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Chimtal District
Bargah-e Afghani
At around 11 a.m. one day in the first week of December, a group of about 300 armed Hazaras arrived at the remote Pashtun village of Bargah-e Afghani, located in the Chimtal district of Balkh province.37 Just two days prior to the arrival of the Hazara fighters, the villagers of Bargah-e Afghani had handed over their firearms to Manzullah Khan, an Uzbek commander of Junbish, and in return had received a written confirmation from him that they had been disarmed. Manzullah Khan had also placed twelve of his soldiers in the village after its population was disarmed, but the soldiers ran away when the Hazara fighters attacked the village.38 Most of the villagers quickly fled the village, but the Hazara fighters killed thirty-seven men who stayed behind, the largest documented killing of civilians since the fall of the Taliban. Of the thirty-seven killed, seventeen were local villagers, and the remaining twenty were ethnic Pashtuns who had resettled in the village.

A.S., a thirty-six-year-old farmer from Bargah-e Afghani remained in the village with his wife and six children during the attack. At about 12:30 p.m., a group of Hazara soldiers entered his home and detained him, tying his hands behind his back. When they took him outside, his wife tried to stop the Hazara soldiers, but they beat her away. Outside, the men began beating A.S.:

My hands were tied, and they were beating me with their AK-47 assault rifles. They were accusing me of being Taliban and Al Qaeda.... They told me that I had come from Pakistan and should give them money. I gave them 30 lakhs [about U.S. $42]. They threw the money away, saying it was not enough. They looted everything, even my naswar [snuff] box. They took two kilims [handwoven flatweave rugs], my wife's watch and two other Japanese watches, a tape recorder.39

The Hazara gunmen ultimately released A.S., but he then witnessed the summary executions of three Pashtun men from the village and later recovered the body of a fourth executed villager:

At first, [twenty-five to thirty-year-old] Abdul Matin was accompanied by his family. They were crying, "Please save him, do not kill him." The Hazaras were trying to get the women away from him. Then, when they brought Abdul Matin and separated him from his wife, in that instant they shot him with about ten bullets.
Then Abdul Hakim [aged fifty] asked them, "Why did you kill him?" They then shot Abdul Hakim also. Said Alam [aged thirty], the brother of Abdul Hakim, ran up. He asked them, "Why did you kill my brother?" Then they shot Said Alam with at least thirty bullets. I later heard that Asadullah [the twenty-year-old brother of Abdul Matin] was also killed by Hazara soldiers, and went to bring back his body.40

S., the twenty-year-old relative of Asadullah and Abdul Matin, was at home when the Hazara soldiers came to arrest her brother. She said that the soldiers had killed Abdul Matin almost immediately after they came to the family compound. They then tried to shoot her fourteen-year-old brother, Sharifullah, but she managed to push the gun away and make it fire in the air. The soldiers then beat her unconscious. The soldiers took Asadullah with them to carry looted goods to their car, and shot him about one hour later.41

Twenty-seven-year-old S.W. was at home with his shepherd, twenty-year-old Sardar Mohammed, a Pashtun who had resettled in the village after fleeing from Faizabad in Badakshan province. Hazara soldiers came to his home three times during the attack, first looting his home and then shooting and killing Sardar Mohammed:

They entered my home and tied my hands. Then they asked me for weapons-I did not have any weapons.
I had some carpets. They loaded the three carpets on my back, loosened my handcuffs and told me to bring them to their car. Then I returned to my home. Another team of soldiers came. The group had stolen a bicycle from a neighboring house, and they told me to carry it to [the edge of the neighboring] Turkmen village. There, they brought their truck and were using me as a porter. All of the expensive items were carried by me and some others to the vehicles. They themselves were also carrying things. I went back and forth three times. ...
Then, I was in my room. Four soldiers entered the house. One of the soldiers came to me, a second went towards the shepherd, who was sitting against the wall [of the courtyard]. [The soldier] shot six bullets at him, and he died at this place. ... They did not come near him, they shot him from a far distance [across the courtyard].... He was just sitting there, being quiet.42

G.D., aged forty-five, was hiding in his cow shed together with twenty-five-year-old Mohammed Umar when a group of eleven Hazara fighters entered:

Eleven Hazaras came into the compound. They came inside the cow shed and found Mohammed Umar hiding behind a clay pot. They asked him for weapons and money. He replied that he was a poor farmer. They tied his hands, and one soldier hit him with his weapon on his head. Then Mohammed fell down and lost consciousness. Another soldier instantly fired at him [emptying] a clip of thirty bullets. Then they left the compound.43

G.A., the thirty-year-old sister of Amir Khan, aged twenty, and Zafar Khan, aged thirty, told Human Rights Watch how Hazara soldiers detained and beat her two brothers, demanding money and drugs before killing them:

About twenty people came. They entered into the rooms and brought the men out, beating them. They had tied their hands behind their backs with their handkerchiefs. They were beating them, saying, "If you have money, give us money, If you have opium, give us opium." Each of my brothers was beaten by four gunmen, they were beating them with weapons. They were screaming, and I was crying. They beat them until they killed them....
We [women] went back inside the home and they followed us, demanding money. I told them that I didn't have any money. Then they took the men ... to another neighborhood, to see if they could find money from neighbors. Then they brought them back and shot them.44

Two other witnesses gave similar accounts of additional incidents in which the Hazara soldiers killed Pashtun civilians. M.J. watched a group of about twenty Hazara soldiers tie up her father, fifty-year-old Mohammed Khan, and her uncle, fifty-two-year-old Sher Khan. The soldiers began beating the men, demanding money: "Then they shot them inside our compound, and only then did they loot our jewelry."45 The Hazara soldiers proceeded to loot six carpets, four pairs of kilims, three Iranian carpets, a gas light, a sewing machine, a tape recorder, household goods, and a tractor from the compound: "They put all the looted goods on the back of the tractor and left."46

M., aged sixteen, witnessed the beating and killing of her father, seventy-year-old Safdar Bey, and her brother, twenty-six-year-old Amir Khan:

Six men came to our house, they were Hazaras. When they entered into the house, they beat us and looted our household goods. When they were beating my father, I was holding him, trying to stop them from killing him. They beat me [away] with their weapons. The beating lasted for about one and one half hours. Amir Khan, my brother, was also there. They also held him and were beating him. They tied their hands behind their backs, and their feet were also tied. They had bruises all over their bodies.
The Hazaras were asking us for 2,000 to 3,000 lakhs [about U.S. $2,800 to $4,200]. If we didn't pay the money, they would kill [my father and brother].
I saw the killing. At first, they beat them with their weapons, very forcefully. Then they shot them with about thirty bullets. Then they fired at them with [a heavier weapon]. Amir Khan was laid down on the ground, and they stabbed him with their bayonets.... They fired at both of them at the same time, but [my father] Safdar Bey only died two days later. Amir Khan died instantly. They were [shot] in the courtyard inside our compound.
Then, they entered inside our rooms and searched them. We had carpets, kilims, a sewing machine-they took all of these. Some golden coins were also taken, as well as four pairs of earrings, four rings, our clothes, six watches. But they didn't abuse us anymore. They also found 2,000 lakhs [about U.S. $2,800].47

Twenty-year-old A.A. was detained by two Hazara fighters in the street, and ordered to walk back to his home. While he was walking in front of the two fighters, he was suddenly attacked by them and nearly killed: "When I was walking [home], one of them hit me with the bayonet of his gun. It entered in the back of my head and came out of my mouth. I lost six teeth. I lost consciousness."48 A.A.'s father carried him to the hospital in Shiberghan, where he barely survived his injuries. His face was still heavily bandaged when Human Rights Watch interviewed him more than two months after the attack.

Los Angeles Times reporter Geoffrey Mohan interviewed a Hazara commander named Rajab about the attack. Rajab, who is believed to control a significant area of Chimtal district, admitted that killings took place in Bargah-e Afghani, and claimed that the attack was in retaliation for earlier incidents of attacks against Hazara villagers by Pashtuns:

Yes, that's right, something happened [in Bargah-e Afghani.] ... But when the Taliban first came, there were about 2,000 Hazara families in Chimtal [district]. These Pushtun people killed about 300 Hazara people and put 500 in jail. They looted the Hazara people's houses. They looted my house and knocked down the walls.... They killed about 300 people, and we killed maybe 10. We took cattle from dead people, but it was cattle they had taken from us.... No one knows who did this, but these people who are living in Bargah now, they oppressed people, they looted houses, they raped people.49

The Pashtun village of Bargah-e Afghani is adjacent to a Turkmen village, Bargah-e Turkman. Human Rights Watch also went to speak with the Turkmen villagers about their treatment in the time of the Taliban as well as the events during the attack. The Turkmen villagers claimed that Pashtuns from Bargah-e Afghani had looted their village when the Taliban first came to power. While the Taliban were in power, their Pashtun neighbors had to provide troops for the Taliban, and had demanded that the Turkmen village provide them with ten to fifteen men to fight on a monthly rotation.50

Following the deadly attack, security conditions improved for the Pashtun population in Bargah-e Afghani. Manzullah Khan, the Junbish commander to whom the villagers had originally handed over their weapons and who had sent the Uzbek soldiers who had fled during the attack, returned Junbish soldiers to the village following the attack. The village has not been attacked since.

Yengi Qala
Yengi Qala is a large village in Chimtal district, with a mixed population of ethnic Pashtuns, Tajiks, and Hazaras. According to an ethnic Pashtun village elder of Yengi Qala, sixty-two-year-old S.M., about half of the Hazara population of the villages surrounding Yengi Qala fled the area when the Taliban came to power in northern Afghanistan, at least in part because some of the Hazara villagers had actively resisted the Taliban advance.51 According to an ethnic Tajik shopkeeper in the town, a group of four Pashtun families who had resettled in Yengi Qala did continue to abuse the non-Pashtun population during the Taliban period, but the majority of Pashtun villagers were not involved in such abuses: "The Pashtuns who committed these crimes were mostly immigrants [i.e., from elsewhere] and they are no longer here now. They looted the Hazaras' mattresses, their goods, even their windows and doors."52

Almost immediately after the fall of the Taliban in Mazar-i Sharif on November 9, 2001, Hazara fighters who had left the area during the Taliban reign began returning to their villages around Yengi Qala. On the morning of November 12, at about 6 or 7 a.m., Hazara fighters began heading for Yengi Qala. On the way to Yengi Qala, the Hazara fighters came across a sixty-year-old Pashtun servant named Ismail, who was on his way to Shiberghan with a donkey laden with sacks of flour. Hazara fighters shot Ismail, and dumped his body in a nearby river.53

Sixty-two-year-old S.M., an ethnic Pashtun village elder in Yengi Qala, saw the Hazara fighters approach after he had finished his morning prayers, and immediately fled the village towards Jar Qala, together with most of the Pashtun villagers. When S.M. returned home two days later, he found his home looted, with even the windows removed from the walls:

They took my four cows, six bokhars [1,400 kilograms] of wheat. They looted everything from my house, you can see they even took the window frames.... They [also] took eight pairs of kilims, about nineteen new mattresses, twelve sleeping sets [mattresses with sheets and blankets, rolled together], and twelve more blankets. They broke all of the boxes [used for storing valuables] and took all of our clothes. In the women's boxes, there was also jewelry. They took a machine to produce cotton seed oil, my radio, two tape recorders, forty antique tea pots, and many other things.54

During the looting in the village, the Hazara soldiers killed three more people, including two women and the mentally disabled nephew of S.M. According to S.M., who did not personally witness the killing but spoke to several eyewitnesses, his forty-year-old mentally disabled nephew Said Nabi Shah was killed after being tied up and beaten by the Hazara fighters: "[The Hazara fighters] entered into my brother's compound, and they tied my brother's son up by the hands. They were beating him, pulling him up to a hill near the village. There, they shot and killed him. When we found his body, his hands were bound with his turban."55

S.M. vehemently denied to Human Rights Watch that he or other Pashtun village leaders had been involved in anti-Hazara abuses during the reign of the Taliban, and claimed to have personally protected Hazara villagers in the area from Taliban atrocities. He felt that he had been targeted for abuse simply because he was a Pashtun village elder: "When you are the elder of a village, when things change, people always blame you [for the past.] The other fault of mine is that I am Pashtun and the Taliban are also Pashtun. The Taliban did the crimes, but the punishment was for us."56

Two elderly women were also killed. Noor Bibi, aged about sixty, and her sister, seventy-year-old Goldaneh, were abandoned by their relatives when they fled the village, "because they were too old to be taken along." When the relatives returned to their homes, they found the two elderly women shot dead in their home.57 Human Rights Watch could not find any direct witnesses to the killings, but the neighbors said they took place during the period that Hazara forces were looting homes.58

Villagers also blamed two additional killings on Hazara fighters belonging to Hizb-i Wahdat. Around November 23, right after dusk, thirty-year-old Alauddin went to visit his sister, who had been ill. He left his sister's home later that night, together with Dad Mohammed, the sister's twenty-eight-year-old son. A number of Hizb-i Wahdat soldiers took away the men from right outside the sister's home, and the bodies of the two men were found three days later. J., the thirty-five-year-old brother of Alauddin, described how the bodies were found: "The bodies were found with their hands tied behind their backs, and both were shot in the head. Alauddin had also been shot in the left shoulder. Dad Mohamed had been shot twice in the head. There were also bruises on their bodies, I guess from rifle-butts."59

Many other villagers also suffered looting at the hands of the Hazara forces. M.A., who was over sixty, said a group of six Hazara fighters came to his home around December 5 or 10, 2001, at 2 p.m. He recognized their commander as Abdullah Chatagh of Hizb-i Wahdat. They demanded M.A. hand over his AK-47 assault rifle, and then started looting and beating: "They took my four cows, our rugs and kilims, and 360 lakhs [about U.S. $500]. They said, `you're Pashtun,' and started beating me with rifle butts on my back, legs, and arms."60 When asked if he made a complaint about the looting, M.A. replied that he thought a complaint would be useless and expressed the feelings of many:

I've complained only to Allah. Who hears our complaints? We will only get in more trouble if we complain. We have no power. Whoever has the guns has the power. We are sick of the guns, of the commanders. Take them all away and let us farm.61

T.S., a thirty-two-year-old ethnic Tajik shopkeeper, narrowly escaped execution at the hands of the Hazara forces, under the control of Commander Zahi:

Commander Zahi[`s forces] arrived and said they suspected us of being Talibs [Taliban supporters] and protecting the Talibs. They then collected eight of us, Tajiks [and other non-Pashtuns] and lined us up. They told us to get in one line. When we got in line, they fired above our heads. They wanted to shoot a second time, but their weapon jammed so we managed to escape. Zahi was with two bodyguards, he was riding a horse. The other [Hazara] soldiers were behind them, farther away.62

Following the Hazara attack, the Tajik population of the village contacted the Mazar-i Sharif based Jamiat commander Ustad Atta Mohammad and requested protection for their village. At about 8 p.m. that same day, two truckloads of weapons were sent by Jamiat to the village "to distribute to Jamiat supporters," according to T.S. "Then we could bring peace back to our village," T.S. continued, "and we invited the Pashtuns who had escaped to return to the village."63 S.M., the Pashtun village elder whose house was looted, confirmed that relative peace had returned to the village, and that they were now living under the protection of a Jamiat commander, Ghazi Shojaeddin.64

A second villager confirmed that security had improved since Jamiat took over security, stating, "Security is now better because Jamiat is protecting us against Hizb-i Wahdat since about twenty days. But it is only inside the village. We are still afraid to go outside [the village], or to go out at night."65 He added that they could still not travel on the roads "because the [Hizb-i Wahdat soldiers] will stop cars on the road and demand money and threaten us."66

However, although most Pashtun villagers in Yengi Qala were loathe to speak about abuses by their new protectors, armed Tajiks have also carried out abuses against Pashtun civilians. J. told Human Rights Watch that armed Tajiks had also looted Pashtun homes during November and December 2001.67 Around December 10, 2001, three armed Tajiks took forty-two-year-old A.M., an ethnic Pashtun, from his home to an old cemetery: "They held a gun to my temple and asked for money, I thought they were going to kill me. Then a villager passed by on the road and saw us, so they let me go after I gave them 150 lakhs [about U.S. $210]. They didn't beat me, they didn't have to. I knew they would kill me if I didn't pay them."68

Rape in Chimtal District
Human Rights Watch received second-hand reports that women and girls had been raped and kidnapped in Chimtal district, but we were able to confirm only one case of rape in the district. This does not mean that rape or abductions did not take place on a larger scale, but points to the difficulty of confirming cases of rape in a society where such abuses are considered "unspeakable."

A Pashtun school administrator in Mazar-i Sharif told Human Rights Watch that three Hazara soldiers raped a sixteen-year-old female relative of hers in Chimtal city on January 16, 2002. A group of four soldiers came to the home while the girl was bathing. The men tied up her father in the front room, and three of the soldiers raped his daughter in front of him and looted the home. The girl has been forced to leave her village, "because everyone heard about [the rape] and it was shameful for the family." Her father and brother refuse to see the rape victim, and have even threatened to kill her for bringing shame on the family. The school administrator stressed that there were other cases of rape, but that in most cases the families affected tried to keep the information private:

There are more rape and sexual violence cases against Pashtuns.... This is because the other [ethnic groups] have weapons now, and the Pashtun do not have weapons to defend themselves. Pashtun communities in particular are least likely to seek medical care in the event of sexual violence because of social stigmatization. ... The social stigma is so severe that in some cases families have killed their female family members [who were raped].69

Charbolak District

Soon after the fall of the Taliban in Mazar-i Sharif on November 9, 2001, Junbish troops took over a sizable military base located in the Charbolak district on the main Shiberghan-Mazar-i Sharif highway. Human Rights Watch visited three Pashtun villages in the district that had suffered abuses, including looting and beatings, from Junbish soldiers stationed at the military base. The abuses occurred in late November and December, and took place during a "disarmament campaign" in which the Junbish soldiers were supposedly looking for weapons.

According to people in all three villages, their security situation had improved significantly since the initial attacks. A former Taliban commander, Mohammed Wali, who is from Charbolak district, has switched allegiance to Junbish after the fall of the Taliban, and has provided protection for the Pashtun villages in the area. In return for the protection, each of the villages is providing a number of men to Commander Wali to serve as soldiers.

Nauwarid Janghura
Around November 15, 2001, at about 4 p.m., a group of about thirty to forty armed Uzbek men entered the Pashtun village of Nauwarid Janghura.70 In fear of their lives, most of the villagers ran away when they saw the Uzbek soldiers approaching, leaving behind only a few men, some children, and a few women.

Seventy-five-year-old B.M. remained in the village, too old to flee quickly. He saw the Uzbek soldiers enter the homes of the villagers, carrying out carpets and other valuables. When they came to his compound, the soldiers took him outside and began beating him:

They pulled me towards a hole in my yard. They threw me in the hole and pointed their guns at me, ordering me to tell them where the guns, jewelry, money, and valuable things were hidden. They were swearing at me, saying we were al Qaeda defenders, that we were al Qaeda members. I was swearing to Allah that we were not al Qaeda, but just Pashtun villagers. I told them that I had passed my seventy-fifth birthday in this village, I had not come from another country, but they kept abusing me.
When they first pushed me in the hole, they hit me with their AK-47 assault rifles on the back of my head and I lost consciousness. Then they were standing on my back, threatening to shoot me and beating me with the butt of their weapon, and kicking me.... When they finished beating me, they thought I was dead and they left me. After a while, I woke up and saw that the thieves were leaving and returning to their base.71

When B.M. returned to his home, he found most of his valuable possessions gone. Among the missing items he was able to remember were two carpets, three mattresses, three blankets, jewelry, the clothes of his female relatives, and about 200 lakhs [about U.S. $280].

Thirty-year-old B., a Pashtun farmer who had been imprisoned by the Taliban for three months in 1999 on suspicion of supporting the Northern Alliance, also stayed in the village. The Uzbek soldiers tied his hands behind his back, beat him with their weapons while demanding money and guns, and then put him in one of their jeeps. While the Uzbek soldiers continued to loot, B. managed to open the door of the jeep and run away. He returned at midnight to find his home looted: the soldiers had taken five carpets, three pairs of kilims, four Iranian carpets, a water pump, jewelry, and about 240 lakhs [about U.S. $330]. He was certain that the men were Junbish soldiers: "The soldiers who were here belonged to [General] Dostum. They had a fighting base near the village and were known to the people as Junbish."72

A third witness, thirty-eight-year-old J.S., also remained in the village when the Uzbek soldiers first entered. He spoke to the soldiers, whom he said belonged to Junbish. They demanded weapons, and he explained that the villagers only had two old hunting rifles, which they produced and gave to the Uzbek soldiers. The soldiers then began entering the homes and looting, so J.S. decided to leave the area, but remained close enough to the village to observe what the soldiers were doing:

They began breaking the boxes [used for storing valuables] and searching for money. They also collected the carpets. ... In the evening, they collected all the goods from the houses. They loaded it into two jeeps, and then they left. They remained here for about four hours, looting. ... We returned at midnight to the village. When I came back to my house, I found [they had looted] four pairs of kilims, 100 lakhs [about U.S. $130], two ghouris [carpet bags used to load goods on a donkey], my wife's clothes and jewelry. We had six boxes in our compound. They had broken them all open and stole everything.73

Around December 10, 2001, a force of several hundred Junbish soldiers began a large sweep operation in the Pashtun villages around their base, including Khanabad, Kakrak, and other villages. The supposed aim of the sweep operation was to search for weapons, but the efforts of the soldiers were focused on thoroughly looting the villages. Human Rights Watch researchers visited two of the affected villages, but were informed that other villages in the area had been similarly looted.

According to twenty-five-year-old A.K., about 200 Junbish soldiers arrived at about 2 p.m., at Kakrak village, spreading out all over the village. A group of around twenty to thirty soldiers came to his compound and tied him up, ordering the women to leave the compound. A.K. was beaten for a short time by the soldiers, and then managed to flee. When he returned home that night he found his home looted:

They stole our clothes and one expensive turban I had, forty lakhs [about U.S. $56], earrings, about two kilos of silver jewelry and coins, three watches from the women and my watch, two pairs of kilims, three mattresses, four blankets, a cooker, and a light.... They left their old shoes, turbans, and clothes, and took our new ones.74

The Junbish soldiers occupied the family compound of the village mullah in Kakrak, establishing a temporary base for their operations in the area. They remained at the mullah's compound for about seven days, continuing to loot and abuse the Pashtun civilians in the area, until a senior Pashtun commander now loyal to Junbish, Mohammed Wali, came to the village and ordered the soldiers to leave.

On the first night the soldiers stayed in Kakrak, at about 11 p.m., they entered the neighboring compound of G.R., a sixty-year-old Pashtun farmer. They tied up the elderly man, and began brutally beating him in front of his family, demanding money:

They came at 11 p.m. and tied my hands. Then, they began beating and kicking me, and hitting me with their weapons. They were telling me to show them my dollars. I told them I did not have any dollars. Then, they carried me to another room and threw me down. They beat me with wooden sticks, my hands were still tied.
I told my female relatives to bring me money, and they brought me 200 lakhs [about U.S. $280]. Then they untied my hands.75

During their week-long presence in the area, the Junbish soldiers also looted many of the other Pashtun villages in the area. The case of D.J., a twenty-five-year-old father of six from Khanabad, is typical. D.J. and his two brothers had just returned fifteen days earlier from Pakistan, where they had sought refuge from Taliban repression while working as construction workers. They had brought home with them a significant amount of money they had earned in Pakistan.

D.J. told Human Rights Watch that three Junbish soldiers first came to his home on December 13, demanding weapons and money. "I gave them my weapon. Then they asked for money. I gave them one hundred lakhs [about U.S. $130]. Then they stole one of my wife's earrings [and left]."76 The next morning, at 8 a.m., the same three soldiers returned, demanding more money. This time, they beat D.J. and his mother until they told the soldiers were the money was hidden:

Two soldiers held me, one by my feet and the other by my hands. They laid me face down. The third was beating me and stabbing me with [the barrel of his gun]. When I tried to stand up, they stabbed me with the end of the rifle, wounding me [pointing to a scar on his chest]. They were beating my mother in the same room. They kept saying to give them money and weapons.... I can't count how many times I was beaten on my back. They beat me for about two hours, they kept saying I had a beard and was a Talib.77

Finally, D.J. showed the soldiers where the family had hidden their money. The soldiers stole 200,000 Pakistani rupees [about U.S. $3,300], a relative fortune that the three brothers had managed to save while working in Pakistan. They also stole two valuable carpets, a tape recorder, a valuable turban, jewelry, and two watches from the family.78

The neighboring compound of S.K., aged thirty-four, was similarly looted. A group of about twenty Junbish soldiers first came to his home at about 4 p.m. on December 12, and found his twenty-five-year-old brother G. returning from burying his mother's valuables in the yard. G. told Human Rights Watch:

My mother had given me some expensive things in a bag and told me to bury it in the ground. I dug a hole in the ground and covered the bag. At that time, about twenty soldiers came to me. They asked what I was doing there.
Then they tied my hands. They beat me some thirty times with the backs of their weapons. I was absolutely frightened and thought they would kill me. So I confessed that I had buried some money and showed them the place.79

The soldiers dug up the bag and took away the 600 lakhs [about U.S. $840] and the video camera it contained. They then entered the family compound and stole a hunting rifle and two tractor batteries. The soldiers then left, but returned in the night to continue looting. Afraid that the soldiers would rape his female relatives, S.K. hid the women in his barn. The soldiers beat S.K. and his father, demanding money, and only stopped when S.K. paid them 20 lakhs [about U.S. $28]. Thirty minutes later, another group of five Junbish soldiers came to the compound and took away all of the expensive goods that S.K. had brought back from Pakistan, where he had lived as a refugee: four expensive blankets, four pairs of kilims, two tape recorders, a waistcoat, and jewelry worth about 29,000 Pakistan rupees [about U.S. $500]." The next morning, yet another group of four Junbish soldiers came, demanding 2000 lakhs [about U.S. $2,800] and threatening to take away S.K.'s tractor and irrigation pump if he didn't pay. S.K. paid the soldiers 500 lakhs [about U.S. $700], and they then left.

S.K. identified the troops as Junbish, and said he knew that they were under the general command of Commander Lal. He also identified the local commander who had been directly in charge of the troops that looted his home as Commander Kara. Following the attack, S.K., a village leader, went to the regional capital, Mazar-i Sharif, to complain to the Balkh district governor, Jamiat appointee Eshaq Raghuzar, about the attack. Raghuzar referred the case to the Charbolak district officials, who visited the village and confirmed the looting and abuse. However, when S.K. went back to Raghuzar to check on the progress of the case, Raguzhar told him that he could do nothing because the responsible soldiers belonged to another militia.80

On their first night in Kakrak village, the Junbish soldiers also came to loot the compound of seventy-five-year-old K.M., a wealthy elder of Khanabad village, at about 4 p.m. The commander of the unit said that they had come to search for weapons, but his soldiers proceeded to loot the compound when K.M. told them he didn't have any weapons. They beat the elderly village leader with their weapons. In the home, the soldiers stole 500 lakhs of Daulati Afghanis [about U.S. $1,300], four carpets, the clothes of his female relatives, and jewelry. K.M. invited the looting soldiers to share the sundown meal called Iftar, which ends the daylong fast observed during Ramadan. The soldiers shared Iftar with K.M., and then took away his flock of 200 sheep to their military base. K.M. knew the names of the two Junbish commanders who had looted his compound: he blamed Commander Zaker for stealing his household goods, and stated that Commander Kara-the same commander identified by two other villagers for the attacks on their homes-had stolen his flock of sheep. 81

Uzbek soldiers also looted the family compound of M.H., a fifty-three-year-old cotton trader from Khanabad, on the afternoon of December 12, 2001. M.H. ran away from his home when he saw the soldiers approaching. When he returned home, he found his minivan gone, as well as his business capital-U.S. $5,000 and 600 lakhs [about U.S. $830]-in addition to a hunting weapon, twenty silver coins and twenty golden coins, one radio, and five carpets.82 He told Human Rights Watch that his minivan was stolen by Commander Kara. M.H. has seen Commander Kara and his soldiers driving around in the stolen vehicle, and has complained about the theft to the Charbolak district leadership, but has not been able to secure its return.

Some of the women in the village believed that the soldiers had intended to rape women during the looting spree. K., aged fifty, explained that when the soldiers first came to her house with their commander, they had noticed some of the women in the home as K. was trying to hide them. When the soldiers were leaving, K. overheard them discussing whether they should return for the women. K. moved her younger female relatives to a friendly Uzbek neighbor's home. Later that night, the soldiers returned without their commander and asked where the women had gone to. K. lied and said they had fled to the city. She told Human Rights Watch that she was certain the soldiers had intended to sexually assault the women.83

Balkh District
Balkh City
At 9 p.m. on about December 25, 2001, sixty-year-old Jamaluddin, a disabled and sickly retired Imam [Muslim cleric], suddenly heard some knocking at the gates of his modest compound on the outskirts of Balkh city. When he went to check the gate, he found thirteen Hazara soldiers who had come from the Hizb-i Wahdat-controlled military garrison nearby. Afraid for his safety and the safety of his daughters, Jamaluddin refused to open the gate, so the soldiers climbed over the wall and broke the windows of the home, and accused Jamaluddin of being a Taliban supporter for refusing to let the soldiers enter.

The soldiers tied up Jamaluddin, and beat him until he lost consciousness:

When they came, they beat me on my head and legs. Then they tied my mouth, so I couldn't speak. They were abusing us, using bad words, accusing us of being Pashtuns and insulting us.... They beat me with their guns and tied my hands behind me. By the time they left, I was unconscious. My wife untied my hands and woke me up.84

While the soldiers were beating Jamaluddin, they took his wife and three daughters into a separate room. Jamaluddin heard the screams coming from the room. In an interview with Human Rights Watch, his thirty-year-old wife told how she and her fourteen-year-old daughter were gang-raped by the Hazara soldiers:

They took all the women and girls to another room and started with my fourteen-year-old daughter. She was crying a lot and imploring them not to do this because she is a virgin. But one of the men threatened her with his gun and said he would kill her if she did not undress. He ordered her to remove her shalwar [trousers] and gave her back her shalwar at the end. She was raped three times. The commander raped her twice, and another soldier raped her once. ...
We cried and said, "we are poor people with no enemies, why are you doing these things to us?" Their commander said, "You are Talibs and you are Pashtun." These men were Hazara soldiers with a commander; we think they may be from the local police station in Balkh. One man stood and another raped, turn-by-turn.
When we asked to go to the bathroom they refused to let us out and instead knocked lightly on the door. Then the two who were inside went out, and the three who were outside came in and forced me next. I was raped five times by the three men that entered next.
Then, after raping me and my eldest daughter, they tried to rape [my twelve-year-old daughter]. But, I resisted by keeping my arms around her while they kept trying to hit her. They hit her on the shoulder and head and her shoulder is still painful. ...When they tried to rape my youngest daughter [aged ten] she told them she would rather be killed than raped. They did not rape her. ...
I am concerned about the future of my daughters. No one will marry my daughters. There is nothing left for us; marriage and honor is gone. Everyone here knows what happened and makes jokes about us.85

After the beatings and the rapes, the soldiers looted the impoverished family's home before leaving. The soldiers stole a number of special carpets and other weavings that the family's daughters had prepared in anticipation of their oldest sister's wedding, which has now been cancelled due to the rape: "They robbed all the new things and the things we had prepared for the dowry [for my daughter]. They took silver bracelets, two rugs, one carpet, money, and one sewing machine.... We have nothing to eat since we lost everything, including the sewing machine that helped us support ourselves."86

Around December 1, 2001, Jamiat commander Sattar and around twenty Jamiat soldiers came to the Balkh city compound of A., a twenty-seven-year-old Pashtun who earns his living as a bus driver. Commander Sattar demanded A. hand over his vehicle, saying, "It belonged to you, and now it belongs to me." A. protested and showed Sattar his ownership papers, but was forced to hand over the keys and lost his vehicle. When A. later confronted Sattar and asked for the return of the vehicle, he said Sattar threatened to kill him.87 A. made a complaint to the Balkh police station, who ordered Commander Sattar to hand the vehicle back, but, according to A., "these are only words on paper-they don't mean anything."88

Turwai Kai Settlement
A.K., a thirty-four-year-old resident of the Turwai Kai Pashtun settlement on the outskirts of Balkh city, was approached at his family compound in early December 2001 by three Hazara soldiers whom he believed belonged to Hizb-i Wahdat. The soldiers had obtained a tractor, and demanded money to pay for it from A.K. He refused to give them the money.

A few days later, at about 11 a.m. on December 7, 2001, A.K. was riding his bicycle near the Balkh market when he ran into the same three Hazara soldiers. He explained how he was forced into the jeep by the soldiers and beaten before being shot while trying to escape:

When they arrested me at the market, they said "Right now, we will settle things."
It was about ten days ago, a Thursday. We have two market days, Monday and Thursday, and it was a market day. It was about 11 a.m. I was riding my bicycle, and they stopped me by the jeep. They were three people, they belonged to Hizb-i Wahdat. At first, they told me that they had some work for me. When I stopped my bike, they pushed down on my bike and made me fall down.
They then ordered me to get in the jeep. When I got in the vehicle, they beat me with their fists and kicked me. They also beat me with the guns. [As we were driving], I freed my hands and opened the door of the jeep and ran away near the cotton factory. When I ran away, they shot in front of me. Then they shot me near the ear. Then they also hit me in the neck. I screamed to alert the other villagers. When the villagers got alerted, they started shooting at the Hazaras. The Hazaras stopped chasing me and then I was rescued.89

Aghab-e Godam Settlement
Around November 26, 2001, early in the morning, a group of armed Hazara soldiers came to the ethnic Pashtun Aghab-e Godam neighborhood of Balkh city. Sixty-five-year-old F.M., a farm worker, had just finished his morning prayers when he saw a group of eight Hazara soldiers approach. The Hazara gunmen accused him of being a member of al Qaeda, tied him up, and took him to a house in the neighborhood. They collected all of the other adult men they could find in the neighborhood, and took them all into the same room.90 There, the Pashtun men were subjected to beatings. T., a twenty-six-year-old driver who was also in the group of detained men, recalled:

Several men were beating me with their guns, asking, "Where did you hide the money?, Where did you hide the guns?, Where is the documentation for your vehicle?" I was hit on my shoulders and my back, they were choking me and kicking me. They were also verbally abusing me, using curse words. I barely remember the first beating, then I got dizzy and can remember nothing more.91

All of the other men in the room were similarly beaten, including the eighty-year-old father-in-law of F.M., who suffered from hearing problems after being hit on the head during the beatings. The Hazara soldiers also began looting: "They brought a bus twice. They took our wheat, our flour, our carpets, everything new they stole. They filled up the bus twice."92 F.M. lost three carpets, more than 800 kilos of wheat, and 80 lakhs [about U.S. $110] to the looting. In addition, the Hazara soldiers slaughtered at least four sheep belonging to the villagers, telling them, "We'll be eating kebabs tonight." T., the driver, had his tractor-his most valuable possession-towed away by the Hazara looters, who also took away his small flock of seven sheep.

The Hazara fighters stayed in the village for two days, keeping the men hostage in the room. Other Hazara fighters came over from a nearby Hizb-i Wahdat garrison, removing the handcuffs from the men but not otherwise intervening. On the second day, two female relatives of the men went to Balkh city and found an American soldier, part of the small contingent of U.S. special forces in northern Afghanistan. Through the soldier's translator, they explained their situation. The U.S. soldier spoke on his radio and put together a larger group of Afghan soldiers, and then went to the neighborhood in military vehicles. They confronted the Hazara looters, and ordered them to leave. The looters left without a fight, but took several motorbikes from the villagers with them.93

Spin Kot Settlement
Around December 12, 2001, at about 2 p.m., a group of armed Hazaras came from their ethnic Hazara village to the Spin Kot village near Balkh city. Spin Kot is an ethnic Pashtun village, and was the home village of one of the main Pashtun commanders formerly aligned with the Taliban, Amir Jan Nasseri, who had been disarmed right after the fall of the Taliban. At the time the Hazara gunmen came to the village, the Pashtun commanders and most of the population had fled, according to a village elder: "The commanders had left here to go to [Jamiat leader] Ustad Atta to be protected. The other villagers feared being looted and bombarded, so they left the area."94

The armed Hazaras came to the home of forty-five-year-old M.J., and began beating him. They then tied him up and took him with them to their own village. The gunmen then put the tied-up M.J. in a donkey pen, and subjected him to a severe beating:

One was twisting my head and two others were kicking me in my back. They were beating me with a shovel, questioning me about guns and asking for money. They were threatening me, saying, "You are Pashtun so you are a Talib. We want to kill you, but not just yet. We'll do it step by step. We want to hurt you more before we kill you." They beat me there for about two, two and a half hours.... One of them brought a dog and tried to get the dog to bite me. I managed to fend off the dog.
The most important thing they were asking for was money. They demanded 1,000 lakhs [about U.S. $1,400]. I told them I had no money [with me] but that it was at the house. So we came [to my house]. I had to tell them where the money was hidden, in the cans of wheat. They took 220 lakhs [about U.S. $300] from the cans of wheat.95

M.J. suffered serious injuries from the beating, including a broken tooth, a wound to his right elbow, and bruises on his back. The armed Hazaras also took a military radio and two AK-47 assault rifles from his home, as well as two carpets, a tape recorder, and a valuable turban. He explained to Human Rights Watch that he had not held any official position in the Taliban government, but that he had been responsible for security in the village because of his position as a village elder.

A second villager, eighty-year-old A.Q., a retired clerk, was also present during the Hazara attack on the village. He said a group of about ten to twelve Hazara fighters came to his home, saying they were from Sarai village. Their commander and three or four of the fighters were uniformed. His wife was crying, and one of the soldiers slapped his wife in the face and kicked her. The Hazara gunmen took away two locked boxes with valuables, including jewelry, his wife's clothes, and A.Q.'s writing instruments. A.Q. told Human Rights Watch that the Hazara gunmen told him, "It is our time now, the Pashtun reign is finished."96

Following the attack on Spin Kot by the Hazara fighters, the Jamiat party provided a number of AK-47 assault rifles to the villagers, drawing them into the Jamiat fold in return for security for their village.

While the massive looting of entire Pashtun villages has ended in Balkh district, Pashtun civilians continue to face severe harassment and abuse at the hands of roving Hazara gunmen. Most Pashtun men interviewed by Human Rights Watch in the district told us that they did not dare to go to Balkh city out of fear of harassment and abuse. A.J., a nine-year-old Pashtun boy who had a small shop at Balkh market together with his brother, told Human Rights Watch that Hazara soldiers had come to him that morning and demanded 20 lakhs [about U.S. $28] from them: "They only ask from the Pashtun shopkeepers.... The Hazara soldiers warned my brother two or three times to bring money. They said that if we don't bring the money in one hour, they would break the lock [to the shop] and take away our goods on a trolley."97

Dawlatabad District
Pai-e Mashhad Afghani
Pai-e Mashhad Afghani is a large Pashtun village in Dawlatabad district, home to several hundred Pashtun families. Soon after the fall of the Taliban in Mazar-i Sharif, two Hazara commanders named Anwar and Musa came to the village and collected about twenty AK-47 assault rifles from the villagers. Then, around November 28, a group of about sixty Hazara soldiers, commanded by Commander Baseri of Hizb-i Wahdat, approached the village in three or four pickup trucks. The villagers, anticipating such an attack, had already moved many of the women out of the village. G.M., a fifty-year-old elder from the village, explained how he and the other elders were detained and beaten by the Hazara soldiers:

They came to my house and tied my hands. They beat me with their weapons. They kept saying, "show us the weapons," that was their excuse.... They beat me for about ten minutes, and then they carried me to the mosque. They collected all of the elders in the mosque, and beat us for about twenty minutes there.... They were threatening us, saying we were Pashtuns and belonged to the Taliban. But we did not belong to the Taliban, we are just farmers.98

When the men were released, they fled Pai-e Mashhad Afghani together with the other Pashtun villagers. For nearly two weeks, the villagers of Pai-e Mashhad Afghani watched from a distance as armed Hazara soldiers systematically looted their village:

They looted everything in my house. They took six kilims, four rugs, and around 200 lakhs from a [locked] box they carried away.... What happened to me happened to all the families belonging to this mosque [representing 200 families in the village].
They stole about 400 sheep and fifty cows that first day [November 28]. Half of the soldiers were searching the families, the other half gathered together the livestock.... Everyone's home was looted over a period of seven to twelve days. Everyday, they would come to the village in the morning [to loot] and leave in the evening. First they brought the Datsuns, but the next days they came with horses and donkeys to carry away the [looted] materials.99

Although the widespread looting of the village had ended by mid-December, most of the Pashtun villagers in Pai-e Mashhad Afghani still did not dare travel outside their village, out of fear of attack. G.M. explained: "Right now, we cannot go to the market [in town]. There are armed people there, and we are disarmed. Only very old men and young boys can go. We were told by the Hazaras that when the Taliban came, we helped them, so now we must suffer. I cannot go to the market because I am worried that they would jail or beat me."100

The fear of leaving their village held by many Pashtuns is justified. A.B., a fifty-year-old farmer from Pai-e Mashhad Afghani, was walking near his village with two others in early February 2002 when he was suddenly stopped by a jeep that contained two Hazara commanders named Baseri and Olan Shah: "They beat me with their AK-47 assault rifles and made me get into their jeep."101 The commanders took A.M. to a Hizb-i Wahdat base near Balkh city, and handed him over to their soldiers who subjected him to a severe beating, using a torture technique called falanga that causes extreme pain and can have severe medical consequences102:

Two men tied my feet. Then they held my feet in the air while I laid on my back. Two of them held up my feet, and two others were whipping my feet with wire cables. They beat me like this for about one hour.... They asked for money, about 2,000 lakhs [about U.S. $2,800]. I signed a document saying I would give them 2,000 lakhs.103

The Hazara soldiers released A.B. after he signed the document promising to pay them money. He has not paid them, and can no longer leave his village out of fear.

Koter Ma
Human Rights Watch researchers also visited the village of Koter Ma after receiving reports that serious abuses had taken place there. About seventy Pashtun families normally live in Koter Ma, but when Human Rights Watch researchers visited the village, most of the homes appeared abandoned. After walking through the abandoned village for ten minutes, the research team finally found a villager who explained what had happened. First, Junbish soldiers came to Koter Ma and collected the weapons from the villagers. The next night, a group of armed Uzbek men belonging to Junbish began looting the village:

It was the twenty-second day of Ramadan [December 7, 2001]. They came in the evening, at about 7 p.m., and left at 1 a.m. They came without vehicles. They were between twenty and thirty people, armed with rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47 assault rifles. All were Uzbeks, there were no Hazaras. They belonged to Junbish....
They came to my house, four of them. At first, they looted all my sheep, I had 120 sheep and goats. They took them all outside. They told me to hold up my hands and not to move. There was a bicycle in the guestroom and they brought it out. They also took six kilims.... They didn't beat me. But I had some women in the house, and the soldiers beat some of the women with their AK-47 assault rifles.
They had parked their cars some distance away, and took all of the goods there. From the whole village, about 600 sheep were taken. They also stole about twenty camels. They loaded the camels with looted goods, then tied them all together, and took them away in a chain....
Not all of the looting took place on the first night. It happened over a period of twelve days. When we fled the village, they came every day and looted for twelve days.104

When asked what had happened to the other villagers, B. explained that most of them had fled: "After the first night, in the morning most of the men left to go to Jalalabad [a city in eastern Afghanistan with a majority Pashtun population]. A minority stayed here. But after twelve days of looting, all of the villagers decided to leave from here."105 Three elders of the villagers had gone to Dawlatabad city to seek an intervention from Junbish commander Akbar Khan, but he reportedly told them to leave, saying, "Now is not the time for complaining."106

Bagh-e Zakhireh
M.G. is a seventy-year-old Pashtun farmer living in the small Bagh-e Zakhireh neighborhood on the outskirts of Dawlatabad city, formerly home to eight Pashtun families. When visited by Human Rights Watch in mid-February 2002, he had not left his home for months. His home had been emptied of all valuable possessions during several looting attacks, mostly by ethnic Hazaras but also involving some armed Uzbeks and Tajiks. He explained how his home had been repeatedly attacked since early December 2001, and how he had been personally beaten and abused:

Eight families were living in this area, all of them Pashtun. Four of the families have left, and four are still living here.
[Following the fall of the Taliban,] in the first four days, things were peaceful. But after four days, they came here on the pretext of searching for weapons and looted everything they found. Six or seven times they came here with their jeeps to loot.
The first time, it was around the twentieth or twenty-fifth day of Ramadan [December 5 to December 10, 2001]. They came at night. About ten or fifteen people came in two Datsuns. They were [ethnically] mixed, most from Dawlatabad, some from elsewhere. They looted everything. At first they beat all of the population living here, and then they looted all of our possessions, like carpets, pots, household goods. They also broke the boxes [used to store valuables.]
From my family, they took twelve carpets, anything from the house, such as teapots, jewelry, earrings, kilims, 2 or 3 bokhars [450 to 675 kilograms] of wheat, flour, 121 sirs [850 kilograms] of rice. Four cows were seized in the second attack.
During the first attack, about twelve thieves entered. They were beating me with whips, telling me to show them my money. They were saying that we were Pashtun, they were using bad words. They also hit me with their weapons, they kicked me, and punched me with their fists. The beating lasted for about one hour. Then, they twisted my penis and testicles, trying to get me to show them where I had hidden the money. Then I lost consciousness from the pain. When I woke up, I saw that no one was left here, and that nothing was left in my home. ...
Two nights later, there was a second attack. It was some of the same people, and some others. Again, we were looted. That time, they beat me, my wife, and my children. Any time they came, they would punch me and tie my hands, then they would kick me and beat me with their weapons, and ask for money.
They collected all of the women in a room. Then they broke their jewelry boxes and took the jewelry. When some of the women began to cry, they beat them. They were kicking the women and saying bad words to them.107

I., another farmer from the same village, also confirmed that Junbish, Hizb-i Wahdat, and Jamiat troops had all raided Bagh-e Zakhireh on different days: "Each force came separately, in pick-ups or jeeps.... They took all of the materials from our homes. From me alone, they took fourteen carpets, four cows, ninety sheep, and 360 lakhs [about U.S. $500]....The problem lasted for forty days, beginning with the change of regime-during the month of Ramadan. They came here repeatedly. When they wanted something, they beat us if we said it was ours."108

During one attack in late December 2001, Junbish soldiers severely beat I.'s family, including his young children:

When they got inside the room, the children shouted too much. To keep them silent, they hit [the children] with AK-47 assault rifles.... They beat another one of my daughters, aged seven. Now her hand is [disabled]. He hit her on the elbow with a AK-47 assault rifle butt.
[When the gunmen arrived], the family was separated in different rooms. Then they gathered us [in the living room] and beat us like animals. Then they left the house after four or five hours. They took two carpets, two sheep, one cow, and some silver.109

When Human Rights Watch visited I.'s family in mid-February, I.'s four-year-old daughter Lal Bibi was still recovering from the wound she had received-the gunman's AK-47 assault rifle's barrel had penetrated into the girl's torso and the wound had become infected.

Another attack on the same village came in late January 2002. Representatives from the neighboring Hazara village of Sar-i Deh came, demanding compensation for the use of their land during the Taliban period. According to M.G., the Taliban government had taken the Pashtun villagers' land, and ordered them to cultivate the land of their Hazara neighbors instead:

The most recent attack was twenty days ago, it came from the neighboring village. That village wants 3,000 lakhs [worth about U.S. $4,200] from all of the villagers, that is why some of the villagers have left. We are left here, and cannot go out. The other village, Sar-i-De, is a Hazara village. The Taliban had taken my land, and told me to go farm this land, which belongs to the Hazara people. So now, the Hazara people estimate the harvest was 3,000 lakhs because I farmed on their land. But I harvested about 40 bokhars of wheat, worth 800 lakhs. I only harvested there for one season, because of the drought.
We were five farmers in the village, and had about 200 dunams of land. It was occupied by the [Taliban] government and they were farming it. The government ordered us to farm this [Hazara] land for one year. ... I once fought against the Taliban, and they beat me black and blue.
I don't know how to resolve this conflict. I have no way other than to sell my house to settle this. They are threatening me every time [I go out.] I am imprisoned here [in my house.] Right now, if I leave here, they will come and steal even the windows and cut my trees.110

The villagers of Bagh-e Zakhireh also said they were unable to gain access to humanitarian supplies because of the harassment they faced from hostile neighbors. According to the villagers, they have been unable to obtain ration cards for the distribution of World Food Programme (WFP)-sponsored humanitarian aid: "When we go to Dawlatabad, they say there are no cards for Pashtuns."111 Only the women could go to the market, dressed in old clothes and their burqas to hide their identity.112

F., the thirty-year-old wife of I., also said that their village had been ignored in the last two food distributions in the area:

The U.N. [WFP] brought some aid to the center of the [area], to the head of the villages. This was meant to be distributed to each house but the head of the village said to us that he forgot to give us aid. The aid has come [twice], once after Eid [December 16, 2001] and again a second time.
We need a [ration] card to get the aid and so we went to the village head to get our names registered. When we went to get the cards, he said he was writing another list to include us on it. We are still trying to get the card, but we are sure we won't get it, because we are being targeted on the basis of our ethnicity.113

Other Affected Pashtun Villages in Dawlatabad District
Human Rights Watch researchers also visited Nagara Khan, once home to some 200 Pashtun families. The village was almost completely abandoned. Three Pashtun men had come to water their crops, and explained that looting and threats had forced all the families to flee.

According to one forty-five-year-old villager who was too afraid to give his name, groups of ethnic Uzbek Junbish soldiers repeatedly came to Nagara Khan over a five-day period immediately after the fall of the Taliban and looted the village. When the villagers turned over only eight guns, the Junbish soldiers took a group of about twenty-five young men from the village into the mosque, accused them of being Taliban, and threatened to kill them.114 The village elders approached Commander Majid Rouzi, now head of the 600-person security force in Mazar-i Sharif, with a written appeal for help, but he rebuffed them, saying "you did the same thing to us before, now we will do the same to you."115 The entire village then abandoned their homes, after losing most of their possessions to the looters.

Out of one hundred Pashtun families, more than eighty had left Deshdan Bala by the time of Human Rights Watch's visit in mid-February 2002. J.G. said that the looting in their village had started at the beginning of December 2001: "Armed men came during the days and nights and went through all of the houses, robbing things. They made an excuse about looking for guns. I lost six carpets, fifty sheep, three cows, and 4 lakhs [about U.S. $5.50]. In late December, the gunmen badly beat a number of men in the village with wooden sticks, threatening to kill them if the village did not give them money. Two teenagers died from the beatings: "Abdul Wali [aged eighteen] and Abdul Ghaffar [aged fifteen] did not have money, so they beat them with sticks. They died [from their injuries] within ten days."116

N., a twenty-five-year-old ethnic Pashtun, lives in the mixed Pashtun-Tajik village of Hashimabad. The Pashtun villagers in Hashimabad had suffered abuse at the hands of Junbish, Jamiat, and Hizb-i Wahdat, although N. said that Hizb-i Wahdat troops were responsible for most of the abuses. "I lost twenty sheep and one cow. They checked my pockets and beat me with weapons and sticks.... All of the [Pashtun] villagers were beaten, but none were killed or taken away."117 Because his own home had become unsafe, he moved his family to the home of a friendly Tajik neighbor. For about two weeks, from early December, his family had to hide in a hole in the ground to escape the marauding soldiers. The soldiers only targeted Pashtuns: "None of the Tajik homes in the village were touched."118

37 Witnesses estimated the date of the attack as occurring between the seventeenth and the twentieth day of Ramadan, corresponding to between December 2 and December 5, 2002.

38 Human Rights Watch interview with village elder K.W., aged forty-five, Bargah-e Afghani, February 24, 2002.

39 Human Rights Watch interview with A.S., aged thirty-six, Bargah-e Afghani, February 24, 2002.

40 Ibid.

41 Human Rights Watch interview with S., aged twenty, Bargah-e Afghani, February 24, 2002. S., like many Afghans, uses only one name.

42 Human Rights Watch interview with S.W., aged twenty-seven, Bargah-e Afghani, February 24, 2002.

43 Human Rights Watch interview with G.D., aged forty-five, Bargah-e Afghani, February 26, 2002.

44 Human Rights Watch interview with G.A., aged thirty, Bargah-e Afghani, February 26, 2002.

45 Human Rights Watch interview with M.J., age unknown, Bargah-e Afghani, February 26, 2002. M., like many Afghans, uses only one name

46 Ibid.

47 Human Rights Watch interview with M., aged sixteen, Bargah-e Afghani, February 26, 2002.

48 Human Rights Watch interview with A.A., aged twenty, Bargah-e Afghani, February 24, 2002.

49 Geoffrey Mohan, "Vengeance is Taking its Toll in Wake of Taliban," Los Angeles Times, March 2, 2002.

50 Human Rights Watch interview with A., aged fifty-two, February 26, 2002. A., like many Afghans, uses only one name.

51 Human Rights Watch interview with S.M., aged sixty-two, Yengi Qala, February 26, 2002.

52 Human Rights Watch interview with T.S., aged thirty-two, Yengi Qala, February 26, 2002.

53 Human Rights Watch interview with S.M., aged sixty-two, Yengi Qala, February 26, 2002.

54 Ibid.

55 Ibid.

56 Ibid.

57 Human Rights Watch interview with J., aged thirty-five, Yengi Qala, February 26, 2002. J., like many Afghans, uses only one name.

58 Ibid.

59 Ibid.

60 Human Rights Watch interview with M.A., aged over sixty, Yengi Qala, February 26, 2002.

61 Ibid.

62 Human Rights Watch interview with T.S., aged thirty-two, Yengi Qala, February 26, 2002.

63 Ibid.

64 Human Rights Watch interview with S.M., aged sixty-two, Yengi Qala, February 26, 2002.

65 Human Rights Watch interview with J., aged thirty-five, Yengi Qala, February 26, 2002.

66 Ibid.

67 Ibid.

68 Human Rights Watch interview with A.K., aged forty-two, Yengi Qala, February 26, 2002.

69 Human Rights Watch interview, Mazar-i Sharif, February 19, 2002.

70 One witness dated the attack to about ten days after the fall of the Taliban in Mazar-i Sharif on November 9, 2001, while a second witness stated that the attack occurred prior to the beginning of Ramadan on November 16, 2001.

71 Human Rights Watch interview with B.M., aged seventy-five, Nauwarid Janghura, February 25, 2002.

72 Human Rights Watch interview with B., aged thirty, Nauwarid Janghura, February 25, 2002. B., like many Afghans, uses only one name.

73 Human Rights Watch interview with J.S., aged thirty-eight, Nauwarid Janghura, February 25, 2002.

74 Human Rights Watch interview with A.K., aged twenty-five, Kakrak, February 25, 2002.

75 Human Rights Watch interview with G.R., aged sixty, Kakrak, February 25, 2002.

76 Human Rights Watch interview with D.J., aged twenty-five, Khanabad, February 26, 2002.

77 Ibid.

78 Ibid.

79 Human Rights Watch interview with G., aged twenty-five, Khanabad, February 25, 2002. G., like many Afghans, uses only one name.

80 Human Rights Watch interview with S.K., aged thirty-four, Khanabad, February 25, 2002.

81 Human Rights Watch interview with K.M., aged seventy-five, Khanabad, February 25, 2002.

82 Human Rights Watch interview with M.H., aged fifty-three, Khanabad, February 25, 2002.

83 Human Rights Watch interview with K., aged fifty, Khanabad, February 25, 2002. K., like many Afghans, uses only one name.

84 Human Rights Watch interview with Jamaluddin, aged sixty, Balkh, February 25, 2002.

85 Human Rights Watch interview with N., aged thirty, Balkh, February 25, 2002. N., like many Afghans, uses only one name.

86 Ibid.

87 Human Rights Watch interview with A., aged twenty-seven, Balkh, March 4, 2002.

88 Ibid.

89 Human Rights Watch interview with A.K., aged thirty-four, Turwai Kai, February 25, 2002.

90 Human Rights Watch interview with F.M., aged sixty-five, Aghab-e Godam, February 18, 2002.

91 Human Rights Watch interview with T., aged twenty-six, Aghab-e Godam, February 18, 2002. T., like many Afghans, uses only one name.

92 Human Rights Watch interview with F.M., aged sixty-five, Aghab-e Godam, February 18, 2002.

93 Human Rights Watch interview with S., aged forty-six, Aghab-e Godam, February 18, 2002. S., like many Afghans, uses only one name.

94 Human Rights Watch interview with M.J., aged forty-five, Spin Kot, February 18, 2002.

95 Ibid.

96 Human Rights Watch interview with A.Q., aged eighty, Spin Kot, February 18, 2002.

97 Human Rights Watch interview with A.K., aged nine, Balkh city, February 18, 2002.

98 Human Rights Watch interview with G.M., aged fifty, Pai-e Mashhad Afghani, February 19, 2002.

99 Ibid.

100 Ibid.

101 Human Rights Watch interview with A.B., aged fifty, Pai-e Mashhad Afghani, February 19, 2002.

102 Beating of the feet, commonly referred to as falanga, falaka, or basinado, is a widely reported form of torture that can have severe consequences, including muscle necrosis, vascular obstruction, and chronic disability and pain. See Action Against Torture Survivors et al., Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment ("The Istanbul Protocol"), August 1999, for a detailed medical description of the effects of falanga torture.

103 Human Rights Watch interview with A.B., aged fifty, Pai-e Mashhad Afghani, February 19, 2002.

104 Human Rights Watch interview with B., aged seventy, Koter Ma, February 19, 2002. B., like many Afghans, uses only one name.

105 Ibid.

106 Ibid.

107 Human Rights Watch interview with M.G., aged seventy, Bagh-e Zakhireh, February 19, 2002.

108 Human Rights Watch interview with I., Bagh-e Zakhireh, February 20, 2002. I., like many Afghans, uses only one name.

109 Ibid.

110 Human Rights Watch interview with M.G., aged seventy, Bagh-e Zakhireh, February 19, 2002.

111 Human Rights Watch interview with I., Bagh-e Zakhireh, February 20, 2002.

112 Human Rights Watch interview with F., aged thirty, Bagh-e Zakhireh, February 20, 2002. F., like many Afghans, uses only one name.

113 Ibid.

114 Human Rights Watch interviews with man aged about forty-five to fifty, and man aged about twenty to twenty-five, Nagara Khana, February 20, 2002.

115 Human Rights Watch interview, Nagara Khana, February 20, 2002.

116 Human Rights Watch interview with J.G., Deshan Bala, February 20, 2002.

117 Human Rights Watch interview with N., aged twenty-five, Deshan Bala, February 20, 2002. N., like many Afghans, uses only one name.

118 Ibid.

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