Paying for the Taliban's Crimes:

Abuses Against Ethnic Pashtuns in Northern Afghanistan

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Since the collapse of the Taliban regime in northern Afghanistan in November 2001, ethnic Pashtuns throughout northern Afghanistan have faced widespread abuses including killings, sexual violence, beatings, extortion, and looting. Pashtuns are being targeted because their ethnic group was closely associated with the Taliban regime, whose leadership consisted mostly of Pashtuns from southern Afghanistan. Directly implicated in many of the abuses are the three main ethnically-based parties and their militias in northern Afghanistan-the predominantly ethnic Uzbek Junbish-i Milly-yi Islami, the predominately ethnic Tajik Jamiat-e Islami, and the ethnic Hazara Hizb-i Wahdat-as well as non-aligned armed Uzbeks, Tajiks, and Hazaras who are taking advantage of the vulnerability of unprotected and selectively disarmed Pashtun communities.The international community needs to act to stop the violence against Pashtuns in northern Afghanistan, a task that for the foreseeable future cannot be handled solely by the Afghan authorities. Both the signatories of the Bonn Agreement and the United Nations Security Council have entrusted the U.N. with a great deal of responsibility in helping Afghanistan achieve a civilian representative government. The U.N. Security Council needs to expand the mandate of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) for Afghanistan to include areas outside Kabul, most urgently northern Afghanistan. Efforts at accountability for past and current abuses should be accelerated, and the capacity of United Nations agencies in Afghanistan and the interim government to monitor human rights abuses must be bolstered. The United Nations should work to identify vulnerable minority populations, including those who are displaced from their homes, and make particular efforts to ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance to these communities.