Dr Najibullah Lafraie: Fundamentalist in the Guise of Academician
Extracts from the 133-page report published by Human Rights Watch on July 7, 2005 under the title of “Blood-Stained Hands: Past Atrocities in Kabul and Afghanistan’s Legacy of Impunity,” Full text can be found at: http://hrw.org/reports/2005/afghanistan0605/4.htm
Afshar operation of February 1993 represented the largest and most integrated use of military power undertaken by the ISA up to that time [ISA refers to the Islamic State of Afghanistan, the Rabbani-led government]. There were two tactical objectives to the operation. First, Massoud intended through the operation to capture the political and military headquarters of Hizb-i Wahdat, (which was located in the Social Science Institute, adjoining Afshar, the neighborhood below the Afshar mountain in west Kabul), and to capture Abdul Ali Mazari, the leader of Hizb-i Wahdat. Second, the ISA intended to consolidate the areas of the capital directly controlled by Islamic State forces by linking up parts of west Kabul controlled by Ittihad-i Islami with parts of central Kabul controlled by Jamiat-i Islami.
It was terrible. There were rockets, explosions. . . . I saw a rocket hit a neighbor’s house. His son was killed. There was blood pouring out of him. I saw that. . . . The [ground] attack started sometime later. Our family left [then]. When we went, we saw a lot of dead bodies on the street: people who had been killed.
Q.L.N., described the scene of fleeing residents: “A number of families were fleeing. One family was holding a dead child, wouldn’t let it go. One young girl had lost her family; she was wounded, dying on the ground.”
Another woman, F.W., said she had to leave her wounded husband behind as she fled:
That first day, a rocket hit our house. My husband was wounded in the foot. He was bleeding. . . . People were rushing around: men, women, children, all fleeing their houses, going toward the Intercontinental Hotel. I told my husband, “Everyone is leaving, fleeing, no one is left.” And I said that we should go. But he said, “I can’t move. I can’t go with you. Leave me here, and flee.” And he told me to take the eldest daughter, and that taking her away was the most important thing. . . .
We went out [of the house], but I couldn’t go. I couldn’t leave him there—my husband. I had to go back. So I went back, and I told him that I wanted him to come with us, and that I would help him walk. . . . So then we went, I was helping him, he had his arm around my shoulder. I was also carrying my three-month-old son, and my eldest daughter was holding my three-year-old. We got as far as the water canal [about 80 meters away].
At that moment, some gunmen came up to us, Mullah Ezatullah’s men. The commander said, “Qalfak Chapat.” [A derogatory term for Hazaras referring to their facial features.] “I’m one of Ezatullah’s men, and I’ve been ordered to seize this area. I’ll teach you a lesson you’ll never forget, for all of history.” He was a fat strong man, in plain Afghan clothes. But they didn’t do anything to us. They said, “We can reach you anywhere you go, we are everywhere, we control everything.” And they moved on.
So we were very scared. My husband said he could not go on. So we went back to our house. He made us leave, he insisted that I take our daughter, and so we went. We went [past] the Intercontinental . . . and we went to the Ismaili people [in Taimani], who helped us. A few days later, a neighbor came to us, a Tajik who knew what was going on. He told us that Afshar was destroyed, my house was burned, and my husband was killed. . . .
The woman returned to the house over a year later: “When we entered the house, we found only a skull, and four big bones, on the ground. There was nothing else. A neighbor, who knew Sayyaf’s people and had seen more of what happened, told me that my husband was shot with many bullets and killed.”
Another resident, R.J.G., said that he witnessed rockets fired into crowds of fleeing civilians off the top of Afshar mountain on the afternoon of February 11:
Jamiat took the top of the mountain. Around five in the afternoon, they started firing rockets from the top of the mountain, down into this area. They killed people right here on this street. People were rushing out of Afshar. They were rushing down this street here [the main street running north south through the eastern part of Afshar]. The street was filled with people, running away from Afshar. . . . My house is right there, at the top of the street. . . . Massoud’s forces were shooting at them. . . . They were firing into this street. Three times the street was hit. Seventeen people were killed—there were seventeen bodies lying in the street—we counted. The corpses were lying here in the streets. . . . Clearly they were civilians. Yes, it was clear: they had burqas, there were children. It was clear they were civilians.
Resident, L.M., was almost killed by a rocket the next day:
As we were walking up towards our compound, a shell or a rocket hit right in front of my compound. I was walking with my two neighbors, both of them were hit. One was killed instantly. A piece of the rocket went into his eye, and out the back of his head. He died. And the other person was hit in the knee, and he was injured, and he fell down. We were about fifty meters from where the explosion was. . . . I was not wounded. It was a miracle.
Notably, this incident, which took place in a residential area, occurred after Wahdat forces had left the nearby headquarters, suggesting that whatever force fired the rocket was either intentionally or recklessly targeting civilians.
Y.B.K., a Hazara Afshar resident who was a boy at the time, said he was arrested in his house by troops he believed were Pashtun—likely Ittihad—and taken to the Academy of Social Science. He said he saw scores of dead civilians on the way.
I saw some Paghmani people [i.e., Ittihad], searching house by house. I fled into my house. This commander, Hasan Yaldar [the witness said he learned the name of the commander from his neighbor, mentioned below], came into our house, with seven or eight gunmen. . . . They grabbed me and took me with them. I was afraid. . . . Hasan Yaldar pushed me down to the ground, and he kneeled on my chest, pulled out his bayonet, and pushed it into [against] my throat. —“Where are the guns?” he yelled at me. —“I don’t know anything, I swear to God,” I said. But he hit me with a strong slap. And he was yelling at me. I was crying and crying. I was so afraid. Then, the other gunmen told him to release him, and he did, and they started to beat me, kicking me, punching me, and hitting me with their guns. I had cuts all over my body. I was hurt badly.
On the way, I saw fifty or sixty corpses all over the roads. Some were shot. Some were cut up, limbs severed. There was a lot of blood on the ground. It was a shocking scene. It stuck in my mind how awful it was. . . . Some of them were shot. I saw some bodies, their stomachs had been cut open. Others had been hit in explosions, in rockets, and were burned. . . . I think that most were killed by gunmen.
F.W., quoted above, who fled during the fighting east toward the Hotel Intercontinental, said that some troops were stopping civilians and killing some of them at the side of the road, although at least one commander attempted to stop abuses.
Some residents said that Jamiat troops stopped Hazaras as well, and arrested them. Q.L.N told Human Rights Watch that he saw Jamiat troops stopping Hazara civilians at a post at Bagh Bala: “Qari Moheb, the Jamiat commander, stopped me. . . . They took my watch, my clothes. . . . There were two wounded people in the car with me, Hazara. They [the Jamiat troops] just said ‘You’re Hazara, you must come with us.’” Q.L.N. said he was able to be released because another Jamiat commander there knew him. “The others were taken,” he said.
L.M. saw Ittihad troops beating a Hazara teenager at a check post:
[H]e was the son of the servant at the mosque. He was behind us [as we left Afshar]. The gunmen stopped him, and started to beat him. I turned around, and I said, “Stop, he is the son of the servant at the mosque. He’s not a fighter.” But they pulled him off and took him away somewhere. Three days later, when I came back, I saw his corpse behind the wall of the Academy of Social Science. I saw two corpses; his was one of them.
L.S. said that he saw thirty to forty other Hazara men and boys lined up against a wall, guarded by Ittihad troops: The gunmen were tying people up and putting them against the wall. Women were crying, or they were running away. They were very afraid. The soldiers saw us and came over to us. I know who the commander was: Shir Agha Zarshakh. It was one of Sayyaf’s commanders.
According to L.S., Shir Agha Zarshakh addressed him specifically:
He said, “Hey, Hazara: this is your graveyard. Where are you going?”
I said, “I am an ordinary person. I have no involvement with political parties or fighting. I live here with my family.”
He said, “Whether you are a civilian or not a civilian, you are Hazara.” And immediately the soldiers started beating me with the butts of their guns. My seven-year old son rushed away from my wife towards me, to help me, but one of the gunmen hit him hard with a gun, and knocked him down to the ground. Then the gunman took the bayonet off his gun, and put it up to my boy’s throat, like to cut off his head. I started shrieking, and the women started shrieking, and my wife and some other women threw themselves on top of the boy. The soldier moved back, toward me. I signaled with my hand to my wife to leave, to go. Then the women rushed off with the boy.
L.S. said he saw two women killed by the same set of troops:
Karbalie said to the gunmen, “Well, we thought you were Muslim. If we had known that you would behave like this, you would never have succeeded in capturing Afshar.” And the gunmen started beating him. They were also beating someone else, next to him. Karbalie’s wife and another woman threw themselves on them, their husbands, and were yelling at the troops, insulting them. The troops grabbed the one woman, and then the other, pushed them off the men, and then threw them on the ground and killed them.
They took their guns, with the bayonets, and stabbed the women as they lay on the ground, stabbed them many times over, at least ten times. [Motions like he is holding a gun with a bayonet, stabbing it down into the ground.] We saw all of this.
After, the women were lying on the ground. They were shaking at first; their feet were twitching. They were dead. The two men, both of them, fainted. They were unconscious. The women were about thirty-five, or forty. I think that one of them was pregnant. She looked pregnant.
J.L.S., quoted above, a physically disabled Hazara man in Afshar who was detained in a house by Ittihad troops on February 12, told Human Rights Watch that troops beat him: “They beat me, really badly. I am a lame person [disabled]. I said [to them], ‘I am just a lame man, I can hardly walk.’” J.L.S. also said the troops harassed his female relatives:
They went to the women in my family, and they started to grab them, and pull at their chador [to remove it]. I threw myself on the legs of the troops, and said, “How dare you search these women?” This one troop I grabbed, he took his gun and pointed it down at me [to shoot me], but one of the women grabbed the butt of the gun before it fired, and the shot went into the ground. The women cried, “Please, give us mercy, he is just a lame man.” And they let us go. They said, “We’ll come back for you later.”
I saw Sayyaf’s troops kill this guy on the street here, a Hazara, about 16 years old. I saw from my house. There were these gunmen posted here, and this guy was passing on his way down the road. The gunmen, they were Pashtuns. They didn’t do anything to the boy as he went by, and the boy passed. After he passed, they shot him in the back, two of them I think, and he was killed. . . .
The men were later untied, said L.S., and deployed to pick up dead civilians and bury them. “They said, ‘Go and collect your corpses in Afshar, go collect your dead.’ So we went out, with them guarding us.”
The first person we found was Faizal Ahmed, an old man. He was decapitated. One of his arms was cut off and one of his legs. And his penis was cut off, and his penis was put in his mouth.
Then we collected three other corpses, near Balki’s shrine, and four others from the street between the Academy of Social Science and the police academy. We buried all of these eight across from the Polytechnic mosque, in the potato field From seven to ten a.m., we found eleven corpses. . . . We found one seven-year-old boy, he was decapitated. His head was nearby, it had been cut off, from behind: you could see from the head that they cut from the back, and that the skin had been torn off from the front of his neck, not cut. We found a woman in the same house, dead. She was holding a copy of the Koran in her arms, embracing it. Then we found the two women who I told you about before, who had been stabbed. We found seven other bodies, in the streets. Men. They had been shot. Three of them were shot in the head. We buried them behind Balki mosque, on the east side. . . . Later, we loaded more trucks: at around two p.m., we went to Cotton Textile Street, and Shir Ali Street, and took the property out of those houses. In a house on Cotton Textile Street, we saw a man, Haji Hasan: his head was cut off, and his feet, and his hands. There was nowhere to bury him, and no time: they were not letting us bury the corpses. So we put him into the well there. It would be better for him than to be eaten by dogs. . . .
The Ittihad troops apparently wanted to leave some evidence of their crimes—to terrorize the local population there.
Then we went on to Shir Ali street. There, there was a woman who was shot. She had been the wife of the servant in the mosque there. We wanted to bury her, but they didn’t let us. They said, “Let her lie here. Let the other people learn from this, and fear us.”
On Jaghori Street, there was a guy there, Hussein Ali, he was about eighteen. He had been shot. They did not let us bury him either. “There are many others like him, you can’t spend all your time burying people.” [They said.] “There are others who will be eaten by dogs, let him be eaten too.” These all were Shir Agha Zarshakh’s men. He was with us the whole time.
L.S. said he escaped from custody the second night after he was arrested. He says that the Ittihad men guarding them at the Old Mosque left them alone in the evening:
I and an old man and his nephew threw ourselves out of a window there. We crept up Afshar Mountain, and got to the water canal. There, we crawled all night, on our knees and elbows, across the hill, in the canal, to the northeast. All the skin was worn off our elbows. We moved on, toward the center of the city, and joined the other Afshari people at the Qahraman Karbala Mosque [in Taimani]. . . . Of the forty other people who were imprisoned with me, we never heard of them again, or found them. We have talked to their families: none of them was ever returned, and no one ever saw them again.
Y.B.K., also quoted above, said that he saw Ittihad troops forcing residents to carry looted goods: “The troops were making [people who they arrested] drag precious things with them, like they were porters. They were carrying what the troops looted, behind them.” He saw civilians forced to “drag the corpses out on to the street.” He also said his own home was looted: “They took everything valuable. What they couldn’t take, they broke into pieces—for instance, the refrigerators.”
Soldiers involved in looting did so openly, apparently unconcerned that their superiors would try to stop them:
At around twelve that day I heard some drums. I was amazed. Who would be having a wedding in the middle of this massacre? I looked outside and saw the troops walking by, playing on drums, laughing. They had some porters with them, carrying some televisions and radios.
L.M. said that the troops took him into a small cemetery, where he says he saw the corpses of about eleven boys:
They made me walk up and stand next to those corpses. They said to me, “Give us the guns, or you will face the same fate as these eleven boys.” They were all around me, pointing their guns. They ordered me to sit down on the ground. The commander said, “I’ll count to three, and you have to confess.”
I said, “I am a Muslim, let me pray, and then kill me.” They told me: “You’re dirty, you’re not a Muslim—you’re Shi’a.”
So then I just started praying, with my mouth [i.e., not out loud]. They counted, “One. . . Two . . . Three,” and then they fired, right in front of me, so that the dirt on the ground sprayed up into my face. . . . It was on automatic.
“O.K.,” they said. “He won’t confess. He will die digging holes for us in Paghman. There is no need to kill him.” So then they took me away.
A more senior commander then appeared and asked the other troops who L.M. was:
They said, “We have arrested him. He has two guns, and he won’t give them to us.” The man said, “Shoot him. Kill him. Don’t waste your time. And put his corpse with the others.” And he pointed towards the cemetery.
But the troops apparently had other ideas. L.M. says they took him to a nearby compound, Qala Said, where there was a tokia khana, a Shi’a prayer hall, and made him carry out belongings from it: “They made me go in and carry out many valuable things, everything. They sent for a truck, to load things into.”
Then the troops put L.M. in a car and drove west with him, toward Paghman.
When we got to the Qargha, they stopped. There was a house there. We went into that house, and there they divided up all the property. I carried the property into the house. I saw them divide it. The commander got two shares, and the soldiers got one share.
L.M. spent the night there, sleeping on the ground at the Qargha base. The troops, who seem to have taken an inexplicable liking to L.M., drove him back into Kabul the next morning and released him. They took me to Khandaq Tarik in Kampani, to Zalmay Tofan’s base. . . . They threw us in a container. There were forty prisoners there, Hazaras, in that one container. Every day they gave us one piece of bread and slapped us. By day we worked, by night we were put in the container. It was very cold; there was no sleep. I stayed there for forty days. Then they transferred us to Badam Ghol in Paghman. . . . There were twelve of us [there]. We went to a mountain between Maidanshah [district west of Kabul] and Paghman. There were four posts on that mountain. . . . I built these posts; I carried all the food and water there.
A.Q.L. says he was released in 1996, as the Taliban seized control of the area and Ittihad troops fled north. He then set off to find his family:
It took me eleven days to walk to Kabul. It was snowy, it was winter. . . [A] car came, he agreed to give us a ride. . . .
[When] I saw my face in the [car] mirror, I was shocked. The driver paid for the barber, for our shoes and clothes. I was dropped in Taimani. It was quiet, I didn’t know anyone anymore. I found someone I knew; he said your family is in Karte Seh, so I went there.
[Witness was quite distressed, but refused to stop interview.]
My wife didn’t recognize me, only after a few minutes.
Both A.Q.L. and L.M. (quoted earlier) told Human Rights Watch that their sons were also arrested by Ittihad. A.Q.L. said his son was only eight years old when he was taken, and was kept for over three years: “After Sayyaf’s forces were defeated by the Taliban [in 1996], he was kept imprisoned by the Taliban. . . . I paid a lot of money to the Taliban and then he was released.” Human Rights Watch has documented that many young boys were and are still held by commanders for the purposes of sexual abuse. A.Q.L. did not allow Human Rights Watch to interview his son: “It is not good to remind the child from his bitter memories in the past.”
L.M.’s son was 16 when he was arrested. L.M. managed to have him released after about two months, when he learned that he was being held at Bagh-e Daoud, in Paghman, by a commander under Mullah Ezatullah, named Masjida:
I went to Bagh-e Daoud, to the post there. . . . I eventually got a meeting with a commander named Ghafar, who was under Mullah Ezat, and he ordered Masjida to release my son. And so Masjida released him to me. I took him with me from that compound and brought him home.
L.M.’s son, who was held for about two months, became mentally ill soon after his release. Said L.M.: “For a month or so, my son was alright, he was quiet, depressed, but more or less he was of sound mind. Now he is insane.” Human Rights Watch researchers observed L.M.’s son in 2003, in a semi-catatonic state. According to his family, he no longer communicates with other people, and spends his days sleeping or staring into space, sometimes muttering or laughing.
As detailed in earlier sections, Ittihad was not the only faction implicated in abductions. The Afshar campaign also exposed further Wahdat abuses: An Ittihad soldier who fought in the Afshar campaign told Human Rights Watch that after his troops seized the Academy of Social Science from Wahdat, they found several women there who said they had been raped by Wahdat. They also found a small pile of corpses of women prisoners. In another room, they found another pile of dead men and approximately twenty-five male prisoners: “They were all completely insane—from being tortured. They were completely, completely insane. The man said he was unable to stay longer to get a more detailed look: “I ran away. Because of the smell. It was disgusting.”
Officials with the commission said that approximately eighty to two hundred persons were later released, and that ransoms were paid to Ittihad commanders holding them to secure their release, but that approximately 700-750 persons were never returned, and were presumably killed or died in captivity.
People were feeling so much shame: no one was reporting that the females were taken. [It was] because of the dishonor, and shame, families would report that the women were killed. [T]he men were reported kidnapped, and the women were reported killed [but] there is no doubt that women were kidnapped.
The commission estimated that approximately 5,000 houses were looted in the Afshar area during and after the operation, a figure which is not inconsistent with the accounts and information received by Human Rights Watch.
The Afshar campaign was marked by widespread and serious violations of international humanitarian law. War crimes included attacks on the civilian population and civilian objects, killings, torture and other inhumane treatment, rape, abductions and forced disappearances, forced labor, and pillage and looting. As discussed in Section IV below, there is compelling evidence that the senior Ittihad and Jamiat commanders involved in the Afshar campaign are implicated in these violations. It is also possible that some commanders may be liable for crimes against humanity. Illegal acts that were part of a widespread or systematic attack on a civilian population, such as the killing or abduction of members of certain minorities, may amount to crimes against humanity.
Abdul Rabb al-Rasul Sayyaf, the overall leader of Ittihad, is implicated in the war crimes documented above either directly or indirectly, as a matter of command responsibility. As a senior leader of Ittihad, Sayyaf controlled all Ittihad commanders throughout the Afshar attack. Witnesses, including a soldier who fought with Ittihad, say that they saw Sayyaf coordinating military operations during the campaign and meeting with sub-commanders. Sayyaf met with senior Ittihad commanders in Paghman the day before the Afshar campaign to discuss the Afshar attack. Sayyaf was also present at the meeting convened by Massoud in the Hotel Intercontinental on the second day of the Afshar operation on February 12. His leadership role in Ittahad as well as his involvement in planning the Afshar campaign place him in the position of being directly responsible for abuses or culpable under the doctrine of command responsibility.
Other Ittihad commanders are potentially implicated. Several officials, journalists, and military commanders described how Ittihad commanders Shir Alam, Zalmay Tofan, Mullah Taj Mohammad, Abdullah Wardak, “Doctor” Abdullah, and Abdullah Shah had effective control over troops engaged in abductions and street fighting with Wahdat forces in west Kabul, and said that they commanded troops at Afshar. Commanders Khanjar and Patang were said to have been commanding troops at Afshar. One witness who was abducted and put into forced labor in Paghman under Ittihad troops saw and spoke with Zalmay Tofan while in captivity, pleading for medical assistance. Witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch and the Afghan Justice Project claim that they saw Zalmay Tofan, Shir Alam, “Doctor” Abdullah, and Abdullah Shah leading troops on the ground during the Afshar campaign. One witness cited above, who was abducted by Ittihad forces, said he was under the control of an Ittihad commander named Shir Agha Zarshakh, who was leading a group of soldiers. The Afghan Justice Project interviewed witnesses who identified other commanders who were seen directing troops during the Afshar campaign, including “Doctor” Abdullah and Khanjar, as well as other Ittihad commanders, including Jaglan Naeem, Abdul Manan Diwana, Amanullah Kochi, Shirin, Mushtaq Lalai, and Mullah Kachkol. According to one witness interviewed by the Afghan Justice Project, two senior Ittihad commanders—Shir Alam and Zalmay Tofan—were at the meeting convened by Massoud the day before the Afshar attack.
Several Jamiat commanders, including Massoud, Fahim, Baba Jalander, Bismullah Khan, Baba Jan, Ahmadi Takhari, Kabir Andarabi, and Mullah Ezat, were directly involved in the 1993 Afshar campaign, according to officials who worked within the Rabbani government in 1992-1993. General Fahim, who was chief of the Afghan intelligence service in 1992-1993 but controlled several military posts as well, was one of the chief commanders under Massoud. Officials in the Rabbani government in 1992-1993 told Human Rights Watch that Fahim was directly involved in the Afshar attack, controlled at least one Jamiat and Shura-e Nazar forces, at the time discussed in this report, were under the overall command of Ahmed Shah Massoud (killed on September 9, 2001). Second tier military commanders included Mohammad Qasim Fahim (Afghanistan’s defense minister 2001-2004; as of mid-2005 holding a symbolic position as “Marshall for Life”); Baba Jalander (director of the Afghan Red Crescent Society from late 2001-2004); Bismullah Khan (as of mid-2005 the chief of staff of the Afghan Army); Gul Haider (as of mid-2005 a general serving in the defense ministry); and Younis Qanooni (former minister of education and national security advisor in President Karzai’s 2002-2004 cabinet; as of mid-2005 the chief of Nehzat-e Melli, a political party, also known as Afghanistan Naveen).
of the military posts on Television Mountain throughout the period of this report, and that he was involved in the planning of the Afshar campaign and took part in negotiations with Harakat commanders to gain their cooperation before the attack. The same officials said Mullah Ezat and Anwar Dangar were also involved in the Afshar campaign.
Jamiat and Shura-e Nazar forces, at the time discussed in this report, were under the overall command of Ahmed Shah Massoud (killed on September 9, 2001). Second tier military commanders included Mohammad Qasim Fahim (Afghanistan’s defense minister 2001-2004; as of mid-2005 holding a symbolic position as “Marshall for Life”); Baba Jalander (director of the Afghan Red Crescent Society from late 2001-2004); Bismullah Khan (as of mid-2005 the chief of staff of the Afghan Army); Gul Haider (as of mid-2005 a general serving in the defense ministry); and Younis Qanooni (former minister of education and national security advisor in President Karzai’s 2002-2004 cabinet; as of mid-2005 the chief of Nehzat-e Melli, a political party, also known as Afghanistan Naveen).
Jamiat forces are culpable for many of the abuses documented in this report. There is compelling evidence that Jamiat forces in 1992 and 1993 intentionally targeted civilians and civilian areas in western Kabul for attack, or indiscriminately attacked such areas without distinguishing between civilian areas and military targets.
In some cases, Jamiat forces used imprecise weapons systems, including Sakr rockets and UB-16 and UB-32 S-5 airborne rocket launchers clumsily refitted onto tank turrets, the use of which was inherently indiscriminate in the dense urban setting. The use of the jury-rigged S-5 system in particular, within Kabul city, demonstrates an utter disregard of the duty to use methods and means of attack that distinguish between civilian objects and military targets.
There is also evidence that some Jamiat forces engaged in killing and abduction of Hazara civilians in 1992. There is also evidence that Jamiat forces targeted civilian areas for attack at the beginning of the February 1993 Afshar campaign. In addition, Jamiat commanders may in some cases be liable for the abuses committed during the Afshar campaign by allied Ittihad troops, if it is shown in any cases that they had de facto command over such troops. All of these alleged abuses amount to war crimes.
In addition, Jamiat, along with the other factions discussed in this report, are implicated in numerous robberies, general criminality, and killings of civilians in non-combat situations. Many of these abuses also amount to serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law, and the failures by commanders to stop or prevent the abuses could make them complicit in the violations.
Ahmad Shah Massoud is implicated in many of the abuses documented in this report, both those committed by Jamiat forces, and those committed by other militia forces under his command. He was assassinated on September 9, 2001. It is nonetheless important that his role and that of his commanders be fully investigated.
Further investigation is needed into the responsibility of Massoud’s sub-commanders. Most of Massoud’s commanders and advisors in 1992-1993 are still alive as of mid-2005, including Mohammad Qasim Fahim, Baba Jalander, Bismullah Khan, Gul Haider, Younis Qanooni, Dr. Abdullah, Baba Jan, Basir Salangi, Haji Almas, and Mullah Ezat (or Ezatullah). All of them hold or have held military or police posts in the post-Taliban Afghan government. (The official positions of Kabir Andarabi, Baz Mohammad Ahmadi, Ahmadi Takhari, and Panah are unknown.)
As stated in section III (A) and III (C), Fahim, Baba Jalander, Bismullah Khan, Baba Jan, Ahmadi Takhari, Kabir Andarabi, and Mullah Ezat were directly implicated in abuses described in this report, including the 1993 Afshar campaign. General Fahim was chief of the Afghan intelligence service and controlled several military posts in Kabul, and was one of the chief commanders under Massoud. As noted in section III (C), Fahim controlled at least one of the military posts on Television Mountain throughout the period covered in this report, was involved in the planning of the Afshar campaign and took part in negotiations with Harakat commanders to gain their cooperation before the attack, and was directly involved in the Afshar attack. Yunis Qanooni was stationed at the ministry of defense compound in Kabul, often served as a spokesman for Jamiat, and was involved in Jamiat decision-making processes. As noted in section III (C), Mullah Ezat and Anwar Dangar were also deeply involved in the Afshar attack.
From the book “I is for Infidel” by Kathy Gannon
And so Afghanistan was handed over the fractious, feuding mix of tribal warlords, who had been elevate to the status of mujahedeen factional leaders to fight the Soviet Union. Their stature had been enhanced by the billion of dollars and weapons they had received from the United States and the rest of the world.
Hekmatyar’s biggest rival was Ahmad Shah Massoud, Afghanistan’s first post-Communist defense minister and an ethnic Tajik. The charismatic, French-speaking Massoud had rarely left Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion. He was a pragmatic man who brokered truces with the Soviet forces and, in the early years of the Soviet invasion, cleansed ethnic Pashtuns from the valleys of the Hindu Kush Mountains of his homeland in order to solidify his power base in the north by ensuring that the Tajiks were unchallenged. He made hundreds of millions of dollar from the lucrative emerald and lapus lazuli mines. Massoud held radical Islamic beliefs, was known to punish his men for not praying; his closest ally among the other mujahedeen leaders was Adbul Rasul Sayyaf, a radical Islamist who was tight with the Arab militants.
The only rival to Massoud for full control of northern Afghanistan was Abdul Rashid Dostum, a stocky, mustachioed ethnic Uzbek, who remained a loyal communist general under Najibullah until it seemed certain Najibullah would step down. Dostum then switched side and joined the mujahedeen. His viciousness was legendary in Afghanistan.
These were the men the world installed in Kabul when Najibullah stepped down in April 1992. They were the mujahedeen “government.”
They collided disastrously during their four years in power. It’s painful journey into these four years of Afghanistan’s past, when the world handed a vibrant, intact Kabul over to the mujahedeen leaders, who destroyed it. But knowing the history of the early 1990s is essential because so many of the survivors of the era have recently been returned to power. Some have even been transformed into heroes. But among the Afghan mujahedeen leadership, there were no heroes.
After a particularly blistering assault, we went to Amir Shah’s Hazara neighborhood, where we found a man named Ghulam Jan collapsed over a brightly colored shawl. We couldn’t see what was under it. Amir Shah talked to him, tried to comfort him. Sayyaf’s men had stormed into the neighborhood and grabbed five women, including Ghulam Jan’s wife. Ghulam Jan could barely talk. He threw open the shawl. Inside were long thick bunches of bloodied women’s hair. I looked away. Ghulam Jan said Sayyaf’s men raped the women, killed them, and then scalped them.
The Afghan friend I have called Karim said that it was rumored at the time bin Laden helped broker the reconciliation between Hekmatyar and Massoud soon after his arrival in Afghanistan from Sudan in May 1996. Bin Laden had fought with Sayyaf during the Soviet invasion and so was close to Massoud. At the same time, some of bin Landen’s Arab warriors had fought alongside Hekmatyar. Bin Laden had link to both men. At the time of the reconciliation, bin Laden was in Jalalabad, protected by the mujahedeen government.
I watched the parade of unity from a wooden chair at the front of a cavernous hall that had been a ballroom during Najibullah’s rule. All the mujahedeen leaders were on a stage. I marveled at their lack of conscience. There was Sayyaf, and beside him, Burhanuddin Rabbani, the titular president, who had agreed in 1992 to cede power after four months but held on for four years. As Rabbani’s defense minister, Massoud kept him in power. Hekmatyar stood by their side. They smiled, even kissed each other on the check.
The terrorist training camps flourished under the mujahedeen government, the opponents of the Taliban. Osama bin Laden came to Afghanistan from Sudan with the help of the mujahedeen government.
The Taliban had become, by 2001, a loathsome repressive regime. But that does not justify or explain why the CIA revised history in order to connect bin Laden and Mullah Omar in those early days of the Taliban movement. The CIA should have known that Osama bin Laden’s friends were the men of the Northern Alliance, men like Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, the very men it would later choose to help hunt bin Laden.
As point man in Afghanistan for both President Bush had Secretary Rumsfeld, Khalilzad made disastrous choice. He knew the men of the Northern Alliance, yet ignore their murderous history that had given rise to the Taliban; partnered them with U.S. soldiers; declared them the victorious army, although it was U.S. and British air power that had defeated the Taliban; treated Afghanistan as the spoils of war and handed the country to Northern Alliance leaders, who divided it up into fiefdoms; and then enlisted their militias in the hunt for al Qaeda and Taliban.
The Northern Alliance used U.S. soldiers to settle old scores, to intimidate and terrorize. Tribal enemies were turned in as Taliban. U.S. jets bombed villages and convoys wrongly identified by their Afghan allies as harboring al Qaeda and Taliban.