Plenty of crime, no justice

20 October 2010 by Bette Dam

Almost a decade after US and UK troops invaded Afghanistan, human rights advocates blame both local and international players for the state of impunity still prevailing in the country.

Mohibullah went for a brief visit last month to his native village in the Southern Afghani province of Uruzgan. He would have liked to stay longer if it weren’t for his fear of Americans as well as prominent Afghans who work with Americans there.

In the first years of the war on terror in Afghanistan, Mohibullah worked for an aid organisation in Tarin Kowt. “We build schools, we build roads.” Late one night in 2003, members of the US Special Forces
pulled him out of his house and put him without any explanation in the notorious Bagram prison, a site known for torture and abuse against detainees.

Mohibullah said he was tipped as a Taliban supporter by Jan Muhammad, a US ally who was governor of Uruzgan at the time. Muhammad apparently saw him as a rival within their tribal grouping.

In Bagram, he was tortured in an attempt to get him to admit his Taliban ties. Prison officials deprived him of sleep, used electric shocks and let dogs loose on him, Mohibullah recalled. After three years he was released for lack of evidence. On his way out, the Americans ordered one last thing: shut up about what happened here.

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