Hundreds of civilians have been killed or injured in insurgent attacks in Afghanistan over the last five years. This section provides accounts of attacks targeting civilians, as well as indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks and other attacks carried out with little or no regard for the consequences for civilians. The accounts are taken from witnesses, survivors, and the relatives of victims.
Southern and Southeastern Afghanistan
The most deadly attacks targeting civilians by insurgent groups have occurred in Afghanistans south and southeast. Because of the poor security conditions in many of the areas in which attacks have occurred, it is difficult to obtain first-hand testimony about many attacks. Human Rights Watch nonetheless has been able to speak with witnesses in some cases, and collect accounts from security reports by the United Nations and the Afghanistan NGO Security Office (ANSO), a security consulting organization for non-governmental organizations, and from media reports.
On January 17, 2006 in Spin Boldak, a border town in Kandahar province, a bomb exploded in a crowd attending a wrestling match, killing at least 20 civilians.
Haji Agha, a car dealer with a house near the site of the attack, told Human Rights Watch about the attack:
On the day of the attack a Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the bombing, but later rescinded his statement and said the Taliban was not involved.51 In addition to the initial claim of responsibility, the later Taliban denial is drawn into question by the fact that the attack took place in the heart of Spin Boldak, in the heart of the Afghan-Pakistani border area in which the Taliban regularly operate and transit. Some Afghans in the area suggested that the Taliban were responsible and were targeting government officials who were attending the wrestling match, but that they then denied responsibility for the attack because of the high number of civilian casualties.52
Another major attack targeting civilians occurred in the southern province of Helmand around August 28, 2006. A bomb (by some reports a suicide bomber) detonated in the middle of the day in a crowded bazaar in Lashkar Gah, Helmands capital.53 According to local officials, the bomb killed 15 people and wounded 47, including 15 children. Local officials told journalists that one of the wounded children was a two-year-old boy, who had a leg amputated.
Types of Attack
Methods of attack by insurgent groups can be roughly categorized as follows:
A shopkeeper named Razaq Khan, whose shop was damaged in the attack, told a journalist at the scene:
Qari Yousaf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesperson, told the Associated Press that Taliban forces were responsible for the bombing, and that its target was a businessman and former police chief who had served in the government during the Soviet occupation of the 1980s. Ahmadi said the attack was not intended to cause civilian deaths, an groundless claim given that the targeted manhis past political affiliations asidewas a civilian. Ahmadi said: We are very sad about the civilian casualties. We only wanted to kill this former police chief.54
Numerous other bombings directed at civilians and civilian objects occurred through the south and southeast in 2006. (See Appendix A for a selection of other examples.)
However, bombings were not the only form of violence used to target civilians in the south and southeast. In 2006, anti-government groups in border regions also continued to carry out assassinations of clerics, teachers, and government officials and employees.
Human Rights Watch believes that at least 17 governmental officials were killed by insurgent forces in 2006mostly governors, deputy governors, district administrators, provincial council members, and senior officials in government ministries.55 Almost all of these killings took place in the south or southeast of the country.
For example, on September 10, 2006 in Khost, in southeastern Afghanistan, a suicide bomber killed Abdul Hakim Taniwal, the 63-year old governor of Paktia, along with his nephew, driver, and a bodyguard.56
On September 25, two gunmen on a motorcycle killed Safia Ama Jan, a woman in her mid-60s and the Kandahar director for Afghanistans Ministry of Womens Affairs.57
The Taliban claimed responsibility for both incidents.58
There were also several cases in 2006 in which school teachers, officials, and students were attacked by alleged insurgents. In an incident in early December 2006, gunmen scaled the wall of a residential compound in a village in the southeastern province of Kunar, entered the house, and shot and killed two sisters who worked as local schoolteachers, as well as their mother, grandmother, and a 20-year-old male relative. According to Gulam Ullah Wekar, a provincial education official, the two teachers had recently received a written warning from the Taliban to stop teaching or end up facing the penalty.59
Western and Northern Afghanistan
In 2006, anti-government forces extended their reach beyond south and southeastern Afghanistan, carrying out attacks throughout the country. Attacks were even launched in and around the western city of Herat and the northern city of Mazer-e Sharif, largely Dari-speaking areas in which most anti-government forceswho are predominately ethnic Pashtunhave less local support.
On May 12, 2006, a United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) convoy transporting doctors from a clinic in Badghis province back to neighboring Herat was ambushed in Karokh district in Herat province, approximately 80 km from Herat city.
Combatants armed with rocket propelled grenade (RPG) launchers and AK-47 assault rifles launched an RPG at the lead vehicle in the convoy, a civilian vehicle clearly marked with a UN logo. Two people were killed in the attack: a UN staff-person and an engineer with a non-governmental humanitarian organization.60 The engineer was named Zamarey, and was a health specialist for Malteser International, a German aid organization working in Badghis province.
Naser Mohammadi, Zamareys elder brother, spoke with several witnesses to the attack and with local security officials who investigated the scene.61 He told Human Rights Watch:
Naser said he had been worried about Zamarey earlier in the day, after he received a call from Zamareys fiancée, who was wondering where he was. She asked me if my brother was in Herat or not. I told her no, he was not here yet. . . . I tried to call my brother but he did not answer. Naser then called one of the UN workers traveling in the convoy. He then learned that his brothers convoy had been attacked, that two people in the convoy had been killed, and that an injured man had been brought to Herat city hospital. He rushed to the hospital.
When Naser got the scene, he learned that police had taken Zamareys body to a local police station. Naser retrieved his brothers body and returned to Herat.
A CNN dispatch later reported that the one surviving UN worker had his leg amputated, because of the injuries he sustained in the attack.62
Local security officials told Naser that his brother had been killed by Taliban forces. Naser, from his own discussions with police officials at the scene, also believed the Taliban was responsible.
A few weeks after the attack, two suspected Taliban fighters were arrested in Herat province in connection with the killings.63
* * *
On May 30, 2006, four aid workers with the humanitarian organization Action Aid, three women and one man, were killed on a road in Mingajig district in the northern province of Jowzjan, when two gunmen on a motorcycle fired on their vehicle in broad daylight.64
One of the women killed, named Binafsha, was 17 years old. Binashas mother Latifa told Human Rights Watch how on the day of Binafshas death she received a telephone call from Binafshas co-workers, telling her to come urgently to the Action Aid office:
The family went to a local hospital to retrieve Binafshas body and prepare it for her funeral.
A doctor told Latifa that Binafshas colleagues were killed instantly, but that Binafsha had likely survived for over an hour after the attack.
Before her death, Binafsha was working to support her family and studying to become a doctor. According to her mother Latifa:
Latifa went on to say that Binafsha was more than a daughter to her, She was not just my daughter, but my teacher.
One of the other women killed in the attack was named Bibi Sadaat. Her husband, Mohammad Hashim, was in Kabul, on work-related travel, when she died. He told Human Rights Watch how he learned of his wifes death:
Mohammad said his wifes death took him entirely by surprise, that he never imagined that his wife would be killed in an attack. She did not have any enemies. Mohammad said. She worked for four years helping people and made many friends, a lot of people loved her. Even now people are still coming to express their condolences.
Although no group claimed responsibility for the killings, a Taliban spokesperson had telephoned BBC on May 29, 2006, the day before the attack, and warned of attacks in the north of the country.67 However, many northern residents whom Human Rights Watch interviewed believed that Gulbuddin Hekmatyars Hezb-e Islami forces were responsible for attacks in the area, and for the attack in Jowzjan.
* * *
On June 8, 2006, a week after the incident detailed above in which four Action Aid staffers were assassinated, three humanitarian aid workers working in Chimtal district, in the northern province of Balkh, were gunned down by unknown assailants while traveling around the district performing humanitarian assessments.
While on a remote road between villages, their vehicle was stopped by two armed-men on a motorcycle, and all three men were shot multiple times with an automatic weapon; two were killed and one was serious wounded. The two who were killed were an engineer, Mattiullah, and a driver, Abdul Qayoom.68
Human Rights Watch interviewed the sole survivor of the shooting, Shafiq Ahmad. He was shot four times at close range in the left arm and leg. He told Human Rights Watch what happened:
Shafiq said that he, Mattiullah, and Abdul visited several districts in Chimtal before starting back to Mazar-e Sharif around 3 pm.
Shafiq said that It seemed as if the bikes were signaling to each other. Shafiq told Human Rights Watch that a man on the first motorcycle seemed to be signaling to the second in some manner than suggested this is the car, now you can attack.
Shafiq said he did not know whether the first shots hit anyone. He was in the back seat. I was scared so I ducked down behind the front seats to protect myself.
Shafiq said the shooter got off the motorbike and continued to fire at the car. He walked around the left side of the car, the drivers side, and shot Abul Qayoom first, and then Mattiullah, who was in the front passenger seat, and that he himself was then hit in the leg and arm.
The gunman then fled on their motorcycles.
Matiullah was wounded, but died two hours later. According to Shafiq, Matiullah was to be married in three days in his home province of Wardak, near Kabul.
Abdul Qayoom, the driver, was the father of nine children in Mazar-e Sharif.
Abdul Qayooms widow, Paykai, described to Human Rights Watch, how she and her family learned of Abduls murder:
Paykai told Human Rights Watch that Abdul Qayoom was a very good father, neighbor, and husband. She said:
Wahida is Abdul Qayooms 14-year-old daughter. She told Human Rights Watch:
Wahidas oldest brother now works to support the family, but she says the money is not enough, and that the family does not know what to do.
I never expected my father to leave us, she said.
Numerous other attacks on humanitarian and developmental workers took place in the west and north around the same time. For instance, on June 20, 2006, a Turkish worker for a road construction company and three Afghan colleagues were reportedly ambushed and killed in the western province of Farah.71
On March 12, 2006, two suicide bombers in Kabul carried out an attack apparently directed at former Afghan president Sibghatullah Mojaddedi, a senior official in the upper house of the Afghan parliament and the head of a reconciliation committee that seeks dialogue with Taliban leaders and reintegration of former combatants into civilian life.72 Mojaddidi was leaving his office when two men with suicide vests detonated their explosives near his vehicle, killing four pedestrians. Mojaddidi was slightly burned on his hands and face.
Human Rights Watch spoke with Sharzad,73 a nine-year-old girl who was seriously wounded in the blast. Sharzad said that at the time of the attack she was walking home with her brother and sister from a visit to the Pir-e Boland shrine in Bagh-e Bala, situated on a crowded street near Mojaddidis office. When the bomb went off, Sharzad was struck in the abdomen with a large piece of shrapnel. Sharzad told Human Rights Watch:
Faronuz, Sharzads mother, recounted to Human Rights Watch her fear and confusion when she learned of the attack:
Faronuz rushed out of her home and found a taxi to take her to the hospital.
But Sharzad was lucky and recovered, although she was hospitalized for several weeks afterwards. Given the major damage to her torso and internal organs, the doctors told Sharzads parents that her recovery was a miracle, and that she easily could have died that day.
Nearly ten months after the attack, Sharzad still has pain in her arms and legs.
For Sharzads mother Faronuz, the attack revived painful memories of Afghanistans past conflicts, including civil conflicts in the early 1990s. Faronuz told Human Rights Watch:
Sharzad told Human Rights Watch that she still has nightmares from that suicide attack:
* * *
On July 5, 2006, three bombs targeting government employees and offices exploded in Kabul during the morning rush hour, killing several people and wounding over 50. Two bombs targeted buses carrying workers to the Commerce and Interior Ministries, and a third detonated in a vendors cart near the Justice Ministry.
Human Rights Watch spoke with Ghulam Haider, an employee of the Commerce Ministry and a survivor of the attack on the ministry bus.
He detailed to Human Rights Watch how he experienced the attack:
Later the same day, a second bomb exploded at a busy intersection near the Justice Ministry, killing two civilians and injuring another twelve. The intended target of the bombing was unclear.
Mohammad Rasoul, whose taxi was damaged in the explosion, told the Associated Press that he was inside his car when the blast went off about twenty feet away. Rasoul said: The glass windows were blown in toward me. When I turned my head, I saw one man with both legs cut off and he was screaming.77
Mohammad Yusef Aresh, one of the injured at the scene, described the attack to Human Rights Watch: The street after the bomb exploded was like Afghanistan 23 years ago [i.e., during the war against the Soviet occupation]. People were running and screaming because of the bombs.78
When Aresh regained consciousness he realized that he was lying in the middle of the street and bleeding profusely out his side: While lying [in the street] I thought I was going do die, 100 percent, but I trusted in God. If someone had not helped then, I would have died. I was bleeding very badly.
Aresh recalled that immediately before the explosion he had seen one of the women killed in the bombing:
He also recalled thinking about his mother and family while he was lying in the street.
I wanted to call my mother and family to tell them what happened to me, but I lost my phone in the attack. I wanted to call somebody but I couldnt. I remember losing hope.
Aresh detailed to Human Rights Watch how his injuries from the attack have affected his present-day life and health:
In addition to attacks that target civilians, insurgent forces have also launched numerous attacks aimed at military targets that appear to have been carried out with little or no regard to the consequences for civilians. While limited information often makes it difficult to determine conclusively that a particular attack violated the laws of war, insurgents appear to have repeatedly used methods or means of attack that did not distinguish between civilians and combatants (indiscriminate attacks) or knowingly conducted attacks in which the loss of civilian life and property exceeded the expected military gain (disproportionate attacks).
Southern and Southeastern Afghanistan
On August 3, 2006, a suicide attacker detonated a car bomb in a crowded market in Panjwai Markaz, a town about 25 km west of Kandahar city. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which killed at least 21 civilians, including children, and wounded dozens more.79 From the circumstances of the attack, it appeared the intended target of the attack was a Canadian ISAF patrol, roughly 200-400 meters from the blast. The patrol was unharmed. (The same day, another ISAF patrol was ambushed elsewhere in the same district, and four Canadian soldiers were killed.)
An Associated Press correspondent who visited the scene of the bombing attack reported: At least fourteen shops were burnt by the blast that left a crater 1.5 meters across and 50 centimeters deep.80 The report also said that wreckage from the car bomb was flung 100 meters from the blast site and that human body parts and debris littered the road.81
Human Rights Watch spoke with Abdullah, a motorcycle repairman and an owner of one of the shops destroyed in the blast.82 His brother, son, and nephew were all killed in the attack, as was one of his employees.83 Abdullah said that, at the time of the attack, he was inside his shop with his son Idris, his nephew Kawun, and his assistant Naseem. It was a very hot day, just after lunch, and he and his assistant, Naseem, were sleeping while his son kept watch for customers.
I was awakened by the sound of the blast. I jumped with fear, he said.
Abdullah told Human Rights Watch he was slightly wounded but his son, nephew, and assistant all sustained severe injuries.
Abdullahs nephew soon died. His son, Idris, lived for a few days after the attack but then eventually succumbed to his injuries as well. Abdullah told Human Rights Watch about how the deaths affected the family:
Abdul, an 11-year old, was also injured. He was working as an assistant in one of the other motorcycle repair shops near the site of the attack. Human Rights Watch interviewed him in a Kandahar city hospital, one month after the attack. He was lying in traction, having sustained severe injuries to his hands, leg, and his left eye. He described the attack:
Human Rights Watch also spoke with another shop-owner, Arbab, who like Abdullah owned a motorcycle repair shop at the site of the attack, which was also destroyed. Lal Mohammad said business was slow on the day of the attack and he and his son closed the shop around midday and went home for lunch. He was at home when the attack occurred:
Arbab then went to the market with his cousin:
Arbab knew many of the families who lost relatives in the blast.
A Taliban commander claimed responsibility for the two attacks in Panjwai: We carried out all the attacks, said Mullah Amnullah, a Taliban commander who spoke by telephone with a reporter a day after the attack.86
Local residents told Human Rights Watch they were angry that the Taliban would choose to carry out an attack in the middle of a crowded civilian area.
Arbab noted that the ISAF patrol near the market was unharmed in the attack, and questioned why the Taliban carried out the attack in the manner they had:
Numerous other bombings and attacks like the one above occurred in southern and southeastern Afghanistan in 2006.
Late in 2006, insurgents launched another rash of suicide attacks on military targets moving around Kandahar: nine suicide attacks occurred in and around Kandahar during a two-week period in late November and early December.88 The attacks mostly appeared to be meant for passing NATO patrols. The Taliban claimed responsibility in five of the nine attacks. In all nine cases the attacks were carried out within or close to crowded civilian areas. One of these attacks failed and killed only the attacker, but seven of the eight remaining attacks caused civilian casualties, and all seven killed more civilians than combatants.
A December 8 bombing, seemingly directed at a NATO convoy in the Chawk Madat neighborhood of Kandahar, caused ten civilian casualties. A hospital official at Mirwais hospital, Dr. Najibullah, told journalists: Weve got two dead bodies and seven injured in our hospital. Theyre all civilians.89
Western and Northern Afghanistan
On April 8, 2006, a Taliban suicide bomber unsuccessfully attempted to drive an explosive-laden cart into the main gate of the Italian-led ISAF Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) compound in Herat.90 The gate lies on a civilian street on which there was regular foot and vehicle traffic. The attack caused severe damage to the surrounding buildings but only lightly affected the PRT. The attack killed an Afghan guard on duty at the time and three civilians, and injured seven others. The attack highlights apparent disregard for the security of civilians, both by the Taliban insurgents who carried out the bombing and by the ISAF forces that placed a military compound inside a populated area of the city.
One of the civilians killed in the attack on the PRT was Jalaluddin, a local vegetable seller and a father of four. He left in the morning with his cart. At about 9 am he was on the street when the bomb exploded and he was killed, his widow Leila told Human Rights Watch. His children did not sleep for a week after that.
Leila told Human Rights that she heard about the attack that killed her husband on the local televised news.
Qari Yusuf Ahamdi, the Taliban spokesman, claimed responsibility for the attack on the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT). Ahmadi told Agence France-Presse that the attack was a suicide attack carried out by a citizen from Herat named Abdul Rahim.91
* * *
Human Rights Watch also collected information about a bombing that occurred in Herat in 2004: On July 11, 2004, at around 10:30 am in the morning, a man left a bomb near a police station in the citys main bazaar. The bomb blast killed several civilians. No military infrastructure was damaged in the blast. Police stations are not normally valid military targets.
Human Rights Watch spoke with Mir Ahmad, who witnessed the attack, and lost his 17-year-old son, Amanullah. Mir Ahmad said that he and another of his sons owned adjacent hardware shops about five meters from the police station, and that he saw the man place the bomb, attached to a bicycle, outside his sons shop.
Mir Ahmad was working in his shop at the time, sorting nails.
According to Mir Ahmad, Amanullah was in sixth grade when he was killed. Mir Ahmad said he was well-respected among his family and peers:
Amanullahs death has severely affected Mir Ahmads family. Mir Ahmad told Human Rights Watch that Amanullahs elder brother, who owned the shop at which Amanullah was working the day he was killed, will never open his shop again. He has not been to his shop since then.
* * *
Panic was how Lal Mohammad, a survivor of an IED attack in Mazar-e Sharif, described the reaction of victims immediately after a powerful bomb exploded in citys crowded main bazaar on July 13, 2006.93 The attack took place across the street from the citys Blue Mosque. According to a report about the incident by the Afghanistan NGO Security Office (ANSO), a monitoring and consultative body that monitors security incidents:
Sher Jan Durrani, a city police official, told Pajhwok News Agency that one man died in the attack.95 The ISAF convoy was unharmed. Lal Mohammad said:
Lal Mohammad was struck in the back with a piece of shrapnel as he was loading a television into his car, parked near the bazaar.
Habibullah, a survivor of the same attack, described the scene as something like what he had watched on the TV or on the films.96 He said, It was like I was dreaming. If I had taken two steps forward, I would have been killed, because the bomb that exploded was very close to me.
Habibullah was also injured and hospitalized.
Although no one claimed responsibility for the attack, victims like Habibullah think that the Taliban were responsible:
Lal Mohammad, Habibullah, and other witnesses to this attack told Human Rights Watch that fear of a second explosion was the cause of much of the panic that day.
* * *
Around December 10, 2005, a civilian vehicle rigged with explosives detonated on Dar al-Amman Road in Kabul, as an ISAF convoy was passing by. Three civilians were wounded in the attack, and one other civilian was killed (the suicide bomber was also killed). The attack reportedly only slightly damaged the ISAF vehicle, and ISAF reported no casualties.97
Roshan and Abdul Hadi were two brothers who shared a home with their families on the Dar al-Amman road in Kabul.
Both were victims of the attackAbdul Hadi was killed. Human Rights Watch spoke with Roshan about the attack that day, and his brothers death.
At the time of the attack, Roshan said he and his brother were on their way to mosque to say Friday prayers.
Roshan sustained serious injuries to his arms and legs which badly impaired his ability to walk and sit comfortably. My legs and hands were injured. When I move them it feels like I am being cut by a knife he said.
Human Rights Watch also collected information about some of the numerous IED and vehicle bomb attacks that have taken place on the road that leads out of Kabul city to the east, commonly referred to as Jalalabad Road. Since January 2006, the Taliban and other insurgent groups have claimed or are suspected to have carried out dozens of IED attacks on Jalalabad Road.
The attacks usually target NATO or Afghan military convoys that are traveling to or from the center of Kabul to NATOs Camp Warehouse, which lies on Jalalabad Road.
The road, however, is typically busy with civilian traffic, and although these attacks appear to target military convoys, they frequently incur needless loss of civilian life. Some accounts collected by Human Rights Watch illustrate the point:
On May 21, 2006, the Taliban carried out a suicide attack on a US military convoy traveling towards downtown Kabul on Jalalabad Road. Hanif Ahmadi, the Taliban spokesman, said the attack was carried out by a Taliban member named Sayed Mohammad Mujahid, and that the attack inflicted heavy casualties on US soldiers traveling in the convoy.99 However, witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch, as well as by ANSO, said that no US soldiers were harmed in the attack.100 ANSO and various media sources reported that two civilians were killed in the attack, in addition to the bomber, but witnesses told Human Rights Watch that six civilians were killed and seven others injured.
Human Rights Watch spoke with two witnesses: Najib and Habibullah. Habibullahs brother Saifoor was killed in the attack.
According to Najib and Habibullah, Saifoor and a shopowner named Sayeed Gul were sitting in front of Sayeed Guls shop on the morning of the attack, eating watermelon. Habibullah described how the attack unfolded:
Habibullah described what he saw when he returned:
Habibullah said the car was parked on the opposite side of the road, in front of Najibs house and Sayeed Guls shop. Habibullah saw the military convoy coming down the road.
Najib, Saifoors closest friend, told Human Rights Watch what he saw that day:
Habibullah explained to Human Rights Watch how the attack affected his mother:
Saifoors friend Najib described the affect of the attack on the neighborhood:
Habibullah told Human Rights Watch:
Two other attacks in Kabul in September 2006 killed numerous civilians:
On September 8, 2006, a suicide bomber detonated next to a US military convoy traveling through a crowded street in the Wazir Akbar Khan area of east Kabul; two US troops and 14 Afghan civilians died, including several women and children.106 Journalists who visited the scene right after the attack saw trees set on fire by the bombing, and body parts, hats, shoes, and clothing scattered across the street.107
On September 30, 2006, a suicide bomber detonated near the Interior Ministry office in downtown Kabul, killing 12 civilians, including an eight-year-old boy, and injuring another 42.108 Tom Koenigs, the UN Secretary-Generals Special Representative to Afghanistan, released a statement condemning the September 30 attack, saying he was shocked and appalled:
50 Human Rights Watch interview with Haji Agha, Kandahar, August 28, 2006. See also 24 dead in Afghanistan suicide bombings, Agence France-Presse, January 17, 2006 (quoting a witness to the attack: People were starting to go home, a motorcycle approached the area and a big explosion happened. . . . I saw a big fire and a couple of vehicles on fire and I estimate around 30 people were lying either dead or wounded. There were screams and blood everywhere.
51 Human Rights Watch interview with Afghan news media producer familiar with statements made on the day of the attack (name and details withheld by Human Rights Watch), December 27, 2006.
52 Human Rights Watch interviews with Kandahar province officials, Kandahar, August 29, 2006.
53 Information about this attack was taken from security briefings by the Afghanistan NGO Security Office (ANSO) and media reports, including Abdul Khaleq, Suicide Bomber Kills 17 in Afghan Town, Associated Press, August 28, 2006.
54 Abdul Khaleq, Suicide Bomber Kills 17 in Afghan Town, Associated Press, August 28, 2006.
55 This estimate is based on ANSO reports, government statements, and media reports; additional civilians were killed in many of these attacks. See also A glance at recent targeted attacks on senior Afghan officials, Associated Press, December 12, 2006; and Jason Straziuso, Targeted attacks on Afghan leaders rising in militant strategy to undermine gov't, Associated Press, October 19, 2006.
56 See Pamela Constable, Afghan Governor Assassinated in Suicide Bombing, Washington Post, September 11, 2006. Another suicide bomber attacked during Taniwals funeral the next day, setting off an explosion near a vehicle carrying Paktias deputy provincial police chief, Mohammed Zaman. Zaman was injured; five other police were killed, along with a 12-year old boy. At least thirty-five other people were reported wounded. See Matthew Pennington, Suicide attacker strikes at funeral of assassinated Afghan provincial governor, 6 dead, Associated Press, September 11, 2006.
57 See Mirwais Afghan, Afghan provincial women's affairs chief killed, Reuters, September 25, 2006.
58 See Afghan provincial women's affairs chief killed, (Hakim Taniwal); and Abdul Qodous, Suicide bomb kills 18 in south Afghanistan, September 26, 2006 (Safia Ama Jan).
59 See Gunmen kill 5 family members in Afghanistan, Associated Press, December 9, 2006
60 The description of this incident is based on interviews with ANSO officials in Herat who are familiar with the incident; and interviews with Naser Mohammadi, brother of Engineer Zamarey, one of the men killed in the attack, September 2, 2006.
61 Human Rights Watch interview with Naser Mohammadi, brother of Engineer Zamarey, Herat, September 2, 2006.
62 Rocket kills 2 U.N. workers in Afghanistan, CNN, May 12, 2006 , http://edition.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/asiapcf/05/12/afghanistan.rocket/index.html?section=edition_world (accessed February 12, 2007).
63 ANSO Security Situation Summary, Weekly Report No. 022, May 31, 2006.
64 The details of this incident are based on interviews cited below, and ANSO North Security Incident Report, Incident Report, May 30, 2006.
65 Human Rights Watch interview with Latifa, mother of Minafsha, Shiberghan, August 25, 2006.
66 Human Rights Watch interview with Mohammad Hashim, husband of Bibi Sadaat, Shiberghan, August 25, 2006.
68 Details of this incident are based on the interviews cited below, with Shafiq Ahmed, survivor of the attack, Mazer-e Sharif, August 24, 2006; Human Rights Watch interview with Paykai, widow of Abdul Qayoom, Mazar-e Sharif, August 24, 2006; Human Rights Watch interview with Wahida, daughter of Abdul Qayoom, Mazar-e Sharif, August 24, 2006.
69 Human Rights Watch interview with Paykai, the widow of Abdul Qayoom, Mazar-e Sharif, August 24, 2006.
70 Human Rights Watch interview with Wahida, daughter of Abdul Qayoom, Mazar-e Sharif, August 24, 2006.
71 Turk, three Afghan guards killed in Afghanistan attack, Agence France-Presse, June 20, 2006. Turkish officials said the man killed was Mehmet Sut, 48, and that the attackers used rocket propelled grenades and automatic weapons in the attack.
72 Information about this incident is based on an ANSO security report, see ANSO-Central, Kabul city, VBIED attack against high government official, March 12, 2006; and Human Rights Watch interview with Nargiz N., Kabul, September 6, 2006; and Interview with Leila N., mother of Nargiz, Kabul, September 6, 2006. See also Sayed Salahuddin, Afghan ex-president survives bomb, Reuters, March 12, 2006.
73 Human Rights Watch has used pseudonyms for the victim and her mother to protect their anonymity.
74 Accounts in this section are taken from a Human Rights Watch interview with Sharzad, Kabul, September 6, 2006, and Human Rights Watch interview with Faronuz, Sharzads mother, Kabul, September 6, 2006.
75 Human Rights Watch interview with Faronuz, mother of Sharzad, Kabul, September 6, 2006.
76 Sharzad is referring to the practice of praying before death to re-confirm ones faith as a Muslim. (Haram,literally forbidden, is a religious term in Arabic meaning without religious purity.)
77 5 Afghan Workers for US Base Killed, Associated Press, July 4, 2006.
78 The accounts provided here are based on an interview with Mohammad Yusef Aresh, Kabul, September 6, 2006.
79 Tim Albone and Terry Pedwell, The bloodiest day yet, Globe and Mail (Canada), August 4, 2006.
80 21 killed in car bomb attack on market in southern Afghanistan, Associated Press, August 3, 2006.
82 Human Rights Watch has used pseudonyms for the witness and his family to protect their anonymity.
83 Human Rights Watch interview with Abdullah, Kandahar City, Kandahar, August 22, 2006.
84 This account is taken from a Human Rights Watch interview with Arbab, Kandahar, August 22, 2006.
85 These accounts are taken from a Human Rights Watch interview with Lal Mohammad, Kandahar City, August 22, 2006.
86 Tim Albone and Terry Pedwell, The bloodiest day yet, Globe and Mail (Canada), August 4, 2006.
88 Information about these ten attacks is based on security reports and other accounts compiled by Human Rights Watch. See also Bill Graveland, Bomber misses Canadian target, Canadian Press, December 8, 2006; and Noor Khan, Typically indiscriminate Taliban attack kills Afghans, Associated Press, December 4, 2006.
89 Afghan Civilians Bear Brunt Of Suicide Attack on NATO, Agence France-Presse, December 8, 2006.
90 Suicide bomber hits Afghan base, BBC Online, April 8, 2006, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4890384.stm (accessed February 12, 2007). The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. A Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) are small international military and civilian teams stationed around Afghanistan and intended to liaise with local government officials, provide background security for local security forces, and engage in small development projects.
91 Suicide bomber hits Afghan base, BBC News, April 8, 2006.
92 Human Rights Watch interview with Mir Ahmad, father of Amanullah, Herat, September 3, 2006.
93 Human Rights Watch interview with Lal Mohammad, Mazar-e Sharif, Balkh, August 26, 2006.
94 ANSO North Security Incident, July 13, 2006.
95 Man dies in Mazar blast, cops killed in Zabul, Pajhwok Afghan News, July 13, 2006.
96 Human Rights Watch interview with Habibullah, Mazar-e Sharif, Balkh, August 26, 2006.
97 ANSO Security Situation Summary, Weekly Report no. 051, December 15-21, 2005, p. 3.
98 Human Rights Watch interview with Roshan, Kabul resident, August 28, 2006.
99 Suicide blast in Kabul kills three, Pajhwok Afghan News, May 21 2006.
100 ANSO Central Incident Report, May 21, 2006. According to ANSO: A white Corolla type vehicle rigged as VBIED [Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Devise] detonated while moving on the road in an easterly direction when a convoy of US military forces was passing in a westerly direction. ANSO reported the car just missed an international military convoy and detonated after the convoy had passed it. As a result, two by-standers and the suicide bomber were killed and one truck and a shop were burnt.
101 Human Rights Watch interview with Habibullah, brother of Saifoor, Kabul, July 29, 2006.
102 Human Rights Watch interview with Najib, friend of Saifoor, Kabul, 29 July, 2006.
103 Human Rights Watch interview with Sayeed Gul, Jalalabad Rd. Shopkeeper, Kabul, July 29, 2006
104 Human Rights Watch interview with Najib, friend of Saifoor, Kabul, 29 July, 2006.
105 Human Rights Watch interview with Habibullah, brother of Saifoor, Kabul, July 29, 2006.
106 Paul Garwood, Suicide Bomber Kills 16 in Afghanistan, Associated Press, September 8, 2006.
107 See ANSO Central Incident Report, September 8, 2006; Suicide Bomber Kills 16 in Afghanistan, Associated Press, September 8, 2006; and Patrick Bishop, Taliban bring new carnage to heart of Kabul: Carnage in the heart of Kabul after Taliban suicide blast, Daily Telegraph (UK), September 9, 2006 (describing air thick with the stench of burned explosive and smoke from the trees that were set on fire by the blast. All that remained of the car was a smoldering engine block. Debris was scattered for hundreds of yards around.)
108 ANSO Central Incident Report, October 1, 2006, and Rahim Faiez, Suicide bomber kills 12, wounds at least 42 near Afghan Interior Ministry, officials say, Associated Press, September 30, 2006; Agence France-Presse, Suicide blast rocks Afghan capital, September 30, 2006.
109 Statement of Tom Koenigs, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, September 30, 2006.