Human Rights Report on Afghanistan

August 3, 2003

On July 29, "Human Rights Watch" released a report which details the human rights abuses carried out by the U.S.-installed government in Afghanistan.

According to the report, a "climate of fear" exists throughout much of the country due to the "terrorizing" activities of soldiers, police, and warlords backed by the United States. The abuses -- arbitrary arrests, torture, kidnapping, rape and extortion carried out by army troops, police, and intelligence agents -- are common, especially in the southeast, the report says.

A sampling of the report details some of these abuses:

"Troops and police in many parts of the region, and parts of Kabul itself, are invading private homes, usually at night, and robbing and assaulting civilians. By force or by ruse, soldiers and police gain entry into homes and hold people hostage for hours, terrorizing them with weapons, stealing their valuables, and sometimes raping women and girls. On the roads and at proliferating official and unofficial checkpoints, local soldiers and police extort money from civilians under the threat of beating or arrest. Troops and police also extort money from shopkeepers and arbitrarily arrest and hold people for ransom, possibly torturing some. Rape of women, girls, and boys, often in connection with the above-described abuses, is common and almost never reported....People in Jalalabad are being arbitrarily arrested by police or soldiers, accused of bogus crimes or 'being a member of the Taliban,' and freed only after they or their family pay a ransom."

The report underscores the role of the U.S. in these atrocities, pointing out not only that the U.S. has installed the present government but that it directly supports some of the worst human rights offenders with "continued funding, joint operations and fraternizing." The current situation in Afghanistan, the report summarizes "is the result of decisions, acts, and omissions of the United States (U.S.) government...The United States in particular bears much responsibility for the actions of those they have propelled to power.

This report is another exposure of just what kind of "democracy" the U.S. government is exporting -- through force of arms -- to Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries.