OhmyNews, April 25, 2007
Men accused of war crimes by rights group likely to get medals
The decision regarding the medals is an effort by the beleaguered Afghan president to reconcile with the commanders.
These Jehadi commanders deserve to receive medals for such brutalities!
In an apparent move to appease former strongmen and Jihadi commanders, the Afghan government has decided to award them special medals on April 28, the day when mujahideen or holy warriors overthrew the Russian-backed regime in Afghanistan in 1992.
The decision to decorate the mujahideen leaders, now referred to as former warlords, was taken during a cabinet meeting held in Kabul on Monday. According to the cabinet's decision, the leaders will be given the awards during a special ceremony to be held in their honor.
This is the first time the incumbent Afghan government led by President Hamid Karzai is giving awards to the former Jihadi leaders, the majority of whom are either part of the Afghan government or members of any of the two houses of parliament.
The decision regarding giving medals to the former strong men came hard on the heel of rumors about serious differences between President Karzai and the former strongmen.
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.
The Frontier Post, November 28, 1993
Last year, the New York-based Human Rights Watch, in its report, accused the same leaders of human rights violations during the era of Jihad and civil strife that gripped the country after the withdrawal of the Soviet troops in 1992. The human rights organization demanded of the Afghan government to pursue those involved in the killing of innocent citizens for war crimes and to punish them accordingly.
An estimated 60,000 civilians were killed in Kabul alone as a result of fighting between loyalists of former premier Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and the mujahideen-era president Burhanuddin Rabbani and his group in the period from 1992 to 1996.
According to Sediq Mudabir, spokesman for the Administrative Affairs Office, all leaders who demonstrated bravery during the Jihad against the Red Army would be given special medals by President Karzai.
"But it remains a fact that from 1992 to 1996, the Northern Alliance was a symbol of massacre, systematic rape and pillage. Which is why we - and I include the US State Department - welcomed the Taliban when they arrived in Kabul. The Northern Alliance left the city in 1996 with 50,000 dead behind it. Now its members are our foot soldiers."
The Independent, November 14, 2001
Analysts in Kabul believe the decision regarding the medals is an effort by the beleaguered Afghan president to reconcile with the commanders. During a news conference in Kabul earlier this month, President Karzai alleged some foreign embassies were involved in the formation of the Jubha-i-Milli, or National Front, which is an alliance of Jihadi commanders.
Prominent among members of the National Front were former president Burhanuddin Rabbani, Karzai's chief of staff Abdul Rashid Dostum, former Defense Minister Qasim Fahim, Minister for Energy and Water Ismail Khan, the speaker of the lower house of the Afghan parliament, Mohammad Younus Qanuni, President Karzai's deputy, Ahmad Zia Massoud, and Shia leader Syed Mustafa Kazimi.
All the above names were included in the report which had demanded punishment for them under international war crimes law.
However, insiders told this correspondent that these same leaders, along with a few more names such as those of Professor Sayaf, Mohammad Mohaqiq, Karim Khalili and Pir Sayed Ahmad Gilani -- all in President Karzai's camp -- will get the awards marking Mujahideen Victory Day being celebrated on April 28.
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