan women’s rights activist and co-founder of Young Women for Change(YWC), a non-governmental organization aiming to empower and improve the lives of women in Afghanistan. She is now studying Film Studies at an American college, while continuing to advocate for Afghan women’s rights. Global Voices has interviewed Anita about her activism and her views on the role of women in Afghanistan after the 2014 elections.

Global Voices: What inspired you to start Young Women for Change?

Anita Haidary: Every detail in my life, my family, and religion, the classes I took, and the school I went to have made me the person I am, with the values I have. The equality taught by my religion and the experience of seeing this equality practiced in my family made me stronger and nurtured certain values in me. Seeing inequality and insult at school invoked resistance in me, and I have been resisting injustice since the eighth grade. I didn’t always know that what I was fighting against was gender inequality. I was rather unwilling to accept something that I thought was wrong. Later this grew into a bigger struggle for the Afghan women.

GV: Why did you choose to campaign for women’s rights?

AH: Many people think that you have to be a victim to feel the pain. But I am not campaigning for women’s right because I was a victim. Instead, I was always told that I was a strong, capable, and smart person. Teachers in my school used to tell us that we, girls and women, were vulnerable, and I decided to speak up against this view. I continued doing so when seeing harassment against women and our limited role in society. This all has led me to work for women’s rights and become a co-founder of the Young Women for Change.

GV: Is it dangerous for you to advocate for women’s rights in Afghanistan?

AH: Any attempt at social change and any challenge against the mainstream is dangerous. That’s exactly why this work should be done. It has to start somewhere. On the other hand, I do not agree with statements that activists should be “made of steel” and should be fearless. We are human beings, and it is in our nature to have fear. The important thing is that we continue fighting despite the dangers we come across. I have to remind myself from time to time that as a woman, I have the right to security. Therefore, while the determination to continue the struggle is important, it is also important to be smart in order to survive and be able to keep the struggle alive.

GV: How does YWC help to stop violence and discrimination against women in Afghanistan?

AH: YWC focuses on grassroots work. We ran several school projects that focused on preventing harassment and addressing women’s rights issues in general. We also organized demonstrations against honor killings and street harassment, and disseminated posters calling on people to stop these practices. We also write blogs to raise awareness. Besides, YWC organizes open lectures to raise people’s awareness about women’s rights in Islam and in international law.

GV: How close do you think YWC is to reaching its goal?

AH: We have started. YWC’s goal is to start the conversation about Afghan women’s rights, find solutions to most common issues within our society, and use the forces of society to implement those solutions. I think we have been successful in approaching our goal so far, particularly in recruiting volunteers, generating fruitful discussions, and finding collective solutions that respect the diversity of Afghan society.

We are currently working to give YWC a formal structure which is important as we are planning to grow and extend our geographic coverage in Afghanistan. We will soon be launching a street harassment report. We will also extend our work with schools and private courses.

GV: What are the main challenges YWC faces?

AH: We are a grassroots movement which depends on volunteers rather than paid employees. Volunteers face many challenges in Afghanistan, and this makes our work challenging too. Financial issues and social problems such as street harassment add up to our problems.

Besides, people know little about our cause and often resist what we do in some areas of Afghanistan. There are strong views against women and men working together in parts of Afghan society. But we include men in YWC’s work because we firmly believe that it is important that men learn about women’s rights and join our struggle for these rights.

GV: What is your view on the Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) law? [Drafted by civil society, EVAW was enacted by a presidential decree in 2009. The Afghan parliament has recently refused to endorse the law].

AH: I think EVAW law is one of the most important steps that have been taken towards elimination of violence against women in Afghanistan. The law runs against multiple local laws which are not favoring women.

GV: Why do you think the Afghan parliament did not endorse the EVAW?

AH: Political parties in the parliament have their own agendas. They vote against laws that do not serve their goals. Some lawmakers stated they could not approve the law because it “contradicted” Islamic norms. But such statements are questionable because the law has been there and has been partly implemented since 2009. Why wasn’t the questions of the law being “un-Islamic” was not raised when the law was made?

GV: How can the EVAW law be improved?

AH: I think the law should incorporate Afghan women’s perspective. The government of Afghanistan also needs to remain aware of the international human rights norms when dealing with women’s rights.

GV: How do you see the role of women after 2014?

AH: I am concerned about the sustainability [of the gains that have been made] because of the possible deterioration of security. But I think women will remain very active. The lack of security will limit their activism. But at the same time, it will lead women to continue the struggle for their rights. The government should open up even more to women to ensure a greater representation for them, not only at lower levels but also in in major decision-making positions.

GV: There are no women candidates in the 2014 presidential elections. What is your take on this?

AH: I think this is very sad because we did have a female candidate during the previous presidential elections. I think it would be a very positive step if we had women in the presidential race. It would give other women courage to come forward. At the same time, the reality is that our society is dominated by men. People firmly believe that women are incapable of holding high-level governmental posts. Therefore, I cannot comment on whether a woman could really win the elections, but I definitely think that having a female presidential candidate would send a positive image to everyone in Afghanistan and the international community.

GV: As an Afghan women’s rights activist, what advice do you have for the young people of Afghanistan?

AH: I would advise them not to give up. It is just the beginning. If we keep fighting, we will get there. The rest of the world also had to struggle through hard times, and this is our time to start. We need to remember what divided our society in the past. We need to embrace and respect our diversity, and build tolerance between men and women, as well as among Afghanistan’s different linguistic, religious, and ethnic groups. We are a diverse society and nothing can change this fact. Now it is up to us whether we accept this and learn to live with each other and work together – or we can follow the path that we have long followed and face the grim consequences.

Global Voices also interviewed Noorjahan Akbar, another Afghan women’s rights activist and co-founder of Young Women for Change, earlier this year.

Samea Shanori

Afghanistan: Child Marriage, Domestic Violence Harm Progress

Maternity In Afghanistan

President Karzai Should Enforce Violence Against Women Law !

Amina R. (not her real name) sleeps with her newborn baby in a hospital in Kabul. © 2002 Paula Bronstein/Getty Images (New York) – Afghan President Hamid Karzai should take urgent action to fight child marriage and domestic violence or risk further harm to development and public health in Afghanistan, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to the president. In the 15-page briefing paper, “Afghanistan: Ending Child Marriage and Domestic Violence,” Human Rights Watch highlights the health and economic consequences of marriage under age 18 and violence against women and girls. Karzai, who is barred by term limits from running in the April 2014 presidential election, should make full enforcement of the 2009 Law on the Elimination of Violence Against Women (the EVAW Law) a priority for his last year in office. “President Karzai’s signing of the violence against women law in 2009 ushered in vital protections against child marriage and domestic violence,” saidLiesl Gerntholtzwomen’s rights director at Human Rights Watch. “By ensuring the law is enforced, Karzai would leave a lasting legacy of support for the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan.” The law imposed tough new penalties for abuse of women, including making child marriage and forced marriage crimes under Afghan law for the first time. Child marriage remains common in Afghanistan, increasing the likelihood of early pregnancy, which heightens the risk of death and injury in childbirth. According to a 2010 mortality survey by the Ministry of Public Health, 53 percent of women in the 25-49 age group were married by the age of 18; 12 percent of Afghan girls aged 15-19 became pregnant or gave birth; and 47 percent of deaths of women aged 20 to 24 were related to pregnancy. It found that one Afghan woman died every two hours because of pregnancy. Child marriage and early pregnancy also contributes to fistula, a preventable childbirth injury in which prolonged labor creates a hole in the birth canal. A 2011 government report found that 25 percent of the women and girls diagnosed with fistula were younger than 16 when they married and 17 percent were under 16 when they first gave birth. Fistula leaves one leaking urine or feces, and often results in social ostracism, loss of earning capacity, medical expenses for treatment, and depression. Left untreated, fistula can cause further serious medical problems, even death. Children born as a result of child marriages also suffer increased health risks. The 2010 mortality survey found a higher death rate among children born to Afghan mothers under age 20 compared to those born to older mothers, which reflects global findings. “Afghan officials should act to end the harm being caused by child marriage,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The damage to young mothers, their children, and Afghan society as a whole is incalculable.” Domestic violence harms individual women and their families and also takes an economic toll on society, including through healthcare costs and lost productivity, Human Rights Watch said. Domestic violence is alarmingly common in Afghanistan: a 2006 study by Global Rights, an international nongovernmental organization, found 85 percent of Afghan women reporting that they had experienced physical, sexual, or psychological violence or forced marriage. An estimated 2,000 Afghan women and girls attempt suicide by setting themselves on fire each year, which is linked to domestic violence and early or forced marriages. In the decade since the overthrow of the Taliban government, Afghanistan has failed to take measures adopted by other Islamic countries and countries with large Muslim populations to curtail child marriage and domestic violence, Human Rights Watch said. Bangladesh, Egypt, and Jordan among others have increased the minimum age of marriage to 18. Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Malaysia have introduced legal reforms to combat domestic violence. At a donor conference in Tokyo in July 2012, the Afghan government promised to do more to enforce the EVAW law in return for $16 billion in pledges for future aid to Afghanistan. The government should also implement the 2008 Plan of Action for the Advancement of Women adopted by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The plan of action calls for the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, including preventing early and forced marriages, which are considered an impediment to improving the health, education, political participation, social justice, and well-being of women. Human Rights Watch urged Karzai to initiate awareness campaigns about the harms of child marriage and domestic violence, and to urgently take the following measures:

  • Support passage of a law to set the minimum age for marriage at 18 for girls and boys;
  • Launch a country-wide awareness campaign about the negative impacts of child marriage, including information about the risk of maternal death, fistula, and infant death or poor health;
  • Support immediate steps to establish specialized EVAW prosecution units in every province and track the number of EVAW prosecutions by province and district;
  • Develop new and effective initiatives to improve recruitment and retention of female police officers, and ensure that all police Family Response Units are staffed by female police officers.

Afghanistan: Worsening violence against children in Afghanistan

Children right

KABUL, 21 June 2013 (IRIN) – One of the victims of last month’s attack on the International Organization for Migration (IOM) compound in the Afghan capital is still to be identified – a six year old boy.

The child’s body, found near the attack site, has not been claimed and the police have not been able to find the boy’s parents.

As a result of the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, the number of child casualties in the first four months of 2013 was 414 – a 28 percent jump from the 327 last year, according to the UN Secretary-General’s Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict. Of the 414 child casualties, 121 were killed and 293 injured.

“Afghanistan remains one of the world’s most difficult and dangerous places to be a child,” UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) spokesman Alistair Gretarsson told IRIN.

From 2010 to 2012, the UN report says 4,025 children were killed or seriously wounded as a result of the conflict in Afghanistan.

Child casualties for the country totalled 1,304 for 2012. However, the reported 28 percent increase in child casualties in the first four months of this year is fuelling concern that 2013 could be one of the deadliest years yet for children in Afghanistan.

“Every day when I leave the house, my Mum worries about us,” said Mohammad Qayum, a 14-year-old boy selling gum on the streets of Kabul. “There are more attacks in Kabul and my friends working on the streets are also scared. We are a lot more scared than we used to be.”

Continuing a trend from recent years, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are still the leading killer, contributing to 37 percent of the 414 conflict-related child casualties.

Children caught in crossfire made up 20 percent of the child-casualties; “explosive remnants of war” – 18 percent; with the remainder attributed to other causes.

According to UNICEF, the armed opposition accounted for most of the attacks. However, the Taliban, just one of many armed opposition groups in the country, deny the claim.

Indirect victims

Aside from being physically caught up in the violence, children suffer in a variety of ways from the conflict – from disrupted education, to forced recruitment as child soldiers, to the loss of family members.

Qayum’s father died in a suicide attack six years ago. He has three sisters and one older brother; so the US$4 he earns a day selling gum and flowers on the street is essential.

While the government and armed opposition groups, particularly the Taliban, have laws and regulations prohibiting the recruitment of children as fighters and suicide bombers, both continue to do so.

Ali Ahmad, 12 at the time, was searching for a job at the Spin Boldak border when he was abducted.

“They took me to a training centre and trained me for 20 days. They taught me how to use guns and weapons and also taught me how to do a suicide attack by pressing some button and telling me that I will be given a lot of money,” Ali told IRIN.

Findings from the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) 2013 torture reportshow of the 105 child detainees interviewed, 80 (76 percent) experienced torture or abuse at the hands of Afghan security forces – a 14 percent increase compared to previous findings.

Sexual abuse

Children described being beaten with cables or pipes, being forced to make confessions, being hanged, having genitals twisted, death threats, rape and sexual abuse. Of all the violations against children in Afghanistan, sexual violence remains one of the most under-reported abuses.

“Although sexual abuse of both boys and girls is a crime under Afghan law, the sexual abuse of boys continues to be tolerated far too often, especially when it takes place in association with armed groups where families of the children involved have no real recourse,” Heather Barr of Human Rights Watch told IRIN.

Bacha-bazi – the practice of “owning” a boy for sexual purposes, usually by people with money and power such as government officials and militia commanders – rarely receives attention.

“The reality is that it is very widespread and it’s very prevalent in the Afghan society. It’s something that Afghanistan as a society is not able to discuss openly. The society is not ready to face that this problem exists and something has to be done,” said one analyst who asked not to be named.

Last year in southern Helmand Province several cases of rape and abuse were exposed. A district governor was found keeping a 15-year-old “boy”, whose identity was only highlighted after he killed an international soldier.

Conflict-related violence continues to hinder children’s access to education. Most violations such as the burning of schools, intimidation and threats against staff are reportedly the result of armed groups. However, schools are also used by pro-government forces to carry out operations.

As a result of the growing violence across the country, more and more youth are seeking a way out.

“Unfortunately the number of young people leaving the country today is increasing,” Gen Aminullah Amarkhel, head of Interpol, told IRIN in a recent interview.

According to a UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) report released this week, Afghanistan is one of five countries that make up 55 percent of the world’s 45.2 million displaced people. One in every four refugees is from Afghanistan, making it the world’s largest contributor.

Children under 18 make up 46 percent of refugees worldwide. A record number of asylum seekers submitting applications in 2012 came from children, either unaccompanied or separated from their parents.

Conflict is the main cause, said the report.

“As the Qatar office opens and formal negotiations between the government and the Taliban perhaps finally start,” said Barr, “issues like protection of civilians and protection of children should be the first thing on the agenda”.

Source: IRIN