5 days in jail for having too much hair
The condition of the Taliban regime's hospital
Taliban belligerence against the Hazaras
Taliban augment the people's suffering
The tragic life of refugees in Herat
Taliban whipping a doctor and his female patients
Clapping during games is forbidden!
Ghoor Refugees in Herat

All reports by RAWA reporters, June 15, 2001

Chaghcharan, the centre of the province of Ghoor, is located approximately at the centre of Afghanistan, and is mountainous and relatively cold. It has five rural districts and one territory. The Hazara people live in La'l va Sar-Jangal district, and Tajiks live in the other districts. The majority of these people are engaged in agriculture, raising livestock, handicrafts, and knitting woollens. But in the past year, because of draught, thousands [of them] have become refugees in Herat. As well, they were wandering for weeks in the area to the west of Herat, and faced various difficulties, including not having drinking water or shelter, living under the hot and burning sun, with 120-day severe winds blowing, and without any means of life.

Although the mine-clearing organization OMER had marked this region as safe, it became clear during these events that the area still contains explosives. A number of children, because of lack of attention to hygiene and environment, were afflicted with various diseases, and lost their lives. A few of the children about whose death we were informed:

Refugees in Maslakh camp near Heart.
1-Farrokh-lagha, three years old, daughter of Gol-Mohammad, a resident of Jadmatu in La'l va Sar-Jangal district, currently residing at Vardakha area, lost her life on September 12, 2000, because of severe lack of calcium and anemia. Her mother says that she had nothing to eat other than dry bread. When she died, her colour was yellow, and her belly was distended, and there was nothing left in her body other than bones.

2-Zifonoon, two years old, son of Lal-uddin, a resident of Shotor-Khan village, died at Vardakha area as a result of infected papulae on his whole body.

3-Saddigh, three years old, son of Mullah Hadi, resident of Rakhneh Allah-yar, died on August 16, 2000 on the way to Herat as a result of high fever.

It is not only infants who are afflicted with these diseases. A young boy named Shir-Ahmad, son of Timor Shan, resident of Kashkak, lost his life on August 13, 2000, as a result of sever stomach pain. A large number have also become afflicted with nervous conditions.

Women again constitute the principal victims of all these misfortunes, who watch with sorrowful hearts the gradual death of their children.

Refugee woman in Maslakh camp near Heart.

There is little sign of household utensils or furnishings. I witnessed the fact that Zuleikha, Mohammad Sarwar's wife, from Sar-pol-Kasi of Chaghcharan, washed clothes in a cooking pot, and cooked porridge in the same pot.

At delivery time, doctor and hygiene and medicine and vaccines do not exist. Instead of powder, they rub mud between the legs of infants, which causes infected and dangerous sores. Answering the call of nature is a problem for women, because there is no suitable place. Bathing was impossible for months on end, and shampoo and soap are like extreme luxuries. Newborns are passed through the ring of a large rosary, and green and white amulets in the shape of triangles or rectangles are hung from their shoulders. As there are no doctors or medicines, people resort to such traditional customs.

Water, for these unfortunate folk, has turned into a sacred and rare commodity. There is only one water well for migrants in the Vardakha area, over which daily battles take place. For instance, on the date of August 23, during the process of getting water from the well, Norooz, the three-year-old son of Mohyeddin, resident of Tagheh-Teymoor Ghoor, fell underfoot, and came near death. The 22-year-old Abdul-Khalegh was also wounded, and was unable to work for several days. Madar Yargel, a 28-year-old widow from the Miri tribe, whose husband had died four years ago during bombardment, was subjected to a severe beating. Anwar, son of Asadollah, 13-years-old, resident of Faryab, was also struck in the waist and hind parts during these same fights.

Current occupations of women consist of begging, cracking pistachio nuts, and spinning animal wool, in which they clean four kilos of pistachios for ten thousand Afghanis [monetary unit-translator's note], and in one week spin four kilos of wool on a wheel for fifty thousand Afghanis. The breathing of wool dust during the spinning process has caused respiratory difficulties, and women's fingers crack, bleed, and ache from continuous work,. Children are usually busy with collecting pieces of paper, cartons, and plastic, or else with playing in the dust. Men's daily wage is about 35,000 Afghanis, and they do not succeed in finding work more than two days per week. People's food usually consists of porridge without oil or with a little oil, green and clear bitter tea, meat from the head or lungs of cows, livestock intestines, black eggplants and dry bread. Sometimes individuals or NGO's bring, for example, 500 loaves of bread for distribution, during the distribution of which tens of people are injured.

5 days in jail for having too much hair

by Jamal-Herat

On the date of July 20, 2000, I saw many people throw themselves from the fourth story of the Eidgah Road's old shops to the second story. I asked people the reason for this, and I was told that Amr-bel-Maroof [the morality police-translator's note] arrests shopkeepers and crops their hair, and that they, fearing the five-day imprisonment, throw themselves down from the market's fourth story.

The condition of the Taliban regime's hospital

by Zivar-Heart

I had a patient who was burning with high fever, shivered, and was in delirium, and was taken to the regional hospital's malaria section. Blood was taken from the patient with a coverless and used syringe, put on a blood-stained and dirty slide, and something was written with pencil on the slide. I returned in an hour to get the result, and was told that the result had not come yet. I was talking when several slides were brought. The white-haired man in charge turned the glass one way and another, and placed it in front of his eye to read its number. Then he said: "825." He referred to the registration book to register the result. We saw that that number's result had already been written down. Then he said: "Ah! Now I realize it is 835," and registered the negative result under that same number, which happened to be that of our patient. Then he cleaned the blood-stained glass with a piece of cotton, and put it back on the slide rack.

Dr. Seyyed Hamed Barkazi again issued a blood test requisition for us. We went to the laboratories section, where they said it is 11:20 and late, and they don't do tests anymore. Through appealing to and imploring Vahhab-zadeh, the section's chief, we obtained a test order. Again blood was taken with a used and blunt syringe. A relative of another patient was sitting beside me and was telling me about his troubles. The patient was to have a stool test, and had been given an open, dirty, and used bottle. When she complained, she was told that "Your country has had no head for two decades, and you never complained." Later she requested to be shown to the toilet. They snickered at her and said: "A strange kind of a person!?" Finally the patient asked for something to put the stool in the bottle with. This time the person in charge said "It looks like you are not from around here and don't know the hospital's condition." In the end, the female patient was forced to go behind one of the rooms to provide the material for the test.

Taliban belligerence against the Hazaras

by Zaher-Heart

In late August, 2000, Mullah Omar issued an order for forced expulsion of 140 Hazara families from Poshtoon-Zarghoon area of Herat. The Hazara, who constituted more than half of the population of the village of Poshtekan in Poshtoon-Zarghoon, had bought a fort and 170 acres of land from Enayat-ullah Khan Mohammad-Zaie's grandfather 60 years earlier. After invasion and massacre at Mazar-e-Sharif and the northern area by the Taliban, Enayat-ullah Khan took advantage of the situation, and returned as the inheritor of his grandfather's lands. The district head imposed a fine of 5 million Afghanis on the Hazara.

Enayat-ullah Khan went to the Amir-ul-Mo'menin [A national ruler's title in ancient Islamic theocracies. Literally, it means "commander of the faithful." The title has apparently been revived in Afghanistan-translator's note], and presented his request in the Pashto language, and complained about the Hazara as supporters of the "people and flag" regime, speaking as if they had forcibly expelled him. The Moo-sefidan district head(?) summoned the Hazar, and tore up their documents and deeds, and gave them 2 days to leave the village, and ordered that no-one had a right to take gates and windows, hay and animal fodders with them.

On the date of September 6, 2000, a larger caravan of the Hazaras was removed from the village. Young Taliban attacked the village for a week, and looted everything they owned. Currently those Hazaras are begging and working in Herat. After this forced and painful migration, Enayat-ullah Khan turned over the Hazara lands to 20 farmers (free peasants) of the villages of Char-borjak, Band-abad, and Joz-abad.

Taliban augment the people's suffering

Salimi is one of Poshtoon-Zarghoon of Herat's extremely backward and well-known villages, whose people are illiterate and destitute, and 95% of whom are engaged in agriculture, and an Arbab [feudal lord], preacher and Imam Jum'ah [prayer leader] run the village's affairs. It has 740 parcels of orchards, 800 hectares of land, 3 river-water irrigation channels, and one well.

Salimi's high-school has no books, chair, tables, blackboards, chalk, laboratory, library, sports fields or experienced and able teachers. The high-school has 12 grades, 7 teachers with ordinary degrees, and there is no sign of learning and teaching in it.

There is one pseudo-doctor and one pharmacy in Salimi, and the people resort to augury, sorcery and amulets to treat illness, and a large number die from treatable diseases.

Although these people can provide for even their bare subsistence with great difficulty, the Taliban [regime] is an added calamity for them. In May 2000, the county head demanded 60 kilograms of dry wood from the owner of each acre, and in September 2000, 30 kilograms of grapes from the owner of each orchard. He has demanded one horse out of every 10 hunting horses, and 5 million Afghanis, which is the cost of one rifle. To pretend to care about teaching and education, he demands [a fine of] 50,000 Afghanis per month from every absent student, even though the students who do go to school do nothing but passing their time. In addition, they demand 20,000 Afghanis per month from everyone.

The tragic life of refugees in Herat

by N.J.-Herat

Kharma and her four-year-old sons

On August 16, 2000, because of draught, a large number of refugees from Ghoor arrived at Herat. Among them was the four-member Salam family, including the wife, Kharma, who had lost her right eye, and their ten-year-old and four-year-old sons. The four-year-old Mohammad was very weak, and suffered from malnutrition, making him unable to walk or talk.

This family is very discontented with its life. They have noting to eat or drink. Their ten-year-old son begs. If they make anything from begging, they are able to eat; otherwise they are hungry night and day. Because of the draught, the famous 120-day Herat wind fills the air with more dust [than usual], and most family members suffer from eye pain. Obtaining drinking water is one of their daily problems, over which there is always fighting and arguments, and heads and arms and legs get broken. Dysentery, gripe, coughing, periodic high fever, pustules and carbuncles are among the epidemic diseases. To answer the call of nature, the people resort to ditches and natural pits around their encampments, which, after they dry out, blow it back onto their heads and faces and food.

Taliban whipping a doctor and his female patients

On April 27, 2000, several Taliban, whips in hand, went to Dr. Nader Sina's dental office located in the New City of Herat, while the doctor was busy with filling some women's teeth. On the pretext that the women were not accompanied by relatives to chaperone them, they whipped them, jailed the doctor for two days, and closed the clinic. They threatened the doctor that if he does such a thing again, the clinic will be closed permanently. It should be noted that there are no female dentists in Herat.

Clapping during games is forbidden!
by Saboor-Herat

In mid-February, 2000, a game was being held on the turf of Abu-Nasr Farahi High-School between the Isteghlal [independence] team of Herat and the Piroozi [victory] team of Farah. Thousands of people had come to watch the game at the turf. It was the last minutes of the game when a group of ignorant Taliban entered the field with [the customary] Taliban decorum and courtesy [a sarcastic reference-translator's note]. With great haughtiness, one of them asked the center referee: "Who is your boss?" The referee pointed to Dr. Zalmi. Mullah Seyyed Mohammad, the governor of Farah, summoned Dr. Zalmi, and without bothering with any preliminaries, told him: "I swear on the Quran that if [any member of our team] do clapping again, no-one will be allowed to play on the turf again." Most of the people chuckled on hearing the Taliban governor's remarks, and cursed and damned him and his like.

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