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 militants committed gang rapes and mass murders in Kunduz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Taliban did War Cirmes in Jalrez,west of Kabul

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Edited by Basir Seerat

Read more: New York Times 

Dispatches: Yet Again, Afghanistan Relies on Abusive Strongmen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

source: HRW

Universal portests for rescuing #31kiddnapped Hazaras !

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

Afghan government reaction:

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

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

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

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

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

And this speech was all the government did.

Social Activists :

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

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

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

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

Bring Back

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

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

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

Read more:

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

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

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

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

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

Afghanistan: Abusive Strongmen Escape Justice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HRW

Read full Report

Dispatches: Afghanistan’s Afshar Agonies Remembered

by: Ahmad Shuja

Afshar

Twenty-two years ago, residents of Kabul’s Afshar district awoke to the sound of rockets launched at them from a nearby mountainside. February 11, 1993, marked the bloody dawn of the Afshar campaign, one of the worst mass atrocities of Afghanistan’s civil war of the early 1990s. Powerful militia-backed faction leaders systematically planned and coordinated the Afshar campaign as part of their battle for control of the capital. Civilians bore the brunt of the brutality as the militias shot, raped, and kidnapped at will.

It is impossible to know how many civilians were killed, or abducted and never released. 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.

Afshar and its aftermath symbolize the toxic impunity that has plagued Afghanistan for decades.

The final documents of an official inquiry into the massacre were destroyed after the Taliban captured Kabul in 1996. There is no serious dispute about what happened in Afshar, and there’s ample evidence of who was responsible. But the government that came to power with international support in 2001 opted to not pursue the perpetrators of the Afshar campaign as part of a cold-blooded political calculation that traded justice for hoped-for political stability. It systematically blocked inquiries and efforts aimed at holding to account those responsible for Afshar and other mass abuses. In 2006, the Afghan parliament went so far as to give amnesty to perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity, many of whom enjoy positions of power. Former President Hamid Karzai approved the law despite promising not to do so.

The United States and other allies of Afghanistan, who squandered the opportunity to push for justice for over a decade, have worked with and supported many of the people facing credible allegations of grave human rights abuses.

But there’s still hope: a report by the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission provides forensic detail of abuses between 1978 and 2001, and is an invaluable starting point for further investigations. The Karzai government opted to suppress the report, but the new government of President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Adbullah should use it to end decades of impunity.

The victims of Afshar and too many other atrocities have waited far too long for justice, but Ghani and Abdullah could bring it within reach.

HRW

Were NATO Dogs Used to Rape Afghan Prisoners at Bagram Air Base?

Report Source : Alternet 

“If the prisoners did not say anything useful, each dog got to take a turn on them,” Jack told Todenhoefer. “After procedure like these, they confessed everything. They would have even said that they killed Kennedy without even knowing who he was.”

After the release of the CIA torture report by Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) the world is reeling in shock at the level of brutality revealed in the documents. In fact, the whole report is nothing more than a confession of sadistic procedures that could have been lifted from the diaries of Torquemada, from “rectal feeding” to nude beatings and humiliation — horrors that were well-known but not officially confirmed. But the report remains incomplete. Indeed, some 9000 documents have been withheld.

A defense contractor whose subsidiary was accused of conspiring to torture Abu Ghraib prisoners has settled with 71 former inmates for $5 million.
A defense contractor whose subsidiary was accused of conspiring to torture Abu Ghraib prisoners has settled with 71 former inmates for $5 million.

What new horrors could be discovered with the publication of these records?

Perhaps the most gut-wrenching story to emerge from Bagram has been buried in the German media and remains unknown to

much of the world. Published by German author and former politician Juergen Todenhoefer in his latest book, Thou Shalt Not Kill, the account stems from a visit to Kabul. At a local hotel, a former Canadian soldier and private security contractor named Jack told Todenhoefer why he could not longer stand working in Bagram.

“It’s not my thing when Afghans get raped by dogs,” Jack remarked.

Todenhoefer’s son, who was present with him in Kabul and was transcribing Jack’s words, was so startled by the comment he nearly dropped his pad and pen.

The war veteran, who loathed manipulating Western politicians even as he defended tactics of collective punishment, continued his account: Afghan prisoners were tied face down on small chairs, Jack said. Then fighting dogs entered the torture chamber.

“If the prisoners did not say anything useful, each dog got to take a turn on them,” Jack told Todenhoefer. “After procedure like these, they confessed everything. They would have even said that they killed Kennedy without even knowing who he was.”

A former member of parliament representing the right-of-center Christian Democratic Union from 1972 to 1990, Todenhoefer transformed into a fervent anti-war activist after witnessing the Soviet destruction of Aghanistan during the 1980’s. His journalism has taken him to Iraq and back to Afghanistan, where he has presented accounts of Western military interventions from the perspective of indigenous guerrilla forces. Unsurprisingly, his books have invited enormous controversy for presenting a sharp counterpoint to the war on terror’s narrative. In Germany, Todenhofer is roundly maligned by pro-Israel and US-friendly figures as a “vulgar pacifist” and an apologist for Islamic extremism. But those who have been on the other side of Western guns tend to recognize his journalism as an accurate portrayal of their harsh reality.

Though his account of dogs being used to rape prisoners at Bagram is unconfirmed, the practice is not without precedent. Female political prisoners of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet’s jails have described their torturers using dogs to rape them.

More recently, Lawrence Wright, the author of the acclaimed history of Al Qaeda, The Looming Towertold National Public Radio’s Terry Gross, “One of my FBI sources said that he had talked to an Egyptian intelligence officer who said that they used the dogs to rape the prisoners. And it would be hard to tell you how humiliating it would be to any person, but especially in Islamic culture where dogs are such a lowly form of life. It’s, you know, that imprint will never leave anybody’s mind.”

I spoke to an Afghan named Mohammad who worked as an interpreter in Bagram and insisted on anonymity for fear of reprisals. He told me Todenhoefer’s account of dogs being used to rape prisoners in the jail was “absolutely realistic.” Mohammad worked primarily with US forces in Bagram, taking the job out of financial desperation. He soon learned what a mistake he had made. “When I translated for them, I often knew that the detainee was anything but a terrorist,” he recalled. “Most of them were poor farmers or average guys.”

However, Mohammad was compelled to keep silent while his fellow countrymen were brutally tortured before his eyes. “I often felt like a traitor, but I needed the money,” he told me. “I was forced to feed my family. Many Afghan interpreters are in the very same situation.”

A “traitor” is also what the Taliban calls guys like Mohammad. It is well-known that they make short-shrift of interpreters they catch. Mohammad has since left Afghanistan for security reasons and is reluctant to offer explicit details of the interrogations sessions he participated in. However, he insisted that Todenhoefer’s account accurately captured the horrors that unfolded behind the walls of Bagram.

The report finds medical personnel connected to the torture program may have committed war crimes by conducting human experimentation on prisoners in violation of the Nuremberg Code that grew out of the trial of Nazi officials and doctors after World War II. We speak with Nathaniel Raymond, a research ethics adviser for Physicians for Human Rights, who co-wrote the new report.
The report finds medical personnel connected to the torture program may have committed war crimes by conducting human experimentation on prisoners in violation of the Nuremberg Code that grew out of the trial of Nazi officials and doctors after World War II. We speak with Nathaniel Raymond, a research ethics adviser for Physicians for Human Rights, who co-wrote the new report.

“Guantanamo is a paradise if you compare it with Bagram,” Muhammad said.

Waheed Mozhdah, a well-known political analyst and author based in Kabul, echoed Muhammad’s account. “Bagram is worse than Guantanamo,” Mozdah told me, “and all the crimes, even the most cruel ones like the dog story, are well known here but most people prefer to not talk about it.”

Hometown for soldiers, hellhole for inmates

It is hard to imagine what more hideous acts of torment remain submerged in the chronicles of America’s international gulag archipelago. Atrocities alleged to a German journalist by a former detainee at the US military’s Bagram Airbase in Kabul, Afghanistan, suggest that the worst horrors may be too much for the public to stomach.

Bagram Airbase is the largest base the US constructed in Afghanistan and also one of the main theaters of its torture regime. You have to drive about one and a half hour from Kabul to reach the prison where hundreds of supposedly high-value detainees were held. The foundations of the base are much older, laid by the Soviets in the 1950s, when the last king of Afghanistan, Mohammad Zahir, maintained friendly connections with Moscow. Later, during the Soviet occupation, Bagram as the main control center for the Red Army.

Known as the “second Guantanamo,” even though conditions at Bagram are inarguably worse, you will find the dark dungeons, which were mentioned in the latest CIA report, next to American fast food restaurants. During the US occupation, the military complex in Bagram became like a small town for soldiers, spooks and contractors. In this hermetically sealed hellhole, the wanton abuse of human rights existed comfortably alongside the “American Way of Life.”

One of the persons sucked into the parallel world of Bagram was Raymond Azar, a manager of a construction company. Azar, a citizen of Lebanon, was on his way to the US military base near the Afghan Presidential Palace known as Camp Eggers when 10 armed FBI agents suddenly surrounded him. The agents handcuffed him, tied him up and shoved him into an SUV. Some hours later Azar found himself in the bowels of Bagram.

According to Azar’s testimony, he was forced to sit for seven hours while his hands and feet were tied to a chair. He spent the whole night in a cold metal container. His tormentors denied him food for 30 hours. Azar also claimed that the military officers showed him photos of his wife and four children, warning him that unless he cooperated he would never see his family again. Today we know that officers and agents have threatened prisoners with their relatives’ rape or murder.

Azar had nothing to do with Al Qaida or the Taliban. He was caught in the middle of a classic web of corruption. The businessman’s company had signed phony contracts with the Pentagon for reconstruction work in Afghanistan. Later, Azar was accused of having attempted to bribe the U.S. Army contact to secure the military contracts for his company. This was not the sort of crime for which a suspect is normally sent to a military prison. To date, no one has explained why the businessman was absconded to Bagram.

Most prisoners from Bagram are not rich business men or foreign workers from abroad, but average Afghan men who had a simple life before they had been kidnapped. One of these men was Dilawar Yaqubi, a taxi driver and farmer from Khost, Eastern Afghanistan. After five days of brutal torture in Bagram, Yaqubi was declared dead on Dec. 10, 2002. His legs had been “pulpified” by his interrogators, who maintained that they were simply acting according to guidelines handed down to them by the Pentagon and approved by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The case of the Afghan taxi driver’s killing was highlighted in the Oscar-winning documentary Taxi to the Dark Side. The film established that Yaqubi had simply been at the the wrong place at the wrong time. His family, his daughter and his wife, are waiting for justice. (Watch the full version of Taxi To The Dark Side.)

A US-backed government of rapists, warlords and torturers

You can sign the petition here

The latest CIA torture report is focused entirely on the crimes of the Bush administration. But it should not be forgotten that the horrors that have plagued Afghanistan continued under Barack Obama’s watch. When Afghanistan’s new president, Ashraf Ghani, entered power two months ago, the first thing he did was sign a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the US. According to the terms of this bogus deal negotiated without the consent or agreement of the Afghan public, the Afghan judiciary is forbidden from prosecuting criminal US soldiers in Afghanistan. This means that any American, whether a torturer or a drone operator who destroys a family with the push of a button, is above the law.

During the last days of his presidency, Hamid Karzai railed against the bilateral agreement, while other Afghan critics described it as a “colonial pact.” Karzai knew that his signature on the deal would damn him in the annals of history. On his way out, Karzai condemned the US occupation and remarked that Bagram had become “a terrorism factory,” radicalizing waves of men through torture and isolation. The responsible hands in Washington did not look kindly on Karzai’s sudden transformation into a man of the people.

Now that Karzai is gone, Ghani is doing all he can to prove his absolute obedience towards the US. According to different reports, currently he sits down for tea each week with various NATO commanders and generals, listening to their concerns and doing all he can to accommodate them. Ghani has reversed Karzai’s decrees regarding night-raids and NATO bombings and encouraged the Afghan National Army — a corrupt and criminal gang built and trained by the US military — to fight “terrorism” without mercy.  Regarding the torture report, Ghani said that the described practices are “inhuman,” even as his actions bely his empty protestations.

On Dec. 10, 2014, exactly 12 years after the brutal murder of Dilawar Yaqubi and just one day after the CIA torture report’s release, the US Defense Departement announced it has closed the Bagram detention center once and for all. Yet it is not known how many secret prisons still exist in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, most elements in the Afghan government are absolutely loyal to the United States and know that they would lose power and financial support without them. The country’s new Vice President, Abdul Rashid Dostum, is a widely reviled warlord and militia leader who killed, tortured and personally oversaw the rape of countless Afghan civilians. His crimes are well documented by the world’s leading human rights organizations. Alongside other warlords notorious for human trafficking and sundry crimes operate alongside an Afghan intelligence service (NDS) that regularly engages in brutal abuse while tendering US salaries.

In an Afghanistan still dominated by Western interests and American power, the torture never stops.

Journalist Claims U.S. Used Dogs to Rape Afghans as Torture Technique

Thanks to the release of a heavily-redacted version of the summary of the Senate Torture report, we now know that the United States of America employed forced rectal feedings, nude beatings, simulated executions and multiple forms of humiliation against its prisoners in the name of freedom. What we do not know is what remains hidden in the almost 10,000 unreleased pages of that report.

German author and former politician Juergen Todenhoefer, in his book, Thou Shalt Not Killclaimsto have interviewed a former Canadian soldier and private security contractor named “Jack” who worked in the Bagram black site in Afghanistan.

It’s not my thing when Afghans get raped by dogs,” Jack began. He stated Afghan prisoners were tied face down on small chairs. Then dogs entered the torture chamber.

“If the prisoners did not say anything useful, each dog got to take a turn on them,” Jack told Todenhoefer. “After procedure like these, they confessed everything. They would have even said that they killed Kennedy without even knowing who he was.”

Though his account of dogs being used to rape prisoners at Bagram is unconfirmed, the practice is not without precedent. Female political prisoners of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet’s jails have described their torturers using dogs to rape them. The Nazis were known to have trained dogs to sexually abuse concentration camp inmates.

Lawrence Wright, the author of Al Qaeda, The Looming Tower, told National Public Radio, “One of my FBI sources said that he had talked to an Egyptian intelligence officer who said that they used the dogs to rape the prisoners. And it would be hard to tell you how humiliating it would be to any person, but especially in Islamic culture where dogs are such a lowly form of life. It’s, you know, that imprint will never leave anybody’s mind.”

Journalist Emran Feroz spoke to an Afghan interpreter, using the pseudonym Mohammed, in Bagram who said Todenhoefer’s account of dogs being used to rape prisoners in the jail was “absolutely realistic.” Mohammad was compelled to keep silent while his fellow countrymen were brutally tortured before his eyes. “I often felt like a traitor, but I needed the money,” he told me. “I was forced to feed my family. Many Afghan interpreters are in the very same situation.”

“Guantanamo is a paradise if you compare it with Bagram,” Muhammad said.

Waheed Mozhdah, a well-known political analyst and author based in Kabul, echoed Muhammad’s account. “Bagram is worse than Guantanamo,” Mozdah told me, “and all the crimes, even the most cruel ones like the dog story, are well known here but most people prefer to not talk about it.”

The full story of U.S. torture remains t23EAEE9200000578-2868379-image-m-15_1418219508798o be told, and until the release of all of the documents and the full Senate report, no one can confirm or refute the truth of the dog rape claims. Oh, the truth? You can’t handle the truth.

Journalist Claims U.S. Used Dogs to Rape Afghans as Torture Technique

By Peter Van Buren, December 29, 2014.

The story of the faceless girl

AFGHANISTAN/USA. This feature contains a picture of Afghan girl Aisha, 4. published at  EXPRESSEN Sweden 

Image
It was on 7th September last year that an American drone hit the car she was travelling in. Everyone died – everyone except Aisha. by Terese Cristiansson

At the same time it is an important image, as it shows a side to the war on terrorism that the US does not want the world to see.

It was on 7th September last year that an American drone hit the car she was travelling in. Everyone died – everyone except Aisha.

After receiving treatment in a hospital in Kabul, one day she was suddenly missing. Not even Aisha’s family were told what had happened.

Expressen’s Terese Cristiansson decided to try and find the answer to the question,

Where did the faceless girl go? 

Aisha, 4, was used to seeing the American birds soaring above the village. She knew that they were dangerous, her mum and dad had talked about it. On the 7th of September 2013, she became one of the birds’ victims.

Meya Jan is at home on his farm in the village of Gamber when he receives a phone call from the neighbouring village. “Did you hear that a car has been hit on the road to Gamber?” asks his neighbour.

Meya Jan feels a knot building up in his stomach. Did his sister, Taher, and her husband, Abdul Rashid, make it out in time with their children Aisha, 4, and Jundullah, 1?

They had been in Kabul because Taher had been having pregnancy troubles and should be on their way home. He hopes that they stopped for a break in Asadabad, capital of the Kunar Province on the border to Pakistan.

It’s the 7th of September but it is still hot, and they are likely to have stopped with some relatives for a rest. They aren’t answering their mobiles, so he calls his relative, Hasrat Gul, who is in Asadabad.

“Do you know who drove up here today?”

“Yes, Abdul Rashid drove off earlier with Taher, the children and several other relatives that were going that way,” he replied.

It’s the beginning of October 2013 and the article we have come to write in Jalalabad in Eastern Afghanistan has fallen through. But as there was a lot of talk at the time about children being injured when they were forced to plant roadside bombs, we decide to visit the city’s hospital instead.

Doctor Humayoon Zaheer says he hasn’t had any such cases. Instead he starts talking about other people they have treated. Dismembered policemen, children with gunshot wounds from battle crossfire and women who have died in childbirth. He shows us round the hospital telling us about everything they need to be able to provide the best treatment.

Once inside his simple office he suddenly says,

“We had another case here. She came in a couple of weeks ago, in September. A little girl who had lost her face in a drone strike. It was a very unusual case. I’ll never forget it.”

Meya Jan and the other villagers rush off down the road towards the site of the strike. People from the neighbouring village have already started gathering. It is late afternoon, but the September sunshine is still baking the green velvety mountains.

Meya Jan immediately sees that it is Abdul Rashid’s red car that has been hit. The bombs have carved big chunks out of the ground and there’s not much left of the car. Body parts lie scattered around the car.

A man from the neighbouring village says that they had seen a drone circling the area. The Kunar Province has long been a stronghold for the Taliban, Hezb-e-Islami and al-Qaida alike and the area has seen a lot of bloody battles. Most US bases are now deserted and there are few soldiers about. They have been replaced by drones – unmanned planes. The villagers call them ”American birds”.

The neighbour who saw the strike says that it first dropped two bombs and when the injured attempted to flee from the car, it dropped three more. Nobody survived, he says.

Around him on the ground Meya Jan recognises his family members, several women and children. There is blood everywhere and several of them are completely dismembered. He is filled with rage.

When the US troops arrived in 2001, a lot of Afghans believed that the US would come and help them. The country was divided after the Russian occupation, which was followed by a bloody civil war and the brutal Taliban regime. They had hoped that the country would be made stronger. But the opposite happened in Kunar.

Every time they tried to drive anywhere, they were stopped by US soldiers. Several family members had been arrested and later released. Because of the soldiers, the Taliban planted dangerous roadside bombs along the roads.

There may never have been a school for the children, but at least they used to sit under a large tree and learn to read and write. Ever since the drones began to circle overhead, they have been too scared to even sit there anymore. Yet another generation without an education. Everyone was caught between the two conflicting sides.

Meya Jan and the others begin lifting the body parts and mangled bodies into a car. They drive them home to the courtyard and line them up in order to wrap and bury them.

15 dead, 3 of whom are women and 4 are children:

Abdul Rashid, 26, Taher, 24, Aisha, 4, Jundullah, 18 months, Abdul Rahman, 28, Khatima, 45, Nadia, 26, Soheil, 3, Osman, 19, Abdul Wahid, 25, Amir, 4, Asadullah, 28, Hayatollah 28, Abdul Wahid, 36, and Mohammad Ullah, 16.

Wiped out. Gone. Dead.

Suddenly they hear a voice.

“Water, water…”

Read the full future here  in EXPRESSEN Sweden 

Av Terese Cristiansson Av Terese Cristiansson
terese.cristiansson@expressen.se

CIVILIAN CASUALTIES IN AFGHAN CONFLICT RISE BY 14 PER CENT IN 2013

The report attributed 74 per cent of total civilian deaths and injuries in 2013 to Anti-Government Elements, 11 per cent to Pro-Government Forces (eight per cent to Afghan national security forces and three per cent to international forces) and ten per cent to ground engagements between Anti-Government Elements and Pro-Government Forces. Five per cent of civilian casualties were unattributed, resulting mostly from explosive remnants of war.
The report attributed 74 per cent of total civilian deaths and injuries in 2013 to Anti-Government Elements, 11 per cent to Pro-Government Forces (eight per cent to Afghan national security forces and three per cent to international forces) and ten per cent to ground engagements between Anti-Government Elements and Pro-Government Forces. Five per cent of civilian casualties were unattributed, resulting mostly from explosive remnants of war.

KABUL, 8 February 2014 – Civilian casualties in Afghanistan’s armed conflict increased by 14 per cent in 2013, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said today in releasing its 2013 Annual Report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict.

UNAMA documented 8,615 civilian casualties (2,959 civilian deaths and 5,656 injured) in 2013, marking a seven per cent increase in deaths and a 17 per cent increase in injuries compared to 2012.

The rise in civilians killed and injured in Afghanistan’s armed conflict in 2013 reverses the decline reported in 2012 and is similar to record high numbers of civilian casualties documented in 2011. Since 2009, the armed conflict has claimed the lives of 14, 064 Afghan civilians and injured thousands more.

The report observed that while improvised explosive devices used by Anti-Government Elements  remained the biggest killer of civilians in 2013, increased ground engagements between Pro-Government Forces and Anti-Government Elements emerged as the number-two cause of civilian casualties with rising numbers of Afghan civilians killed and injured in cross-fire. Both factors drove the escalation of civilian casualties in 2013.

“Armed conflict took an unrelenting toll on Afghan civilians in 2013,” said the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA, Ján Kubiš. “Increased use of IEDs by Anti-Government Elements killed and injured thousands of Afghan civilians this year. More ground engagements led to more civilians being killed and injured in their homes and communities from cross-fire. At the start of 2014, it is imperative that all parties, but particularly Anti-Government Elements, halt the worsening impact of the conflict on Afghan civilians.”

The report attributed 74 per cent of total civilian deaths and injuries in 2013 to Anti-Government Elements, 11 per cent to Pro-Government Forces (eight per cent to Afghan national security forces and three per cent to international forces) and ten per cent to ground engagements between Anti-Government Elements and Pro-Government Forces. Five per cent of civilian casualties were unattributed, resulting mostly from explosive remnants of war.

UNAMA’s report found that improvised explosive devices used by Anti-Government Elements caused 34 per cent of all civilian casualties followed by ground engagements between parties to conflict which caused 27 per cent of all Afghan civilian deaths and injuries.

Fifteen (15) per cent of all civilian casualties were from suicide and complex attacks carried out by Anti-Government Elements with another 14 per cent from targeted killings by Anti-Government Elements. Four per cent of civilian casualties in 2013 resulted mainly from escalation of force incidents and search operations of Pro-Government Forces, four per cent were caused by explosive remnants of war and two per cent of all civilian casualties were from the air operations of international forces.

Women and Children

The UNAMA report found that 2013 was the worst year for Afghan women, girls and boys since 2009, with the highest number of deaths and injuries recorded from conflict-related violence. Seven hundred and forty-six (746) women casualties (235 women killed and 511 injured) were documented, an increase of 36 per cent from 2012. IEDs used by Anti-Government Elements again killed the most women causing 177 women casualties (86 deaths and 91 injured), up 20 per cent from 2012. Ground engagements caused the most injuries to women and comprised the majority of women’s casualties in 2013.

UNAMA documented 1,756 child casualties (561 children killed and 1,195 injured), an increase of 34 per cent compared to 2012. IEDs killed the most children causing 192 deaths and injuring another 319 children (511 child casualties from IEDs), up 28 per cent from 2012.  One hundred and thirty seven (137) children were killed and 504 children injured in ground engagements (641 child casualties from ground engagements), a 59 per cent increase over 2012. Ground engagements caused the most injuries to children in 2013.

“It is particularly alarming that the number of Afghan women and children killed and injured in the conflict increased again in 2013,” said Director of Human Rights for UNAMA, Georgette Gagnon. “It is the awful reality that most women and children were killed and injured in their daily lives – at home, on their way to school, working in the fields or traveling to a social event. This situation demands even greater commitment and further efforts by the parties to protect women and children from conflict-related violence.”

Anti-Government Elements

UNAMA’s report found that Anti-Government Elements continued to deliberately target civilians across the country and carried out attacks without regard for civilian life, causing 6,374 civilian casualties (2,311 civilian deaths and 4,063 injured), up four per cent from 2012.

Indiscriminate use of IEDs by Anti-Government Elements increased in 2013 and remained the leading cause of civilian deaths and injuries. UNAMA recorded 2,890 civilian casualties (962 civilian deaths and 1,928 injured) from IEDs, up 14 per cent from 2012.

Within civilian casualties from IEDs, UNAMA noted an 84 per cent rise in civilian deaths and injuries from radio-controlled IEDs and a 39 per cent decrease in civilian casualties from indiscriminate victim-activated pressure-plate IEDs. Anti-Government Elements continued to detonate IEDs in public areas used by civilians such as roads, markets, Government offices, bazaars, in and around schools, and bus stations

Suicide and complex attacks caused 1,236 civilian casualties (255 killed and 981 injured) in 73 incidents in 2013. While the number of attacks was similar to 2012, an 18 per cent decrease in civilian casualties from these attacks was noted.

Combined, these IED tactics caused almost half of all civilian casualties in 2013.

The report documented 1,076 civilian casualties (743 deaths and 333 injured) from targeted killings by Anti-Government Elements who increasingly targeted and killed civilian Government officials and workers, community  leaders, judicial authorities, tribal elders, election workers and persons supporting the peace process.  Targeted attacks by Anti-Government Elements against mullahs (religious leaders) they accused of supporting the Government and in mosques tripled in 2013.

Throughout 2013, UNAMA noted increased public messaging by the Taliban on civilian casualties. However, the situation on the ground for Afghan civilians did not improve. The Taliban increased their indiscriminate use of IEDs and continued to attack civilians.

The UNAMA report observed that the Taliban claimed responsibility for 153 attacks which caused  944 civilian casualties (302 civilians killed and 642 injured) in 2013, marking an  increase of 292 per cent in such claims by the Taliban, and a 136 per cent increase in civilian casualties for which the Taliban claimed responsibility compared with 2012. Most of these Taliban attacks used indiscriminate tactics such as IED detonations in public areas or directly targeted civilians or civilian objects, particularly civilian Government personnel and buildings.

UNAMA highlights that indiscriminate attacks and direct targeted attacks against civilians are strictly prohibited under international humanitarian law which binds all parties to the conflict in Afghanistan including the Taliban. Attacks on civilians and killings of mullahs, elections workers, tribal elders and other civilians not directly participating in hostilities may amount to war crimes.

“Statements on protecting civilians by the Taliban leadership are not nearly enough to end the killing and injuring of innocent Afghan civilians,” said Special Representative Kubiš. “What is needed is for the Taliban to stop deliberately attacking civilians and using IEDS indiscriminately, and to change their definition of ‘civilian’ and lawful targets in line with international humanitarian law.”

Pro-Government Forces

UNAMA’s report attributed 956 civilian casualties (341 deaths and 615 injured) to all Pro-Government Forces in 2013, up 59 per cent from 2012. This overall rise was linked to increased ground operations with civilian casualties by Afghan national security forces.

Of all civilian casualties by Pro-Government Forces, 57 per cent were attributed to Afghan national security forces, 27 per cent to international military forces and 16 per cent to joint operations. Of the 57 per cent attributed to Afghan forces, the majority were from ground operations led by Afghan forces which resulted in 349 civilian casualties (88 civilian deaths and 261 injured), up 264 per cent from 2012.

With Afghan national security forces leading military operations country wide, UNAMA reinforced the need for improved implementation of directives and rules of engagement mandating civilian protection, and for permanent structures in the Ministries of Defence and Interior to investigate reports of civilian casualties by Afghan forces, initiate remedial measures and take follow-up action. UNAMA’s report also called on the Government of Afghanistan to investigate any allegations of human rights violations by Afghan forces as required under Afghan and international law.

“Afghan security forces’ lead responsibility for security brings with it increased responsibility for civilian protection,” said Special Representative Kubiš. “It is critically important for Afghan forces to take all possible measures to protect civilians from the harms of conflict.”

Air operations by international forces resulted in 182 civilian casualties (118 civilian deaths and 64 injured) down 10 per cent from 2012, and accounted for 19 per cent of all civilian deaths attributed to Pro-Government Forces. Women and children comprised almost half of civilian deaths from aerial operations. Such civilian casualties, particularly from offensive air strikes, suggest the need for further review by international forces of pre-engagement considerations and precautionary measures.

Despite reports of improved security due to the presence of Afghan Local Police (ALP), from many communities across Afghanistan, UNAMA recorded 121 civilian casualties (32 civilian deaths and 89 injured) by ALP, almost tripling civilian casualties attributed to ALP from 2012. Most of these involved ALP members in certain areas committing summary executions and punishments, intimidation, harassment and illegal searches.

The ALP Directorate in the Ministry of Interior reported it investigated more than 100 cases against ALP members in 2013, referring 59 cases to military prosecutors. Despite these encouraging steps, information on any prosecutions, convictions, suspensions or other action taken was not available. UNAMA called for increased efforts to provide accountability for violations by Afghan Local Police.

The UNAMA report recorded 39 incidents of human rights abuses including killings carried out by Pro-Government armed groups resulting in 55 civilian casualties (18 civilian deaths and 37 injured). The majority of incidents occurred in areas where armed groups held considerable power and influence, including in Uruzgan, Kunduz, Faryab, Baghlan and Jawzjan provinces. The report urged the Afghan Government to speed up efforts to disband and disarm such groups.

UNAMA documented 343 civilian casualties (114 civilian deaths and 229 injured) from explosive remnants of war, a 63 per cent increase in civilian casualties compared to 2012. Most victims were children. The rise was found to coincide with the increase in ground engagements causing civilian casualties. A possible second cause was the escalated pace  of closure of  bases and firing ranges by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) with concerns that high explosive firing ranges had not been sufficiently cleared of unexploded ordnance prior to base closure. The UNAMA report called on ISAF and troop contributing nations to mark all ISAF high explosive ranges to identify potential hazards, and clear such ranges of explosive remnants of war at the earliest opportunity.

Ground Engagements between Parties to the Conflict

UNAMA’s report documented 2,327 civilian casualties (534 civilian deaths and 1,793 injured) from ground engagements between Anti-Government Elements and Pro-Government Forces, a 43 per cent increase from 2012, and a new trend in 2013 that posed an increasing risk to Afghan civilians.

The report attributed 44 per cent of civilian casualties from ground engagements to Anti-Government Elements and 16 per cent to Pro-Government Forces; 38 per cent of civilian casualties from ground engagements could not be attributed to either party, and two per cent were unknown. The report observed that this ‘fog of war’ dynamic reflected the changed nature of armed conflict in Afghanistan in 2013 which was increasingly waged in civilian communities and populated areas with civilians caught in the cross-fire.

In its 2013 report, UNAMA stressed that rising civilian casualties coupled with political and security transition in Afghanistan called for a renewed and robust commitment from parties to the conflict to take further measures to protect Afghan civilians in 2014. The report urged that all parties – in particular Anti-Government Elements – do much more to comply with their legal obligations to prevent civilian death and injury and to increase civilian protection.

“Behind every civilian casualty is a man, woman or child’s life and immense suffering and hardship for an Afghan family and community,” said Director of Human Rights for UNAMA, Georgette Gagnon. “Reduced civilian suffering and fewer civilian casualties together with improvements in human rights protection should be the core benchmarks of improved stability and efforts toward peace in the security and political transition in 2014.”

Selected accounts of Afghan civilians from UNAMA’s 2013 Annual Report on Protection of Civilians in the Armed Conflict

It was around 10:00 in the morning and I was at home. Suddenly there was gunfire then a big explosion. Our entire house jerked and was covered in dust. The women and children were crying … Soon after there was another explosion, a suicide attacker detonated his vest. Outside, my uncle and cousins were calling me for help but I couldn’t reach them. Later I found the dead body of a child in my yard. When I walked upstairs I found children’s body parts on my roof. Five children from our neighbour’s house were killed.
– Relative of six victims of a complex attack by Anti-Government Elements in Jalalabad, Nangahar province, August 2013

It was a bazaar day and I had planned to join my friends for lunch at a restaurant in the bazaar.  I had just stepped out from my home to meet them when suddenly I heard an explosion. I ran towards the market and saw victims crying and calling for help. I found my cousin and transferred him to Maimana hospital but at 2:00 pm he died from his injuries.
– Cousin of victim of an RC-IED attack by Anti-Government Elements in Maimana, Faryab province, February 2013

We were discussing the poverty in the area, when a group of men on motorcycles ordered the driver to stop. One of the armed men looked inside the car, and shortly after that, they started shooting at us! I can’t remember how long they were firing towards us; but when I opened my eyes, I saw all my colleagues lying lifeless on the car’s chairs. I managed to get out of the car and asked for help. But it was already too late: only one of our colleagues was alive, but he died on the way to the hospital.
– Survivor of Taliban attack in Pashtun-kot district, Faryab province, November 2013

My son, who worked as a driver, was at a relative’s house when the Afghan Local Police arrived. They shot my son in the head. A father’s wish is to always see his son alive; and if dead, then at least in one piece. It was a heinous crime. I want justice to prevail.
– Father of a civilian killed during a search operation of Afghan national security forces in Imam Sahib district, Kunduz province, July 2013

UNAMA shared a draft of its 2013 Annual Report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict with the Government of Afghanistan, the Taliban and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).  Comments from all parties were carefully reviewed and addressed as appropriate in the report. UNAMA stands ready to work with all parties to the conflict to support their efforts to protect civilians.

Recommendations to the Parties from UNAMA’s 2013 Annual Report on Protection of Civilians in the Armed Conflict

Anti-Government Elements

– Cease the indiscriminate and disproportionate use of IEDs, particularly in all areas frequented by civilians.

– Cease targeting and killing civilians including religious personnel, judicial authorities and civilian Government workers.

– Cease all attacks from and in civilian locations, including restaurants, public roads, consulates, civilian Government offices, including court houses.

– Prevent civilian casualties through compliance with the international principles of distinction, proportionality and precautions in attack, and apply a definition of ‘civilian’ that is consistent with international humanitarian law.

– Enforce codes of conduct, instructions and directives instructing members to prevent and avoid civilian casualties and hold accountable those members who target, kill and injure civilians.

Government of Afghanistan

– Dedicate all necessary resources to enable the full implementation of the national counter-IED strategy. Prioritize the further development of Afghan national security forces’ capacity to command, control and effectively conduct counter-IED operations and IED-disposal, including exploitation.

– Take concrete measures to reduce civilian casualties from ground engagements through revision, strengthening and implementation of tactical directives, rules of engagements and other procedures, and ensure proper training and resourcing of all Afghan national security forces on civilian protection measures and mitigation.

– Ensure timely and transparent investigations, and accurate tracking of all incidents of civilian casualties caused by Afghan national security forces and strengthen Government structures to enable improved monitoring, mitigation and accountability for civilian casualties caused by Afghan national security forces.

– Investigate all allegations of human right violations by Afghan national security forces, and prosecute and punish those found responsible as required under Afghan and international law.

– Disband Afghan Local Police groups with longstanding impunity for human rights violations and criminal acts, and investigate and prosecute allegations of human rights violations and criminal acts by Afghan Local Police members.

– Continue to disband and disarm all illegal armed groups.

International Military Forces

– Increase support to Afghan national security forces to ensure they are sufficiently resourced, trained and equipped to command, control and effectively conduct counter-IED operations and IED-disposal, including exploitation in 2014-16.

– Prevent civilian harm by taking active measures to map, mark and clear unexploded ordnance from all international military bases and firing ranges that have closed since the onset of ISAF operations.

– Establish a mechanism in ISAF and Afghan national security forces that communicates the suspected presence of unexploded ordnance from aerial and ground operations to appropriate authorities and ensure the marking and clearance of suspect hazardous areas.

– Conduct thorough review of pre-engagement considerations and precautionary measures for offensive aerial operations to identify additional mechanisms to further minimize civilian harm.

– Conduct post-operation reviews and investigations in cooperation with the Government of Afghanistan where civilian casualties occurred in operations that involved international security or intelligence forces, and take appropriate steps to ensure accountability, better operational practice and compensation.

Presidential candidates vows to implement transitional justice

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The presidential election candidates have vowed to take practical steps in implementing transitional justice against the war criminals in the country.

Head of the Independent Human Rights Commission of Afghanistan, Seema Samar said the candidates presented their plans and programs on transitional justice during a summit to mark the human rights day.

Samar further added that Afghanistan is facing considerable challenges in terms of human rights issues, and the rights of women and children are not respected.

She also added that the judicial institution of the country are also having problems since the rule of law is not properly implemented.

Samar said around 6000 people were killed in armed conflicts during the past one year and violence against women has increased by 24 percent as compared to last year.

According to Sarmar, at least 243 cases of honor killings and 123 rape cases were registered with the human rights commission of Afghanistan.

In the meantime, presidential candidates vowed to include implementation of transitional justice in their agenda, if they are elected as the next president of Afghanistan.

Work on transitional justice started nearly ten years ago when president Hamid Karzai was elected as the Afghan president, however no practical steps have been taken despite the independent human rights commission of Afghanistan completed its report regarding the war crimes which were committed during three decades of civil war.

Source: Khaama Press (KP)

Taliban publicly execute woman near Kabul: officials

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The world should listen.

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

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

He claimed to be ‘on track.’

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

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

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

Soul-force must be given a chance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Sample of Alternative December Reviews

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

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

1. World Public Opinion Polls

International public opinion is largely opposed to the war in Afghanistan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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