The Forgotten War

Human Rights Abuses and Violations of the Laws of War Since the Soviet Withdrawal

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For the last decade, Afghanistan has been the scene of some of the most serious human rights violations on record. About one half of the country's prewar population are either refugees, internally displaced, or dead. Most of the abuses were at one time attributable to the Afghan government and its Soviet advisers. Since the withdrawal of the Soviet troops in 1989, the intense fighting of the earlier years of the war has lessened in much of the Afghan countryside, but military operations by all parties still cause extensive civilian casualties in contested regions. Certain mujahidin commanders, for example, continue to launch poorly aimed rockets against Kabul and other cities. The Pakistani ISI and the CIA have encouraged these attacks and have supplied weapons to commanders who undertake them. In addition, all parties to the conflict rely on the widespread use of landmines without taking precautions to ensure that civilians are warned of the mine fields. To date, despite accords signed in 1988 in Geneva designed to end the war, fighting continues and civilian casualties mount.
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