EMAIL PAGE SIX
COLUMN SEVENTY, APRIL 1, 2002
(Copyright © 2002 The Blacklisted Journalist)
LAWLESSNESS IN AFGHANISTAN
Fwd: Reports of rape, looting by Afghan militiamen
Date: Sun, 17 Feb 2002 14:55:49 EST
knew this would happen..next time before you criticize Bin Laden..
Reports of rape, looting by Afghan militiamen
Date: Sun, 17 Feb 2002 07:10:07 -0500
2/17/2002 2:53 AM
Reports of rape, looting by Afghan militiamen
of rape, looting by Afghan militiamen
Warlord's followers terrorize the helpless
Anna Badkhen, Chronicle Staff Writer
February 15, 2002
San Francisco Chronicle
Afghanistan -- The five men who raped 14-year-old Fatima, her mother and two
younger sisters last month have no fear of the law.
eight hours, they took turns assaulting her, her mother, Nazu, and sisters Bibi
Amina, 10, and Bibi Aisha, 12, all the while training a Kalashnikov assault
rifle on the girls' disabled father, Jamaluddin. Before they left, the men took
the family's life savings---about $142---and a carpet from the living room. They
returned the next day to warn them not to go to the authorities.
said that they would kill us if we told anyone," Jamaluddin said.
family says the rapists were soldiers of Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum's army, the
Junbish-e-Millie (National Movement), which has been terrorizing thousands of
civilians in the northern province of Balkh since the fall of the Taliban in
the war is over, some of Dostum's soldiers, who are mostly ethnic Uzbeks but
include ethnic Tajik fighters, go out almost nightly to rob and rape Pashtuns,
the ethnic group that composed most of the Taliban militia but is a minority in
abuses are a clear illustration that the interim government of Prime Minister
Hamid Karzai has been unable to stem lawlessness throughout much of
lot of houses have been looted and a lot of women have been raped, but people
are afraid to talk because they have been threatened," said Amir Jan, the
leader of the Pashtun community in Balkh province. "They are afraid for
over the widespread persecution has overcome even international aid workers, who
are virtually tight-lipped when asked about it.
have heard of such cases being committed by a local warlord," said an
official of a well-known aid agency. "You should talk to the Pashtuns."
danger of reprisals makes it difficult to assess the number of victims. Dostum's
soldiers enjoy the protection of their powerful leader, and the poorly equipped,
unpaid and overmatched local police force is unable to arrest those who commit
crimes, conceded Amir Hamza, the Tajik police chief of Balkh, a town 12 miles
west of the provincial capital, Mazar-e-Sharif.
commanders protect their soldiers from prosecution," Hamza said. "We
cannot do anything."
said he has received many complaints about looting but just one regarding rape.
He said it is likely that many more women have been raped but that they are too
ashamed or afraid to tell the police.
convicted rapist can be executed, according to Islamic Sharia law, Hamza said.
But because he has just 100 police officers and there are 800 Junbish soldiers
in the area, he has refused to confront the men who raped Nazu and her
daughters. In fact, he said one of the attackers lives a block away from Nazu's
security officials say the only way to stop the reign of terror is to disarm the
fighters and begin punishing those who resort to criminal activity.
47-year-old Dostum is well known for his brutal rule in northern Afghanistan,
and human rights groups have denounced him over the years.
was one of the most feared enforcers of President Mohammad Najibullah, the
communist leader who ruled Afghanistan after the withdrawal of Soviet troops in
1989. He switched sides in 1992 when it became apparent that mujahedeen fighters
would topple Najibullah. His troops later killed many men and raped women and
children in the carnage that engulfed Kabul.
week, an attempt was made to disarm Dostum's entire 3,000-man army after some 50
people died in northern Balkh and Sar-e-Pul provinces in clashes between Junbish
and the forces of Dostum's rival Tajik warlord, Ustad Atta Mohammed, who until
recently was Dostum's right-hand man. Government mediators attempted to persuade
the two warlords to take their militiamen off the streets.
dozens of armed fighters continue to loiter during the daytime hours and loot,
rape and extort by night.
an elderly man with a stately gray beard, said Junbish men robbed him of $300.
They robbed Faiz Mohammad, a man in his early 30s, after he sold the last of his
cotton crops at the Balkh bazaar, he said. Mohammad said they also took 30 sheep
from his neighbor, Nuriddin.
locals say the Karzai government and the international community must get
tougher with Dostum. When the U.N.-backed interim regime was formed in December,
Dostum was appointed deputy defense minister---a step seen by many as a
desperate attempt to keep him from undermining the new administration.
an apparent attempt to introduce the unruly Dostum to statesmanship, an elite
unit of U.S. Special Forces reportedly advises him whenever he travels in the
north. "They travel in his car and are always by his side during military
briefings," said Amir Jan, the Pashtun leader.
however, does not blame the Americans for aiding Dostum.
doesn't support Dostum so that he can loot people's homes," he said.
"We understand that."
try telling that to Juma Khan of the village of Yakhdon, about 20 miles west of
Mazar-e-Sharif. Khan, 15, shuddered when he recalled the night two weeks ago
that Junbish fighters carried off his family's possessions and murdered his
my father wanted to leave the house to call for help, one of the men shot
him," he said, pointing at the back of his head. "Then, they took 25
sheep and everything from our house.
are 30 houses in our village. They looted them all. They said: 'You are Pashtun,'
and took everything."
"2002 San Francisco Chronicle Page A " 1 ##
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