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)
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
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
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
"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
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