From Afghan women‘s organization RAWA:
Warlords gang-rape a woman in Badakhshan
Husband of the victim: “my children were crying one of them peed in their mouth”
A local commander and his 11 men gang-rape a 22-year-old woman in Shahre Buzurg district of the northeastern Badakhshan province on Nov.28.
The crime took place in the Shah Dasht village, by a local warlord called Mujtaba who belongs to Jamiat-e-Islami Afghanistan led by Burhanuddin Rabbani (now member of the parliament).
People of the village told journalists that they have complained a number of times about brutalities and lawlessness in their village by warlords but police and local officials take no action because these warlords are so powerful and backed by Burhanuddin Rabbani, who himself is based in Badakhshan.
Qari Jehangir, husband of the victim, says the armed men raped his wife and when his 2 children were crying one of them peed in their mouth.
The victim had been threatened to death by the commander not to complain.
Women’s suicide in another Afghan province: here.
Women in the ‘new’ Afghanistan: here.
Afghan police attack on women students’ dormitory: here.
‘US does not want peace in Afghanistan’: here.
Friendly fire incident strains relations
By MURRAY BREWSTER
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday February 13th, 2007
Appeared on page A7
Military police attempted late Monday to piece together events that led to the shooting of an Afghan soldier by Canadian troops guarding a disabled patrol vehicle – an event that has put further strain on the allies.
The unidentified Afghan was wounded in the hand and leg after the engine block of his pickup truck was sprayed with a single blast of machine-gun fire from the turret of a RG-31 Nyala patrol vehicle.
The man, who also suffered lacerations from flying glass, was rushed to an Afghan army hospital at nearby Camp Shirzai, where he underwent surgery, according to the camp adjutant.
He was later transferred to the NATO military hospital at Kandahar Airfield, where doctors performed a second operation, said a spokesman for the Canadian army.
“Incidents such as this are very regrettable and we try to take all reasonable steps to avoid them. However, they do, from time to time, occur,” said Lt.-Cmdr. Kris Phillips.
The man’s exact condition was unknown, but his injuries were believed to be “non-life-threatening.”
Ricocheting bullet fragments struck the soldier’s armour, which likely prevented a serious chest wound, said the adjutant, who didn’t want to be identified.
The incident happened on a road east of Kandahar city and involved soldiers in a Canadian re-supply convoy that was returning to the local airfield, NATO’s main military base in the region.
It was the latest in a series of unintentional shootings that have tested the goodwill between Canadian troops and Afghans, primarily civilians who have either been caught in crossfire or on the receiving end of stray warning shots.
Angry they had been fired on, Afghan troops challenged the Canadians, but Phillips couldn’t confirm reports both sides had weapons pointed at each other.
“The situation was a little tense right at the very beginning, however after some discussion through interpreters, the situation was quelled,” he said. “Cooler heads prevailed. I think naturally people would be a little bit upset with this sort of incident. I know we’re upset. It’s not the kind of thing we like to see happen.”
In flagging down Afghan vehicles, soldiers usually use hand gestures and verbal warnings before firing, but Phillips could not confirm whether those procedures were followed in this case.
What is perplexing military authorities is not only the fact that the Canadians fired on uniformed allies in a marked convoy, but that the Afghans had been waived through an initial roadblock manned by Canadian troops in a LAV III armoured fighting vehicle. The incident took place at a so-called inner security cordon, which had been set up around a disabled Nyala.
Troops who have provided close escort to re-supply convoys for the last six months, running the nerve-wracking daily gauntlet of roadside bombs and suicide bombers, are in the process of being rotated home. The convoy was made up of veterans and fresh troops, said Phillips.
Afghan villagers told they’ll be expelled again if Canadian troops attacked
The Canadian Press
February 13, 2007
If they cannot clean it up, what could the civilian do?
(CP) – NATO commanders and the governor of Kandahar have warned Afghan villagers returning to their shattered homes west of the city that they may be expelled again if Canadian troops face renewed attacks this spring.
The warning does not sit well with refugees, many of whom believe they’re being forced to account for the actions of insurgents they can’t control – or for accidents which may be of the military allies own making. In being allowed to return to their villages throughout Panjwaii and Zhari districts, “the condition was the Canadians shouldn’t be shot again; they shouldn’t be attacked,” said Haji Abdul Rahim, a village elder from Talukan, about 50 kilometres from the provincial capital.
NATO has set up a one-kilometre buffer zone around its bases and convoys, Rahim said in a recent interview with The Canadian Press, conducted through a translator.
Incidents within those areas, he said, could be used as justification to eject civilians.
A forced evacuation could not, however, take place without the consent of Kandahar Gov. Assadullah Khalid.
A senior Canadian officer, who was present at a recent district meeting where resettlement was discussed, said the policy is not meant to be punitive, but is intended for public safety.
“The point I expressed to the elders and the governor backed me up on it: This is very much for the sake of people returning,” said Lt.-Col. Omer Lavoie, commander of the Canadian battle group.
“The last thing we would ever want to happen is to have them caught between insurgent forces and coalition -or Afghan national security forces.”
But for Rahim, the people of his village are already caught in the middle even before another shot is fired, and it will only get worse with the approach of spring, when fighting traditionally escalates.
“The Taliban are going to pressure the civilians to be with (them),” he said waving his arms excitedly.
“And from the other respect, the government is going to pressure the civilians to be (with them). Of the course the civilians are with the government, but how could the civilians take the responsibility of those things which they are not aware of?”
Regardless of the claimed benign intent of the warning, many of those being resettled were worried about whether the policy will be arbitrarily enforced. That is a legitimate fear in a land where many dealings still take place at the end of a gun barrel, rather than by the rule of law.
“Everyone does cruel things to us,” Aghagul Asha, a Zhari district resident, said with a weary shrug.
Rahim, 58, who is also a member of the provincial council, told of an incident about two weeks ago when an Afghan army unit swooped down on a farmer’s field after someone in the area reportedly took pot shots at a patrol.
Up to 25 farmhands were apparently arrested and some were allegedly beaten as troops looked for the source of the shooting, which had injured no one. The Afghan army would not confirm the incident, but Rahim said all but two of the suspects have now been released.
That kind of drumhead justice is what people have come to expect in this war-torn region.
But Lavoie tried to ease fears by saying there would be no “knee jerk” reaction from Canadian commanders.
In Zhari district, he said, some Taliban fighters have re-entered the village of Pasab and taken the occasional shots at them “and we certainly haven’t gone in and evicted” any locals.
Throughout much of last summer and fall, Canadian troops led NATO in a string of engagements throughout this bone-dry, rock-ribbed farmland.
Taliban guerrillas were dug into fortified positions, mingled with the fields of marijuana and mined pathways. It produced a conventional battle the likes of which the Canadian army hadn’t fought in nearly half a century. For weeks the countryside was churned with the grinding fire of heavy artillery and cratered by the burst of bombs.
Defeated by better trained and equipped western troops, the insurgents have since reverted to the guerrilla-style tactics of roadside bombings and mine-based booby traps.
Roughly 80,000 people were displaced by the fighting, many fleeing to either Kandahar city or squalid refugee camps. The process to repatriate them and deliver aid to the homeless began in early January, but it’s been plagued with inaptitude and in some cases local corruption.
“The people of these villages have requested the governor that the areas be cleaned (of mines and other debris),” said Rahim.
While demining and explosive clearance has been underway for weeks, there is concern, particularly in Zhari district, that in the haste to get people back into their homes not all of unexploded munitions and leftover Taliban booby traps have been removed.
Those charges could still be out there waiting for a NATO soldier to step on, said Rahim.
“If they cannot clean it up, what could the civilian do?” asked Asha.
Copyright © 2007 The Canadian Press, All Rights Reserved.
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