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TITLE:  AFGHANISTAN HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES. 1994
AUTHOR:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DATE:  FEBRUARY 1995




                          AFGHANISTAN*


Afghanistan in 1994 continued to experience civil war and 
widespread lawlessness.  The nominal nine-party coalition 
Government failed to function effectively, and armed factions 
opposed or supported President Burhanuddin Rabbani.  Several 
provincial administrations maintained limited functions, but 
banditry was prevalent in much of the country amid a general 
decline of law and order.  In July pro-Rabbani forces met with 
some independent ones in Herat and called for a follow-up 
traditional gathering of notables to take up the peace effort.  
The Herat Conference suffered from a lack of broad 
participation owing in part to fears its outcome had been 
predetermined by pro-Rabbani elements.  The U.N. Special 
Mission to Afghanistan made several efforts to reach a 
political solution to the crisis, including convening s 
conference of Afghan notables in Quetta.  By year's end, the 
United Nations obtained agreement in principle from the major 
factions to participate in a broad-based interim government and 
began to negotiate the details.

The simmering civil war intensified on January 1 when troops 
commanded by the leader of the National Islamic Movement (NIM), 
General Abdul Rashid Dostam, aided by forces loyal to Prime 
Minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, attempted a coup d'etat against 
President Rabbani.  The attempt was foiled, but the protracted 
fighting caused heavy civilian casualties and the destruction 
of much of Kabul.  By the end of 1994, an estimated 1 million 
Afghans remained displaced by fighting, and an estimated 34,000 
were killed or wounded during the year in Kabul alone.

The coalition Government has not established a national 
military and police force.  The political instability and the 
presence of heavily armed party militias in Kabul have led to 
an array of regional security bodies, many of which operate 
independently of party and governmental authorities.  They are 
responsible for many human rights abuses.

Agriculture, including increased levels of opium poppy 
cultivation, remained the mainstay of the economy.  The civil 
war impeded reconstruction of irrigation systems, repair of 
market roads, and clearance of some 10 million Soviet land 
mines.  There was modest reconstruction in some areas, notably

                   
*The American Embassy in Kabul has been closed for security 
reasons since January 1989.


Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif, and Nangarhar, where provincial 
authorities have reestablished a degree of order and civil 
administration.

Large-scale human rights violations occurred in 1994.  The 
U.N.'s Special Rapporteur on Afghanistan concluded that "as 
Afghanistan has no effective central government, the imputation 
of state responsibility in international law is problematic."  
The warring factions not only failed to protect the human 
rights of civilians, but often wantonly violated those rights 
by specifically targeting noncombatants.  Gunmen affiliated 
with the 10 armed factions were often responsible for 
assassinations, looting, rapes, and kidnapings for ransom.  
Combatants from several factions blocked food and medical 
supplies desperately needed by displaced people in the Kabul, 
Kunduz, and Taloqan areas.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

In 1994 an estimated 8,000 Afghans died in Kabul alone as a 
result of the civil war.  Most were civilian victims of 
artillery, rocket, or air strikes launched by forces aligned 
with Hekmatyar or Rabbani.  In many cases civilian deaths were 
incidental to the military actions of the belligerents, but in 
some cases combatants purposefully targeted civilian areas.  
Combatants also sought to assassinate rival commanders and 
their sympathizers.  The perpetrators of these assassinations 
and their motives were difficult to identify, as political 
motives are often entwined with family and tribal feuds, 
battles over the drug trade, religious zealotry, and personal 
vendettas.

In July a reporter for the British Broadcasting Corporation, 
Mirwais Jalil, was abducted and murdered by unidentified 
gunmen.  His body, bearing over 20 stab and bullet wounds, was 
later found in a no man's land.  In July Commander Naser of 
Laghman Province, who was affiliated with Hekmatyar's party, 
and 10 of his bodyguards were reportedly murdered as Naser 
traveled to meet with a rival.  In September Commander Sadiq, 
also a follower of Hekmatyar, and his bodyguard were murdered 
in Nangarhar Province while returning from a visit to 
Pakistan.  Sadiq was rumored to have been involved in narcotics 
trafficking, a Pashtun intratribal dispute, and the factional 
fighting in Kabul--any of which may have provided the motive 
for his murder.  None of the perpetrators was apprehended.  
President Rabbani's forces apparently targeted Hekmatyar 
himself in an August 12 air raid that demolished his living 
quarters.  Subsequent air attacks were made on a hospital 
facility where Hekmatyar was thought to be under treatment for 
injuries sustained in the August 12 air raid; in fact he had 
escaped serious injury.

Two brothers who had murdered a rival were executed in Herat 
after an on-the-spot adjudication by an Islamic magistrate.  
Summary executions following Shari'a court trials were reported 
elsewhere in the country.

     b.  Disappearance

In April Amnesty International (AI) issued a report claiming 
that dozens of people had disappeared or were being held in 
incommunicado detention.  It appealed to all sides to release 
their captives and stop taking hostages.  AI reported that Zia 
Nassry, an American citizen, was allegedly arrested by 
pro-Rabbani forces in Kabul in 1992; Nassry's welfare and 
whereabouts remained unknown in 1994.

Hostage taking for ransom or political reasons was common.  In 
June unknown gunmen abducted an Afghan guard working at an 
inactive diplomatic mission in Kabul.  The victim was tied, 
blindfolded, threatened with death, beaten, held for 16 days, 
and finally released when his family paid the ransom.  The 
kidnapers were not apprehended.  In July Mullah Rocketi, a 
commander of Abdul Rasul Sayyaf's Ittehad-i-Islami Party, 
released seven Pakistani and two Chinese hostages he had 
kidnaped to force the Government of Pakistan to release his 
brother from prison and return or pay for weapons allegedly 
taken from him.  Rocketi had held some of the captives since 
1992.

Groups in Russia listed nearly 300 Soviet soldiers who had 
served in Afghanistan as missing in action or prisoners of 
war.  Most were thought to be dead or to have voluntarily 
assimilated into Afghan society.  Some continued to be held 
against their will by their Afghan captors.

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment

Armed factions reportedly employed torture and ill-treatment 
frequently to extract information from prisoners or break their 
will.  Mullah Rocketi's forces hung some foreign captives (see 
Section 1.b.) upside down and beat them to force them to write 
letters urging that ransom be paid, according to media accounts.

Due to the lack of a functioning national judicial system, the 
powers that be reportedly imposed traditional laws and 
punishments, such as the amputation of hands of those convicted 
of theft.

Marauding militiamen abused many women in Mazar-i-Sharif in 
January and in Kunduz in March, according to international 
media and other sources.  The U.N. Special Rapporteur reported 
that in 1994 there were innumerable cases of rape and that in 
some instances women had been "hunted down."  In March armed 
men repeatedly raped a 15-year-old girl in Kabul after breaking 
into her family's house and killing her father for allowing her 
to attend school, according to an AI report issued in 
December.  The report added that thousands of women and 
children had been raped in Afghanistan since April 1992, when 
the mujahedin groups took power in Kabul.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

With the breakdown of law and order, justice was not 
administered "by the book" in many localities.  Little was 
known about procedures employed in 1994 for taking persons into 
custody and bringing them to trial.  Presumably, practices 
varied considerably among the localities.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

With the collapse of a nationwide judicial system, many 
municipal and provincial authorities relied on some form of 
Shari'a, or Islamic, law and traditional tribal codes of 
justice.  However, little is known about the implementation of 
these precepts.

No firm estimate is available on the number of political 
prisoners, but a Pakistan-based human rights group estimated 
that well over 1,000 people were held as political prisoners or 
hostages by armed factions or independent commanders.

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
         Correspondence

Widespread forced entry into homes and looting occurred in the 
northern cities of Mazar-i-Sharif and Kunduz early in the year 
during intense fighting there.  There were fewer reports of 
looting in Kabul compared with 1993, probably because much of 
the city was in ruins and many items of value had already been 
carried off.  A U.N. facility in Mazar-i-Sharif and the 
Pakistani Embassy in Kabul were ransacked in early 1994.  The 
Afghanistan National Archives were looted in May.

     g.  Use of Excessive Force and Violations of Humanitarian 
         Law in Internal Conflicts

Ten armed factions, aligned in two loose blocs, fought for 
power in Kabul and the provinces, causing widespread 
destruction and indiscriminate killing.  Command and control of 
armed men was often haphazard and informal, a condition that 
obscured the relationship between the perpetrators of human 
rights violations and the political leaders with whom they were 
nominally affiliated.

On January 1, General Dostam's troops in Kabul, theretofore 
aligned with President Rabbani, switched to Prime Minister 
Hekmatyar's side and attempted to oust the President in a coup 
d'etat.  The President's forces quickly countered  and the 
ensuing fighting engulfed much of Kabul and northern parts of 
the country.  A significant number of civilians were killed in 
the northern cities of Mazar-i-Sharif and Kunduz during heavy 
fighting.  Fighting raged in Kabul's old business district, 
with both sides employing heavy weapons and air strikes which 
took a heavy toll of civilian life and wreaked destruction on 
much of Kabul.  As intense fighting in Kabul continued for most 
of January, hundreds of thousands fled to safer areas of the 
country.  Most of the belligerents received outside assistance, 
despite U.N. calls to halt the influx of materiel to the 
warring factions.

In February Prime Minister Hekmatyar imposed a food blockade on 
northern Kabul, the area controlled by President Rabbani's 
troops.  The U.N. Security Council and the United States 
Government condemned the food blockade and asked that it be 
lifted.  In March General Dostam's militia briefly captured the 
northern city of Kunduz from the forces of Ahmed Shah Masood, 
President Rabbani's de facto Defense Minister.  Amid widespread 
pillaging by the victorious troops, local people revolted and 
assisted Masood's fighters in retaking the city, according to a 
Western journalist who visited the area.

Sharp clashes broke out in Kabul in late June, when Masood 
launched an attack against Dostam's and Hekmatyar's forces and 
drove them from key strongholds in central Kabul.  They reacted 
by launching nearly daily rocket attacks on the city, which 
took a heavy civilian toll.

In September the relatively quiet Shi'a quarter of Kabul 
erupted in intense fighting between rival Shi'a factions, which 
were quickly backed by other armed groups.  In the last half of 
September alone, some 2,650 people, mostly civilians, were 
reportedly killed or wounded in this fighting.  On September 27 
a rocket hit a Kabul wedding party, killing 40 people and 
injuring 70, according to U.N. and media sources.  In November 
armed religious students known as the "taliban" (disciples) 
movement took over Kandahar and neighboring areas in southern 
Afghanistan after defeating local commanders in battle.  The 
taliban cleared roadblocks from the main highway and 
implemented a strict social code.  According to media accounts, 
the taliban limited the use of videotapes, prohibited public 
music and dancing, and restricted other forms of public 
behavior.

The Afghan countryside remained plagued by an estimated 10 
million land mines sown during the Soviet occupation.  The U.N. 
sponsored mine awareness, detection, and removal programs, but 
the mines will pose a threat for years to come.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

There are no laws effectively providing for freedom of speech 
and press, and the nominal Government lacks the authority to 
protect these rights.  Senior officials of various warring 
factions allegedly attempted to intimidate reporters and 
influence their reporting.  The few newspapers, all of which 
were published only sporadically, were largely affiliated with 
political parties.  There was a pro-Rabbani radio and 
television service in Kabul.  Prime Minister Hekmatyar has his 
own radio and television service near Kabul, as does General 
Dostam in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Civil war conditions in Kabul and the tenuous security 
situation in much of the country effectively limited Afghans' 
freedom of assembly and association.  The prohibition against 
non-Islamic political parties was reinforced by President 
Rabbani's call for jihad, or holy war, against General Dostam 
and his followers.  The President's backers do not view 
Dostam's movement as Islamic.  One positive development was the 
establishment of numerous local councils, or shuras, at the 
provincial and sub-provincial levels to establish order and 
organize development efforts.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

Afghanistan's official name, the Islamic State of Afghanistan, 
reflected the country's adherence to Islam as the state 
religion.  Some 85 percent of the population is Sunni Muslim, 
with Shi'a Muslims comprising the bulk of the remainder.  The 
small number of non-Muslim residents in Afghanistan may 
practice their faith, but may not proselytize, according to an 
official source.

The country's small Hindu and Sikh population, which once 
numbered about 50,000, continued to shrink as its members 
emigrated or took refuge abroad.

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

Although in principle citizens have the right to travel freely 
both inside and outside the country, their ability to travel 
within the country was hampered by warfare, brigandage, 
millions of undetected land mines, the disrepair of the road 
network, and the moribund state of the domestic air service.  
Despite these obstacles many people continued to travel 
relatively freely.

International travel became more difficult in 1994, as the 
Government of Pakistan closed its border in January to new 
refugees from Afghanistan.  Only Afghan travelers holding valid 
visas were officially allowed entry, but thousands of 
undocumented Afghans crossed into Pakistan, including some 
admitted on medical or humanitarian grounds.  Kabul 
International Airport was closed due to the fighting, and most 
diplomatic missions moved out of Kabul in January.

Afghans continued to form one of the world's largest refugee 
populations.  Well over 3 million Afghans were refugees abroad, 
with 1.2 million in Pakistan, roughly 2 million in Iran, and 
70,000 in Russia.  The limited repatriation of 1993 slowed to a 
trickle in 1994, with 78,000 returning from Iran and 75,400 
from Pakistan.  However, an estimated 70,000 new refugees 
arrived in Pakistan in the first half of the year alone.  
According to the United Nations and other sources, Russia 
forcibly repatriated 21 Afghans in August, including 8 orphaned 
children of Afghan Communist Party members accepted for 
resettlement when the Soviet army departed from Afghanistan in 
1989.  The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees protested the 
forced repatriation.

Of the roughly 35,000 registered Tajikistan refugees in 
northern Afghanistan at the start of 1994, approximately half 
were repatriated, including nearly all of the 18,000 previously 
housed at a refugee camp across the border from Termez, 
Uzbekistan.  Those in northeastern Afghanistan faced more 
difficult obstacles to repatriation, including irregular 
transport across the Amu Darya river, fighting along the 
Tajik-Afghan frontier, and explosions in June at the 
repatriation center at Shir Khan Bandar, presumably caused by 
militant extremists who wished to manipulate the Tajik refugees 
for purposes such as recruiting them into the armed movement 
seeking to overthrow the government of Tajikistan.

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

The continuing violent struggle for political power among the 
10 armed factions effectively precluded the citizens from 
peacefully and democratically changing their government or form 
of government.

The nine-party coalition Government, established in 1993 under 
the Islamabad and Jalalabad Accords, existed only in nominal 
terms.  It failed to function as a cohesive governing 
structure, and by July President Rabbani's inner circle of 
advisors occupied most positions of influence in the 
President's limited sphere of control.

Under the terms of these Accords, President Rabbani's term in 
office was to expire in late June.  However, he announced that 
he would not be held to these widely ignored agreements, and 
referred back to a unilateral edict by a Grand Council, 
convoked by the President in late 1992, that provided for a 
2-year presidential term.  A group of clerics, deemed the 
Supreme Court by President Rabbani, upheld the President's 
decision to extend his tenure.

In March U.N. Secretary General Boutros Ghali dispatched a 
Special Mission to Afghanistan to help mediate the conflict.  
The Mission, headed by former Tunisian Foreign Minister Mahmoud 
Mestiri, canvassed Afghans on how the United Nations could 
foster a peace process.  It later attempted to bring 
representatives of the factions to preliminary discussions on a 
political solution, but the Rabbani faction refused to talk 
with General Dostam's representatives.

In July Governor Ismail Khan of Herat convened a gathering of 
several hundred pro-Rabbani and some neutral representatives to 
discuss a possible peace process.  U.N. officials attended as 
observers.  The Herat conferees recommended that a loya jirga, 
or traditional grand assembly, be held by late October.  
Anti-Rabbani elements viewed the proceedings as biased in favor 
of Rabbani and largely ignored them.  In September Mestiri 
again gathered a group of Afghan notables to advise the U.N. on 
mediating the conflict.  The major factional leaders accepted 
the advisory group's framework for peace, which included a 
permanent cessation of hostilities, the creation of a national 
security force, and the establishment of an interim ruling 
authority.

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

In 1994 there were no known human rights groups in 
Afghanistan.  At least one group operated outside the country; 
the Afghan League of Human Rights' annual report was produced 
in Pakistan.  The civil war and lack of security made it 
difficult for human rights organizations to monitor the 
situation inside the country.

In September the U.N. Special Rapporteur visited Afghanistan 
and met with senior Afghan leaders.  Heavy fighting in Kabul 
prevented him from visiting the capital.  He issued a 
preliminary report of his findings in November.

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status

     Women

Afghan custom and tradition imposes limits on women's 
activities beyond the home.  Under the Communist regime of the 
1980's, a growing number of women, particularly in urban areas, 
worked outside the home in nontraditional roles.  This trend 
was reversed with the ouster of the Communist regime in 1992, 
and in 1994 women were increasingly precluded from public 
service.  In conservative areas in 1994, many women appeared in 
public only if dressed in a complete head-to-toe garment with a 
mesh covered opening for the eyes.  In Faryab Province the 
local warlord's forces reportedly directed unmarried women over 
age 12 to get married or face the prospect of rape by the 
warlord's gunmen.

The U.N. Special Rapporteur noted a series of 21 ordinances 
governing the behavior of women in Afghanistan, reportedly 
issued by a nine-member committee of the High Court.  These 
ordinances specified, inter alia, that a woman's veil must 
cover her whole body, that perfumed women are regarded as 
adulteresses, that a woman must not leave her house without her 
husband's permission, and that a woman must not look at 
strangers.  There is no information available on how, or 
whether, these ordinances were enforced.  After the taliban 
movement took control of Kandahar, it reportedly told women to 
venture outdoors only if accompanied by a male relative.  Prime 
Minister Hekmatyar decreed that women must wear Islamic dress 
and refrain from "aimless wandering."  In December the 
provincial council of Jalalabad reportedly prohibited women 
from working in offices except in the fields of health and 
education.  In 1994 four women were stoned to death in Kunduz 
after being found guilty by Islamic judges of capital offenses, 
according to a local government authority.

     Children

Local administrative bodies and international assistance 
organizations undertook to look out for children's welfare to 
the extent possible.  Malnourishment of children as a result of 
the food blockade was reported in Kabul, and the general 
disruption of health services countrywide due to the civil war 
put many young people at grave risk.

     People with Disabilities

It is not known whether the nominal Government took any 
measures to protect the rights of the mentally and physically 
disabled or to mandate accessibility for them.  Victims of land 
mines were a major focus of international humanitarian relief 
organizations, which devoted resources to providing prostheses, 
medical treatment, and rehabilitation therapy to amputees.  In 
August the U.N. Development Program initiated a million-dollar 
project to strengthen comprehensive community-based 
rehabilitation services for disabled Afghans.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

Little was known about labor laws and practices in Afghanistan 
in 1994.  There were no reports of labor rallies or strikes.  
Labor rights were not clearly defined, in the context of the 
breakdown of governmental authority, and there was no effective 
central authority to enforce them.  Many of Kabul's industrial 
workers were unemployed due to the destruction or abandonment 
of the city's minuscule manufacturing base.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

Afghanistan lacks a tradition of genuine labor-management 
bargaining.  There were no known labor courts or other 
mechanisms for resolving labor disputes.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced of Compulsory Labor

No information was available on government edicts regarding 
forced or compulsory labor.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

There was no evidence that the Government was able to enforce 
labor laws relating to the employment of children.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

There was no available information regarding a statutory 
minimum wage or the enforcement of safe labor practices.  Many 
workers were apparently allotted time off regularly for prayers 
and observance of religious holidays.



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