March 18, 2004
Fakhria Masom Alefi




Dear President Bush, Congress and Senate:

I appreciate your efforts for a better Afghanistan. I thank Human Rights Watch to be the voice of suppressed and deprived innocent Afghans. Human Rights Watch "report" is disturbing and is a cause of grave concern to me. I felt If I do not speak out now, this is disturbing because it will suppress me and the rights of other Afghan's women to speak up.

My hope is that the President, Congress and Senate pay Special attention to the outcomes of this report and investigate US Army's horrible treatment of the innocent and long suffering Afghans [Pashtunes or non-Pashtunes, Women & Children.] I should mention that I have had [high ranks] a strong military background in my family who defended courageously their country with honor against the Soviets (Russias) invasion of Afghanistan. Frankly, I have enormous respect and sympathy for men and women with uniform in the US.

It was reported that up to a 1000 innocent Afghans died on the face of bombings that were aimed at the Taleban and Al Qaeda Operatives in Afghanistan. Besides other serious consequences of this bombings is the discovery of very shocking news. Independent Scientific evidence shows astonishing high levels of Uranium in Afghans victims after the bombings. "Nangarhar province was a strategic target zone during the Afghan conflict for the deployment of a new generation of deep-penetrating "cave-busting" and seismic shock warheads."

Does this mean that it was not only Russians, but US Army and her allies too used Depleted Uranium Weapons? As you know they have fundamental implications according to the 1st Protocol additional to the Geneva Conventions. Their use is a war crime!

These people who lost their lives were waiting to be liberated by their American friends not to die, face excessive tortures or being contaminated by toxic weapons anymore. I hope the families of 9/11 victims urge congress to pay for damages to those Afghan families who have suffered from consequences of war on terror in Afghanistan but haven't been paid a $1 yet.

Because of much media attention towards Iraq, Afghanistan is no longer hot topic on the US and rest of the world media. I hope no one forgets that Afghanistan is no where near being a secure, economically well off, and a state where it can barely feed it's hungry, educate it's children and take care of it's 800,000 disabled people.

The funds that have been promised to and some delivered to the people of Afghanistan is not reaching the people that Truly need it. The donated money that is gone to the NGO's and the Afghan government are either stuck in bureaucracy layers or used for Lavish Lifestyles of people that once promised to help the victims of 24-years of invasions, imposed wars, poverty and sufferings. "Violence against women remains a major problem in Afghanistan's male-oriented society. The result is that hundreds of Afghan women have attempted to kill themselves by self-immolation."

It's a must that Americans and International Community do not neglect the security, security and Security of victims of the war on "Terrorism," as promised by the US government time and again. They should agree to help and compensate the innocent Afghan victims of the US Forces carpet bombings after the "Terrorist" attacks in the US and killed innocent Americans. It makes sense for the innocent victims of Afghanistan's war to get reparations and compensations for their losses. Presently a grave double standard is applied when it comes to the lives of US, its Western allies and the lives of innocent Afghans.

I would ask Dr. Khilizad and Karzai to stop compromising and giving concessions to "Men with the Gun." [The people who committed crimes against humanity and destroyed the lives of innocent Afghans during 1992-1996 brutal civil wars in Kabul, should no longer to be forgiven.] The outside made leaders have ruined the Homes of many Afghans in Kabul. I can't imagine, how my elder Mother [or others] could ever rebuild her leveled homes.

Though, the Afghans enjoyed Constitution-1964 or the "Decade of Democracy," "New Era," under the leadership of King Mohammed Zahir Shah. Now as Afghanistan goes through another test of democracy, we should respect at least the "Free Will" of Afghans in the coming election, and only and then Afghans will never forget their friends. The generosity of the Americans and the world would be greatly cherished in the Afghans-Americans history.

Peace and Justice for All,

Fakhria Masom Alefi
Voice of Afghans(women)







"The 59-page report, "Enduring Freedom": Abuses by U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, is based on research conducted by Human Rights Watch..."

Afghanistan: Abuses by U.S. Forces

Beatings in Detention; No Legal Process

(New York, March 8, 2004) – U.S. forces operating in Afghanistan have arbitrarily detained civilians, used excessive force during arrests of non-combatants, and mistreated detainees, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today.

Human Rights Watch concludes that the U.S.-administered system of arrest and detention in Afghanistan exists outside of the rule of law. The United States is maintaining separate detention facilities at Bagram, Kandahar, Jalalabad and Asadabad military bases.

"The United States is setting a terrible example in Afghanistan on detention practices," said Brad Adams, executive director of the Asia division of Human Rights Watch. "Civilians are being held in a legal black hole – with no tribunals, no legal counsel, no family visits and no basic legal protections."

The 59-page report, "Enduring Freedom": Abuses by U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, is based on research conducted by Human Rights Watch in Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2003 and early 2004. Human Rights Watch documented cases of U.S. forces using military tactics, including unprovoked deadly force, during operations to apprehend civilians in uncontested residential areas—situations where law enforcement standards and tactics should have been used. Afghan forces deployed with U.S. forces have also mistreated persons during search and arrest operations and looted homes.

The report also details mistreatment in U.S. detention facilities. Released detainees have said that U.S. forces severely beat them, doused them with cold water and subjected them to freezing temperatures. Many said they were forced to stay awake, or to stand or kneel in painful positions for extended periods of time.

"There is compelling evidence suggesting that U.S. personnel have committed acts against detainees amounting to torture or cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment," said Adams.

The report also describes frequent arbitrary arrests of civilians, apparently based on mistaken or faulty intelligence, and numerous cases of civilians—grocers, farmers, or laborers—who were held incommunicado and indefinitely.

Human Rights Watch said that many of the violations documented were reported in non-combat situations, and emphasized that many abuses—especially arbitrary arrests and mistreatment of detainees—were inexcusable even within the context of war.

Human Rights Watch said that Taliban and other anti-U.S. forces operating in Afghanistan had themselves violated international humanitarian law by carrying out armed attacks and abductions against civilians and humanitarian aid workers. But Human Rights Watch pointed out that under international law those violations could not serve as an excuse for U.S. violations.

"The Taliban and other insurgent groups are illegally targeting civilians and humanitarian aid workers," said Adams. "But abuses by one party to a conflict do not justify violations by the other side. This is a fundamental principle of the laws of war."

The United States has not responded adequately to questions about arrest and detention practices. In particular, Human Rights Watch raised the case of three detainees who are known to have died while in U.S. custody—two at the Bagram airbase north of Kabul in December 2002 and one at the Asadabad airbase in eastern Afghanistan in June 2003. The first two deaths were ruled homicides by U.S. military pathologists who performed autopsies on the two men. U.S. officials have yet to explain what happened to any of the three men.

"This stonewalling must stop," said Adams. "The United States is obligated to investigate allegations and prosecute those who have violated the law. There is no sign that serious investigations are taking place."

Human Rights Watch said that the United States was eroding international standards by not taking action.

"Abusive governments across the world can now point to U.S. forces in Afghanistan, and say, 'If they can abuse human rights and get away with it, why can't we?'" said Adams.

President George W. Bush and officials in his administration stated in June 2003 that the United States does not torture or mistreat detainees in the custody of the United States. But the United States has refused to allow any independent observers access to detention facilities in Afghanistan, except for the International Committee of the Red Cross, which does not report publicly on its findings. Human Rights Watch noted that some documented abuses in the report took place after President Bush's statement.

The report includes the following recommendations to the United States:
Investigate and publicly report on allegations of mistreatment at detention facilities in Afghanistan;

Instruct military and intelligence personnel to take all appropriate steps to prevent or stop abuses by Afghan forces deployed with or under the command of U.S. forces;

Create a legal system of tribunals, in conjunction with the Afghan government, to ensure that detainees in Afghanistan—both combatants and civilians—are processed and screened in accordance with applicable standards of the Geneva Conventions and human rights law;

Permit families of detainees, and those providing legal assistance, to visit detainees;

Reevaluate and revise arrest methods and standing Rules of Engagement for U.S. military and intelligence personnel in Afghanistan to ensure that law enforcement methods are used when U.S. forces are arresting non-combatants in non-combat situations.The report also calls on Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the Afghan government to urge the United States to bring their detention system within Afghanistan into compliance with international law, and to order Afghan commanders to stop or attempt to prevent abuses during military operations.