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Afghanistan


Contents

I. A country in transition
II. Human rights violations by the security forces
a. Torture and custodial violence
b. Violations of the right to life
III. Judiciary and administration of justice
IV. Effectiveness of National Human Rights Institutions
V. Repression on human rights defenders /aid workers
VI. Violence against women
a. Restrictions on participation in public life
b. Forced marriage and domestic Violence
c. Cultural cruelties and traditional justice system
VII. Violations of the prisoners' rights
VIII. Freedom of the press
a. State repression
b. Attacks by the AOGs and religious fanatics
IX. State of IDPs and returnee refugees
X. Violations of the rights of the child
a. Access to health care
b. Child labour
c. Trafficking
d. Juvenile justice
e. Attacks on girl child's education
XI. Violations of International Humanitarian Laws by the Talibans


I. A country in transition

Ruled by President Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan has not been included in the ranking of the SAARC Human Rights Violators Index 2006. It is not only because Afghanistan became a member of SAARC in November 2005 but also because it is a country in transition, its security is ensured by international forces and it is yet to develop the edifice of the State structure, as it faces increased onslaught from the Taliban. At least 1,600 people died in conflict-related violence in 2005. Ninety-one US troops died in combat and accidents in 2005, more than double the total of 2004. Yet, the parliamentary elections held after 40 years on 18 September 2005 were largely violence free.

Afghanistan remained intolerably insecure despite disarming and reintegration of 60,646 former combatants and recovery of 35,000 light and medium weapons and 11,000 heavy weapons by the end of 2005 under the United Nations backed Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegrated Programme launched in October 2003. [1] Many of the provinces were still ruled by warlords who despite having deplorable human rights records continued to play critical role in Afghanistan politics.

On 27 September 2005, Ashraf Ramazan, a newly elected Member of Parliament, and his guard were shot dead in northern Mazar-e-Sharif of Balkh province. [2] On 8 October 2005, two persons identified as Habib Rahman and Khal Bai were reportedly arrested by the provincial police for the murder of Ramazan. [3] On 4 December 2005, an elected member of Wolesi Jirga (Lower House), Commander Asmatullah Mohabbat was reportedly killed along with three others when his faction fought a rival group in provincial capital Mehtarlan of Laghman province. [4]

The security of the country to a large extent was looked after by the coalition forces. There were no national accountability mechanisms for these troops.

The National Commission for Reconciliation in Afghanistan headed by Sibghatullah Mojadeddi, who briefly served as Afghan President following the fall of Soviet backed regime, failed to bring the Taliban to the reconciliation process.

II. Human rights violations by the security forces

Both the US-led coalition forces and the Afghan security forces were accused of serious human rights violations, in particular, torture and indiscriminate use of fire- arms and inability to make distinction between the combatants and non-combatants.

a. Torture and custodial violence

There were consistent reports of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment of the Afghan prisoners by the United States security forces in Afghanistan. In December 2005, Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) stated that it had received over 113 complaints regarding the US forces' mistreatment of Afghan prisoners. The Commission had asked the government and coalition forces to launch an investigation into the cases. The US officials did not permit the AIHRC to visit the detention centres and prisons run by the US forces. [5]

On 5 February 2005, United Nations Independent Expert on Human Rights in Afghanistan, Cherif Bassiouni stated that the foreign forces in Afghanistan have taken upon themselves the right, without any legal process, of arresting people, detaining them, mistreating them and possibly even torturing them. [6]   Eleven Kuwaiti detainees alleged that they had been subjected to abuses including beatings with chains, electric shock and sodomy by U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Pakistan before they were sent to the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay. Some of them even confessed of being members of ousted Taliban regime or the Al-Qaida terror network to escape abuses. [7]

New evidence released by US army to the American Civil Liberties Union after a long legal battle revealed that US forces in Afghanistan were engaged in widespread Abu Ghraib-style abuse, taking “trophy photographs” of detainees and carrying out rape and sexual humiliation in the main detention center at Bagram near Kabul and at a smaller US installation in the southern city of Kandahar. [8] On 19 December 2005, New York-based Human Rights Watch charged the US of running a secret prison known as dark prison where suspected terrorists were held in total darkness for days together from 2002 till about last year. The prisoners were chained to the walls, deprived of food and drinking water and continuously subjected to loud heavy-metal or rap music in order to disorient them and break down their will. HRW further alleged that the prison was inaccessible to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) or other independent agencies. [9]

In the last week of September 2005, two US soldiers identified as Army Sgt. Kevin D. Myricks and Army Spc. James R. Hayes were reportedly charged with assault of two detainees that included conspiracy to maltreat, assault and dereliction of duty. The two soldiers allegedly punched the two detainees in the chest, shoulders and stomach in early July 2005 at a military base in southern Uruzgan province. [10]

b. Violations of the right to life

There were reports of serious violations of the right to life at the hands of the coalition troops and the Afghan security forces due to disproportionate use of force.

On 1 March 2005, US troops reportedly killed a woman and two children in a firefight with Talibans in Mohammad village in Paktika bordering Pakistan. In another incident on 2 May 2005, a village boy was reportedly killed in Kunar province in clashes between US troops and Talibans. [11]

On 11 May 2005, four persons were reportedly killed and seventy-one were injured when Afghan police and the US troops opened fire on protestors who turned violent while demonstrating against a report of desecrating the Quran by the US investigators in Jalalabad. [12]

The coalition forces often failed to make distinction between the combatants and non-combatants, especially during aerial bombings. On 1 July 2005, seventeen civilians including women and children were reportedly killed when the US warplanes bombed a suspected Taliban hideout at Chichal village in Kunar province during a search for the team of elite US soldiers who went missing since 28 June 2005. [13]

The coalition soldiers were also accused of burning of two dead Taliban rebels in October 2005 in contravention of international law and the tenets of Islam. According to Islamic customs, cremation of corpses is banned and bodies of the Muslims must be buried. [14]

The Afghan security forces too have been accused of torture and custodial death. In early July 2005, a teenage boy identified as Mohammad Sadeq was allegedly tortured to death in Frayab police custody in Maimana district. Sadeq was arrested on charges of kidnapping and indulgence in homosexuality in June 2005. While the police claimed that the boy had hanged himself, the relatives of the victims alleged that he was killed by the police in cold blood at the police headquarters. [15]

An investigation into the beatings and deaths of two Afghan detainees, Dilawar and Habibullah, which was completed in October 2004, found that both the deaths were homicides and noted that both men had sustained blunt-force injuries to their legs. They were also chained to the ceiling for prolonged periods. Disciplinary proceedings had been initiated against only two low-ranking reservists, Willie Brand and Sgt. James P. Boland of the 377th Military Police Company, based in Cincinnati. Willie Brand was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of Dilawar, whose body was found on 10 December 2002 in an isolated cell used for interrogations at Bagram Air Base. Further, he had been charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, maiming, maltreatment and false swearing under oath. Sgt. James P. Boland was charged with assault, maltreatment and dereliction of duty in Dilawar's death and with dereliction of duty in the death of other detainee, Habibullah on 3 December 2002. [16] Sgt. Selena M. Salcedo, 24, pleaded guilty to dereliction of duty and assault and admitted that she kicked prisoner Dilawar, grabbed his head and forced him against a wall several times. She was demoted but spared a prison sentence. [17]

III. Judiciary and administration of justice

Pursuant to Article 11(2) of the Bonn Agreement of December 2001, the Afghanistan's Interim Authority established a Judicial Commission through a Decree No. 1243 on 21 May 2002. As the Commission bogged down in bureaucratic hitches and political rivalries, a new Commission namely Judicial Reform Commission (JRC) was appointed on 2 November 2002 with the mandate to rebuild the domestic legal system “in accordance with Islamic principles, international standards, the rule of law and Afghan legal traditions”. The JRC is responsible for preparing drafts of new Criminal, Criminal Procedure and Family Codes, and for surveying the existing judicial system in Afghanistan. [18] As the JRC addressed many challenges; several critical laws were drafted or adopted in the intervening months. 

Although Chapter 7 (Articles 116-135) of the Afghan Constitution of 2004 provides for the establishment of an independent judiciary, the Afghan judiciary was rudimentary in terms of legislations, physical infrastructure and human capacity. Approximately one fourth of the judges have not completed high school education. [19] The lack of qualified judicial personnel posed serious hindrances to the proper functioning of the courts, and judgments were found to be often based on judges' personal understanding of Islamic law and tribal codes of honor. Pressure from public officials and the families of accused persons also threatened judicial impartiality. Trials were usually public and decisions made through the shura system were made collectively by groups of local elders. Defendants have the right to be present and to consult with an attorney and have the right to appeal. [20]

Approximately 80 percent of all disputes went to shuras for decisions. All the judges of the country's Supreme Court including Chief Justice Fazel Hadi Shinwari are religious scholars and their interpretation of laws were found to be more based on Islamic (Sharia) laws than internationally accepted principles of administration of criminal and civil justice. Both Chief Justice Shinwari and Deputy Chief Justice, Abdul Malik Kamawi, have been members of the militia group, the Ittehad-e-Islami led by Abdul Rab Rasool, since the anti-Soviet resistance days of the 1980s. [21]

Afghanistan government has reportedly been focusing on the Supreme Court, while leaving aside the justice system as a whole that was considered rotten. While the German government has trained tens of thousands of Afghan police, efforts to revamp the court system - led by Italy - have lagged behind, with few judges or prosecutors trained enough to know how to handle the cases that the Afghan police hand over to them. [22]

Under the law, defendants have the right to be represented by an attorney, but this right was inconsistently applied. There had been a lack of awareness of the constitutional rights. There was also no functioning public defender system. Defendants were not allowed to confront or question witnesses. The courts reportedly heard cases in sessions that lasted only a few minutes. In cases involving murder and rape, judges generally sentenced convicted prisoners to execution, although relatives of the victim could instead choose to accept other restitution. Under the new constitution, capital punishment is conditional upon approval of the President of Afghanistan. Local elders and shuras sentenced persons to unsanctioned punishment including flogging or death by stoning, as well as ordering, in murder cases, the defendant to provide young girls in marriage to the victims' family. In such proceedings, the accused typically had no right to legal representation, bail, or appeal. [23]

IV. Effectiveness of National Human Rights Institutions

Pursuant to the Bonn Agreement (Agreement on Provisional Arrangements in Afghanistan pending the Re-establishment of Permanent Government Institutions), the Afghanistan Interim Adminstration led by Hamid Karzai established the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC). Following signing of a Decree by the President of the Interim Administration of Afghanistan on 6 June 2002, the Commission commenced its operations. On 7 January 2004, the Commission became constitutionally entrenched following the adoption of a new Constitution by the Loya Jirgah (the Afghan Grand Assembly). [24] On 14 May 2005, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai endorsed the Law of Structure, Duties and Mandate of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (Decree No. 16). [25]

The functions of the AIHRC are - monitoring the situation of human rights in the country; promoting and protecting human rights; monitoring the situation of and people's access to their fundamental rights and freedoms; investigating and verifying cases of human rights violations; and taking measures for the improvement and promotion of the human rights situation in the country.

The AIHRC played a critical role on transitional justice, promoted the rights of women and children, and investigated reports of human rights abuses. [26]   In 2005, AIHRC received around 268 human rights complaints which reflect 4236 cases of various human rights violations. 42 other cases have been specified during monitoring missions. More than 85 % of these cases have been addressed and resulted in positive consequences that prevented human rights violations. [27] It also received 113 complaints of human rights violations at the hands of the Coalition Forces between June 2004 and May 2005. [28]

Given the fact that some of the warlords and local militia commanders (up to 60 % deputies in the lower house) [29] who perpetrated serious rights abuses during the three decades of war, were elected and still in power, AIHRC faced threats while pursuing cases involving these warlords and militia commanders. On the night of 10 November 2005, house of one of AIHRC's Jalalabad Regional Office female staff members was attacked with grenade. [30]

The AIHRC had also been denied access to the detention centres manned by the coalition forces.

In 2005, the AIHRC had been instrumental in the passing of a number of key pieces of legislation and approval of policies such as Prison Management Law, and the Juvenile Justice Law (Laws of Investigation on Children's Violations). [31]

V. Repression on human rights defenders /aid workers

There were reportedly more than 2,400 national and international registered NGOs operating in Afghanistan. On 30 May 2005, 90 national and international NGOs signed a new NGO code of conduct to regulate their activities in the country. The NGO code of conduct makes the NGOs accountable and transparent and makes it mandatory to make available their financial and activity reports upon request by relevant and interested parties. [32] On 15 June 2005, President Karzai signed the new NGO law namely, Law on Non-Governmental Organizations, [33] which replaced the Regulation for the Activities of Domestic and Foreign NGOs in Afghanistan (NGO Regulation), enacted in 2000 by the Taliban regime. [34]

The NGO workers faced serious threat from the armed groups. In 2005, 31 aid workers lost their lives at the hands of the armed groups while 23 aid workers were killed in 2004, 12 were killed in 2003. [35]

Both Afghan and foreign aid workers were targeted. On 22 February 2005, two Afghan aid workers identified as Zahir (driver) and Mohammad Nadir (pharmacist) were reportedly found dead on a road in Maiwand district of Kandahar province. The car they had been driving was stolen and they were shot with Kalashinkovs. [36] In another incident on 28 September 2005, unidentified gunmen suspected to be robbers reportedly shot dead an Afghan staffer of a non-governmental organization identified as Nasratullah, resident of Kohistan district of the Kapisa province, while his Bangladeshi colleague, Shaheedullah sustained injuries while on the way to office in the Chinki area of Saidkhel district in Parwan province. The victims were employed with the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) that works for reconstruction activities in Afghanistan. [37]

Among the foreign aid workers, on 16 May 2005, Clementina Cantoni, an Italian aid worker of CARE International was reportedly abducted by four armed men after stopping her vehicle on a street in the center of Kabul. [38] She was released after 24 days of captivity. Cantoni had been in Afghanistan for three years working on a woman's program for Afghan widows. [39]

VI. Violence against women

Although there have been some improvement in the situation of women in Afghanistan during 2005 in terms of access to public life, education, health care, and employment, they continue to suffer from discrimination, violence, poor health, illiteracy, and poverty across the country. Their lack of access to even the basic amenities is depicted by alarmingly high maternal death rate of 600 per 100,000 women. Some 70 pregnant women died every day often during childbirth. [40]

Violence against women such as domestic violence, forced marriage, trading off to settle disputes or debts, rapes, and child marriage remained endemic in Afghanistan. In view of the societal acceptance of violence against women, victims have rare chances of redressal. The existence of gender-biased laws and the failure of the government to bring about changes in such laws have contributed to persistence of violence against women.

a. Restrictions on participation in public life

The appointment of Habiba Sorabi [41] as the new and first female provincial governor of Bamiyan on 2 March 2005 could be described as a landmark development with respect to empowerment of women in Afghanistan. Article 22 of the 2004 Constitution of Afghanistan prohibits any kind of discrimination based on gender.

However, women continued to face discrimination for access to public life as the country struggled between the Sharia law and the Afghan constitution. Female police officials, who were appointed following the establishment of a female police unit in February 2004 faced discrimination from their male colleagues. Six female police officers in Kunduz spent the first four months on the job cleaning the police station. They were paid $60 (3,000 AFNs), $10 dollars (495 AFNs) less than their official salary, and they were forced to wear burkas (veil) over their uniforms because of the threats of violence. [42]

Some local authorities excluded women from all employment outside the home. In some areas, women were forbidden to leave the home except in the company of a male relative. Women in Logar province were prohibited from traveling to the area of town where a community radio station was based, and male journalists were often not allowed to interview women. In Paktika Province, female parliamentary candidates were not allowed to leave their homes while girls were forbidden from attending schools and needed the permission of their male elders to conduct activities outside the home. Even in Kabul, male relatives had forbidden some female students from attending universities outside the country. [43]

By 12 August 2005, 50 of the total 350 women candidates had reportedly withdrawn their candidacies from the 18 September 2005 parliamentary elections. They were threatened with personal harm by Islamic militant groups as well as by ordinary people who oppose public role for women in Afghan society. [44] On the night of 1 October 2005, some unidentified men broke into the house of election candidate Dr Torpekai Alam in the eastern Nangarhar province and gave her a sound thrashing. Dr Torpekai had earlier received threats. [45]

A large number of women in Zabul, Nangarhar, Khost and other provinces were deprived from exercising their right to vote in the 18 September 2005 Parliamentary elections partly because of Joint Electoral Management Body's failure to set up separate polling centres for women and alleged attempts at rigging and also because male relatives disallowed registration of women as voters. [46]

b. Forced marriage and domestic Violence

Forced marriages have long been a custom in Afghanistan. Daughters have been used as currency to settle debts, to facilitate advantageous, if expensive, marriages for male children, or to settle inter-family quarrels. Although the practice seems to be on the wane in capital Kabul, it exists all over Afghanistan where women have been virtually reduced to objects of trade. At the end of her 10-day visit to Afghanistan on 18 July 2005, Professor Yakin Ertürk, UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women cited forced and child marriages as the primary source of violence against women and that in addition to being in themselves serious forms of violence, forced and child marriages in combination with polygamy considerably increase the likelihood that women will be subjected to violence within the family, including sexual violence by significantly older males. [47]

Afghanistan's new constitution sets the minimum age of marriage for females at 16 and for males at 18 but these constitutional requirements could hardly prevent the tradition of marrying off under-aged daughters in order to receive money (Baad) or to settle feuds (badal). Nearly 60 percent of marriages in Afghanistan involve girls below the legal age of 16, and some girls were married as young as nine. A study by Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) reportedly found that 90 per cent of the 500 girls, who had been given away or traded as part of inter family/ clan conflict resolution practices, were less than 14 years old. After marriage, most became the ‘property' of the family or individual who received them. [48]

During 2005, at least 144 forced marriages were reportedly performed in southern province of Helmand alone. Majority of these forced marriages were performed to settle feuds “badal” and huge payment of dowry. According to a report of the AIHRC, more than 38 % of the women have been wedded off against their will and consent, and more than 50% of women mentioned that they were not happy with their family life. [49]

Abdullah Ansari Hospital in Herat of Gazni Province received as many as 234 burn women victims during the period between 22 March 2004 and 3 February 2005, and 84 of those women had died as a result of their burns. [50] Families often attributed these deaths to cooking accidents, most of which in reality because of domestic violence and cruelty. [51]

20 year-old Zakira was reportedly forcibly given in marriage by her uncle to a 60-year-old brother of the man, whom he had murdered in order to stop revenge killings between the families. Zakira, who was reportedly ill, was hapless to oppose the settlement than accepting it as fate. [52]

In September 2005, five months after being married at the age of 12, Lila poured petrol over herself and set herself ablaze in a bid to escape from the constant brutal beating by her 17-year-old husband. [53]

In November 2005, 25-year-old Nadia Anjuman, well known in literary circles in Afghanistan and neighbouring Iran, died after being severely beaten by her husband in western Herat town. Provincial Police Chief Nisar Ahmad Paikar confirmed that her husband was arrested for the murder. [54]

c. Cultural cruelties and traditional justice system

Despite the fall of the fanatic Taliban regime, Afghans were yet to be free from the hangover of the cultural cruelties and excesses perpetrated by the Mujaheedins. Just as the Taliban fighters refused to accept defeat, the spill over of the cultural excesses of their regime haunted the Afghans, most particularly the women.

According to interior ministry statistics, 558 women met violent ends since the collapse of the Taliban regime. Of these, 274 were murdered and a further 284 women committed suicide. The actual figures could be quite high considering that the Ministry did not receive crime statistics from many provinces and districts. [55]

On 22 April 2005, twenty-nine-year-old Amina was publicly stoned to death near Faizabad, the capital of the north-eastern Afghanistan province of Badakshan following the decision by the local ulema (religious council) to ‘sentence' her to death by stoning, after they allegedly found her guilty of adultery. Accused of adultery by her husband, she was reportedly dragged from her parents' house and stoned by her husband and local officials. Amina had reportedly asked her husband, who had been away in Iran for five years, for a separation on the grounds that he could not support her. [56]   On 27 April 2005, Badakshan police reportedly arrested six people, including father of the victim and a local mullah on the charge of killing Amina after the interior ministry sent a delegation to the remote village to probe the incident. [57]

In early May 2005, dead bodies of three women were found dumped near a road outside Pul-e-Khumri town of Baghlan province. Forensic tests reportedly revealed that the victims were raped before being strangled to death. A warning note found attached to the chest of one of the victims, who was working for a Bangladeshi NGO reportedly read, “This is retribution for those women who are working in non-government organisations (NGOs) and those who are involved in whoredom.” A group calling itself “Afghan Youths Convention” claimed responsibility for the killing. [58]

On 18 May 2005, twenty four-year-old Shaima Rezayee, former host on a Tolo TV program “Hop”, was shot dead at her home in Kabul. In March 2005, shortly after leaving her job, Reyazee told radio interviewers that there were rumors that someone wanted to kill her. In March 2005, a government agency of religious scholars issued a statement publicly accusing Tolo TV and another station of “broadcasting music, naked dance and foreign films, which are against Islam and other national values of Afghanistan”. [59]

In early August 2005, 15-year-old Humaira was killed by her fiancé, Salim, who reportedly beheaded her on the charges of flirting with another man. [60]

VII. Violations of the prisoners' rights

Prisons were known for overcrowding, inadequate food, poor sanitation facilities, insufficient blankets, infectious diseases and lack of health care facilities. Several prisoners of Balkh prison were reported to be suffering from mental illnesses as a result of poor prison conditions including lack of space, clean water and medical facilities. Those requiring attention were in need of advanced medical treatment. [61]

The Afghan intelligence agency allegedly ran at least two private and illegal prisons while it claimed to have had closed about 36 such detention centers during the past three and a half year. [62]

In addition, the United States forces operated at least two detention centers in Afghanistan based in Bagram and Kandahar. On 4 August 2005, the US Embassy and the Karzai government signed an agreement on shifting the detainees from the Bagram airbase and the Guantanamo Bay jail to Afghan government custody. [63] According to ICRC, there were reportedly about 500 detainees at Bagram detention center and about 70 detainees at Kandahar at the end of April 2005. [64] Some of them were detained for as long as two or three years without any trial. [65] There were reports of torture of detainees at detention centers run by the US forces. [66] The International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) was provided limited access. The ICRC was reportedly not allowed to have access to the detainees immediately after their arrest when the risk of torture or mistreatment is at its peak. [67]

There have been reports of more than 6,000 convicted prisoners held in 34 government-run prisons in 8 of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan. Of these, approximately 219 were women, who were housed in 14 detention centers. There were only 31 active rehabilitation centers for juveniles. In the absence of separate juvenile correctional facilities, many juvenile offenders have been detained with adult prisoners in many places including Pul-e-Charkhi Prison. [68]

On 16 January 2005, US forces released 81 suspected Taliban fighters from its detention facility at Bagram. Some of the freed detainees alleged that they had been mistreated and tortured in custody. One Shah Alim, a 19-year-old from the eastern province of Kunar, said that the US forces poured water on him; deprived him of sleep and beat him during detention as part of torture. Another detainee, Abdul Manan, 35-year-old, also from Kunar stated that he had very bad memories of the interrogation because of torture by the US forces. [69]

Cherif Bassiouni, United Nation-appointed independent expert on human rights in Afghanistan complained that prisoners were inappropriately shackled in overcrowded cells and they were exposed to freezing temperatures because of broken and missing windows. He also described the conditions at Pul-e-Charkhi prison as sub-standard. [70]

VIII. Freedom of the press

During 2005, Afghanistan witnessed a considerably high growth of news outlets, continuing an expansion of the media that began with the fall of the Taliban regime in December 2001. There were over 250 publications registered with Afghan Ministry of Information and Culture in addition to 42 radio stations and eight private television stations. [71]

Conservative religious elements clashed with liberal factions over journalists' rights. Those journalists who broached up socalled controversial subjects like religion, women's rights, and regional warlords faced threats, harassment, arrest, and jail as part of an emerging pattern of press freedom abuse that targeted such reporting as “anti-Islamic.” [72]

Article 34 of the new constitution provides for freedom of the press and expression. However, criticizing or writing against the principles of Islam is prohibited. Journalists continued to be harassed, intimidated and threatened by members of the intelligence service during 2005. [73] On 13 March 2005, Independent Afghan TV channels, Tolo TV and Afghan TV were reportedly criticized by Afghanistan's national Ulema Council for reportedly airing programs opposed to Islam and national values. [74]

a. State repression

Journalists covering the war against the Taliban were targeted. In early July 2005, Roohullah Anwari and Sher Shah Hamdard of Radio Free Europe also popularly known as Azadi Radio and photo journalist of the Associated Press, Dr. Shoaib with his driver were detained for several days without specific charges while covering a US military operation against Taliban rebels near Pakistani border in eastern Kunar province. [75] On 10 July 2005, they were released after reportedly being assaulted in custody. [76]

Local governments too initiated punitive action against the media persons. On 2 September 2005, local authorities of Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan province of Nangarhar reportedly arrested Ezatullah Zawab, a correspondent of Pajhwok Afghan News and editor of Meena magazine following his criticism of the province's information, tourism and religious affairs departments of being incompetent. [77] He was released on 8 September 2005. [78]

On 1 October 2005, Ali Mohaqiq Nasab, the chief editor of Haqoq-e-Zan, a monthly woman's rights magazine, was reportedly arrested by police for publishing an article that questioned the severity of punishments for adultery and theft under Islamic law. He was sentenced to two years in prison by a Kabul court after the end of a summary trial on blasphemy charges on 22 October 2005. [79] On 21 December 2005, the Kabul High Court released Ali Mohaqiq Nasab after reducing his sentence to six months and suspended the remaining three months. [80]

b. Attacks by the AOGs and religious fanatics

The Talibans were responsible for attacking the media especially those allegedly working with the United States. Those killed were Sayed Sulaiman Ashna, senior journalist with Tolo TV and Radio Arman on 6 June 2005, [81] a radio journalist named Maiwand who was killed in a bomb attack on a military convoy in Do Saraka in the southeastern province of Khost on 22 October 2005 [82] and  Fahim Ihsan, reporter for the Mazar Governmental Television, reportedly killed under mysterious circumstances after receiving death threats and being beaten in connection with his controversial and critical reports on local government officials on his television program Shere-Ma-Khane-Ma on 17 December 2005. [83]

On 14 September 2005, three journalists, Mohammad Taqi Siraj, chief editor of weekly Bamiyan, Abdul Baseer Seerat, Kabul film production cameraman and Mohammad Jawad were reportedly kidnapped by unidentified gunmen while working on a documentary film in the Nooristan province. They reportedly managed to escape from captivity while their captors were sleeping during the night of 20 September 2005. [84]

IX. State of IDPs and returnee refugees

Millions of Afghans had fled their homes during the two decades of conflict after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. About 5 millions of them were living in   Pakistan while around 2 millions lived in Iran. In 2002, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) began a Voluntary Repatriation Programme to assist the refugees to return to Afghanistan both from Pakistan and Iran. Between 2002 and 2005, more than 3.5 millions refugees including over 2.7 millions from Pakistan, [85] the highest being 445,000 refugees in 2005 [86] and over 1.4 million from Iran returned to Afghanistan. An estimated 2 million refugees still remained in Pakistan while at least 900,000 remained in Iran. About 844,000 out of 1.4 million Afghans who returned home from Iran received assistance from the UNHCR. [87]

Lack of security, land and other resources posed serious impediments to repatriation and rehabilitation of the displaced Afghans. According to the findings of a census conducted by the Pakistan federal Population Census Organisation with assistance from the UNHCR in February 2005, more than 82 percent (2,517,558 Afghans, out of a total 3,047,225) of Afghans living in Pakistan were reluctant to go back to their country owing to non-availability of means of livelihood, lack of shelter and the fragile security situation. [88]

As the repatriation process had been progressing in a rapid pace, shelter and providing means of livelihood especially to those having large family remained an uphill task. According to the UNHCR, the lack of land to build homes or cultivate had long been among the major challenges hindering Afghan refugee repatriation. Under the Afghan law, government land would only be distributed to eligible returnees in the province of origin as provided on the national Identity card. Besides, the voluntary repatriation scheme mandatorily required a returnee to obtain voluntary repatriation form so as to be eligible to receive land and assistance on arrival in Afghanistan. [89]

In 2005, Afghanistan government began a programme of land distribution to over 300,000 returnees and the Afghan Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation had distributed over 13,000 plots of land mostly in provinces of Farah, Logar, Faryab and Parwan. [90] But the return of such a large number of refugees in a relatively short time created additional pressures for reintegration operations on aid agencies. [91]

X. Violations of the rights of the child

Ravaged by conflicts, children in Afghanistan were the worst sufferers of two decades of war. Hundreds of them have been killed while many were sexually assaulted, trafficked and tortured. Approximately, 60 % of children had lost a family member while 35 % of children had lost their relatives or friends. About 9000 children were disarmed under the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) program. Recruitment of children in the Afghan army had reportedly ceased but some of the local commanders continued to retain children for physical and sexual exploitations. [92]

a. Access to health care

Access to quality health care was limited throughout Afghanistan. For every 1,000 Afghan children born, 165 die within the first year, [93] and one of every five children dies before reaching the age of five. This figure stood at 257 infants in 1000 births– the vast majority from preventable diseases like pneumonia, measles, tetanus, diarrhoea, malaria and typhoid. Every year 85,000 children died of diarrhea. According to the AIHRC, only one doctor was available for every 50,000 children. [94] For 26 million Afghan people, there were just 900 clinics for reproductive health and childbirth. The funds committed by the United States for basic healthcare had reportedly been diverted to building roads just before the Presidential elections in 2004. [95]

On 23 January 2005, the Afghanistan Public Health Minister, Sayed Mohammad Amin Fatemi stated that in the 3rd week of January 2005, at least 28 Afghan children died from outbreaks of whooping cough and measles in Deh Rawud district of Uruzgan and in Gezab district of Dai Kundi provinces. [96]

b. Child labour

There were reportedly an estimated 1 million child labourers aged between seven and 14 years. [97] Of these, about 60,000 have reportedly been working in the streets. Majority of child labourers were involved in domestic work, a considerable number of children were involved in heavy and dangerous works, such as construction. On its part, the Afghanistan Government provided vocational training and literacy programmes to around 38,000 child labourers across the country by the beginning of 2005. [98]

c. Trafficking

President Karzai issued a decree mandating the death penalty for child traffickers convicted of murder, and lengthened prison terms. But trafficking of children to Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia for forced begging, labour, and sexual exploitation were rampant. [99] In 2005, AIHRC and UNICEF reportedly received more than 150 reports of child trafficking between March and December 2005. [100]   At the end of 2005, according to the AIHRC, authorities repatriated 317 children from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Zambia, and Oman. [101]

In 2005, approximately 50 child traffickers were arrested but prosecution of traffickers was inconsistent. Reports indicated that out of a possible 20 suspected cases of child trafficking, two resulted in convictions, three resulted in acquittals, and six were still being prosecuted. [102]   The National Plan of Action Against Trafficking adopted in July 2004 had little impact during 2005.

d. Juvenile justice

Under the law, the minimum age for fixing responsibility for criminal offence is 7 years. [103] While 16 juvenile prisoners including two girls were reportedly released from a jail in Kandahar on 2 October 2005 on President Hamid Karzai's directives, [104] about 134 juvenile offenders were still detained in correction facilities in Afghanistan. In 12 out of 34 provinces, there was no specialized correction center and the children in conflict with the law were being detained with the adult prisoners thereby exposing the juveniles to physical and sexual exploitation. [105] Juvenile offenders charged with murder were generally found to be detained with adult prisoners. In Pul-e-Charkhi Prison, many juveniles were detained with adult prisoners. [106] In 2005, there were at least 45 juvenile convicts aged from 7 to 18 detained with adults across Afghanistan. [107] 70% of the 134 juvenile offenders were awaiting trial and the rest were convicted. There were also a number of children detained with their mothers in jail. They have not committed any offences but they have to live in jail because there was no one to look after them at home. [108]

e. Attacks on girl child's education

Afghanistan achieved a significant leap in school enrollment over the last couple of years. Half of all school-age children in the country went to school and one-third of them were girls. [109] In 2005, about 6,546,848 students aged between 6 and 18 years attended schools in grades 1-12. [110] As per statistics of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, more than half a million [111] Afghan girls were enrolled in school during 2005. But there were big regional differences in attendance levels. While about 50% of girls went to school in major cities like Kabul, Herat, Mazar-e Sharif and Badakshan, these figures hide dramatic disparities with girls representing less than 15 percent of the total enrollment in nine provinces in the east and south. [112] According to UNICEF, 60 percent of girls under 11 - more than 1 million - were still not attending lessons. [113]

The fundamentalists stepped up their war against education, burning schools, beating and killing teachers, and threatening parents with death. About two hundred schools in Kandahar and 165 in Helmand were closed for security reasons following increased attacks on schools, teachers and students by the militants. [114]

On the night of 23 June 2005, six armed militants reportedly broke into a girls' school in the Baraki Barak district of the central Logar province and set the school on fire after tying the two guards Hamidullah and Noor Hasan to a tree. [115]

On the night of 12 July 2005, one girls' school was reportedly bombed and two others, one primary school in Char Gosh village and another in Zir Koh area were torched by unknown persons in Shindand district. [116]

On the night of 21 July 2005, suspected militants reportedly torched a girls' school providing education to 700 in the Charshanba Tipa district of the northern Baghlan province. The teachers and headmaster of the school were warned of dire consequences if they did not stop teaching ‘immoral lessons' to the students. [117]

On the night of 24 August 2005, another girls' school was set on fire by unidentified extremists in the Alingar district of the eastern Laghman province after sprinkling petrol. [118]

On the night of 29 October 2005, unidentified persons reportedly torched a girl's primary school under renovation in Logar province. The fire destroyed the school, the tents, the chairs, generator and a vehicle. [119]

On 15 November 2005, Abdul Ali, headmaster of Khanjakak High School in Panjwayi district, was shot dead by two unidentified assailants in front of the students. On the same day, a security guard of a nearby primary school was killed and his body was dumped in a stream. [120]

On 16 December 2005, a school teacher identified as Laghmani of a secondary school was reportedly dragged from the classroom and shot dead at the school gate by two alleged Taliban guerillas after he ignored their order to stop teaching girls in Nad Ali district of Helmand province. [121]

On 17 December 2005, Taliban militias reportedly attacked a high school in Lashkargah, the capital of the troubled southern province of Helmand and shot dead a guard and an 18-year-old male student. Before leaving the school, the militants called on people to shut down schools and warned them of killing if they did not. [122]

XI. Violations of International Humanitarian Laws by the Talibans

The Taliban terrorists were responsible for blatant violations of international humanitarian laws including arbitrary killings. Afghan authorities estimated that between 1,800 and 2,000 illegal armed groups were still active across the country. [123]

A large number of civilians have been killed by the Talibans in indiscriminate firing and land mine explosions. On 3 January 2005, two civilians were reportedly killed when a land mine exploded near the air base in Shindand district in western Herat Province. [124]

On 1 April 2005, four Afghans including two children were reportedly killed and five others injured by unidentified assailants in two separate bomb attacks in southern Kandahar province and northern provincial capital Mazar-i-Sharif respectively. [125]

On 21 September 2005, seven members of a singer group of Aqchi district of Jozjin province were reportedly killed by unidentified gunmen on the border of Jozjan and Balkh provinces while returning from Bargah area of Chamtal district of Balkh province after performing in a wedding ceremony. [126]

On 24 October 2005, six civilians including a child were reportedly killed and three others injured when rockets fired by alleged militants at a US-led coalition convoy 10 miles south of Kabul missed their target and instead hit three civilian cars in which they were travelling on a main north-south road in Logar province. [127]

Dozens of foreign and local aid workers have been killed by the Talibans for undertaking reconstruction works in the south and east of Afgahnistan since the overthrow of their government by US-led forces in 2001. [128]    In first week of April 2005, four Indians were reportedly killed and two injured when their vehicle was destroyed in a bomb explosion in Kandahar. [129] On 18 May 2005, five Afghans, three engineers, a driver and a policeman, working on a United States funded project to end opium farming were reportedly killed in an ambush by alleged Talibans in Helmand province of southern Afghanistan. [130]

On 22 November 2005, Indian engineer Maniappan R Kutty working for Indian Border Road Organization was reportedly shot dead by the Talibans after the deadline set by them for the organization to withdraw within 48 hours was not complied with. He was abducted on 19 November 2005 along with two Afghan police guards and a driver while driving in Nimroz province of southwest Afghanistan. [131]

Apart from the security forces, civil officials of the Afghan government have also been targeted by the Talibans. On 20 June 2005, district governor Mullah Sakhi and one policeman were reportedly killed by alleged Taliban fighters in Washer district in Helmand province. [132] On 21 August 2005, three Taliban gunmen shot dead pro-government religious scholar, Maulvi Abdullah Malang and another person while returning home from a mosque in southern Kandahar province. [133]

On 11 November 2005, the deputy governor of southern Nimroz province, Namatullah Yusuf Zai was reportedly shot dead by alleged Taliban militants while driving to Kabul to attend a meeting on peace and reconciliation. Some hours later, a former local district chief, Sher Mohammed Aghunzada was reportedly shot dead by two alleged Taliban insurgents inside a mosque while he was praying. [134]

The so-called collaborators of the United States have been specific targets. On 7 June 2005, a Pakistani truck driver and his assistant were reportedly killed when the Pakistani-owned fuel tanker was attacked by alleged Taliban rebels after it delivered gasoline to a US base at Spin Boldak district in southern Afhanistan. Afghan and US-led coalition forces reportedly arrested five men in this connection. [135]

On 30 June 2005, alleged Taliban fighters reportedly killed nine village elders, four policemen and two other civilians in Lander village in the central province of Uruzgan. The civilians were accused of cooperating with the Americans. [136]

On 10 August 2005, a woman identified as the wife of a local elder, Malik Rozi Khan was reportedly shot dead at her home on suspicion of spying for US led coalition forces in the Mizan District of Zabul Province. The alleged members of the Taliban also reportedly kidnapped the victim's brother and father. [137]

On 13 September 2005, Hameedullah, resident of Hafiz Atash village was killed by alleged Taliban rebels for allegedly providing information to American troops in Khak Afghan district of Zabul province. [138]

Pro-government religious leaders  have been specific targets by the Talebans. On 13 July 2005, Maulvi Saleh Mohammad, pro-government religious scholar was shot dead by alleged Taliban insurgents in the southern Helmand province while on his way to grand mosque where he was a prayer leader. Earlier, Kandahar Ulema Council head Maulvi Abdullah Fayyaz was killed by the Talibans on 29 May 2005. [139]

On 16 October 2005, Mawlawi Mohammad Gul, provincial religious council member of Helmand province was reportedly shot dead by alleged Taliban militants while on his way to home after attending Ramadan prayer in Lashkar-Gah. [140]

On 15 December 2005, Mulla Ahmad Shah, a member of Kandahar's Ulema Shoura which is a pro-government council of Islamic clerics was reportedly shot dead by unidentified gunmen in the Kandahar city while going to a mosque. [141]

On 2 December 2005, head of Shawali Kot district, Ayatullah Popal was reportedly killed along with two of his bodyguards when a bomb placed under his car by alleged Taliban militants was detonated in Kandahar province. On the same day, one policeman was reportedly killed and five others wounded in an ambush by Taliban fighters while patrolling in Nawzad district in Helmand province. [142]

Those who had participated in the elections were also targeted. On the night of 31 August 2005, Mullah Amir Muhammad was reportedly be-headed by alleged Taliban rebels for supporting one candidate for the September 18th elections in Gareshtak district in the southern province of Helmand. [143] On 13 September 2005, alleged Taliban militants reportedly shot dead seven seven civilians after finding a registration paper for the upcoming election in their car in Uruzgan Province. [144]


[1] . AFGHANISTAN: Year in Review 2005 - Fragile progress, insecurity remains, IRIN News.org, 12 February 2006 http://www.irinnews.org/S_report.asp?ReportID=51036&
SelectRegion=Asia

[2] . Killing sparks fears of unrest in Mazar-e-Sharif, The Frontier Post, 3 December 2005

[3] . Balkh governor assails colleagues' arrest, The Frontier Post, 9 October 2005

[4] . Elected parliament member killed in E. Afghanistan, December 05, 2005

[5] . HR commission says coalition forces barred not allowing to visit prisons, The Frontier Post, 15 December 2005

[6] . Foreign forces mistreated Afghan detainees: UN, The Daily Times,
6 February 2005

[7] . Detainees Say US troops in Afghanistan abused them, http://www.paktribune.com/news/index.php?id=93214

[8] . Papers reveal Bagram abuse, http://www.guardian.co.uk/afghanistan/story/0,1284,
1417396,00.html

[9] . HRW exposes CIA's 'dark prison' The Frontier Post, 22 December 2005

[10] . Two US troops face charges, The Frontier Post, 18 November 2005

[11] . Woman, Children Die in U.S. Attack on Taliban, The Pak Tribune.com, 25 March 2005

[12] . Pak consulate attacked: Four killed as Afghans protest desecration, The Daily Times, 12 May 2005

[13] . '17 Afghan civilians died in US air strike'The Dawn, 5 July 2005

[14] . US military condemns abuse after latest Afghanistan claims, The Frontier Post, 1 November 2005

[15] . Boy's death in police custody remains a mystery, The Frontier Post, 5 July 2005

[16] . Two reservists face punishment in deaths of Afghan detainees, The Pak Tribune.com, 10 March 2005

[17] . Soldier pleads guilty in abuse case, The Frontier Post, 6 August 2005

[18] . Afghanistan:'No one listens to us and no one treats us as human beings': Justice denied to women, Amnesty International, 6 October 2003 http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/engasa110232003

[19] . Performance and Accountability Report of 2005 of Bureau of Resource Management November 2005
http://www.state.gov/s/d/rm/ rls/perfrpt/2005/html/56358.htm

[20] . Afghanistan: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices  - 2005 of the U.S. State Department, 8 March 2006
http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/ hrrpt/2005/61704.htm

[21] . "The Whole Justice System of Afghanistan is Rotten" Excerpts from the Christian Science Monitor, 21 February 2006, available at
http://www.rawa.org/court.htm

[22] . "The Whole Justice System of Afghanistan is Rotten" Excerpts from the Christian Science Monitor, 21 February 2006, available at
http://www.rawa.org/court.htm

[23] . Afghanistan: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices  - 2005 of the U.S. State Department, 8 March 2006, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61704.htm

[24] . Information about Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, available at
http://www.asiapacificforum.net/member/afghanistan/
index.html

[25] . Law on the Structure, Duties and Mandate of the AIHRC, available at:http://www.aihrc.org.af/law_ of_aihrc.pdf

[26] . Human rights commission strives for justice, The Frontier Post,
16 October 2005

[27] . AIHRC Chairperson' s speech: http://www.aihrc.org.af/drsima_stmnt_10_dec.htm

[28] . HR commission says coalition forces barred not allowing to visit prisons,
The Frontier Post, 15 December 2005 

[29] . Afghanistan: Warlords Dominate New Parliament, HRW Press Alert, 17 December 2005, available at: http://www.rawa.org/hrw-sam.htm

[30] . AIHRC Press Release, 15 November 2005, http://www.aihrc.org.af/pre_15nov_05.htm

[31] . AIHRC annual report of 2005, available at: http://www.aihrc.org.af/anl_ rept_2005.pdf

[32] . http://www.un-ngls.org/cso/cso8/afghan.htm

[33] . http://www.usig.org/ countryinfo/laws/Afghanistan/Afghan%20NGO%20Law%20 Final%20ENG%20(10.July.05).pdf

[34] . http://www.icnl.org/knowledge /news/2005/07-12.htm

[35] . Two more Christian Aid partners killed, The Frontier Post, 12 December 2005

[36] . Aid workers shot dead in Afghanistan, 25 February 2005

[37] . Robbers kill NGO worker in Parwan, The Frontier Post, 30 September 2005

[38] . Hostage on Afghan TV, The Daily Times, 30 May 2005

[39] . Karzai asks Cantoni to resume work in Kabul, The Frontier Post, 18 June 2005

[40] . Figures given by UNICEF, http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/afghanistan_27859.html

[41] . Afghanistan has first female provincial governor, The Daily times, 3 March 2005

[42] . Afghanistan: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices  - 2005 of the U.S. State Department, 8 March 2006
http://www.state.gov/g/ drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61704.htm

[43] . Afghanistan: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices  - 2005 of the U.S. State Department, 8 March 2006
http://www.state.gov/g/ drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61704.htm

[44] . Threats, intimidation reported against female election candidates, The Frontier Post, 13 August 2005

[45] . Unidentified men thrash woman candidate, The Paktribune.com, 3 October 2005, http://www.paktribune.com/news/index.php?id=121064&P
HPSESSID= 78dd228a9c2db1c0573cf0cdcf383050

[46] . Women disenfranchised in several provinces, The Frontier Post, 19 September 2005

[47] . EXPERT ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ENDS VISIT TO AFGHANISTAN http://www.unhchr. ch/huricane/huricane.nsf/view01/ 615D4B5628D7E547C125704200343ECB?opendocument

[48] . AFGHANISTAN: Child marriage still widespread,
http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID= 48115&SelectRegion=Asia&SelectCountry=AFGHANISTAN

[49] . AIHRC report titled, "Evaluation report on General Situation of Women in Afghanistan" available at 
http://www.aihrc.org.af/rep_eng_wom_situation_8_march.htm

[50] . Afghanistan: Self-Immolation By Women In Herat Continues At Alarming Rate,  4 February 2005 available at:
http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2005/02/f287f1fb-4a6e-4a65-bf1c-d2d48e7e9a6f.html

[51] . Afghanistan: Self-Immolation By Women In Herat Continues At Alarming Rate,  4 February 2005 available at:
http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2005/02/f287f1fb-4a6e-4a65-bf1c-d2d48e7e9a6f.html

[52] . Women being used as currency in Afghan marriage market, The Pak Tribune.com, 17 June 2005

[53] . Self-immolation seen as only escape,
http://www.peacewomen.org/news/afghanistan/sep05/
self_immolation.html

[54] . AFGHANISTAN: Women, Socially Bound and Officially Neglected,
27 March 2006, available at:
http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=32657

[55] . Living dangerously in Afghanistan, The Frontier Post, 5 August 2005 

[56] . Death By Stoning In Afghanistan, VOA News, 2 May 2005, available at:
http://www.voanews.com/ uspolicy/archive/2005-05/2005-05-02-voa1.cfm

[57] . 6 held for stoning woman to death, The Dawn, 30 April 2005

[58] . Three Afghan women raped and murdered, The Daily Times, 3 May 2005

[59] . Brothers suspected in death of Afghan star,
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0505210066may21,1,4542629.story?coll=chi-newsspecials-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true

[60] . Living dangerously in Afghanistan, The Frontier Post, 5 August 2005

[61] . Medical team visits Mazar and Balkh prisons to provide inmates with much needed vaccinations-Press Briefing by Adrian Edwards, Spokesperson for the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Afghanistan, available at: http://www.unama-afg.org/news/_pb/_english/2005/_june/05jun30.htm

[62] . Afghanistan: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - 2005 of the
U.S. State Department, 8 March 2006 
http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61704.htm

[63] . Govt prepares to take control of detainees, The Frontier Post, 12 August 2005

[64] . http://web.amnesty.org/library/ index/engamr510932005

[65] . A Growing Afghan Prison Rivals Bleak Guantánamo,
The New York Times, 26 February 2006, available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/26/international/26
bagram.html?ei=5088&en=
89ad1b68787786c8&ex=1298610000&partner=rssnyt&emc=
rss&pagewanted=print

[66] . HR commission says collation forces barred not allowing to visit prisons,
The Frontier Post, 15 December 2005 

[67] . US detentions in Afghanistan: an aide-mémoire for continued action, Amnesty Internaltional, 7 June 2005, available at: http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/engamr510932005

[68] . Afghanistan: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices  - 2005 of
the U.S. State Department, 8 March 2006, available at
http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61704.htm

[69] . Torture echo in Afghan jails, The Telegraph, U.K, 17 January 2005

[70] . United Nation-appointed independent expert on human rights in Afghanistan, Cherif Bassiouni's description of Pol-e-Charkhi prison, available at: http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/03/eafc8ad2-ef19-4c89-b999-4eb870bf54be.html

[71] . http://www.southasianmedia. net/media_update.cfm?CurrentPage=2&country=Afghanistan

[72] . Attacks on the press in 2005, The Committee to Protect Journalists, available at:
http://www.cpj.org/attacks05/asia05/afghan_05.html

[73] . Afghanistan: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices  - 2005 of the U.S. State Department, 8 March 2006
http://www.state.gov/g/drl /rls/hrrpt/2005/61704.htm

[74] . http://www.southasianmedia. net/media_update.cfm?CurrentPage=2&country=Afghanistan

[75] . Journalists freed but questions remain, The Frontier Post, 11 July 2005 

[76] . Three detained journalists roughed up, shifted to Kabul,
The Frontier Post, 5 July 2005

[77] . http://www.cpj.org/news/ 2005/Afghan06sept05na.html

[78] . Journalist freed after being held captive for six days, Reporters Without Borders, 9 September 2005,
http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=14879 

[79] . Afghan editor gets 2 years in prison for 'blasphemy', The Daily Times, 25 October 2005

[80] . High Court allows release of journalist Ali Mohaqiq Nasab,
Reporters Without Borders, 21 December 2005 

[81] . Afghanistan: Television journalists threatened,
19 June 2005, available at: http://www.southasianmedia.net /Archive_full.cfm?nid=214993

[82] . Radio journalist killed in bomb attack on military convoy,
Reporters Without Borders, 25 October 2005 

[83] . Media release of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) on 19 December 2005

[84] . Journalists escape from captivity in Nuristan, The Frontier Post, 22 September 2005

[85] . IRAN: UNHCR to assist 150,000 Afghan returnees in 2006,
2 March 2006, available at:
http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=51991&
SelectRegion=Asia

[86] . 445,000 refugees return home, The Frontier Post, 18 December 2005

[87] . IRAN: UNHCR to assist 150,000 Afghan returnees in 2006,
2 March 2006, available at:
http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=51991&
SelectRegion=Asia

[88] . 82pc refugees unwilling to return home, The Dawn, 20 May 2005

[89] . PAKISTAN: Afghans need to return to place of origin for land programme - UNHCR, 29 March 2006, available at:
http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID= 52516&SelectRegion=Asia&SelectCountry=PAKISTAN

[90] . PAKISTAN: Afghans need to return to place of origin for land programme - UNHCR, 29 March 2006, available at:
http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID= 52516&SelectRegion=Asia&SelectCountry=PAKISTAN

[91] . Recent refugee influx ups pressure on aid agencies,
The Frontier Post, 1 October 2005

[92] . The situation of Afghan children in 2005,
http://www.aihrc.org.af/ chi_situation_af.htm

[93] . http://www.savethechildren. org/countries/asia/afghanistan/index.asp

[94] . The situation of Afghan children in 2005,
http://www.aihrc.org.af/chi_ situation_af.htm

[95] . One in four Afghan children dies before fifth birthday, Pak Tribune.com 20 January 2005

[96] . 28 Afghan children die in disease outbreaks, 25 January 2005

[97] . UNICEF concerned over child labour, The Frontier Post, 9 December 2005

[98] . UNICEF concerned over child labour, The Frontier Post, 9 December 2005

[99] . Extract from U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June 2005
http://gvnet.com/humantrafficking/Afghanistan-2.htm

[100] . Afghanistan: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices -
2005 of the U.S. State Department, 8 March 2006 available at:
http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61704.htm

[101] . Afghanistan: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
- 2005 of the U.S. State Department, 8 March 2006, available at:
http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61704.htm

[102] . Extract from U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June 2005 http://gvnet.com/humantrafficking/Afghanistan-2.htm

[103] . Press Briefing by Manoel de Almeida e Silva, Spokesman for the Special Representative of
the Secretary-General on Afghanistan, available at: http://www.un.org/apps/news/infocusnews.
asp?NewsID=671&sID=1

[104] . 16 juvenile prisoners freed from Kandahar, The Frontier Post, 3 October 2005

[105] . The situation of Afghan children in 2005, http://www.aihrc.org.af/chi_situation_af.htm

[106] . Afghanistan: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices  - 2005 of the U.S. State Department, 8 March 2006  http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61704.htm

[107] . Press Briefing by Manoel de Almeida e Silva, Spokesman for the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Afghanistan, available at: http://www.un.org/apps/news/infocusnews.
asp?NewsID=671&sID=1

[108] . The situation of Afghan children in 2005, http://www.aihrc.org.af/chi_situation_af.htm

[109] . AFGHANISTAN: Pervasive gender gaps need urgent addressing, says World Bank, IRIN News, 26 January 2006 available at:http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID= 51348&SelectRegion=Asia&SelectCountry=AFGHANISTAN

[110] . The situation of Afghan children in 2005, http://www.aihrc.org.af/chi_situation_af.htm

[111] . Afghan Girls Back In School, http://www.voanews.com/uspolicy/archive/2006-02/2006-02-06-voa4.cfm?CFID=6960769&CFTOKEN=38971567

[112] . AFGHANISTAN: Pervasive gender gaps need urgent addressing,
says World Bank, IRIN NEWS, 26 January 2006,
http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID= 51348&SelectRegion=Asia&SelectCountry=AFGHANISTAN

[113] . Girls are coming back to schools, but not in large numbers: UNICEF, Pak Tribune.com, 15 March 2005 

[114] . James Kunder, USAID Assistant Administrator for Asia and the Near East, Statement Before the House Committee on International Relations, Sub-committees on Middle East and Central Asia and Oversight & Investigations March 9, 2006, http://www.state.gov/p/sca/rls/rm/2006/62971.htm

[115] . Girls' school torched, The Frontier Post, 24 June 2005

[116] . Residents concerned at bombing, torching of schools, The Frontier Post, 14 July 2005

[117] . School set ablaze in Baghlan, The Frontier Post, 26 July 2005 

[118] . Girl's school torched, The Frontier Post, 25 August 2005

[119] . Fourth Afghan school torched, The frontier post, 1 November 2005

[120] . Polls results announced as schools attacked, The Frontier Post, 20 November 2005

[121] . Afghan killed for teaching girls, The Frontier Post, 17 December 2005

[122] . Two killed in school attack, The Frontier Post, 18 December 2005

[123] . AFGHANISTAN: Year in Review 2005 - Fragile progress, insecurity remains http://www.irinnews.org/S_report.asp?
ReportID=51036&SelectRegion=Asia

[124] . Two Civilians Killed In Land-Mine Explosion, Azadiradio.org, 5 January 2005 http://www.azadiradio.org/en/dailyreport
/2005/01/05.asp#242665

[125] . Four killed, five injured in two bomb blasts in Afghanistan, The Pak Tribune.com, 3 April 2005

[126] . Seven members of a singer group killed, The Frontier Post, 24 September 2005

[127] . Rocket attacks in Kabul kills 7, The Frontier Post, 26 October 2005

[128] . Aid workers shot dead in Afghanistan, 25 February 2005

[129] . 4 Indians killed in Kandahar blast, The Pak Tribune.com, 7 April 2005

[130] . Taliban kill 5 Afghans, The Daily Times, 19 May 2005

[131] . Abducted Indian shot dead: Taliban, The Times of India, 23 November 2005

[132] . Governor among 21 killed in new Afghan attacks, The Statesman, 21 June 2005

[133] . Taliban gun down another pro-govt cleric, The Frontier Post, 22 August 2005

[134] . Taliban attack police HQ in Afghanistan, The Daily Times, 13 November 2005

[135] . Two Pakistani truckers killed in Afghanistan, The Daily Times, 9 June 2005

[136] . Taliban kill 15 in Afghanistan, The Statesman, 2 July 2005

[137] . Neo-Taliban Execute Woman In Southern Afghanistan, Azadiradio.org, 11 August 2005 http://www.azadiradio.org/en/dailyreport/2005/08/11
.asp#339888

[138] . Taliban execute alleged US spy in Zabul, The Frontier Post, 14 September 2005

[139] . Pro-govt cleric gunned down, The Frontier Post, 14 July 2005

[140] . Religious leader, security officers gunned down, The Frontier Post, 18 October 2005

[141] . Gunmen kill pro-govt cleric in Kandahar, The Frontier Post, 16 December 2005

[142] . Taliban kill Afghan official, three cops, The Daily Times, 4 December 2005

[143] . Taliban slaughter cleric in Helmand, http://www.paktribune.com/news/index.php?id=117938

[144] . Taliban Kills Seven Afghan Civilians, Azadiradio.org, 15 September 2005 www.azadiradio.org/en/dailyreport/2005/09/15.asp#355129

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