Foreign interference feeds war in Afghanistan: UN rapporteur

AFP, March 30, 2001

GENEVA, March 30 (AFP) - UN special rapporteur for Afghanistan Kamal Hossain has accused foreign powers of responsibility for fuelling the conflict there.

"The international community, in particular acting through the Security Council, is expected to discharge its fundamental obligation to protect the people and territory of Afghanistan from external interference and from the destructive armed conflict," Hossain, from Bangladesh, said in his annual report to the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva.

He hit out Thursday at "those who are ruling at the top with external assistance" that enabled them to continue the war by providing, for example, fuel for planes that were bombing civilians.

"All the warring parties have been guilty of grave breaches of international humanitarian law," Hossain said.

"Their war-making is supported by the involvement of Afghanistan's neighbours and other states in providing weapons, ammunition, fuel and other logistical support.

"State and non-state actors across the region and beyond continue to provide new arms and other material, as well as training and advisory assistance."

The rapporteur, who went to Afghanistan in 1999, was not allowed to go there in 2000 and early 2001, but he interviewed refugees who had fled to Pakistan.

The United Nations, he said, had "a mandate, not only having got the Soviet troops out, but then to fill the vacuum with viable structures of governance."

Hossain recommended "initiating and sustaining a process in which all segments of the Afghan population inside and outside Afghanistan may be able to devise and establish participatory institutions ... so that institutions of governance could meet the test of being based on the consent of the population."

The official reported that there had been several massacres since last May and the situation was catastrophic for a population fleeing the fighting and drought.

Speaking of the massacre of some 300 civilians in January at Yakawlang in the central Bamiyan province, Hossain said there had been an "identified list of names" from "very reliable sources."

He added that "the identities of commanders who were present in the area at the relevant time are available in these reports," especially from Human Rights Watch.

"They should be brought to justice," he urged.

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