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The Killid Group

Kart-e-Naw still bleeds 17 years later

Written by
Saturday, 12 June 2010 12:58

Kart-e-Naw still bleeds 17 years later Transitional Justice
Kart-e-Naw still bleeds 17 years later
By Killid reporters

Destroyed houses in Kabul's Kart-e-Now locality still bear testimony to the scars of violence from 17 years ago, when Kabul was in the grip of the civil war between contending mujahedeen factions. The area, in the eastern area of the city, was controlled by the men of the Junbish-e-Milli, a militia led by General Rashid Dostum, the Uzbek commander from the Northern area of Jawzjan. As the Hizb-e-Islami and the Junbish fought for control over the frontline, the occupying forces of the Junbish terrorized the local population through murder, violence, rapes and lootings, the scars of which the residents bear till this day.
General Dostum is today the Chief of Staff to President Karzai. After several changes of political affiliation and an exile in Turkey, the strongman of the North emerged as a key leader in Northern Afghanistan following the 2001 American intervention which ousted the Taliban from power. Dostum virtually ruled over the Northern areas until he was made Chief of Staff by President Karzai after a meeting with the then U.S. Ambassador and personal representative of President George W. Bush, Zalmai Khalilzad.
Dostum held the position until he was removed for the abduction and torture of Akbar Bai, one of his former associates. He subsequently went to Turkey from where he returned in August 2009 having rehabilitated himself politically as a close ally of President Karzai in the Presidential elections. In return he was once again appointed as the chief of staff.
Dostum has serious charges of human rights abuse hanging over him. In November 2001, as many as 2,000 Taliban prisoners are believed to have been killed in container trucks by his Junbish-e-Milli and buried in a mass grave in Dasht-e Leili. These Afghan troops were operating jointly with American forces, who were allegedly present at the scene of the crime. The grave was discovered by Physicians for Human Rights in 2002 but subsequent reports suggest the evidence at the grave may have been tampered with by the perpetrators.

Looting, killing, raping
Sayed Azam, a 45-year old resident of the Kart-e-Now area recalls the period between 1992 and 1995 when Junbish forces occupied Kart-e-Now. "When war started between Junbish and Mujahedeen, this area was under the control of the Junbish. They were killing people on various pretexts and looting people's houses." Azam and his family gathered a few of their clothes and fled the area, leaving their homes and goods behind, like many other residents. The homes they left behind were looted by the militias and the houses also destroyed.
Abdullah, a 35 year old resident, remembers that people were too scared to even talk to the members of the Junbish. With escaping the only option open before them, Abdullah and his family fled. When he returned a few days later to retrieve some household possessions, he was accused of being a thief and threatened that he would be killed. The Junbish seized whatever he was carrying away.
Raees Ghersa Gul who is now 60 years old lost not only his money and possessions but also the use of his hand. "I was at home when they came and took 2,000,000 Afghanis (the devalued currency then is equivalent to 2,000 Afs today) from my house. They beat me and broke my hand and till today I cannot use it."
The armed militia was also responsible for sexual violence including rapes, though this is a subject the residents are less willing to talk about because of strong social taboos. Victims and their close family members will not talk about it because of the stigma associated with sexual violence and only neighbours who were aware will hint at it. Abdul Rahim a long term resident of the area saw Junbish members entering houses to kidnap girls and sexually abuse them. Fearing for the safety of the young girls in his own family he and his family fled, preferring to risk the difficult escape in the midst of constant firing rather than stay back and risk the young girls. A resident of the Shah Shaheed area of Kart e Naw who wants to remain anonymous heard from close friends of the sexual assault of a pregnant woman who aborted her foetus after the violence.
The fighting between the competing factions was so fierce that at times there was no opportunity to even collect the bodies. "When the fighting started between the Jizb-e-Islami and Junbish the dead bodies of civilian were lying in our street for 24 hours before people could come to take them away and bury them. There were no stones to place over the graves so people used wood instead" says Saleem Jan, a 45-year old resident.
For Muhammed Qadeer the violence was not just hearsay but took a very personal toll. "My house was in Rehman Meena which was controlled by Dostum's commanders. They were shooting so much that bullets were coming down like rain. My son and brother were killed. I was wounded in the face. When civilians were walking in the streets they were being shot from militia members sitting in the higher areas. The armed men were betting with each other on whether they would be able to hit the passersby or not. People who hit the targets won prizes."
International humanitarian Law considers the killing of non-combatants in the course of a war as a war crime. The Geneva Convention prohibits the killing of civilians. The Convention also states that such war crimes need to be prosecuted.
Residents of the Kart e Naw area want the government and the international community to pursue prosecution of those responsible for war crimes, rather than being given jobs in high office.

The Killid Group is engaged in a process that aims healing and bringing real peace to a society wounded by crimes of war and human rights abuses throughout 30 years of war.

Comments (1)

  • Wednesday, 12 December 2012 01:39 | qudratullah
    Allah take them to hill any one how killed even one afghan and i pray to Allah that any one how raped the girls and women their daughters and wives raped by other and it is unforgivable sin they must killed by world human rights organization they must hung on

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