The Guardian, June 13, 2006

UN details atrocities committed over 23 years of conflict in Afghanistan

"Before the Afshar massacre of Shia civilians in 1993, jihadi leader Abdul Rasool Sayyaf told his officers, "Don't leave anyone alive -- kill all of them."

A controversial UN report that has been shelved for 18 months names and shames leading Afghan politicians and officials accused of orchestrating massacres, torture, mass rape and other war crimes.

The 220-page report by the UN high commissioner for human rights details atrocities committed by communist, mujahidin, Soviet and Taliban fighters over 23 years of conflict. Originally scheduled for release in January last year, the report's publication has been delayed repeatedly due to sensitivities over identifying former warlords still in positions of power.

"The UN has been intimidated. It is afraid to rock the boat because of these guys," said Sam Zarifi of Human Rights Watch. "But the boat is taking on water and they are going to pull it down."

Sayyaf and Massoud
"Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, a current U.S. ally, was among the mujahedeen leaders in power in Afghanistan- the ones who welcomed Osama bin Laden to Afghanistan in 1996 from Sudan, where he had been forced to leave under U.S. pressure. Sayyaf, whose men carried out brutal atrocities during the mujahedeen’s rule, was a close ally of Ahmed Shah Massoud, on the rights in this photograph, whose men also carried out brutal acts."
“I is for Infidel” by Kathy Gannon

Debate over the role of former warlords has grown more heated since anti-foreigner riots rocked Kabul two weeks ago, casting clouds that days after the riots President Hamid Karzai appointed 13 former commanders with links to drugs smuggling, organized crime and illegal militias to senior positions in the police force. The names were inserted at the last minute into a list of 86 police chiefs that had been selected by US, German and Afghan officers as part of a drive to professionalize the corrupt force.

The most controversial appointment is that of the new Kabul police chief, Amanullah Guzar. Ranked 202 in a list of 270 candidates, Guzar was appointed by Karzai in place of a candidate ranked 12th. Documents circulating among diplomats allegedly link him to extortion, land grabbing and the kidnapping of three UN workers in late 2004.

Speaking at Kabul police headquarters, Guzar said, "President Karzai appointed me and he knows all about my past. Let anyone with allegations bring them to court."

A European official said the 13 appointments had strained Karzai's relationship with foreign donors and further eroded his credibility with ordinary Afghans.

"This is not acceptable to us. If we let people who have committed human rights abuses and economic crimes slip through, Afghans are going to start asking what we are doing here," he said.

Jawed Ludin, Karzai's chief of staff, said the 13 names were added to ensure balance.

"It's very sensitive. Building institutions should not be seen as sidelining any sector of society, especially the mujahidin," he said.

Another government official said: "Keeping mujahidin commanders out in the cold is not a good strategy because it turns them into an anti-state element."

Mujahidin, communist and Taliban leaders feature prominently in the UN "mapping" report. The report offers the first comprehensive survey of wartime atrocities between 1978 and 2001.

According to the report one commander testified that before the Afshar massacre of Shia civilians in 1993, jihadi leader Abdul Rasool Sayyaf told his officers, "Don't leave anyone alive -- kill all of them."

Characters Count: 3940

URL for news «UN details atrocities committed over 23 years of conflict in Afghanistan»