Afghanistan - Oppressed Under US Occupation
- From The Insider - Information Bulletin -
(Posted here by Wes Penre, , March 11, 2004)

Afghanistan is facing the harsh reality of American-style occupation, now that the world's attention has been diverted elsewhere.

International observers report that the US military are routinely and randomly beating, torturing, killing, and stealing from the people of Afghanistan.

US troops are now free to commit grievous crimes against the people of Afghanistan. But these people are poor, they look like Arabs, and they are Muslim, so who cares?


The Independent (UK), "US forces accused of looting, torture and death in Afghanistan", 10 March 2004. [  ]

American forces in Afghanistan have been accused of flouting international law with arbitrary arrests, torture and killing of prisoners in a report by a civil rights watchdog.

Soldiers are accused of using unprovoked deadly force in capturing civilians, some of whom were then allegedly subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment leading to deaths in custody. It is also alleged that looting has taken place during searches of homes.

The report, by Human Rights Watch, says the situation at Guantanamo Bay is being replicated many times in Afghanistan, with detainees being held in even worse conditions at the military bases of Bagram, Kandahar, Jalalabad and Asadabad.

At least three prisoners are known to have died during interrogation, with two of the deaths being ruled homicide by American military pathologists after post-mortem examinations. US officials have refused to explain what happened in any of the cases.

"This stonewalling must stop," said Brad Adams, the executive director for Asia at HRW. "The US is obligated to investigate allegations and prosecute those who violated the law. There is no sign that serious investigations are taking place.".

The US is setting a terrible example in Afghanistan on detention practices. Civilians are being held incommunicado - with no tribunals, no legal counsel, no family visits and no basic legal protections. There is compelling evidence suggesting US personnel have committed acts against detainees amounting to torture or cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment."

HRW's report, Enduring Freedom: Abuses by US Forces in Afghanistan, is based on research in Afghanistan and Pakistan over the past 15 months. The report states that while President George Bush insists that the US does not mistreat detainees, independent observers are prevented from seeing them.

Many of the violations recorded by HRW were in non-combat situations and, the organisation stresses, some of the abuses were "inexcusable even within the context of war". Remnants of the Taliban and its Islamist allies have also been responsible for atrocities, including killing civilians and foreign aid workers, the report says, but "abuses by one party to a conflict do not justify violations by the other side."

In one case, Niaz Mohammed, a farm labourer, was killed during a raid by US forces in the Zurmat district of Paktia province in July 2002.

Local people described how Mr Mohammed, who was outdoors to keep a watch on his newly harvested grain, was found dead. A villager said: "He had a bullet in his foot, and a bullet in his back."

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The Debate - Why did we invade?
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Updated/Revised: Thursday, March 11, 2004 05:39:01 -0800


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