View Full Version : Possible Afghan war crime evidence removed
12-12-2008, 05:18 PM
Posted yesterday on McClatchey News Services.
As possible Afghan war-crimes evidence removed, U.S. silent (http://www.mcclatchydc.com/227/story/57649.html)
By Tom Lasseter | McClatchy Newspapers
DASHT-E LEILI, Afghanistan — Seven years ago, a convoy of container trucks rumbled across northern Afghanistan loaded with a human cargo of suspected Taliban and al Qaida members who'd surrendered to Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, an Afghan warlord and a key U.S. ally in ousting the Taliban regime.
When the trucks arrived at a prison in the town of Sheberghan, near Dostum's headquarters, they were filled with corpses. Most of the prisoners had suffocated, and others had been killed by bullets that Dostum's militiamen had fired into the metal containers.
12-12-2008, 06:12 PM
LINK (http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/afghan/2002/0826memo.htm). They must be angling for Hearings... ;)
12-12-2008, 06:31 PM
Perhaps on the agenda, then again news agencies do follow ups. The excavations took place 2007-2008. Interesting but not surprising NATO, US Embassy, and UN IO efforts are out of synch with each other as well as the ANA and ANP.
Related FOIA Documents are here (http://physiciansforhumanrights.org/library/documents-2008-12-11.html)
12-12-2008, 09:36 PM
Before 9/11, there were:
- massacre of Taliban in Dostum's area.
- massacre by Taliban in Dostum's area.
and probably more - details on my home computer; I'm at office now.
Neither the Taliban nor the Northern Alliance remotely complied with the GCs. Lots of war crimes on both sides, as reported by both UN and DoS.
12-13-2008, 02:29 AM
DoS - Human Rights Violations - Astan
UN - Human Rights Violations - Astan
Can be found here (http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu2/7/a/mafg.htm) - under the two headings below, which then > link to .html or .pdf files, which are indexed by report date and number. Still haven't figured out this site completely.
1. Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan, under both Documents & News Room.
2. Other documents on Afghanistan under Charter-based bodies.
Example report - ref'ing the above-mentioned massacres and mass graves in pre-9/11 Dostomland.
This UN report, you can link as above,
The quote below is from the .pdf doc - different para. nos. (but same text) in .html page, which is here (http://www.unhchr.ch/Huridocda/Huridoca.nsf/TestFrame/0a09f1f5ab09ab0cc12566170045f6aa?Opendocument).
UN 1998 G9810878
12 March 1998
40. The Special Rapporteur and his United Nations team, which included a representative of the United Nations Special Mission to Afghanistan (UNSMA), as well as a forensic expert provided to the Special Rapporteur by the nongovernmental organization Physicians for Human Rights, Dr. Mark Skinner, travelled to the city of Shebergan, the capital of Jowzjan province, on 10 December 1997 in order to inspect sites containing the socalled “mass graves” whose existence was announced in November 1997. One of the tasks at hand was to determine whether the bodies were those of battle casualties or of persons who had been executed, their approximate number and how they died.
41. It was alleged that the burial sites in northern Afghanistan might contain up to 2,000 bodies, presumably of the Taliban fighters who were taken prisoner by the forces of the Northern Alliance led by General Abdul Malik Pahlawan, the Deputy of General Abdul Rashid Dostom, the leader of the National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan (NIMA), whom he forced into exile in Turkey. General Abdul Malik briefly allied himself with the Taliban movement in May 1997 during their first offensive on the city of Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of Balkh province. It is estimated that up to 3,000 Taliban may have arrived in the north of Afghanistan at that time. They suffered very heavy casualties after General Abdul Malik switched sides back to the Northern Alliance, with which he joined forces in ousting the Taliban. According to some estimates, several hundred if not more than a thousand Taliban fighters may have been killed during their two offensives on the north of Afghanistan in May and September 1997. It is estimated that between 300 and 400 Taliban may have been killed in Mazar-i-Sharif alone. It was also estimated that some 2,000 Taliban may have been taken prisoner. It should be recalled that despite repeated requests, the ICRC was never given access to the prisoners of the Northern Alliance, including those detained by General Abdul Malik.
42. Upon arrival in Shebergan on 10 December 1997, the Special Rapporteur met with and was briefed about the mass graves by General Dostom who told him that the burial sites might contain even more than 2,000 bodies since not all of those buried in them belonged to the Taliban movement. He stated that it had been discovered that among the persons killed while he was in exile in Turkey from May to September 1997 were prominent commanders affiliated with NIMA, traders and other prominent local personalities, some of whom were allegedly beheaded. He explained to the Special Rapporteur that clerics had found it difficult to give them a proper burial, stating that they could not
perform religious ceremonies on headless bodies. General Dostom alleged that the killings were ordered by his former deputy, General Abdul Malik. Apart from killing the Taliban prisoners as former and potential military opponents, allegations were made that the other killings were perpetrated out of revenge, in particular for the death in June 1996 of General Abdul Malik's brother, Rasul Pahlawan, as well as in order to eliminate potential military and political opponents from local militias or political groups, including from the ranks of persons loyal to General Dostom.
43. After the meeting, General Dostom accompanied the Special Rapporteur and his team to a number of burial sites in the vicinity of Shebergan. The same evening, he accompanied the Special Rapporteur to a more distant site, also in the vicinity of Shebergan, where people are alleged to have been thrown into nine water wells. The forensic expert subsequently excavated 10 skeletonizing bodies from an area representing one ninth of a bone-strewn mound of earth at a village dump located some 3 km west of Shebergan which is part of the first site visited by the Special Rapporteur. According to the forensic expert, these individuals were all young males dressed in summer clothing. Many had serious, probably fatal, gunshot wounds to various parts of the body. Two individuals showed evidence of having received medical treatment. Several had unspent rounds of ammunition still in their clothing. The forensic expert has concluded that these individuals were battle casualties. There was no evidence that they were prisoners deliberately executed. Hence, the only area examined in detail by the forensic expert did not support the account given to the Special Rapporteur by General Dostom.
44. According to the forensic expert, the picture emerging from the nine wells site is different. Allegedly, several hundred prisoners were forced down the wells. These wells have not yet been excavated. However, all nine wells show a bulldozed track up to the well mouth. Seven of the wells are plugged with earth. Two are open with water visible at a depth of about 10 metres. At all nine wells there are spent cartridges. At three wells there is evidence of the presence of anti-personnel mines as well as one grenade. The forensic expert found two pieces of human skull lying near the earth plugging one of the wells.
45. On 11 December, General Dostom accompanied the Special Rapporteur and his team to a stretch of highway between the cities of Mazar-i-Sharif and Hairatan, also in northern Afghanistan, where numerous bodies at several sites could be observed. At one particular locale, there was clear evidence that victims had been tied up individually or several at a time. There were many spent cartridges and the bodies were lying largely covered with sand in a row on either side of a ridge. The identity of the individuals is not known with certainty.
46. The forensic expert has concluded that of the three areas in northern Afghanistan visited by him, two areas contain evidence that may support allegations of human rights abuses. He feels that a neutral team of independent investigators should re-examine the areas as soon as logistically possible with a view to collecting further evidence to determine if indeed the alleged atrocities occurred and the numbers of victims involved.
cont. in next post
12-13-2008, 02:33 AM
E/CN.4/1998/71 - cont.
47. The Special Rapporteur took advantage of being in the area of Mazar-i-Sharif to visit the villages where massacres are reported to have been perpetrated in September 1997 by Taliban forces during their second offensive on the city of Mazar-i-Sharif, against villagers belonging to the Hazara ethnic minority. He visited first the village of Qezelabad where he met in the mosque with the village elders and local mullah. They explained that the Taliban had arrived in the village in the afternoon and had started knocking on doors and asking for weapons. If the person who had opened the door said that they did not have any, they were shot on the spot, in front of their family. If a person provided a weapon, they were allegedly shot on the spot by the Taliban with that same weapon. A number of farmers from the village were killed in the fields, some reportedly with their own agricultural implements. A group of 14 or 15 young men were taken from the village to the nearby airport where they were tortured and subsequently executed. The Special Rapporteur was told that a total of 53 villagers were killed in Qezelabad and that some 20 houses were set on fire. He walked about the village and was able to observe in two locations the graves of a number of those who had been killed. The Special Rapporteur was told that the killings were carried out on religious grounds, since the villagers were Hazara Shias, and out of revenge, because the village had fiercely resisted the Taliban during their first offensive on Mazar-i-Sharif in May 1997.
48. In the same context, the Special Rapporteur visited in the Dehdadi district near Mazar-i-Sharif the village of Sheikhabad where he met in the mosque with the local elders and village mullah. He was told that all the inhabitants had fled the village fearing the arrival of Taliban forces, except for the oldest among them. The Taliban had reportedly entered the village, tortured and killed the old men and mutilated and dismembered some of their bodies. A total of 30 elderly people are reported to have been killed in Sheikhabad. Although the Taliban were said to be the perpetrators of the killings, the villagers believed that the killings could also have been carried out by the forces of local Pashtun commanders who had joined the Taliban. The Special Rapporteur was told that killings of a similar type had also taken place in a number of other villages in the area. Owing to logistical constraints, the Special Rapporteur was unable to discuss the allegations formulated above with the competent Taliban authorities.
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