July 29, 2003

III.Abuses Against Civilians by Police, Military Forces, and Former Fighters

A climate of fear exists in much of southeast Afghanistan.Troops and police in many parts of the region, and parts of Kabul itself, are invading private homes, usually at night, and robbing and assaulting civilians.By force or by ruse, soldiers and police gain entry into homes and hold people hostage for hours, terrorizing them with weapons, stealing their valuables, and sometimes raping women and girls.On the roads and at proliferating official and unofficial checkpoints, local soldiers and police extort money from civilians under the threat of beating or arrest.Troops and police also extort money from shopkeepers and arbitrarily arrest and hold people for ransom, possibly torturing some.Rape of women, girls, and boys, often in connection with the above-described abuses, is common and almost never reported.This section documents these abuses and their effects on local populations and on returning refugees.

Arbitrary Arrests, Torture, Kidnapping, and Ransom

Afghans interviewed by Human Rights Watch described numerous cases of soldiers and police arresting, beating, and holding people for ransom, and the existence of "private prisons" in Kabul city, and in Laghman, Paktia, and Nangarhar provinces.[9]

In both Nangarhar and in its capital, Jalalabad, Human Rights Watch found a pattern of arbitrary arrests by local police and army troops under the command of Hazrat Ali, the military commander for the Eastern Region of Afghanistan, and his brother-in-law, Musa, a high-level military commander in Nangarhar.[10]Residents of Nangarhar, U.N. staff, and even government officials described soldiers and police regularly arresting people, often on the pretext that they were suspected of being members of the Taliban, beating them, and ransoming them to their families for money.U.N. humanitarian officials in Kabul told Human Rights Watch that they had documented cases of arbitrary or illegal detention of villagers throughout Nangarhar, as well as in neighboring Kunar and Laghman provinces.[11]

A student told Human Rights Watch about an arbitrary arrest and beating in Jalalabad in February 2003 by a police official under the authority of Hazrat Ali:

I will tell you:this guy [name deleted, an official in] the Police District Number Three in Jalalabad-he has arrested people late at night in the street.For instance, a friend of mine [name deleted] had gone to a wedding party. . . . It was after eight, and he was returning to his home.He was arrested by police and put in jail.But after paying them 200 afghanis [U.S.$4], he was released.Another guy was with him and had to pay 200 also.

They told us they were beaten by the police in the jail.They were beaten with guns, with the barrels of the guns.They were kept until the next day; then they were released.We saw them-they looked terrible.[12]

In early April 2003, in the nearby district of Charparhar, local troops under Commander Musa arrested twenty villagers after a bomb had exploded on the main district road, claiming that they were involved.The soldiers held the villagers in military custody until they each paid 15,000 to 20,000 Pakistan rupees (approximately U.S.$260-$350), said a journalist who spoke with several of them.[13]

A resident of Jalalabad described how police arrested and beat his cousin in February 2003:

My cousin, my aunt's son [name deleted], was arrested by [the police] on a bogus accusation:that he planted a bomb somewhere in the town. . . .Anyway, his brothers came from Peshawar[Pakistan,] and paid money to have him released.It was a lot:4,000 to 5,000 afghanis [U.S.$80 to $100].

He was beaten while he was in custody.We saw him.All parts of his body were bruised and blue.I talked to him when he was released.He told us that he was brought to Darunta Dam [hydro-electric dam on the western side of Jalalabad], and he told us that they held him over the side of the dam by his feet and threatened him to make him sign a paper [admitting] that he had committed this crime. . . .And then they took him to the police headquarters and held him for three days, after which he was released when his brothers paid the ransom.[14]

In early March, troopsunder Hazrat Ali arrested a taxi driver and three passengers in Jalalabad and held them in a military prison.According to the brother of one of the detainees, the soldiers beat the prisoners when they arrested them:

My brother was not beaten much, but there was a punch mark on his cheekbone and he had a black eye.He told me that he was punched and slapped, but that others were beaten with gun barrels. . . .I was mad, but I was too weak to do anything.[15]

The three taxi passengers, who had connections with the governor, were released three days later, he said.[16]The brother of the taxi driver told us, however, that the driver was held for ten days:

Finally I managed to release my brother after ten days through the recommendation of other commanders that I knew.I was telling them if my brother has committed a crime, he should be imprisoned by police and should be tried by a court, and [I was] asking them why they were imprisoning him illegally.You know-their will is law, and their military post is their prison.They can keep someone as long as they wish in their private prisons. . . .

And it happened in a place where Americans are present!Or, in our expression, "It happened right under the mustaches" of the United States![17]

A local government official in Jalalabad told Human Rights Watch that it was extremely difficult even to catalog where the private prisons were, except through listening to civilians' complaints.The official listed some of the prisons he knew of, including some on the Pakistan border maintained by local leaders:

The most perilous one is reported to be at Ghund71 [a military sub-base] of the army unit that is part of Firqa One [a mid-sized base], under the command of Qol-e-Urdu One [the regional military base].The commander of this Ghund is [name deleted].He commits arbitrary arrests and imprisons people in his private jail.Besides that [site], influential leaders, big smugglers, the heroin and hashish bosses, have prisons in areas they control.These prisons are located in areas near the border [with Pakistan].Tribal leaders and smugglers kidnap their targets and release them after receiving money.[18]

Officials in UNAMA and in the Afghan Human Rights Commission in Jalalabad told Human Rights Watch that they were aware of cases of arbitrary arrests, confirmed that they were occurring, and said that they are difficult to document individually, mostly because of victims being afraid to come forward.[19]

Another government official in Jalalabad also confirmed that arbitrary arrests and private prisons were common in Nangarhar, and said he had witnessed a confrontation between two military officers on the subject.[20]In late April 2003, after a convoy of troops and officers under Commander Musa were injured outside of Jalalabad in a bomb attack, a senior officer visited one of the wounded officers, named ["Suhiel"[21]], and suggested to him that locals in Chaparhar district planned the attack because they were angry at the military for arresting and ransoming civilians:

[This] senior army officer . . . told [Suhiel], "It is the result of your deeds!"[Suhiel] inquired [what he meant], and [the officer] explained:"Because you arrest, torture, and beat the people from Chaparhar in your private prisons in Liwa Nine, and create trouble for them, and take their money.Therefore, those people have taken revenge.If you do not stop your practice of arbitrary arrests in your private prisons, [these] people will blow you up!"

[Suhiel] confessed:"Yes, you are right.It is result of our deeds."

I think his confession means that they have private prisons in Liwa Number Nine, whose commander is General Musa, the father of Sami [a police commander and Hazrat Ali's nephew, implicated in several abuses documented in this report].[22]

Soon after this incident, the commanders of Liwa Nine in Jalalabad, apparently not realizing the significance of what they were doing, invited journalists in Jalalabad to attend a ceremony during which prisoners at Liwa Nine were released, said a journalist who was invited:

They themselves gave proof they have private prisons![We] were officially invited to attend the ceremony held to celebrate the release of prisoners held by the Liwa Nine . . . [the military base] under Musa's command, the father of Sami.

Do they have the right to hold prisoners at a military unit?Of course not.

We did not attend the ceremony, but the news was published in the Wahdat Paper, the local paper.They were releasing prisoners arrested from Chahparhar, after the explosion in which some officers and commanders from Liwa Number Nine were killed or injured.[23]

A Jalalabad resident familiar with the situation told Human Rights Watch that the governor was notified about the problem but, he believed, the governor was too weak to address it:

[Once, in April 2003, I was present at a public meeting held by] the Governor, Haji Din Mohammad, when a man showed up there, and he asked the Governor very angrily, "Do you know that there are private prisons in your territory, and that your commanders imprison their enemies in the private prisons?"

Then the man mentioned Sami's name [a commander in Jalalabad] and the name of the commander of the Chain Tanks Liwa Seven, Musa (Sami's father), and said they both had private prisons.I think he was right because I also have some information to confirm his claim, information I received from some other reliable sources.

Then the man said indignantly to Governor, "If you do not listen to our complaints, we will go through the mountains [i.e., up to Kabul] and tell our complaints to the foreign radio journalists!"

The Governor did not say anything.He neither rejected nor he admitted.He just kept silent, in a way that implied to us that he is too weak to deal with Sami and Sami's father.[24]

Besides Nangarhar, Human Rights Watch gathered information about arbitrary arrests in Kabul, Paktia, Wardak, and Ghazni provinces.[25]Cases included instances of kidnapping of women and girls and boys for sexual purposes (these are outlined in the section on rape below), as well as simple ransoming cases.In late 2002, U.N. humanitarian staff in Ghazni province documented ransoming and kidnapping (including forced marriages of girls and women) involving both Hazara and Pashtun commanders.[26]

A UNAMA staff person described complaints about arbitrary arrests in Paktika, Paktia, and Logar provinces, and on the road from Gardez to Ghazni:

The drivers [are complaining to us] that commanders arrest people and ransom them back to their families or tribes.It happens like this:the soldiers see someone and they say, "Hey you, who are you?You are Taliban and Al Qaeda."And then they arrest them, and the families must pay to have them released. . . .On the road to Ghazni, some of the people with [General] Ludin are making a lot of trouble, especially in Zurmat.People have been complaining to UNAMA, to the coalition forces, and to the governor.[27]

Two Afghan journalists in Kabul separately told Human Rights Watch that Din Mohammad Jurat, a senior official in the Interior Ministry (later dismissed, in early June 2003, but still with a private militia under his command), maintains private prisons near Kabul in which his soldiers hold people for ransom.[28]Human Rights Watch was unable to locate anyone whom Jurat's soldiers had detained, but a resident of Kabul told Human Rights Watch what he had heard from Jurat's soldiers:"One of his own soldiers told me about it.He has private prisons and people are tortured, beaten, electrodes on the fingers, the whole bit.This man is a maniac, and he is dangerous."[29]

A former loya jirga delegate from Kabul talked about how pervasive the problem of arbitrary arrests is in Kabul province:"There are arbitrary arrests all the time-people held by the authorities for money.They will arrest you at checkpoints for some crime they make up."[30]

Human Rights Watch documented a case in western Kabul of a taxi driver arrested for ransom in late March 2003.According to a resident familiar with the incident, one night a family in the neighborhood summoned the driver to drive an ill family member (who was pregnant) to a Kabul hospital.When the driver returned alone from the hospital, the resident said, police arrested him and held him for ransom:

They arrested him and took him to the police station.They put him in jail for three nights.They asked for money and the family had to pay 4,000 caldor [Pakistani rupees, about U.S.$70] for his release.Now he is at home.Now, if anyone becomes sick at night, nobody will take them to the hospital.[31]

The same person visited the driver after he was released:

He said, "They took me to the police station and beat me, and then asked for money.They said, 'O.K., we will release you with 4,000 Pakistani rupees, and if you don't pay we will make a report against you saying that you did things [crimes].'"He was afraid of the report.With a report, someone may be in jail for years.[32]

Rape

Human Rights Watch received credible reports of soldiers and commanders raping girls, boys, and women in provinces in southeast Afghanistan, including in Laghman, Ghazni, Gardez, and Nangarhar provinces, and in Paghman district of Kabul province.[33]Although we were not able to conduct first-hand interviews with victims of sexual violence, partly because strong cultural taboos that inhibit discussion of such issues, we were able to obtain extensive information from a variety of sources, including neighbors and close friends of victims, U.N officials, NGOs, and witnesses to abductions.

These interviews suggest that sexual violence against women, girls, and boys is both frequent and almost never reported.Women, girls, and boys are abducted outside of their homes in broad daylight and sexually assaulted.In some areas girls have been abducted on the way to school.Women and girls are raped in their homes, typically during the evening or night during armed robberies.One attack was seemingly intended to silence a women's rights activist.Cases of sexual violence are also noted in other sections of this report in the contexts in which they occur.

In Afghanistan, as in many other countries, documenting sexual violence is a challenge in part because of women's subordinate status, family concern with "honor" and "dishonor," cultural taboos about discussing sex, and women's and girls' own reluctance to share or relive details of a traumatic assault.According to independent studies, Afghan women symbolize their families' and societies' honor, with Pashtun communities in particular placing a high value on women's chastity.[34]Historically, some communities have sanctioned "honor" killings in which a woman could be killed by her own relatives for bringing "dishonor" upon the family by conduct perceived as breaching community norms of sexual behavior-including being a victim of sexual violence.[35]At a minimum, a girl or woman who has been raped may be considered unmarriageable or may be cast out by her husband.Boys who are raped can also face discrimination, but the social penalties are not nearly as harsh.In many areas, social penalties are meted out even for the perception that a marriageable girl or woman is at risk, both on the woman or girl and on her family, who may be perceived as having failed to protect her adequately.[36]

This deep stigma may explain why most women and men were unwilling to provide details of specific incidents."The problem is that if something happens to your family, you will never say," a West Kabul man told Human Rights Watch."I will never say if [armed men] come here because people will think that they did something to the women.This is the problem. . . .If something happens to me, I will not tell anyone about it."[37]As one woman from Laghman district said, after some armed men attacked some houses there:"We cannot tell what the soldiers did to the women-it's very shameful."[38]A man from Paghman district, in Kabul province, explained:

Even if you cut the men into pieces, they will not admit that the women were raped.But we know that it happens.For instance, we hear after a robbery that the women were taken to the hospital.The men say, "They were hurt in the robbery, they were wounded, they were beaten."But why are none of the men beaten, only the women?

And the thieves boast of these things.You hear them talk about it on the street:"I had a nice girl last night," something like that. . . . [But] if you go to the doctors here in Paghman, you will not get confirmation of these things.They are afraid of these same gunmen.They won't talk.If you go and talk to the doctors, then the gunmen who do these bad acts, these rapes, will have no mercy on either you or any witness.They might kill you and the witness.[39]

As is true for the other abuses described in this section, victims of sexual violence by soldiers, their commanders, and police have nowhere to seek redress.Human Rights Watch interviewed one woman who summoned the police after she was stabbed and threatened with rape in the course of an armed robbery of her home around August 2002.She described how inadequately the police responded:

When we reported what happened to the police, they didn't do anything.They came and asked us about ten times what happened.All this did was make us upset.They didn't do any investigation.They just looked around.They didn't take photographs or dust for fingerprints.They just make a list of what we lost and kept asking if I was raped.I don't know-it almost seemed like they wanted to hear that I was.They were all men, and they looked to me as if they were just doing their official tasks-following the letter of the law-and that it was not really in order to help us.It seemed to me that they already knew about what had happened and they were just making an official report. . . . The police came back later to follow-up and just asked me the same questions again and again.[40]

According to the woman, who believed the police themselves were connected with her attack, the police had made no arrests in the case as of March 2003.[41]

The consequences of sexual violence are dire for women and girls not only in terms of direct physical harm but also in terms of curtailed participation in civil society and the public sphere, including in the reconstruction of Afghanistan.Sexual violence also curtails their rights to education, to work, and to health care.These consequences are detailed in the section "Denial of Basic Freedoms to Women and Girls" below.

Rape of Girls and Women

In Laghman province in March 2003, witnesses told Human Rights Watch, army troops under Ismatullah, the commander of a military base in Laghman, broke into the homes of two different women, and apparently raped one of them.A woman who talked extensively with the women afterwards said:

I asked her questions about what they did, and she cried and said, "When a woman's hands and feet are tied, what can she do?If I tell you what happened, what can you do?"

Two times I asked, and she said, "I want to keep it to myself."Her wrists were black from being tied with ropes.She told me, "I am afraid.Please don't say anything to the governor.I know each and every one of them, and I am afraid they will kill me."[42]

U.N. officials confirmed that the U.N. had received other complaints about Commander Ismatullah being involved in harassment and violence.[43]Commandar Ismatullah is a commander in Laghman under Dr. Abdullah, another commander who reports directly to the Ministry of Defense in Kabul.[44]

A U.N. official told Human Rights Watch about another case from Laghman district, from April 2003, in which two commanders took women from each other's tribes:"In Mehtarlam, the capital of Laghman province, two commanders affiliated with their tribes kidnapped two women.Each selected women from the other tribe and kidnapped the women from the bazaar in broad daylight.This was a month ago."[45]

In Ghazni province, U.N. officials confirmed cases, based on their own field investigations, of kidnappings, rape, and forced marriages of girls and women, mainly in districts under the control of Hezb-e Wahdat forces, including Jaghori, Malistan, Qarabagh, and Sharistan districts:

There are serious abuses:kidnapping, rape, forced recruitment.This exists in all areas.In Jaghori, there is this commander Irfani.In Mailistan, Commander Qasemi, who is with Khalili.In Sharistan, there is commander Etumadi-he is linked with the kidnapping of young girls.[46]

U.N. officials said that some of these commanders' troops were kidnapping and ransoming back girls and women to their families.[47]For example, it was reported that in Bella Ghu village, close to Dalla (where Commander Hissani, member of a faction connected with Hezb-e Wahdat, has an office), in Malistan district, soldiers connected with Hezb-e Wahdat "were erupting into houses, picking girls and women of their choice and taking them to Dalla where they were 'forcedly married.' . . .[S]hould the family of the victims ask for the release of their daughters, they were asked to pay significant amounts of money."[48]

A local NGO official also told Human Rights Watch about a case of a girl in Deh Yak district in Ghazni who was raped by soldiers:"Of course, no one will talk about it, but it happened."[49]In the Pay Jilga area of Jaghori district, it was reported that soldiers connected with Hezb-e Wahdat had kidnapped girls on their way to school, with one instance in late October or early November 2002 cited in particular.[50]

Human Rights Watch collected numerous second-hand reports of soldiers raping women and girls while they committed armed robberies of homes in Paghman district in Kabul province.A woman in Paghman told Human Rights Watch:

We have lots of problems with the armed men coming at night. . . .There are lots of people looting and stealing money and raping the women.This is happening everywhere, including to our neighbors. . . . .We will hear that armed men entered a house and did something wrong with the women, but the family won't say anything because we are Afghan people and it would be a big thing.These households never say what had happened to them or that the armed men did something wrong.We heard from others.The others were close to the house where it happened, and they saw it happen to them.[51]

Another Paghman resident told us:"During the day, because people are taking precautions, these thefts don't happen.But at night, people enter into houses to rob, they tie up the men, and they rape the women.I know it because women have gone to the hospital afterwards to document that they were raped."[52]

In one well-known incident in Kabul province, on November 22, 2002, four armed men raped an international aid worker after forcing the car off a main road in Paghman, about twenty kilometers north of Kabul city.[53]According to a news report, police arrested men in Paghman several weeks after the incident, but ISAF officials later told Human Rights Watch they had information that troops of Commander Ezatullah, one of the main commanders in Paghman, were linked to the rape.[54]This incident is well known to Paghman residents, who take it as evidence of the Afghan troops' power and their own vulnerability:that even an international aid worker-a foreigner much better protected than most Afghan woman-can be raped.A Paghman resident explained:"Of course [the perpetrators] have connections with the authorities.Can they stop a vehicle of international donors and rape a western woman if they don't have power?Of course not!"[55]

Some residents in Paghman have actually overheard soldiers and police boast of committing rape.One Paghman resident told Human Rights Watch:

I have heard armed men boasting that they have raped some women. . . .I mean, without saying where. . . .Gunmen right here in Paghman.I heard some a short time ago-a week or so ago.I was in the bazaar, and I saw an old friend.He himself was a soldier, and he was standing with some other soldiers.I said hello to him and was talking to him.One of the guys with him was talking about it with another soldier, like, "Well, there were some very nice girls last night we had. . . ." and laughing.[56]

Another Paghman resident overheard a police commander from Kabul talking about how troops from Paghman who the commander was trying to arrest had been involved in a rape in Kabul city:

Two months ago, Zavid Izmari, who is the head commander of District Five police station in Kabul . . . I overheard him at a checkpost, at Khoja Musafar [in Paghman].It was a conversation between him and a commander there, named Haji Musa. . . .The police commander said that the owner of [a] house [in Kabul] had been robbed, that they [troops from Paghman] had taken his money and gold, and raped his daughters and his wives, and that they were in the hospital.[57]

In West Kabul, Human Rights Watch received reports of armed men committing rapes during robberies there, and documented one account of troops threatening to rape a woman whom they robbed and assaulted.[58]In that case, a robbery around August 2002 (described in more detail in the section "Armed Robbery and Home Invasions" below), troops held a woman in her home for approximately four hours, stabbing her repeatedly and threatening to rape her.She told Human Rights Watch:

They said that if I didn't tell them where I put my money they would rape me.It was the worst thing that I could see or think about.I said, "I won't let you.You can kill me but if you try to rape me I will shout and the neighbors will hear."I don't how I avoided being raped-maybe God was helping me.[59]

Rape of Boys

In contrast with violence against women and girls, Human Rights Watch has found that witnesses spoke more freely about sexual violence against boys-another common type of sexual abuse in Afghanistan.[60]In Gardez, several residents told Human Rights Watch that troops abducted young men for sex.According to one local NGO official:

This one guy, [name deleted], owned a restaurant.He had a son, a handsome young man.[An Amniat-e Mille commander in Gardez, name deleted] kidnapped the son and took him to his checkpoint.He was at that checkpoint for a while.Clearly, it was for homosexual sex-he was forcing him to have sex.The next day, when the father found out about it, he went to ask for him and have him released.When he went to ask for him, he was beaten very severely, and his hand was broken.The son was released, and they fled Gardez.He closed his restaurant, and they fled.[61]

Another Gardez resident told Human Rights Watch about a commander in Zurmat district who was creating problems in late 2002:

There were a lot of problems.There was extortion, kidnapping, and even making handsome boys to dance and then have sex.One commander, [name deleted], a commander in Zurmat, arrested a man . . . and he tortured him so much that the man died.But he kept his corpse until the man's brother agreed to give the daughter of the dead man in exchange.This is the sort of thing that happened.

The people armed themselves and drove this man out of Zurmat.But this man still has soldiers, horses, motorcycles, and even now he makes trouble.[62]

In Jalalabad, Human Rights Watch received reports of commanders abducting and raping boys.A shopkeeper in Jalalabad told Human Rights Watch about an incident he witnessed in early 2003 in which Sami, a notorious commander in Jalalabad implicated in several other abuses in this report, raped a young boy:

I was looking out my window, and I saw that Sami had come to this car shop, and he told them:"Fix my car-there is something wrong."And so they were fixing his car.Then Sami saw in the shop a thirteen or fourteen-year-old boy.Well, his car had dark windows so you cannot see in.He took the boy into the car and clearly he raped him.And he did this thing to him inside the car.[63]

The shop owner next to the car shop confirmed the incident:"It was a very dirty thing that happened," he said.[64]

Students from Jalalabad also told Human Rights Watch that several commanders under Hazrat Ali, the main commander of the eastern region (Sami's father-in-law), regularly abduct boys, sometimes also employing them as soldiers.[65]One explained:

Many of the soldiers in the military unit with Hazrat Ali are just teenagers, and the commanders use them for sex purposes.[A police commander] in Kagi district keeps a teenage boy for this reason. . . .I'll tell you a story.One of the soldiers, a teenage boy I know, was in a mine accident.He lost his legs.After the mine accident, I saw him in the hospital, and he said, "Well, when I had feet, I was with the commander, and he had me.He would have me.But now he doesn't want me anymore.He doesn't need me.And now he doesn't even pay my medical bills."[66]

Human Rights Watch also documented a case in which, according to witnesses, soldiers in Paghman abducted a boy from a wedding in October 2002."They took him because he was a handsome man," said one witness.[67]

Armed Robbery and Home Invasions

I keep guard all of the time.We cannot leave my house empty at any time.I am guarding it even now, as we speak.

-Resident of West Kabul.[68]

Human Rights Watch documented numerous robberies and home invasions by soldiers and police in many provinces in southeast Afghanistan, including in Kabul.In many cases, people told Human Rights Watch that soldiers or police providing security by day are turning to robbery at night.And in the few places where more professional, newly trained police from Kabul are deployed, residents told Human Rights Watch that these police are not able to stand up to better armed and more numerous army troops.

West Kabul, within Kabul city, is a particularly dangerous area.Many residents there complain of robberies by both local police and soldiers from neighboring Paghman district (directly to the west of Kabul city in Kabul province) under the command of Abdul Rabb al-Rasul Sayyaf.[69]According to one man, "We stop them from robbing by raising an alarm and shouting.I have seen them, walking around.They are armed men from Paghman.I am 100 percent sure they are former mujahidin.The police are lenient, so we think they are involved.And of course, many of the armed men are police."[70]

Human Rights Watch documented a set of robberies committed by soldiers in West Kabul (bordering Paghman district) on the night of March 8, 2003.As noted below, local police told the victims of the attacks thatthey thought the perpetrators were soldiers under the command of Zalmay Tofan, one of Sayyaf's commanders.Human Rights Watch interviewed members of each of the three different households that were robbed.A resident described what happened at the first house:

It was around 11:30 at night.Everybody was asleep. . . .There were five of them.They came in all at once.They said, "We are police from the checkpoint.Someone has been killed nearby.We have come to search for the killer and to search for guns.The killer is nearby so we are suspicious of you, and we want to find the weapon that was used to kill this person."I said, "O.K., search.We were all asleep, as you can see."[71]

The soldiers searched the house, the man said, and asked for the keys to their trunks:"'Where are the keys for the trunks?' they asked us.'Give us the keys to the trunks or you will be killed.'Well, since they had pistols and Kalashnikovs [AK-47 assault rifles], we gave them the keys.They searched everywhere and took everything we had."[72]According to the man, the men were "mujahidin."[73]

The soldiers then went to the second house.A woman there told Human Rights Watch that they robbed her family as well, taking all their valuables.[74]Then, at about 1:00 a.m., the men went to the third house, where three women and their brothers lived.As in the other homes, they again claimed to be police searching for a murder weapon.[75]They tied up one of the brothers and demanded the keys to the trunks, which they opened.[76]The man who was tied up told Human Rights Watch they were soldiers. "They were fully armed," he said. "And they were wearing military jackets.They had clip belts and clips for the Kalashnikovs.One of them had grenades."

Still pretending to be police officers, they told the women to take out all the gold jewelry and valuables from the trunks, saying they didn't want to be accused of stealing the valuables during their "search."[77]The women's brother explained what happened next:"The women went and took out all the money and the jewelry.And then [the armed men] said, 'Well, O.K., now we are thieves.Give us all the gold.'"[78]

When the soldiers began to steal, one of the women said, her brother managed to untie his hands to try to fight them, but the soldiers stopped him:

A man put a Kalashnikov to my brother's head and said, "I will kill you if you don't shut up."My brother said, "If I had known you were thieves, I would have done something."They said, "We are more clever than you."For the second time, they tied his hands and feet and said, "Don't make any noise.We are from the government and you can't do anything.We are thirsty for Hazara blood.I can kill you and put you in the well.We are the enemy of the Hazaras."[79]

The family was, in fact, Hazara, and told us that the men were Pashtuns.As it turned out, one of the soldiers gave away some information about where he might be based:"One man [picked up] my brother's coat and asked, 'Do you mind?'My brother said, 'O.K.'[The man] said, 'I should wear this because I am going to Paghman where the weather is cold.'"[80]

According to family members, the soldiers left at around 3:00 a.m., leaving a trail of footprints in the wet soil.One of the brothers went to the police station nearby (one of the few in Kabul staffed by newly trained troops) and tried to convince them to help:

"If we go now we can still find them," I said.But the police had only one officer and two soldiers.They said they were not able to come at that time of the night.I went to ISAF.The man at ISAF said that it is the duty of the police. . . .We went to the police again, with ISAF, and the officer there said to come the next day and that they would come and follow the footprints with us."We are only three," [the police said], "and they [the soldiers] are six or seven, and they are all armed."[81]

The next day, he said, the police from the station did come to the house.The police and the residents followed the troops' footprints leading away from their homes.[82]As the brother described their investigation:

We followed the footprints up toward Paghman.We walked for about ten minutes, and we got to a little fort, used by the army there.The police got scared, and they turned back. . . .The footprints went up to that fort."We will pursue the case," they said.Well, they may try, but not seriously.Nothing will come of it.[83]

The brother said he was convinced that the men were "former mujahidin . . . with Tofan and with Sayyaf."And when they returned to the police station, the head of the criminal branch seemed to agree, telling the brother:"The thieves were from Paghman, maybe Zalmay Tofan's men.He is a strong man and we cannot do anything."[84]According to the brother, several other people had complained of being robbed by the same commander:

They know who it is.I gave a description to them of the leader, the commander, of the men who robbed my house.I was telling them, "He is a tall man, with green eyes, a short red-brown beard, a bit stout . . . and the others were not as tall, and their features were darker."And there was another man who was there at the police station, giving a complaint, from Say Bangi, in the fifth district under [Commander] Tofan . . . and he was giving the police the same description!And the police told us, "Yes, yes.We have heard this description for five other cases."[85]

Human Rights Watch documented another robbery in the center of West Kabul that took place on March 14, 2003, during which armed men-believed to be local police-robbed a house at gunpoint and stabbed a man in the leg with a bayonet.One of the residents, "K.B.," described the men, who he said were police:

There were six to seven men.They all had Kalashnikovs.They had bullets in an "X" across their chests and around their waists.Each had a Kalashnikov and two also had revolvers. . . .Two were clearly wearing Afghan police uniforms-dark green-visible behind the belts of bullets. . . .They had magazine clips for their Kalashnikovs in their pockets.[86]

A woman in the house explained how the men had entered, claiming to be intelligence agents:

They said, "Don't say anything.We have come here to do an investigation because someone was killed in the next road, and we have come here to ask you about it-[to see] if you have a gun or if you have done this."They were saying that they were from Amniat [Amniat-e Melli][87]

But then the men began to rob the family, she said.[88]They called each family member into a separate room, she explained, and questioned them individually about the location of the valuables in the house.[89]One of the men at home at the time of the robbery described to Human Rights Watch what happened when he was questioned:

They made me kneel, and they put their feet on my legs and didn't let me move.They tied my arms behind my back with a handkerchief.I said I had come recently from Iran and didn't know about this house."Listen, my accent is different."But they punched me, kicked me, and beat me with the barrels of their guns.I was in a miserable situation.They were searching all parts of my body to see if I had hidden money.[90]
The men then stabbed the man in the thigh with a bayonet, and asked him again where his money was.[91]
They said, "You came from Iran-how much money have you brought?"I said just 60,000 tumans [U.S.$79] and 50 afghanis [U.S.$1].They made me stand with the barrel of the gun at my neck and made me walk upstairs and give them the money.They returned the 50 afghanis and said, "We will leave you 50 for your daily expenses-we are generous."[92]

The telephone rang and, according to the woman, the men became very nervous.[93]They told the family that they were going to rob the neighbors, and they climbed over the wall into the next compound, saying they would leave a guard on the wall and shoot anyone who made any noise.[94]The children in the house didn't understandwhat was happening:

[One] little child-seventeen or eighteen months old-was crying, and the three-year-old was consoling him and saying, "Don't cry or the gunmen will shoot." . . . They took out one of the trunks and were trying to break it.One of the children jumped up and cried, "Stop!Don't break it!"One of the thieves aimed the gun at him and said, "Go and sit down and don't make any noise!"And then this little boy understood that it was a dangerous game.[95]

A woman in the house explained that she and the other women present were terrified:

I was very scared.I was praying.I realized how loudly I had been praying, saying out loud verses from the Koran. . . .My sister-in-law was trembling.She has epilepsy sometimes, and she started to shake, a lot.One of the gunmen came over and grabbed her by the hair and shook her by the hair and said, "Stop it!You're pretending."And then she lost consciousness.She woke up later, after they left.[96]

The rest of the family, including the owner of the house, returned about ten minutes after the thieves left.[97]The owner called the police.When the police came, about a half hour later, the owner said that they were unhelpful and evasive-like they were only pretending to investigate.[98]The owner said he began to believe that he couldn't trust the police.He said two of the police officials, some older men, tried to warn him not to talk too much about what valuable items might still be left in the house:

I said to one, "There's a very valuable thing left-the laptop computer."The man said, "Shh!Be quiet.Because they [pointing to the police] will come in a few hours and take it themselves.Be especially careful about what you are saying because there are suspicious people here."This was from one of the police!He meant the police who were in the house.I was afraid and so . . . I told the police that I had no suspicions, because the old man told me to be careful, and we were [now] suspicious of the police.[99]

The family was convinced that members of the police had robbed them."They were police," the owner's sister-in-law told us.[100]"First, when they entered, they introduced themselves as police.Second, two of them were giving orders like police or army give . . .Third, they were calling their head man 'Respected Commander.'"[101]In addition, the men were wearing dark green police uniforms, and the home was located between a triangle of three nearby police stations, with the closest station one hundred meters away.[102]The owner's sister-in-law noted, "At 7:30 at night-it's early.Who can dare to enter a house and rob it unless they themselves are police or have a connection with the police?"[103]

Much of Kabul city is, in fact, patrolled by police and army, and it would be difficult, but not impossible, for whole groups of armed men with Kalashnikovs, gun belts, and grenades to operate near police stations without approval or cooperation from local police and army troops.

Many West Kabul residents said that they were especially afraid of robbery by soldiers at night, and kept dogs to guard for this purpose.[104]"During the night we cannot sleep because we are nervous and are afraid that something will happen because the security is not good here," one woman explained.[105]

A teacher from Karteh Seh in West Kabul told a story about a robbery of his relatives nearby:

One morning my father came and said our relatives had been robbed.I went there.My aunt [an eyewitness] told me it was people with weapons and they were the same people from the Ministry of the Interior's office . . .people working in the security office.[106]

Human Rights Watch documented another case in West Kabul from August 2002, in which armed men claiming to be police robbed a woman and her family in their house near the Kabul Polytechnic Institute, an area that is known to be under the control of Sayyaf's troops.[107]According to the woman, at around 8:00 p.m. six heavily armed men entered her house, saying they were investigating a murder committed nearby.[108]Then they searched the house, took jewelry that the woman and her mother were wearing, and assaulted the younger woman:

As they were asking me over and over again where the money was, they took a bayonet-a two-sided knife-and stabbed me, first in each leg, then in the left shoulder.They would say, "Where is the money?" and then stab me.These wounds weren't too deep-they were just to scare me.At the end when I still wouldn't tell them anything, they stabbed me very deeply in the left shoulder below my collarbone.It took eight stitches to close the wound. . . .

I had my young son in my arms, and they took him and threw him away from me.He wasn't injured, but it was very hard for me.He was just eighteen months old and nothing like that had happened to him.I didn't even let him walk fast because I was scared that he would fall down, so how could I see bear to this?He also saw a lot of blood on my dress.I know that he remembered it for a while.

Still during the night I am scared.Whenever I hear a noise, I see the faces of those men.I thank God that they didn't rape me, that they didn't do that.Every time I see the scar on my shoulder I remember what happened.[109]

The woman said she thought that the soldiers were under the command of one of Sayyaf's commanders:

I think they were Sayyaf's men.They were from Paghman. . . .One of them told me that he was the nephew of a police officer who is responsible for the area.I believed him because every night, in that area, the police would patrol two or three times in front of our house.They would patrol with special police cars with lights.But that night there were no police cars in front of our house. . . .[And] the men stayed at my house from 8:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.After the curfew, they left.This was one reason I think they were connected with the police.How, after curfew, could six men with Kalashnikovs and many other weapons go around, outside?[110]

A U.N. official familiar with the case told Human Rights Watch:"This incident is not unique.It has happened to a lot of Afghans, who haven't reported it.There is a need for monitoring.We find it extraordinarily difficult to get information."[111]

In Paghman district, an hour's drive to the west of Kabul, residents told Human Rights Watch that soldiers under commanders loyal to Sayyaf were also regularly invading people's homes and robbing them.Typical cases involve troops from "checkpoints," local military garrisons, or police stations.A Paghman man living outside the town told us:"The people who are at the checkpoint, they are the thieves.They gamble, bet money, and when they lose, they go and enter the houses to steal.I myself know a person who gambles and then steals from people here-he is at the checkpoint, I have seen him."[112]

Human Rights Watch found numerous families there living in a state of almost constant fear.A farmer in rural Paghman told Human Rights Watch about a robbery in March 2003, in which he said local police were involved:

I heard noises and shrieking, and I went up to join the guard on the roof.When I went up onto the roof, I heard people in the far house, shouting, "Thieves!Thieves!"It was about 200 meters away, but it was clearly audible.Then there was shooting, about ten or fifteen shots.Then there was silence.We stayed inside.We learned today that it was the house up there [up the road.]They were robbed.That house is only 500 meters from the governor's compound.[113]

The farmer said the robberies terrified his family:"We do not sleep through the night.We have to keep guard in shifts.Every other night there is at least one robbery, and we have to keep our own guard."[114]He said that police had robbed another neighbor's house, one hundred meters from the governor's office, in late February 2003:"Listen:It is the police who commit these crimes.Besides them, no one is equipped with guns. . . .We as the local people, we know these thieves, we know who they are.These thieves are the police."[115]

A returning refugee originally from Paghman told Human Rights Watch that soldiers robbed her relatives in Paghman in December 2002, coming during the night and forcing their way in:

A little girl was injured-they shot her with a gun.Armed men wanted to steal everything in the home-all the carpets and everything-and when my relatives tried to keep them from coming inside, they fired shots and hit the little girl.They stole all the things inside the home.It happened in the afternoon, not at night.There were a lot of men-they all had guns.

They were Sayyaf's troops-we know because nobody else can enter that area, which is called Chandal Ba-ee [a village in Paghman near the district center, near Sayyaf's residence].[116]

"This happens all the time," her husband added."It's a common thing.[117]The woman and her husband said their family had settled in Kabul, afraid to return to Paghman because of the security problems there.[118]

A woman farming in rural Paghman told Human Rights Watch:

There are lots of men with guns looting and stealing money and raping the women.This is happening everywhere, including to our neighbors. . . .We keep awake and walk around so that no intruders can come here. . . .Of course we are afraid.I have a young daughter, and I am a young woman, and this is not good for us.[119]

Her thirteen-year-old daughter added:

[One night] when we were patrolling, armed men entered our neighbors' house.We were scared.We were afraid.They had guns and we do not. . . .The people screamed and shouted when they were attacked in their home.We could hear it.[120]

Human Rights Watch interviewed a group of some thirty women living nearby who confirmed the level of general terror.As one said:"All night long we have to be awake and patrol.We have to be on the roof and walk along the wall.We have lots of problems because of the armed men."[121]

Many people in Paghman said they keep dogs, at considerable sacrifice, to ward off thieving soldiers and police.A Paghman farmer, who confirmed the high level of robberies by soldiers, explained:

If you have a dog, it barks when the armed men come, and then you can wake up and shout and raise an alarm for other people to come.This helps to prevent the robberies. . .He is very fierce.You see, at night I let it march around the house.I have told the people at the district governor's office that after 10:00 p.m., I release my dog in the yard, and I have told them that it is not my responsibility if someone is bitten, whether police or thieves.[122]

Affirming his hatred for the dog, he added:"In the past, during Daoud's time [1970s], there were no problems like this.What a nice time it was when we had neither thieves nor dogs!"[123]

In Ghazni province, several humanitarian workers and officials and local medical staff reported that army troops or police had committed similar robberies, including of a home in Ghazni city on or around March 21, 2003, and another earlier in March.[124]According to one medical worker:"They are the different factions; they are with the authorities here."[125]Most of the people Human Rights Watch spoke with in Ghazni were too scared to speak openly about security issues.

Many residents of Nangarhar province told Human Rights Watch that soldiers in Jalalabad often raid homes at night to steal property and money, besides conducting other crimes (discussed in more detail below).[126]In Logar province, teachers, a farmer, and other residents reported that armed men had robbed homes and businesses, stolen cars and killed their drivers.A teacher told Human Rights Watch:"In Zarghonshah district, here in Logar, people keep guard all through the night because many armed men have come and stolen from houses.In Kalangar, there are some armed men from the [local military base] there-which is commanded by Dr. Fazalullah, who is with Jamiat[-e Melli]."[127]In addition, Human Rights Watch documented a case in which armed men robbed a gas station in Logar, killed two men, and wounded a third in early February 2003.[128]According to witnesses, the men wore Afghan army uniforms and the station was around one kilometer from an army base.The witnesses said they thought the men were either affiliated with the local commander or were former fighters.[129]

Many victims across the region identified their attackers as soldiers under local commanders or as police.Many victims told Human Rights Watch there were no authorities they felt safe complaining to.One West Kabul resident explained:"The police are with the criminals.They work together always.Or they are, themselves, the criminals, in some cases."[130]An Afghan journalist told Human Rights Watch:

Robberies and looting-this is the problem all over Kabul province.The Interior Ministry police rob people.The Interior Ministry police even admitted to us journalists that they rob.They admitted to us that they have to rob because they have no salaries. . . .They said to us, "We haven't been paid for eight months-you tell us what to do."You see, they fought with Russia on an empty stomach, so they think now they deserve everything.[131]

Extortion and Beatings of Shopkeepers, and Taxi, Truck, and Bus Drivers

Human Rights Watch documented numerous cases of extortion by soldiers and police in almost every district in the southeast of Afghanistan-Ghazni, Wardak, Paktika, Paktia, Logar, Kabul, Laghman, and Nangarhar.Two major kinds of extortion were documented:extortion of drivers at roadside checkpoints, and extortion of small businessmen-usually shopkeepers-in cities and villages.

Extortion of Taxi, Truck, and Bus Drivers

Under current arrangements set up by the Afghan Transitional Administration, the Ministry of Transportation allows roadside checkpoints at which set "transport taxes" can be taken from trucks.When they pay, drivers are given a receipt.Afghan military and police in many places also maintain official checkpoints ostensibly to stop cars to check for weapons or to identify criminal suspects.Most "checkpoints" in the southeast, however, are unofficial sites set up by police or the army to collect illegal bribes.As in other countries with this problem, there is little that infuriates the local population more than the accumulated cost of checkpoint extortion, which can rob drivers of most and at times all of their earnings from their work.

Human Rights Watch interviewed scores of taxi, truck, and bus drivers on the main roads between Kabul, Gardez, Ghazni, and Jalalabad, in bazaars, and at taxi, truck, and bus stations in Kabul.Almost without exception, they complained that army and police troops at official and unofficial roadside checkpoints regularly extorted money and goods from them.Their stories were often similar, involving frequent stops by soldiers and police, and threats and beatings if drivers refused to pay.

In Nangarhar and Laghman, drivers complained about army troops under Hazrat Ali and police in Jalalabad city.In Kabul, drivers complained mostly about traffic police and ordinary Interior Ministry police under the command of the Kabul police chief, Basir Salangi.In Logar and Paktia, drivers complained about army troops under the command of local military leaders, including Commander Ettiqullah Ludin, and the four most powerful commanders in Gardez:Commanders Mateen, Momeen, Ziauddin, and Abdullah.

The last of these, Commander Abdullah, was fired from his post by President Karzai twice in 2003, but has refused to step aside.

A truck driver in Logar province (southwest of Kabul) described a typical set of stops on the road from Gardez to Kabul, and how soldiers in Kabul city had beaten him:

The moment we enter Kabul city, any ordinary soldier-traffic police, a checkpoint, whatever-they all take money from us. . . .The moment you enter, you have to give them money or goods from your truck.They kick us, they beat us, and they take the money.They take money in Gardez at Tara, and in Logar at Wuliat.They take also at Pul-e Chandari in Logar and at Sange-e Nuwista in Kabul [checkpoints].And then they take money in Kabul city.

A month ago in Kabul I was beaten by soldiers.They asked for wood from me, from my truck.I gave them a branch, and one of the gunmen said, "Why have you given us a branch?We want logs!"And I said, "No, I can't give you anymore and not logs.Doesn't the government give you a share of wood for your stove?"

The gunman said, "Are you arguing with me?"And he pulled me down from the truck, and he beat me with his rifle, and slapped me, and kicked me.Then they took a lot of logs.[132]

Another driver talked about the various stops on the road from the Pakistani border to Kabul.

At Darunta [a town just east of Jalalabad], they ask for money, and at Surkhakan [a village in Laghman on the road between Jalalabad and Kabul] they take money from us-and I forgot, also at Tangi [another village on the same road, closer to Kabul].They also take money at Torkham [at the Pakistani border].It is the Shinwar people [the ethnic minority to which Hazrat Ali belongs]. . . .They are under Hazrat Ali.

At Surkhakan yesterday, they beat me.It was ten at night.They asked for 50 afghanis [U.S.$1.00].I did not give it to them.They told me to come down from the cab.I refused.They asked me again, "Come down from there."I said no.Finally, I came down and they grabbed me.They slapped me.They slapped me in the face over and over and over again.And then I paid them.I had to.[133]

Similarly, a bus driver told Human Rights Watch about his typical trip from Kabul to Jalalabad:

On the way to Jalalabad, there are lots of checkpoints.The moment we set off, at Pul-e Charkhi [immediately east of Kabul], the traffic police ask us for 100 afghanis [U.S.$2.00]. . . .Even if you have all your documents, licenses, registration, title, they still take money.And if you don't pay, they take the money from you.It doesn't make any difference.And then at Surkhakan, they take money from us, which is illegal, too.We admit it is legal to take some money at certain places, as fees with a receipt. . . .But there are these other checkpoints-at Surkhakan and Pul-e Charkhi for instance-which are illegal.[134]

A truck driver talked about how soldiers beat him at Tangi, a checkpoint on the way to Jalalabad, near Sarobi:

At Tangi, Hazrat Ali's men beat me.It was five days ago.They asked me for money, and I didn't have it.I didn't have the money.So they said, "Look, we don't have the time for this."And they pulled me out of my truck and they beat me.They slapped me first, then they beat me very severely, punching, kicking, using their guns.[135]

A bus driver from Jalalabad described the post at Sarobi, halfway between Kabul and Jalalabad:

At Sarobi, there is a checkpoint.They ask for money.They said, "We keep your security-you should pay us."On the contrary, they are not keeping anybody's security-they are robbing us.I give 50 [U.S.$1.00], sometimes 100 afghanis [U.S.$2.00].[136]

A driver from Paktika described the extortion on the road from Khost province:"I'll tell you:The checkpoint on the way to Khost took 200 Pakistani rupees [U.S.$2.50] from me.This was the checkpoint that belongs to Padsha Khan Zadran."[137]When asked what would happen if he didn't pay, the driver said, "Once I refused to pay, and they put a gun on me, and they took the money by force.You cannot say no to them."[138]Another truck driver described extortion on the road from Sayid Qarim district (in northeast Paktia) to Gardez city and in Gardez city itself:"All the checkpoints here in the city take money, too.If we do not pay, they will take our trucks from us; they will take our trucks to their compounds in the mountains."[139]

Drivers also said that Kabul traffic police extorted and beat them.One truck driver said in March 2003 that he was beaten the week before when he was coming from Jalalabad:

My car was loaded with cows.They stopped me-the traffic police.It was near the airport.They asked me for 100 [afghanis, U.S.$2.00].I refused to give it to them.They told me to stop the truck, that they would deal with me.I asked them to let me go.They would not let me go-they pulled me out of the truck and beat me.I was on the ground.They were hitting me with rifles.I could not breathe.[140]

Human Rights Watch also documented several cases of police or soldiers in Kabul ordering truck drivers to work for them, either by hauling materials or troops.[141]Truck drivers said that in Kabul, police often commandeered them for compulsory labor, but that they could escape service for a bribe of 1,000 to 1,500 afghanis.On March 27, 2003, Human Rights Watch researchers actually overheard a police commander in Shar-e Naw district in Kabul trying to stop a truck, saying:"Stop that truck!We need four trucks to move some earth to the office!Stop that truck there!"Human Rights Watch observed police at Pul-e Charki taking bribes from motorists, especially before 6:00 a.m., and army troops extorting money at checkpoints in Jalalabad in early May.

Almost every driver whom Human Rights Watch interviewed recounted an experience of being extorted, robbed, or beaten by soldiers, and some drivers chastised others who denied being extorted or beaten.For instance, a driver in Kabul told Human Rights Watch, "There are many checkpoints on the road from Jalalabad. . . .They take money, but so far, they haven't taken any from me."Another driver, listening, said:"He's too proud to admit it!We are all robbed by them!"In Gardez, some drivers refused to talk to Human Rights Watch, but a truck driver turned to the other drivers and said, "Why are you afraid?You should tell them the truth!"[142]Then he said:

There are problems.The armed men take money from us. . . .[I]f we do not give it, they climb up and get the wood themselves.I said to one of them, "I will pay you the money, but why do you take the wood?"He punched me in the face, on the cheek, here [pointing to scar].So, you see.[143]

A bus driver offered an explanation as to why drivers had to pay the local police and soldiers:

We have to pay.But if you argue with them, they will get angry with you and beat you.Beating is very easy for them.They can beat a poor driver every time he passes if they want because a driver doesn't have any defenders.[144]

Human Rights Watch received additional information about extortion by army and police troops in Ghazni and Paktika provinces.[145]UNAMA officials said they documented cases of police and army troops extorting money and goods in Wardak province, especially forces under the command of Abdul Ahmed, the police commander of Wardak province.[146]This was confirmed to Human Rights Watch by a government official in Wardak, who added that the police commander in Sayed Abad, Gul Rahman, had also been involved in abuses.[147]

In addition to extortion, Human Rights Watch heard stories about roadside robberies by soldiers in Nangarhar and Logar provinces.A student from Jalalabad relayed the experience of a friend in southern Nangarhar province:

In Sherzad district, a day before Eid [in February 2003], in a village called Kandai, some armed men with a military unit stopped some cars that were passing and looted all of them.My friend [who was among them] was looted. . .[He said that] the men had come down the road and tried to stop the cars and had shot at them and the other cars.He had lost all he had-70,000 afghanis [approximately U.S.$1,400; his savings].I was in [a nearby] village-he told me the whole story.They had fired at him.There were bullet holes in his car.My other friend was with him, and he told the same story. . . .They were thankful to God not to be hurt.[148]

A farmer described how soldiers under the local district governor hijacked, robbed, and killed his cousin on a road in Kulangar village in Logar in early February 2003:

Over a month ago . . . forty-two days ago . . . my cousin's son, who had a Corolla car, was suffocated, strangled, by a rope-belt from a shalwar kamiz, and he was thrown into a well.It was three people from the district governor's office who stopped his car and took him.The shopkeepers saw the whole thing. . . .They stopped the car and forced themselves into it.They drove away.

Later, we couldn't find him [the cousin].He was gone, disappeared.All of us searched for him around the road.We finally found the body outside the village.At a point on the road beyond the village, at a narrow place in the road, that's where he was killed.There is a shrine, at Ziarat Syeed Ghazi.No one lives there-it is a very isolated place.There is a well there, and his body was at the bottom of the well.[149]

A resident of Nangarhar also recounted how a commander, Haji Ajab Shah, now a police official in Jalalabad, robbed three humanitarian aid trucks in Rodat district after the Taliban fled Jalalabad in December 2001.

The trucks were stopped in Shirshahi, in Rodat district. . . .There was going to be a distribution.Ajab Shah and twelve or thirteen other people came, and they stopped three of the trucks and were going to drive them away.Well, the people there, the drivers, and the aid agency people started shouting:"Why are you taking these trucks?This aid is ours-it is for the people."

But Ajab Shah said, "You people have not helped me during our jihad against the Russians, so now you do not deserve this food."And they took the trucks.[150]

Extortion of Shopkeepers and Other Individuals

Human Rights Watch gathered extensive testimony about police and army troops extorting shopkeepers and other individuals in cities and villages in the southeast.Afghan journalists, government officials, and U.N. staff confirmed that this is especially common in Kabul city, in Nangarhar province, and Gardez city.[151]

A shopkeeper in Kabul city described how police from the Interior Ministry targeted certain shops:

They take money every week.They take the money primarily from butchers, cosmetic shops [women's clothing and toiletries], cassette shops, video game shops, and shops selling fuel, gas, and propane.For most shops, they take 150 afghanis [U.S.$3.00] a week . . . 600 [U.S.$12.00] a month.For the stores that sell video games, it is over 750 [U.S.$15.00] a month.

It is the criminal branch of the police who come.They show up every Thursday at around 3:00 p.m. . . .They usually come in plain Afghan clothes.[152]

Another shopkeeper explained where the money goes:"The money is for their pocket.They don't give any tickets or receipts.It is outside the law."[153]A Kabul shopkeeper explained what happen if they did not pay:

If you do not pay, they close your shop and lock it with their lock.If you break it open, they will arrest you and put you in jail.

Once I didn't pay, and they closed my shop.Then I went and paid the money, and they allowed me to open the shop.[154]

Another Kabul resident told Human Rights Watch that police commanders extorted money from pool club operators in Kabul's seventh district.[155]

In Gardez, Human Rights Watch received credible information about one local commander, Ziauddin, extorting local businesses-demanding vehicles or large sums of money under threat of arrests or beatings.[156]Other shopkeepers in Gardez admitted they were being robbed or extorted by Afghan soldiers or police.

In many cases, both in and outside of Kabul, shopkeepers were scared to speak openly, or spoke of extortion by police and army only if they could speak privately.[157]Shopkeepers in Gardez, for instance, were extremely nervous about talking in public and evaded questioning about extortion:"There are no problems here. . . .There were some problems, but not now. . . .We have made our settlements. . . .It isn't good to talk here."[158]Another said that most shopkeepers were being extorted but were afraid to talk:"They are afraid.We cannot say anything-how could we dare to say anything?"[159]One shopkeeper in Gardez, after denying problems at first, whispered:"Well, they do make trouble. . . .They take goods and do not pay. . . .They have taken cigarettes and other items here-cola, raisins, soap, batteries, cameras.They do what they want to do."[160]

One shopkeeper wasn't worried.When asked whether he had problems with police and army troops, the shopkeeper laughed:"No, these commanders here are my relatives!"[161]Human Rights Watch asked if shopkeepers unrelated to commanders faced problems with extortion and he said:"Yes, yes, of course."[162]

Illegal Seizure and Forcible Occupation of Land

Human Rights Watch also received information that commanders in Nangarhar, Paktia, Gardez, Ghazni, and Wardak provinces have used their power to seize land and property, either for their own use, to rent, or to distribute to underlings and supporters.

Complaints about land seizure were especially common in Nangarhar province.One Jalalabad resident described how his home was seized in 2002:

I have a home on [name of street deleted] in Jalalabad.They have seized it.A commander lives there now.His name is Commander [name deleted]. . . .[A]fter the collapse of the Taliban, some authorities came and pushed [us] out.Commanders have seized all the power-Hazrat Ali's men.The governor has no power, and knows nothing.

I went to [the commanders] to try to resolve this, but they threw me out.I have applied to a court, but in court it is all his [Hazrat Ali's] men in control.They have made bogus documents.They have no time for me.They told me to leave.[163]

Another resident of Behsoud district, in Nangarhar, said a commander in his district seized his family's property:

The people who have guns-they have no respect for human rights.There is a commander in my district named [name deleted].He actually kicks people out of their houses and seizes property.He has seized my family's property-also he has distributed government property to his relatives-people from his own tribe.[164]

Jalalabad residents also told Human Rights Watch that Hazrat Ali, the military commander of Nangarhar, seized the land of "Abdullah Qasim," a politically active resident who Hazrat Ali's troops arrested in April 2003.[165](This case is discussed in more detail in the section "Attacks on Political Actors and Political Activities" below.)A journalist in Jalalabad told Human Rights Watch that commanders under Hazrat Ali had also seized homes and property from people who worked for the previous Soviet-backed government or the government of King Zahir Shah (including low-level and non-political officials).[166]

A U.N. official in Jalalabad told Human Rights Watch that land problems-specifically, seizures by commanders and troops-were one of the most serious problems affecting refugee return in the province.[167]Local UNHCR staff confirmed this conclusion.[168]

U.N. staff in Gardez also told Human Rights Watch that commanders in Paktia province were seizing land and property in Paktia province and Gardez city.[169]According to humanitarian officials reporting on security conditions in Ghazni province, army and police commanders there-both those associated with local Hezb-e Wahdat military commanders and those associated with the governor, an ally of Sayyaf-have seized land and property.[170]This affects the decisions of refugees about whether to return to their home districts.[171]UNAMA officials familiar with the situation in Ghazni confirmed these findings.[172]A local journalist familiar with conditions in several districts in Wardak province said that local commanders were seizing property there.[173]UNAMA offices have also received complaints about land seizures in Wardak.[174]

Effects on Returns of Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons

Some of the human rights abuses documented in this report have caused returning refugees to decide against returning to their places of origin.Human Rights Watch interviewed several refugees returning from Iran and Pakistan who had decided to stay in Kabul city and not return to their places of origin because of human rights abuses in their home provinces.In the southeast, the problems seemed to be especially serious for refugees seeking to return to Ghazni province, Paghman district in Kabul, and Nangarhar.

H.D., a refugee, returned with her family from Iran, intending to go to her home in Paghman district.But after her family visited Paghman, they decided to remain with family in Kabul instead.H.D. explained:

We went ourselves to Paghman [to visit], but we were afraid.We wore chadori and we didn't go out.People say it's not safe at night; that thieves come at night.Some people don't like to go back there [to Paghman] because of security.

I wish Paghman would become like before.That there would be schools for girls, clinics for people, electricity, and that people with guns would get rid of their guns.Then we would go to our place there. . . .

Life in Paghman is really difficult, not like here.Women cannot go out and work.There is no school.Women cannot go to work because of Sayyaf and the soldiers, and there is no center for women to go and work . . . the roads are bad, there is no hospital, and if someone gets sick or gives birth at night, people die on the way to the hospital.People don't have a good life there. . . .There is not much freedom for men or women family members to mix.We lack the right.[175]

Another woman whose family had also decided to stay in Kabul told Human Rights Watch:

Of course the armed men create problems.Because of that we came here to the city.We had a good house [in Paghman], but now we have to come here and rent a house for U.S.$150.But because of the problems we came here. . . .Now it is a little better compared with the past.But still people are afraid. And there is no electricity or water.Because of that we would like to stay in Kabul.And I couldn't work in Paghman.[176]

A man who had returned from Iran a year ago, who decided to stay in Kabul rather than go to his family's land in Paghman, gave similar reasons for not returning:

If the armed men or soldiers come to know that there is money in your pocket or in your home, you will be robbed.Since there is no security there, and no peace, you cannot live there.

Let's count the reasons you cannot live there:First, there is no security.Second, there is no chance for education, especially for girls.Third, the lack of health services:there are no birthing clinics for women to have children.Fourth, there is the culture that is imposed on people by the armed men and the clergy.For instance, the boys cannot go out bareheaded, they have got to wear a hat.[177]

Human Rights Watch interviewed other men and women from Paghman living in Kabul who gave similar reasons for not returning.[178]Several residents from Nangarhar also said their families had decided against returning home, mainly because of security problems.[179]

According to U.N. humanitarian officials, refugees have also been avoiding returning to several districts in Ghazni province.In fact, recent abuses by Hezb-e-Wahdat troops in Malistan, Jaghori, Nawur, and Qarabagh districts have reportedly caused people to leave those areas for Ghazni City, as well as for Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif.[180]Abuses include political persecution, extortion of money, arbitrary arrests and detentions, and kidnapping and forced marriage of girls and young women.[181]One man from Jaghori, displaced in Kabul, who was afraid to return to Jaghori district, told Human Rights Watch that he feared the local commanders there: "[T]here are fundamentalist agents there, and I am afraid of them."[182]

U.N. officials also told Human Rights Watch that seizures of land by commanders and their troops was one of the most serious problems affecting refugee returns in Nangarhar.[183]

[9] "Private prisons" is a term used by U.N. officials, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, and Afghan government officials to describe unofficial detention sites, including detention sites on military bases; unofficial jails located at military checkpoints, in houses, or in local commanders' compounds; or other sites not officially designated as a police property or property under the control of the Ministry of Interior or Ministry of Justice.Existing Afghan law does not authorize detention by entities other than the police, such as the Ministry of Defense or Amniat-e Mille.For more on existing legal frameworks applicable to policing and prisons in Afghanistan, see Amnesty International, "Police Reconstruction Essential for the Protection of Human Rights," An Amnesty International Report, March 12, 2003.

[10] Place names are highlighted the first time they are mentioned in the violations section.

[11] Human Rights Watch interview with U.N. humanitarian official, March 13, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with U.N. humanitarian official, Kabul, March 29, 2003.

[12] Human Rights Watch interview with A.H.V., student from Jalalabad, Kabul, March 28, 2003

[13] Human Rights Watch interview with A.O.W., Kabul, April 20, 2003.

[14] Human Rights Watch interview with Y.R.M., truck driver from Jalalabad, Kabul, March 26, 2003.

[15] Human Rights Watch interview with A.M.R.D., Jalalabad, May 5, 2003.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Human Rights Watch interview with Z.R.D., Jalalabad, May 6, 2003.

[19] Human Rights Watch interview with U.N. official, Jalalabad, May 5, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with H.C.U., Afghan Human Rights Commission staff, Jalalabad, May 6, 2003.

[20] Human Rights Watch interview with I.Y.K., security official, Jalalabad, May 6, 2003.

[21] Name has been changed to protect the victim's security.

[22] Human Rights Watch interview with I.Y.K., security official, Jalalabad, May 6, 2003.

[23] Human Rights Watch interview with L.W.S., journalist, Jalalabad, May 6, 2003.

[24] Human Rights Watch interview with A.O.W., Kabul, April 20, 2003.

[25] Human Rights Watch interview with I.I.R., Afghan NGO human rights monitor, March 8, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with A.S.M.S., local U.N. staff, Gardez, March 11, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with U.N. humanitarian official, March 13, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with I.A.L., journalist, Kabul, March 18, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with UNAMA political affairs official, Kabul March 19, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with U.N. humanitarian official, Kabul, March 29, 2003.

[26] Human Rights Watch interview with U.N. humanitarian official, March 13, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with UNAMA official, May 26, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with U.N. humanitarian official, Kabul, March 29, 2003.

[27] Human Rights Watch interview with A.S.M.S., local U.N. staff, Gardez, March 11, 2003.

[28] Human Rights Watch interview with T.Y.E., journalist, Kabul, March 18, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with I.A.L., journalist, Kabul, March 18, 2003.President Karzai and U.N. officials suspected Jurat, a former mujahidin commander from the Panjshir valley, of being involved in the killing of the Tourism Minister, Abdul Rahman, in February 2002; he was arrested but never charged.See Ron Synovitz, "Afghanistan: Killing Of Pashtun Minister Qadir Leaves Karzai Vulnerable," Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty News, July 23, 2002, available at http://www.rferl.org/nca/features/2002/07/08072002165518.asp (retrieved July 10, 2003).

[29] Human Rights Watch interview with T.Q.S., student, Kabul, March 16, 2003.

[30] Human Rights Watch interview with G.S.P., former loya jirga candidate, Kabul, March 18, 2003.

[31] Human Rights Watch interview with R.B., English language teacher, Kabul, March 27, 2003.

[32] Ibid.

[33] Although Human Rights Watch did not visit Parwan and Kapisa provinces, just north of Kabul, news reports indicated that local commanders are committing rapes in these areas as well.Institute for War and Peace Reporting, "Child Sex Abuse Alarm," Afghan Recovery Report, February 24, 2003, available at http://www.iwpr.net/index.pl?archive/arr/arr_200302_49_1_eng.t (retrieved May 14, 2003).For example, a filmmaker in Kapisa told journalists:

One night some armed men came to my house and wanted me to film their celebrations.As it was late, I made my apologies, but they forced me to go to their party.When I got there I saw a very nice-looking boy dancing.The party continued throughout the night and I had to film everything they did with that boy.What I witnessed were not the actions of human beings.After they finished they took the film cassette from me and let me go.Ibid.

Abdul Marouf, from Parwan province, told journalists:

Some days ago I went to a wedding party where the singer of the band they had invited was a boy of around fourteen, who was very good looking.While he was singing a number of armed men entered the hall, and one of them ordered the boy to dance, and the band to accompany him.The singer looked scared and started crying, insisting that he could not dance, but they threatened to kill him.After he had danced for some time they took him away with them.Ibid.

[34] See, e.g., Hafizulla Emadi, Politics of Development and Women in Afghanistan (New York:Paragon House, 1993), p. 22; Anna M. Pont, "Eat What You Want, Dress the Way Your Community Wants:The Position of Afghan Women in Mercy Corps International Programme Areas," A Mercy Corps International Report, May 1998, pp. 2-4.

[35] See, e.g., Emadi, Politics of Development and Women in Afghanistan, pp. 16, 23, 25; Benedicte Grima, The Performance of Emotion Among Paxtun Women (Karachi:Oxford University Press, 1998), pp. 150-154, 163-165; Human Rights Watch interview with Dr. S., age forty, Mazar-i Sharif, February 23, 2002 (cited in Human Rights Watch, "Paying for the Taliban's Crimes:Abuses Against Ethnic Pashtuns in Northern Afghanistan," A Human Rights Watch Short Report, vol. 14, no. 2(c), n. 13, available at http://www.hrw.org/reports/2002/afghan2/.

[36] Human Rights Watch interview with gender expert, Kabul, March, 29, 2003; Emadi, Politics of Development and Women in Afghanistan, p. 22.

[37] Human Rights Watch interview with B.K.I., West Kabul, March 22, 2003.

[38] Human Rights Watch interview with W.N., Kabul, March 30, 2003.

[39] Human Rights Watch interview with J.P.M.S., Paghman, March 18, 2003.

[40] Human Rights Watch interview with A.A., Kabul, March 19, 2003.

[41] Ibid.

[42] Human Rights Watch interview, Kabul, March 30, 2003.

[43] Human Rights Watch interview with U.N. humanitarian official, Kabul, March 13, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with U.N. humanitarian official, Kabul, March 29, 2003.

[44] Ibid.

[45] Human Rights Watch interview with U.N. official, Jalalabad, May 8, 2003.

[46] Human Rights Watch interview with U.N. humanitarian official, Kabul, March 13, 2003.Commander Qasemi is also known as Zabit Akbar.See also, Human Rights Watch interview with U.N. humanitarian official, Kabul, March 29, 2003; Email to Human Rights Watch from U.N. humanitarian staff, May 28, 2003.

[47] Human Rights Watch interview with U.N. humanitarian official, Kabul, March 13, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with U.N. humanitarian official, Kabul, March 29, 2003; Email to Human Rights Watch from U.N. humanitarian official, May 28, 2003; Email to Human Rights Watch from U.N. humanitarian official, June 8, 2003.

[48] Email to Human Rights Watch from U.N. humanitarian official, June 8, 2003.The U.N. also received reports about a commander connected with Hezb-e Wahdat in the Dadi area sexually abusing girls there.Ibid.

[49] Human Rights Watch interview with A.F.E., official in Afghan human rights NGO, Kabul, March 8, 2003.

[50] Human Rights Watch interview with U.N. humanitarian official, Kabul, March 29, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with U.N. humanitarian official, Kabul, March 13, 2003; Email to Human Rights Watch from U.N. humanitarian official, June 8, 2003.

[51] Human Rights Watch interview with D.B., Paghman, March 16, 2003.

[52] Human Rights Watch interview with J.P.M.S., farmer, Paghman, March 18, 2003.

[53] U.N. News Source, "Afghanistan:U.N. Envoy Urges Investigation of Attack on Aid Workers," November 24, 2002, available at www.reliefweb.com (retrieved June 10, 2003); and UNAMA, Press briefing by Manoel de Almeida e Silva, UNAMA Spokesman, November 24, 2002, available at www.reliefweb.com (retrieved June 10, 2003).The men also stole money, equipment, and documents.Ibid.

[54] "Afghan police arrest gang accused of attacking German aid workers," Agence France-Presse, December 11, 2002 (reporting arrests); Human Rights Watch interview with ISAF headquarters official, Kabul, March 21, 2003.

[55] Human Rights Watch interview with J.E.B., Kabul, March 18, 2003.

[56] Human Rights Watch interview with E.N.S., Paghman, March 18, 2003.

[57] Human Rights Watch interview with J.P.M.S., Paghman, March 18, 2003.

[58] Human Rights Watch interview with A.A., Kabul, March 19, 2003.

[59] Ibid.

[60] Human Rights Watch has previously documented cases of sexual violence against boys in northern and in western Afghanistan, Human Rights Watch, "On the Precipice:Insecurity in Northern Afghanistan," A Human Rights Watch Briefing Paper, June 2002, available at http://www.hrw.org/backgrounder/asia/afghanistan/afghan-bck-04.htm, section IV entitled "Continued abuses against Pashtuns in Faryab"; Human Rights Watch, "All Our Hopes are Crushed:Violence and Repression in Western Afghanistan," A Human Rights Watch Short Report, vol. 14, no. 7(C), October 2002, available at http://hrw.org/reports/2002/afghan3/herat1002-06.htm#P997_155129, section IV entitled"Torture and Arbitrary Arrests."

[61] Human Rights Watch interview with official an Afghan human rights NGO, Gardez, March 11, 2003.

[62] Human Rights Watch interview with R.G.D., journalist, Gardez, March 9, 2003.

[63] Human Rights Watch interview with S.C.S., Jalalabad, May 8, 2004.

[64] Human Rights Watch interview with P.I.M., Jalalabad, May 8, 2003.

[65] Human Rights Watch interview with A.H.V., student, Kabul, March 28, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with P.M.Z., student from Jalalabad, Kabul, March 29, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with P.J.A., student from Jalalabad, Kabul, March 29, 2003.

[66] Human Rights Watch interview with P.M.Z., Kabul, March 29, 2003.

[67] Human Rights Watch group interview with five men, Paghman, March 16, 2003.

[68] Human Rights Watch interview with M.U.S., resident of West Kabul, March 22, 2003.

[69] Human Rights Watch interview with L.S.L.N., West Kabul resident, West Kabul, March 22, 2003; and Human Rights Watch interview with Z.M.M., West Kabul resident, West Kabul, March 22, 2003.

[70] Human Rights Watch interview with I.P.P.C., West Kabul resident, West Kabul, March 22, 2003.

[71] Human Rights Watch interview with F.S.S., West Kabul, March 22, 2003.

[72] Ibid.

[73] Ibid.

[74] Human Rights Watch interview with F.Z.Z., West Kabul, March 22, 2003.

[75] Human Rights Watch interview with A.K.G.S., West Kabul, March 22, 2003.

[76] Ibid.

[77] Human Rights Watch interview with B.Z. in group interview with three sisters, West Kabul, March 22, 2003.

[78] Human Rights Watch interview with A.K.G.S., West Kabul, March 22, 2003.

[79] Human Rights Watch interview with B.Z. in group interview with three sisters, West Kabul, March 22, 2003.

[80] Ibid.

[81] Human Rights Watch interview with A.K.G.S., West Kabul, March 22, 2003.

[82] Ibid.

[83] Ibid.

[84] Ibid.

[85] Ibid.

[86] Human Rights Watch interview with K.B., West Kabul, March 18, 2003.

[87] Human Rights Watch interview with L.A., West Kabul, March 18, 2003.

[88] Ibid.

[89] Ibid.

[90] Human Rights Watch interview with K.B., West Kabul, March 18, 2003.

[91] Ibid.

[92] Ibid.

[93] Human Rights Watch interview with L.A., West Kabul, March 18, 2003.

[94] Ibid.

[95] Ibid.

[96] Ibid.

[97] Human Rights Watch interview with H.W.D., owner of the house, West Kabul, March 18, 2003.

[98] Ibid.

[99] Ibid.

[100] Human Rights Watch interview with L.A., West Kabul, March 18, 2003.

[101] Ibid.

[102] Human Rights Watch interview with L.A. and H.W.D., West Kabul, March 18, 2003.

[103] Human Rights Watch interview with L.A., West Kabul, March 18, 2003.

[104] One resident of West Kabul said:"We have to keep a dog.My two daughters work on rugs and this supports the whole family.We have to support-feed-the dog as well. . . .If everything was good, we wouldn't keep the dog. . . .If we didn't have a dog, we would keep a chicken.But we have to keep the dog because we are afraid something will happen."Human Rights Watch interview with B.K.I, West Kabul, March 22, 2003.

[105] Human Rights Watch interview with Z.M., West Kabul, March 22, 2003.

[106] Human Rights Watch interview with M.B., teacher, Kabul, March 29, 2003.

[107] Human Rights Watch interview with U.N. official, Kabul, March 14, 2003; and Human Rights Watch interview with ISAF official, Kabul, March 21, 2003 (saying that area is under the control of Sayyaf's troops).

[108] Human Rights Watch interview with A.A., Kabul, March 19, 2003.

[109] Ibid.

[110] Ibid.

[111] Human Rights Watch interview with U.N. official, Kabul, March 14, 2003.

[112] Human Rights Watch interview with M.A.Z.S., Paghman, March 16, 2003.

[113] Human Rights Watch interview with A.B.S., Paghman, March 16, 2003.

[114] Ibid.

[115] Ibid.

[116] Human Rights Watch interview with V.M., Kabul, March 13, 2003.The witness's statement, that the gunmen were Sayyaf's troops, is a reasonable deduction:it would be extremely difficult for armed men not connected to local authorities to move freely about an area so close to the Paghman district capital.Still, Human Rights Watch could not independently verify the assertion.

[117] Human Rights Watch interview with O.M., Kabul, March 13, 2003.

[118] Human Rights Watch interview with V.M., Kabul, March 13, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with O.M., Kabul, March 13, 2003.

[119] Human Rights Watch interview with D.B., Paghman, March 15, 2003.

[120] Human Rights Watch interview with G.Z., Paghman, March 15, 2003.

[121] Human Rights Watch interview with W.Z. in group interview with approximately thirty women, Paghman, March 15, 2003.

[122] Human Rights Watch interview with U.S.K., Paghman, March 16, 2003.He added:"Look at this dog I have to keep![The dog stands almost one meter tall.]I am a poor man, and yet half the ration of the bread I assign for my family is given to this dog.It is very difficult for me to keep this dog."Ibid.His neighbor added:"I had a dog for my house; now I am very sad because it died and I need to find another one.We need to these dogs because many times the thieves have entered houses when people are asleep."Human Rights Watch interview with M.I.Z.K., Paghman, March 16, 2003.A third noted:"Yes, we keep dogs, trained dogs, to guard.You must keep yourself hungry to keep these dogs."Human Rights Watch interview with I.H.R.F., Paghman, March 16, 2003.One woman, when asked what she would do with her dog if security improved, said:"We would get rid of it.I hate the dog! . . . I am also afraid of the dog.When you came here and the dog was barking, my son came to me and said he was afraid of the dog."Human Rights Watch interview with P.D., Paghman, March 16, 2003.

[123] Human Rights Watch interview with U.S.K., Paghman, March 16, 2003.

[124] Human Rights Watch interview with U.N. humanitarian official, Kabul, March 13, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with humanitarian workers, Ghazni, March 23, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with health workers, Ghazni, March 24, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with U.N. humanitarian official, Kabul, March 29, 2003.

[125] Human Rights Watch interview with H.O.H., health worker, Ghazni, March 24, 2003

[126] Human Rights Watch interview with P.J.A., student from Jalalabad, Kabul, March 29, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with P.M.Z., resident of Jalalabad, Kabul, March 29, 2003; and Human Rights Watch interview with G.R.N., resident of Jalalabad, March 28, 2003.

[127] Human Rights Watch interview with T.U.K., Logar, March 18, 2003.

[128] Human Rights Watch interview with M.P.S., Logar, March 19, 2003.

[129] Ibid., and Human Rights Watch interviews with B.B.L. and T.B.A., shopkeepers, Logar, March 19, 2003.

[130] Human Rights Watch interview with V.A.H., West Kabul, March 22, 2003.

[131] Human Rights Watch interview with I.A.L., Kabul, March 18, 2003.

[132] Human Rights Watch interview with E.Z.A., Logar, March 19, 2003.

[133] Human Rights Watch interview with F.M.I.U., Kabul, March 28, 2003.

[134] Human Rights Watch interview with U.M.K., Kabul, March 26, 2003.

[135] Human Rights Watch interview with H.K.M.S., Kabul, March 28, 2003.

[136] Human Rights Watch interview with F.R.J.S., Kabul, March 26, 2003.

[137] Human Rights Watch interview with A.H.J.G., Gardez, March 11, 2003.

[138] Ibid.

[139] Human Rights Watch interview with M.H.I., Gardez, March 11, 2003.

[140] Human Rights Watch interview with A.K.W., Kabul, March 28, 2003.

[141] Human Rights Watch interview with U.H.A., bus driver from Jalalabad, Kabul, March 26, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with A.J.B., bus driver from Jalalabad, Kabul, March 26, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with E.D.A.Z., truck driver, Kabul, March 27, 2003.

[142] Human Rights Watch interview with M.A.G., Gardez, March 11, 2003.

[143] Ibid.

[144] Human Rights Watch interview with U.M.K., Kabul, March 26, 2003.

[145] Human Rights Watch interview with A.S.M.S., local U.N. staff, Gardez, March 11, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with U.N. humanitarian official, March 13, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with UNHCR local staff, Ghazni, March 23, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with U.N. humanitarian official, Kabul, March 29, 2003.See also interview, cited above, with A.H.J.G., truck driver, Gardez, March 11, 2003.

[146] Human Rights Watch interview with UNAMA official, Kabul, May 24, 2003.An Afghan journalist familiar with the situation in Wardak corroborated this.Human Rights Watch interview with E.G.R., Kabul, May 24, 2003.

[147] Human Rights Watch interview with F.W.Q., Wardak, June 3, 2003.

[148] Human Rights Watch interview with P.J.A., Kabul, March 29, 2003.

[149] Human Rights Watch interview with T.M.F., Logar, March 19, 2003.

[150] Human Rights Watch interview with R.I.Z., resident of Rodat district (Nangarhar), Kabul, March 29, 2003.

[151] Human Rights Watch interview with R.G.D., journalist, Gardez, March 9, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with I.A.L., journalist, Kabul, March 18, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with T.Y.E., journalist, Kabul, March 18, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with M.E.R., journalist from Jalalabad, Kabul, March 22, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with A.O.W., Afghan journalist, Kabul, April 20, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with I.Y.K., security official, Jalalabad, May 6, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with Z.R.D., Jalalabad, May 6, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with E.E.R., local U.N. staff, Jalalabad, May 8, 2003.

[152] Human Rights Watch interview with G.A.D., Kabul, March 29, 2003.

[153] Human Rights Watch interview with H.U.S., Kabul, March 29, 2003.

[154] Human Rights Watch interview with Z.A.B., Kabul, March 29, 2003.

[155] Human Rights Watch interview with A.D.D., driver, Kabul, March 24, 2003.

[156] Human Rights Watch interview with human rights NGO official, Gardez, March 11, 2003.

[157] Human Rights Watch visited numerous shops in Kabul city and found that most shopkeepers were reluctant to talk about extortion, and spoke about it (if at all) only if there were no other persons in their stores.

[158] Human Rights Watch interview with Y.E.K. and A.E.K, two shopkeepers, Gardez, March 11, 2003.

[159] Human Rights Watch interview with H.S.R., Gardez, March 11, 2003.When Human Rights Watch asked the same shopkeeper if he had been robbed by troops, he only nodded.Asked when, he said:"A month ago. . . .Problems do exist here, but it is not safe to talk here."

[160] Human Rights Watch interview with H.A.Y., Gardez, March 11, 2003.

[161] Human Rights Watch interview with M.S.L., Gardez, March 11, 2003.

[162] Ibid.

[163] Human Rights Watch interview with U.H.A., Kabul, March 26, 2003.

[164] Human Rights Watch interview with G.F.D.R., student from Jalalabad, Kabul, March 28, 2003.

[165] Name has been changed to protect the victim's security.Human Rights Watch interview with D.G.H., NGO official from Jalalabad, Kabul, April 16, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with K.Y.S., Jalalabad, May 6, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with I.Y.K., Jalalabad, May 6, 2003.

[166] Human Rights Watch interview with M.E.R., journalist from Jalalabad, Kabul, March 22, 2003.

[167] Human Rights Watch interview with U.N. official, Jalalabad, May 5, 2003.

[168] Human Rights Watch interview with local UNHCR staff, Jalalabad, May 8, 2003.

[169] Human Rights Watch interview with U.N. humanitarian official, Gardez, March 11, 2003.

[170] Human Rights Watch interview with UNAMA official, Kabul, May 24, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with UNAMA official, Kabul, May 26, 2003.

[171] Human Rights Watch interview with U.N. humanitarian official, March 13, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with U.N. humanitarian official, Kabul, March 29, 2003.

[172] Human Rights Watch interview with UNAMA official, Kabul, May 24, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with UNAMA official, Kabul, May 26, 2003.

[173] Human Rights Watch interview with E.G.R., journalist, Kabul, May 24, 2003.

[174] Human Rights Watch interview with UNAMA official, Kabul, May 24, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with UNAMA official, Kabul, May 26, 2003.

[175] Human Rights Watch interview with H.D., Kabul, March 13, 2003.

[176] Human Rights Watch interview with U.B., Kabul, March 13, 2003.

[177] Human Rights Watch interview with D.F.W., Kabul, March 14, 2003.A man from Paghman living in Kabul gave another reason why he and his family did not want to return:"[I]n Paghman there is no place to go to complain about anything that has happened, like if a thief comes at night.In Kabul there are lots of places to go to ask for help but in Paghman there is nothing."Human Rights Watch interview with O.Z.Z., Kabul, March 13, 2003.

[178] Human Rights Watch interview with I.S.E., Kabul, March 14, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with D.S.Z., Kabul, March 14, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with V.M., Kabul, March 13, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with T.R., Kabul, March 14, 2003.

[179] Human Rights Watch interview with G.F.D.R., student from Jalalabad, Kabul, March 28, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with A.H.V., student from Jalalabad, Kabul, March 28, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with P.J.A., student from Jalalabad, Kabul, March 29, 2003.

[180] Human Rights Watch interview with U.N. humanitarian official, Kabul, March 13, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with U.N. humanitarian official, Kabul, March 29, 2003.

[181] Ibid.

[182] Human Rights Watch interview with H.W.D., Kabul, March 18, 2003.

[183] Human Rights Watch interview with U.N. official, Jalalabad, May 5, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with local UNHCR staff, Jalalabad, May 8, 2003.