Reports from Fundamentalism-stricken AFGHANISTAN

Herself imprisoned of Islamic hejab and her child grazed by a jehadi bullet.

Two armed jehadis executing an innocent man

Killing the dearest, the only way
The greatest tragedy is that there seems no end to the sufferings of Afghan women. As a result, the majority of the Afghan women are suffering from mental disorder and have become a burden for their own parents. An Afghan refugees says that all the time he is worried about his three daughters. There is no law to check crimes against women in Afghanistan. In many cases women in the recent past were raped and tortured by unknown criminals in various parts of Afghanistan.

The recovery of mass graves of women near Kabul about four months ago is a glaring proof of the sort of agony Afghan women were passing through. "To protect the honour of my daughters, I want my daughters to be married as early as possible. No matter whether she is nine years old or 12 years old," says a man.

A RAWA report claims that on September 15,1993 several women with worn-out dresses were seen in Bagh-e-Bala. The women, according to the report, told that they had escaped from a jail, controlled by a group which was later ousted from Kabul. The report says that there has been an incident in which a father killed his daughter to escape cruel treatment at the hands of criminals. The report alleges that in the absence of any law, criminals break into houses of people for looting and dishonouring the women.

War has so badly devastated the Afghan nation where suffering has reached unprecedented heights. The Afghan feel so helpless - in Peshawar an Afghan refugee, Habibullah, was seen selling his two-year-old grandson. The man said that all his family members had been killed in the war. "I am an old man and there is no one to look after the child", he says that he does not want money, but is looking for someone who could guarantee this grandson’s well-being. There are numerous similar painful stories of Afghan women and children.

"WEEKEND POST", August,25,1995 
The fundamentalist’s gift: Prostitution

Paktina (30) a resident of Kabul, a higher secondary student who had to migrate to Pakistan:

We had a business of tin food and garments in Kabul. We were forced to leave Kabul by the warring groups who attacked our city, a year ago. I had three brothers, they were killed in bomb explosions. My father was murdered by unknown killers two days before we left for Pakistan.

Since we have no earning member in the family, I had to go for this dirty and disgraceful business to sustain my four sisters and our mother. When we arrived first in Peshawar, I visited many offices of aid agencies for job. But I could not have one. So, I was forced to go for the immoral means. First when I turned to this was when I took my sister to a Peshawar hospital (she did not tell which). A dispenser took me to his house. But now even this immoral way of living is not helping because it is being crowded by newcomers. Not only the Pakistanis but many of our "Afghan brothers" are there to push us to doing this.

Danya (18), came from Kabul along with her uncle, four years ago, a student at an Afghan school:

I have recently joined the bad women’s group. About a year ago I was standing near my house in the Ganj area of Peshawar waiting for the school bus. An Afghan young man whom we knew from Kabul, came on motorcycle and offered a lift. From that time I am doing this and am earning living for my uncle and his wife. I was sent here by my parents for fear of attack by the mujahideen since I was growing up and was the only unmarried female among my sisters (3) who are living back in Kabul.

DIPLOMAT, February 1994 
Rival fundamentalists clash causes losses

Kabul had changed drastically since I first saw it some 20 years ago. Then, it was a fine city combining the modern with the historical, like so many cities of the northern sub-continent. But today, it is merely a shadow of its former self, filled with the shell-like structures of ruined buildings and inhabited by people who scurry from one place to another in a manner which shows how frightened they are.

The ravages of over a decade of war are present everywhere. The ruined build-ings, the number of cripples one can see on the streets, the sense of suspicion which lurks everywhere, is a testimony of the destruction war can cause in a country. Afghanistan is in danger of being buried completely under both the physical and emotional rubble of war, and there is no doubt that it will be some years before it is able to recover.

The New, Aug. 16, 1996  
Criminals rampage residential areas

Most of the victims were unarmed women and children. Between 21 and 24 October at least 95 people were killed and over 290 wounded in bombardments aimed solely at residential areas where there was no military activity. Artillery and mortar fire around Kabul University, the Deh Mazang area and the so-called Television Mountain the same month killed at least 45 people and wounded 150. Eye-witnesses reported that one of the bombs hit a school which was being used as a shelter for displaced people, killing 10. ....

On 12 March President Rabbani’s soldiers reportedly rampaged through Karte Seh, looting houses, killing and beating unarmed civilians, and raping women.

AI, November 1995 
UN's 200 tonnes of flour looted

Kabul (AFP)- A United Nations convoy carrying 200 tonnes of wheat flour to Kabul has been looted by mujahedeen forces loyal to Afghan Prime Minister Gulbadin Hekmatyar.

The 16-vehicle UN convoy was looted Wednesday at Sarobi, a district centre 70 kilometers east of the capital, by a Hezb-i-Islami commander in protest at two days of jet bombardment apparently ordered by Hekmatyar’s rival, ex-defence minister Ahmad Shah Masood.

The Frontier Post, November 19,1993 
Looting the citizens

February 27: The militia of Gulbadin and Dostum have started harassing and looting the citizens of ‘Karte-Now’ and ‘Shah Habib.’

Bakhtar correspondent quotes an eye-witness as saying that the citizens of ‘Karte Now’ and ‘Shah Habib’, who are shifting their belongings to safe places in the city, are being beaten up and looted on their way by the militia men. The indifferent attitude of Gulbadin towards the Kabul citizens have added to their hardships and difficulties.

THE MUSLIM, February 26, 1995 
Where there is war there are Afghan fundamentalists

Peshawar: Are the Afghans really fighting in distant Chechnya, Azerbaijan. Bosnia, Tajikistan and Kashmir? This question has cropped up again in the wake of allegations by some Russian government leaders that Afghans were fighting alongside the rebellious Chechen Muslims.

Arabs fighting their conservative, pro-West government in Algeria and Egypt also have some Afghan war veterans in their ranks, who are considered more radical and better trained. But they are Arabs and not Afghans even though they are referred to as Afghans for having fought in the Afghan Jehad.

"We probably have the largest force of battle-hardened men in the world. Jobless and with no hope of a better future in war-ravaged Afghanistan, our young men are ready to fight yet another jehad even if it is in a distant Muslim land," said an Afghan leader, requesting anonymity.

The presence of Afghan mujahideen in Chechnya has become a bone of contention between President Rabbani’s government and its numerous opponents. Engineer Yunis, a representative of former militia warlord Rasheed Dostum in Moscow, alleged a few days ago that Rabbani and his right-hand man Ahmad Shah Masood had sent Afghans to Grozny, capital of Chechnya, to fight against Russian troops and also against Chechens opposed to President Dzhokar Dudayev’s government.

The presence of Afghans in the Bosnian frontlines has also been reported, though a conclusive proof of their involvement was never presented. The Indian government has also alleged that foreigners, includ-ing Afghans and Arabs, were fighting alongside Kashmiris against Indian troops in Jammu and Kashmir.

There are indication that some Afghans have fought in Azerbaijan and occupied Kashmir but their presence in Bosnia, Azerbaijan and Chechnya hasn’t been proved, Rival Afghan groups often blame each other for involvement in these and other crisis in distant lands.

As Afghanistan’s neighbour, Tajikistan is the easiest place for Afghans to infiltrate. And they have been doing so quite often, with Massod’s men reportedly providing every support to the anti-Communist Tajik alliance. Other Afghan groups are also involved, including some mujahideen command-ers in border provinces like Badakhshan, Takhar and Kunduz acting on their own.

The News, December 17,1994 
"Afghan" Chechens in Afghanistan

Peshawar: Top Chechen Commander Shamyl Basayev twice visited Pakistan to organise a string of military training for his fighters in the neighbouing Afghanistan, investigators and Arab sources said.

Shamyal soon after his arrival from Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, stayed for a few days in Peshawar before moving across the Pak-Afghan border into Afghanistan to oversee training arrangements at Al-Khuldan camp in Khost, Afghanistan’s southern province bordering Pakistan. He left immediately after, only to return again in May to make arrangements for a group of 40 Chechens to take military training in Afghanistan.

These sources said Zrar Esa Musa, a Jordanian Chechen, carrying the pseudonym of Mohammad Mansoor was Shamyl’s relation who fought in the Afghan Jehad and ran Sayyaf’s propaganda video section, "the Mirror of Afghan Jehad". He left Pakistan for Jordan in the summer of 1988 and was killed a year later in an operation against Israelis across the river Jordan in September 1989.

Another of his Jordanian-Chechen relation, Fathi, who is an expert on telecommunication and had helped Sayysf in setting up a network during his 10 years of involvement in the Afghan Jehad also moved to Chechenya after her declaration of independence in December, 1991.

The News, August 19, 1995 
Hekmatyar sending troops to Azerbaijan

Peshawar : The Hezb-e-Islami Afghanistan (Hekmatyar group) has stepped up the recruitment of fighters for the Republic of Azerbaijan and a group of about 500 Afghans were now said to be on their way to Baku.

The recruitment for the purpose were mostly being made in Peshawar by Commander Fazle Haq Mujahid and several groups had already been despatched to Azerbaijan for different duties.

THE MUSLIM, May 23,1994 
Raping license

During the Soviet invasion when the war was at its risk peak, the factional groups stormed villages and towns and subjected both women and children to inhuman treatment. It is reportedly said that apart from the some local commanders, several Arabs, fighting the holy war, have forcibly marries Afghan women, but as an Afghan says, "All is ‘fair’ in fighting communism. Unfortunately, no one was there to highlight the sufferings of those women."

The Frontier Post, August 4,1995 
Taliban and the "proper" beard

Peshawar Dec 2: The Taliban are said to have arrested dozens of Afghans and sent them behind the bars until they are able to grow ‘proper beard’ as ordered by the Islamic movement chief. Mulla Mohammad Umar Akhund last week, said the Afghan sources here.

According to Afghan sources the Taliban were likely to nab majority of those Afghans who were without beard and keep them in jails for about 45 days. The Islamic Movement fighters, who consider growing beard as purely religious obligation, believ-ed that 45 days were enough for the fulfilment of the required religious obligation.

There were also reports that the Taliban have banned women clad in white or black chadar of Iranian style, from sitting and travelling in public transport and private taxis. Similaly the taxi drivers have also been asked to avoid listening music as it was un-Islamic. Video and audio shops were being closed down amid reports that a number of Taliban groups were raiding houses as well as restaurants to take off pictures and paintings from the walls. Besides, the Taliban were engaged in collecting house-holds and commodities which they believed un-Islamic.

THE MUSLIM, December 2,1996 
Consequence of girls teaching

"One day, a group of about 60 Mujahideen guards from Hezb-e-Islami of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar came to his house and told him he was to be executed because he had been teaching girls. They had a sharp axe and began to beat him. My brother kept shouting ‘don’t kill me, I am Muslim, don’t kill me’, but the guards said ‘how could you have been a Muslim when you were teaching girls?"

AI, November 1995 
90,000 war-displaced Afghans enter Kabul in three weeks

ISLAMABAD (AFP) - Around 90,000 Afghans displaced by fighting, forced evacuations and other military activities north of Kabul have entered the Afghan capital over the past three weeks, a UN agency said Monday.

The influx comes as Kabul’s own million remaining inhabitants are already living on the edge, it said.

Most of the inhabitants of the fertile, densely populated region to the north of Kabul have already fled, the agency said.

The majority of those left behind are "too poor, old or sick" to leave the area, the agency said.

Heavy fighting in Badghis over the past three months had displaced some 50,000 people, UNOCHA said.

The Frontier Post, January 28,1997 
Gift of the fundamentalists

Some 300,000 to 400,000 residents about half of Kabul’s population have been driven from their homes, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Some have fled Kabul, other have found shelter with relatives or friends. But about 50,000 people are living in mosques, schools and abandoned buildings.

"It’s becoming one of the biggest displacement emergencies in the world", Colville said.

He said 27,000 recent arrivals in one of the new camps in Jalalabad were trying to survive without any form of shelter.

The Frontier Post, May 5,1994 
Cold, hunger claim 10 lives daily among Afghans

ISLAMABAD (AFP) - About 10 refugees fleeing fighting in Afghanistan’s Northwest provinces die from hunger and cold each day, UN sources said Tuesday.

An estimated 50,000 Afghans from Northwest Badghis province have been forced to flee fighting between the Islamic Taliban militia and the opposition forces of northern warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum over the past three months, the sources said.

The Frontier Post, January 29,1997 
"Kabul facing food crisis"

"Food is still the main problem in Kabul," commented Joerg Stoecklin, press officer of the International Committee of the Red Cross. "The idea is not to provide total needs, just a supplement. But the big question remains is this enough?" Stoecklin said.

The Red Cross spokesman stated that the war-weary population of Kabul estimated at 800,000 to 1.2 million was not facing imminent famine, but a grave crisis due to the high price of food.

According to Red Cross and other agency statistics, at least 25 percent of Kabul’s population currently receive supplementary food rations; another 28,000-odd beneficiaries receive subsidized bread from special bakeries.

An "average salary" is what aid agencies consider a civil servant is paid - if he is paid - which is about 120,000 Afghani per month, Stoecklin noted. For example the Red Cross issues 10 kilograms of cooking oil as a half-ration every tow months. -AFP 

Hundreds rounded up by Taliban

Kabul (AFP) - Hundreds of civilians have been rounded up in Kabul by the Taliban militia since it captured the Afghan capital from the last government here six weeks ago, locals here said Sunday.

Scores of locals say many of the men taken in are Panjshiris or are from the minority Tajik ethnic group, triggering a wave of terror in the community.

Hundreds of other men are being rounded up and arrested here almost every day, but most are released without charge after a few days, a local who was detained for three days last week said.

"I was held with about 450 other men, all civilians, who were apparently suspected of co-operating with the former government or of harbouring arms," he said on condition of anonymity.

The man, a teacher in his 30s who denies any links with the ousted administration of president Burhanuddin Rabbani, said he and 30 other men were held for three nights in city-centre administrative building in a cramped room with no toilet facilities.

He saw other prisoners in similar conditions throughout the building as he was led out with other men at night to dig trenches on the frontlines 30 kilometers (12 miles) north of the capital

Hafisa, a woman in her mid-20s, said her Panjshiri brother was dragged out of the Northwest Kabul home by Taliban fighters two weeks ago. He has not been seen since.

"Taliban soldiers burst in at 11:30 p.m. saying they were searching for illegal weapons," she said. "The same thing happened to many of our neighbours too."

"We told them we had none, but they beat the family and then took away my brother for questioning which was the last time we saw him. We’re worried sick but can’t get any word from the authorities about his health and whereabouts," she added.

Other Panjishiris told how they escaped as Islamic fighters attempted to seize them in their homes.

The Frontier Post, November 11,1996 
Gang raping

UN deputy head of mission on Afghanistan Francis Okelo said that Afghanistan has been at war for the last 16 years of which 10 against external enemy and six against itself. The death and destruction inflicted on the country in the last six years exceeds the tragedy it suffered till Russians’ departure. Afghanistan is more ruthless to itself than was its enemy. And those who have and continue to suffer the most are innocent children who are totally bewildered at the stupidity of their adults.

Professor Shamim Akhtar who came from Karachi in his paper quoting several Amnesty International reports said that Afghanistan presents a spectacle of human rights catastrophe with women and children being the worst sufferers because of their vulnerability. The professor counted the reported incidents in which the commanders abducted women and children. The women were gang rapped and the children abused through various ways.

The News, November 18, 1996 
Taliban unleashes a reign of terror in Kabul

In the few days the Taliban have controlled Kabul, their armed militia have taken prisoner up to 1,000 civilians during house to house searches throughout the city, according to information received by Amnesty International.

"Despite statements from their leadership suggesting moderation, it is clear that Taliban guards are busily implementing a reign of terror in Kabul," Amnesty International said. "Families are afraid to go out into the streets, afraid to answer their doors, and afraid that their loved ones will suffer the brutal consequence of being found ‘un-Islamic’ by the militia."

"The families of those already taken prisoner are now suffering the agony of not knowing where their sons, brothers and fathers are, what has happened to them, or whether they are alive or dead."

AI, October 2,1996 
Fundamentalists’ gift: barrage of rockets

January 31: The Afghan capital Kabul was blasted by a barrage of over four hundred rockets on Monday.

State run Radio Kabul said a large number of people were killed and wounded in the attack. A barrage of 467 rockets was one of the heaviest since the fighting began on January 1. The Radio said the attack was made by the forces of General Rashid Dostum and Hizb-e Islami leader Gulbaddin Hekmatyar who were desperately fighting to topple the government of Rabbani.

THE MUSLIM, December 30, 1994 
Bombing aimed at pressuring Kabulis

ISLAMABAD (AFP) - The use of dogs of war pilots to bomb Kabul by the Taliban Islamic militia was a deliberate move to step up pressure on President Burhanddin Rabbani, analysts said Monday.

Pilots who have previously worked for the deposed communist government and mujahedeen factions were in the three bombers that raided Kabul on Sunday, according to Afghan sources.

The worst raid that Kabul has known through the country’s many years of conflict left at least 39 dead - including 13 children - and 140 injured.

The Taliban admitted they carried out the attack but said the pilots had targeted military positions.

The Frontier Post , November 28,1995 
Taliban pounded barrage of rockets on Kabul

As reported in The New York Times of February 5,1996, a doctor at the Karte Seh hospital, Kabul, watching stretcher bearers carrying in the body of a 14-year old boy whose brain had been blown out of his skull by a Taliban bombing said, "Ah, the Russian time-that was golden, compared to this".

The most unfortunate role in devastating Afghanistan has been played by the Taliban forces. Last year when they began their drive against the government they were welcomed as saviours. But their intolerance and ruthlessness vis-à-vis their opponents has cost Afghans a lot. Called as "Islamic Liberators" they have played havoc with the lives of their own people by pounding Kabul with hundreds of rockets and killing thousands of innocent people. The blockade of Kabul by Taliban and other so-called mujahideen commanders led to severe shortage of food, fuel and medical items in the city. 1.3 million people of Kabul curse the Taliban and other mujahideen groups for being ruthless and for taking the lives of more than 50,000 people by firing countless rockets in the city.

The News, February 28,1996 
Kabul conflict casualties top 12,000

Kabul (AFP) - Casualties in the Kabul fictional fighting between forces for and against President Burhanuddin Rabbani have topped 12,000 with 800 to 900 killed, the International Committee of the Red Cross (IRCR) said Tuesday.

The Frontier Post , February 2,1994 
10,000 killed in 8 months in Kabul

Felix Ermacora in his report to the UN General Assembly's third committee and also during an interview with journalists, said during the past eight months more than 10,000 people had been killed in Kabul.

In his report Ermacora noted that in Kabul some 36,000 houses had been partly or fully destroyed and more than 30,000 damaged. Approximately 110,000 families had been displaced and thousands of persons killed or wounded during the battles in and around the city, he said.

"Numerous cases of rape and ill-treatment by armed persons have been reported.", he said. "A reliable source said that women have never been treated in Afghanistan with such a lack of respect as in recent months".

The threat to the right to life "has been characterised by massacres of all Afghans, regardless of their ethnic background,", he said.

The Frontier Post, November .28,1993 
Destiny of the captives under the fundamentalism reign

A man arrested by Shura-e-Nezar in early 1994 in Kabul told AI:

"I was put in an isolated cell. In the interrogation room, I could hear cries of pain from cells around me. They interrogated me by putting a picture of a person in front of me asking who he was. I did not know, so they gave me electric shocks. They brought some people from their ‘committee to protect faith’. They started a new course of torture. They put one of my testicles between a pair of pliers and crushed it. It have had severe pain since then."

Torture is reportedly systematic and widespread in Hezb-e Islami (Hekmatyar) prisons, sometimes resulting in death. The prisoners are forced to learn the Quran by heart and to do hard labour. Some are made to clear mines or dig trenches. Prisoners with medical or military training are forced to work in hospitals or to operate military equipment.

AI, November 1995 
Verdict in the name of Shariat (Islamic Law)

PESHAWAR: The firstever amputation of hands and feet of three Afghans convicted of theft was recently carried out in Helmand province in south-western Afghanistan on the orders of Islamic courts established by the Taliban.

Two men found guilty of murder were earlier executed in Kandahar while yet another person was publicly flogged. Some others were made to pay blood-money to escape execution.

Talat Khan, Abdul Samad and Mohammad, all in their 20s and belonging to Helmand, were charged with highway robbery and sentenced by an Islamic court in the provincial capital, Lashkargah.

A few thousand people flocked to Lashkargah after public announcements were made to witness the amputation in an open ground. Eyewitnesses said a Qazi (judge) narrated the background of the case before signalling the two government doctors, Abdul Baqi and Akbar Khan, to perform the amputation under local anaesthesia.

The News, March 1,1995 
Execution for refusing forced marriage

There is no right of safe return to Afghanistan for women living in Pakistan, especially widows. Widows have no protection, no right to employment or benefits and no guarantees of security. Women could be targeted for revenge killing by a particular party or tribe or just because they are educated. Widows living in Pakistan whose husbands were members of the former communist-backed regime consider themselves to be in great danger of execution if they try to return to Afghanistan. Widows in Afghanistan are often forced to marry their brother-in-law or other relative in their husband’s family. In a village near Mazar-i-Sharif, village women claimed that a year ago a widow was hung for refusing to marry her deceased husband’s cousin.

The News, November 11,1995 
30 execution in one night

The Taliban have been responsible for the killing of hundreds of innocent people in indiscriminate rocket attacks against residential areas in and around Kabul. Their leaders have frequently ordered the execution of suspected opponents - in July this year, 30 young men were executed in Herat in one night. Retreating soldiers, and those who surrendered to the Taliban in Herat last year where also summarily executed.

Civilians in areas already taken over by the Taliban have been denied basic and fundamental human rights. Arbitrary punishment such as stoning and amputations have been introduced, and severe restrictions placed on women.

AI, September 27,1996 
Traitors haven’t the right of execution

On March 30,1996, once again a big crowd of people had gathered in Zarnegar Park, Kabul, to watch the execution of their three ill-fated compatriots. According to the so-called special court, last year these three men, after killing two shepherd, looted their herd and a wrist-watch.

A "government" official named Andarabi said to the journalists: "The act of these three men is against the law and order of an Islamic society."

But before hanging, according to the AFP reports, the men who were sentenced to Jihadi execution, while abusing the executors, shouted that it is not fair that they are being hanged and their accomplices - both government soldiers - just sentenced to 10-20 year confinement. Those three ill-fated men at the moment of hanging, realized the Islamic government injustice to exonerate two of their accomplices which certainly will not remain in prison for more than a year. But in the view of Kabul residents, if the poor criminals like those three men are hanged publicly, the traitors based in Kabul and other provinces must be hanged several times over, because they themselves are the oldest and the most notorious criminals and rapists of our country. It is only possible through this way that real law and security in our country could be established and we can bury the filth of fundamentalism for ever!

Payam-e-Zan, No.44 
Stoning in the name of Shariat

According to reports, two men accused of murder were killed in Kandahar in early 1995 after a four-member Islamic court had ordered their "execution".

The punishment of stoning is also apparently ordered by some Islamic courts. AI has received two reports of stoning since 1993, but it believes the number of people subjected to this form of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment may be much higher. In early 1994 an Islamic judge reportedly ordered the "execution" of four men and the stoning of one woman in Kandahar province. His orders were said to have been carried out. A family leaving Kabul for Pakistan through Jalalabad in May 1993 told AI that they had recently witnessed a woman being stoned to death:

"in Sarobi we saw a lot of people standing by on the river bank. We were told that a woman was being stoned near the river. We went forward and I saw her being stoned. We were told she had been married to an Hezb-e Islami (Hekmatyar) commander who had then disappeared and had not been heard of for eight years. His wife’s father had allowed the wife to marry another man. Now, the commander had come back and found out about the marriage. He told his men to find the woman and stone her."(AI)

Atrocities and heinous crimes of the fundamentalists in Afghanistan: A challenge to the world's conscience.


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