- President Hamid Karzai and the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) should continue to urge nations to expand the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and to provide additional troops. The need for an expanded ISAF is particularly acute in light of the upcoming constitutional loya jirga and the 2004 national elections.
- The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which will take control of the ISAF in August 2003, should work with its member states and other nations involved in Afghanistan to expand ISAF beyond Kabul as soon as possible. To address the security concerns of potential force contributors, the United States should agree to share intelligence and offer emergency services to all ISAF force contributors. An expanded ISAF should be given a strong mandate to protect human rights, to work with and support newly trained and deployed Afghan military and police forces, and to monitor and enforce disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) efforts.
- ISAF should insist on the implementation of the provisions of the Bonn Agreement requiring the demilitarization of Kabul. Irregular forces loyal to warlords and political figures currently occupy much of Kabul in violation of the Bonn Agreement. ISAF should insist that Minister of Defense Mohammad Qasim Fahim and others in control of these irregular troops cooperate in removing such forces. This would improve the human rights and security situation in and around Kabul; it could also make it possible to redeploy some of the approximately 5,000 troops in ISAF currently stationed in Kabul to key provincial towns.
- ISAF should place particular attention on working with the Afghan authorities, the U.N., and NGOs to protect women and girls. Women involved in political organizing are especially targeted in areas outside of Kabul. The international community should consider deploying troops—including female soldiers—to work with Afghan police forces to protect schools and roads used by students.
- Until ISAF is expanded, the United States and other Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) contributors should expand the number of PRTs and their size. However, their mandate should focus on security, liaising with local authorities, training, assisting with and monitoring the DDR program, and human rights protection. Scarce resources that could otherwise be devoted to security should not be used for humanitarian or development projects that can more appropriately be undertaken by the Afghan government, the U.N., and experienced NGOs. The British plan for its PRT in Mazar-e Sharif could be a model: all but a few of its seventy members are focused on security. Their goal is to be visible, liaise with local authorities, and be responsive to the concerns of the local population.
- Like ISAF, PRTs should place particular attention on working with the Afghan authorities, the U.N., and NGOs to protect women and girls.
- The Afghan Transitional Administration should accelerate its efforts to create a professional and representative Afghan National Army. With the financial, political and technical support of the international community, it should implement a serious vetting system to ensure that known human rights abusers are not allowed to enlist.
- The United States, Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Russia, and others should share intelligence about the backgrounds of individuals attempting to enter the Afghan National Army with those responsible for the vetting process and work with local and international human rights and other organizations to identify individuals who should be disqualified from positions in the new army. At present, the United States focuses on vetting to exclude members of the Taliban or those involved in the drug trade, but places little or no emphasis on the human rights records of prospective military personnel.
- The Ministry of Defense should implement a program of officer and troop rotation in order to break the patron-client relationship between warlords and their subordinates. Senior and mid-level military commanders should regularly be reassigned both within the current military structure and as part of the new Afghan National Army. Such a program would help establish loyalty to the national army instead of to regional or ethnic-based leaders. NATO, as incoming leader of ISAF, and the United States and France, as principal external supporters of military reform, should urge the Ministry of Defense to implement such a program, focusing on the most recalcitrant warlords and military commanders and/or their troops.
- Providing that the Ministry of Defense begins a serious process of reform and the internationally supported disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) program proceeds, donors should offer assistance—including logistical, military, and political assistance—to ensure that the DDR program has adequate enforcement and monitoring mechanisms. NATO and an expanded ISAF force could assist with these efforts. Donors should use the offer of equipment and training, both of which are desperately needed, as incentives to ensure the cooperation of senior Ministry of Defense and military officials to sideline known human rights abusers.
- The disarmament prong of the DDR program should be overseen by an international military body so that Afghan commanders and soldiers who hand over weapons have confidence that such weapons will be destroyed or put beyond use and in no case end up in the hands of other Afghan armed forces. The creation of such a body for this purpose is an indispensable confidence-building measure for a successful disarmament process.
- Disarmament and demobilization should apply to all factions equally, or no factions will participate in good faith. DDR cannot succeed unless serious reform is undertaken within the Ministry of Defense to lessen the dominance of the Shura-e Nazar faction. Minister of Defense Fahim, who continues to command forces distinct from those of the central government, should take the lead in publicly disarming and demobilizing soldiers under his control if the DDR program is to have any chance of success.
- Huge weapons caches of various commanders of Shura-e Nazar in and around Panjshir should be included in any disarmament program, as the possession of these weapons can no longer be justified on the basis of national defense. All other weapons caches held by other factions should also be identified and relinquished as part of this program.
- The Afghan Transitional Administration should respond to cases of serious violations of human rights, including rapes, arbitrary arrests, armed robbery, and threats against journalists, with the full force of law. Senior police officials should be instructed to carry out good faith investigations that lead to the arrest and prosecution of perpetrators, including troops loyal to powerful political and military figures such as Abdul Rabb al-Rasul Sayyaf and Commander Hazrat Ali. The Afghan Transitional Administration should make clear to Ministry of Defense officials and the armed forces that any attempts to impede such investigations through threats or violence will result in prosecution and dismissal from public duties.
- President Karzai and the minister of interior, Ali Ahmad Jalali, should move forward with plans to expand the power and mandate of a centrally accountable police force, including a highway patrol and a quick reaction police force. The focus of a national police force should include addressing basic security and protecting vulnerable persons and sites during future constitutional consultation processes, loya jirga processes, and the 2004 elections. Special attention should be placed on the protection of women and girls, who continue to be targeted, especially in areas outside of Kabul. An ombudsman’s office should be created to oversee the police force and collect complaints about police abuses. Donors should support these efforts.
- President Karzai should make good faith efforts to remove or sideline abusive officials in army, police, and intelligence positions around the country. He should make better efforts to demand compliance with such efforts from Minister of Defense Fahim and other senior Ministry of Defense officials. Recalcitrant Ministry of Defense or military officials who fail to comply with the orders of the country’s civilian leadership should be dismissed.
- President Karzai should move quickly to reform the Ministry of Defense. The creation of a professional and representative Afghan National Army, capable of disciplining troops, ending the activities of unlawful militias, and removing warlords from positions of authority, cannot take place without significant reform. President Karzai should ensure that the Ministry of Defense is ethnically diverse and de-politicized. The ministry is now dominated by officials who are members of the former Northern Alliance (or Shura-e Nazar) or loyal to these groups.
- President Karzai should make a specific public appeal for funding for the Law and Order Trust Fund (LOFTA), created to build a new national police force. The LOFTA, which is administered by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), is severely under-funded.
- President Karzai should bring the Afghanistan intelligence agency, the Amniat-e Melli, under effective central government control and civilian leadership so that it is not misused by military or partisan political factions to commit human rights violations.
- President Karzai should order the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Defense to publish rules for the use of uniforms and identification in Afghanistan, including badges and picture identification cards, to allow easy recognition of police and army personnel and their units or offices, to increase the legitimacy of existing security personnel, and to help prevent irregular forces from acting under color of law.
- The Afghan Transitional Administration should issue decrees affirming the right to free expression and political participation. It should revise the current Afghan media law in conformity with international standards. The current media law is outdated and does not provide proper legal protections for media activity. President Karzai should order the Ministry of Information and Culture to make efforts to protect journalists inside and outside of Kabul by establishing procedures with the Ministry of Interior to deploy police forces to protect threatened journalists or editors.
- President Karzai should issue a decree stating that political parties can organize and function freely. However, the decree should also forbid political parties from organizing or controlling armed militias.
- The Supreme Court should act only as a judicial authority and not behave as a de facto, executive branch law enforcement agency, particularly regarding basic rights such as freedom of expression.
- President Karzai should publicly announce through radio, print, and other media the government’s support of the right of women and girls to equality in all aspects of their public and private lives, including explicit support for their rights to freedom of expression, association, and movement and the rights to work, education, privacy, and bodily integrity, including freedom from cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment.
- The Ministry of Education, in coordination with the Ministry of Interior and in consultation with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, should better address girls’ problems in attending school. Specifically, the ministries should develop plans for improving girls’ security while traveling to school—for instance, by exploring police patrols on school routes and providing safe transportation. Special attention should be given to the situation of older girls, who are more likely to be targeted for sexual assault or kept at home because of fears of sexual assault.
- Attacks on girls’ schools, such as bombings and arson, should be monitored, investigated, and prosecuted. While some cases have been investigated and some arrests made, there is no response to many attacks. The Ministry of Education and Ministry of Interior should monitor and investigate all attacks on schools and keep a record of the numbers of children affected. The Ministry of Interior should investigate allegations that local military authorities or other government officials may be involved in attacks in some provinces, such as Wardak.
- The Ministry of Education should make equal access for girls and women in school a priority at all levels—not only at the primary level. The government should ensure the complete equality of education for girls and boys. Older girls, who were especially disadvantaged by the lack of education under the Taliban, should be offered special “catch up” programs.
- The Afghan Transitional Administration should make better efforts to increase women’s participation in all government ministries. Recognizing that past discrimination has especially disadvantaged women in gaining experience and training for governmental work, the Afghan Transitional Administration should undertake targeted training and employment programs for women.
- The United States should make clear both publicly and privately that it supports President Karzai and the Afghan Transitional Administration and does not support regional warlords and abusive military commanders. As warlords and abusive military commanders become more and more entrenched, and with the constitutional loya jirga and national elections on the horizon, the United States must be clear both in words and actions that it supports only those leaders who promote respect for human rights. The United States should respond positively to requests from President Karzai to support lawful efforts to remove warlords or other abusive officials from positions of authority. Pressure should be exerted on Afghan military, police, and intelligence officials to submit to legitimate national and local civilian authority. The United States’ perceived commitment to help Afghans create a democratic, rights-respecting state will depend in large measure on whether reformers or warlords eventually retain authority.
- The United States, including the Department of Defense, the Department of State, and intelligence officials in Afghanistan, should assist the Afghan Transitional Administration to end abusive practices by Afghan army, militia, intelligence, and police forces. Where U.S. forces and officials are present at the local level, they should make better efforts to avoid strengthening or legitimizing abusive local military, intelligence, or police forces—whether intentionally or unintentionally. No financial assistance, arms, or other material assistance should be given to warlords or abusive military officials. All assistance should be channeled through the central government and legitimate civilian authorities.
- The mandate of U.S. military forces in Afghanistan should include the protection of human rights, including a willingness to intervene where necessary in individual cases and to protect legitimate government officials, both at the national and local levels.
- The United States should assist the Afghan Transitional Administration’s efforts to deploy trained police forces to areas outside Kabul by offering to help provide protection for those forces, particularly when their law enforcement duties require them to investigate, detain, or arrest suspects or when they attempt to enforce the orders of legitimate governmental authorities, including against warlords or their forces.
- U.S. forces and officials in all areas of Afghanistan should be instructed to make efforts to protect vulnerable political actors, dissidents, civil society organizers, and journalists who are under threat from local military, police, or intelligence forces.
- The secretary-general and his special representative in Afghanistan should persist in their efforts to pressure the United States and other member states to expand ISAF in order to increase security and protect human rights.
- The U.N., through UNAMA or the High Commissioner for Human Rights, should substantially increase its human rights monitoring presence around the country to act as both a deterrent and to help break Afghanistan’s cycle of impunity. The U.N. should hire sufficient human rights monitoring and protection staff to reliably cover all areas of Afghanistan, as well as address specific concerns, such as abuses against women and minority groups. It should create a trust fund for human rights to finance this initiative. Without an effective U.N. monitoring and protection effort, it is unlikely that the constitutional loya jirga process will be effective or will be seen to be effective or that the main elements of a free and fair election in June 2004, including registration, voter education, public awareness campaigns, free and equitable media access, freedom of association, and political organizing, will be possible.
- The U.N. should issue periodic public reports on the situation of human rights, with recommendations for improvement. These reports should draw on information supplied by an expanded human rights monitoring and protection staff, reports of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other U.N. agencies, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, and ISAF, U.S., and other military units in Afghanistan.
- The U.N. should increase its assistance to the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission to build its capacity to investigate and monitor human rights violations in Afghanistan. In particular, it should post substantial numbers of its monitors to work side by side with commission staff. UNAMA should also request the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights to contribute more personnel for this work.
- When return decisions are being made, UNHCR should better disseminate detailed and impartial information about conditions within Afghanistan to ensure that the decisions of Afghan refugees are made voluntarily. For example, UNHCR should make sure that its most current returnee monitoring report reaches Afghans making decisions about return and their host governments, such as Iran, Pakistan, Australia, the United States, and governments throughout Europe.
- The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) should maintain and make public records of attacks on school buildings and increase its assistance to the Ministry of Education in monitoring such attacks.
- Donors should offer appropriate training, seconding of staff, necessary financial support, and strong political support to the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission. The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission should begin to monitor the human rights situation and issue reports and findings in areas in which it can safely operate. Individuals who have the resources and strength to push forward a strong human rights agenda should be appointed to the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission.
- Members of NATO and other nations involved in security in Afghanistan should supply no governmental or military support directly to regional military or factional leaders.
- Donors should fully fund LOFTA (Law and Order Trust Fund), as requested by U.N. and Afghan government officials, so long as it meets necessary conditions of transparency and professionalism.
- Donors should increase assistance for building of schools and improving the quality of education provided in them, including for teacher training. Programs to increase women’s participation and girls’ education should especially be supported.
- Donors should contribute necessary funds for elections, currently scheduled for 2004, and provide long-term elections monitors.
- When return decisions are being made, host nations should better disseminate to Afghan refugees detailed and impartial information about conditions within Afghanistan to ensure that their decisions are made voluntarily. Donors should fully fund UNHCR and NGO programs for refugees.