Justice brings peace, Peace brings freedom; War is violence and violence is crime.

Peace can be restored only by the prosecution of war criminals in Afghanistan.

By Hanan Habibzai

Debbie with her Warlord husband

Nearly two weeks ago, some eight Aid Workers were put to death; this has further made the life insecure in Afghanistan where peace and development are most desired. Such wanton killings only further destabilise the country and the region.

Today Afghanistan is home to the US and NATO forces who landed here for some hidden agendas but the declared objectives were to bring peace and development to Afghanistan, that’s not only a distant dream but its totally ignored.

These foreign forces have patronised their warlords who are working through them to firm their grip over the country but they are getting a strong resistance from the people all over the country. Northern Allience’s Qasim Fahim and Karim Khalili the first and second deputy of Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his chief of army staff  Abdul Rashid Dostum have become the instruments of warlordism and  criminal activities.

They massacred of thousands of Taliban prisoners just after the fall of Taliban regime in late 2001. So far, the remnants of those prisoners who have been brutally massacred have now appeared as key part of remerged Taliban fighters and they are fighting to bring the mass murderers to the so called justice.

The team of six Americans, a German, a British woman and four Afghans were ambushed in Badkhshan which is the

Qasim Fahim

stronghold of Northern Allience where Taliban have very little or no presence at all.  Going by the rules of the game, in all probability these workers were killed by the warlords holding the power and the blame was transferred to Taliban; reason behind it being to shock the Americans and its allies.

Broadens concerns about the security of aid workers:

Even though, killing and kidnapping is an everyday business in Afghanistan but the recent killing of foreign aid workers not only hurt international allies of the war torn country but the needy Afghans were also deprived of relief aid and other facilities as a consequence of such killings.

Foreign aid workers have suffered enormous causality, since US-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, but the bloody ambush remind again that apart from the Taliban there is another gangster group who trying to keep Afghanistan an insecure state.

It is true that the mountains of Afghanistan have been occupied by the Taliban but international military operations are under way against them to mark an end to the activities of the Taliban and its allies but none have succeeded to silence or oust the Taliban.

The most dreadful foes are the warlords who are committing atrocity under the patronage of the strong officials and often perpetrate such offences without any fear. Such warlords have their strong holds where no one can enter without their permission and that costs money and obedience where no logic applies. This warlord culture is pushing the people towards the Taliban who are gaining strength by the day.  The powerful warlords have direct ties with Iran, India, Russia and other foreign countries encouraging their interests in Afghanistan.

Afghan and Indian Drug traders routes

After the fall of Taliban regime in 2001 when US-led troops went to Afghanistan, they backed a government formed by war criminals that are not loyal to humanity. The same people who were in power after the fall of last communist regime of Afghanistan in 1990.

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As soon as they held the power a civil war took place in the streets of Afghanistan. Hundreds of thousands innocents were killed. They looted the cities and the villages, bribery became the order of the day, illegal taxes are just to demand and the poor have no option but to pay. Yet they do the same under official circumstances.

The atrocities led to Taliban appear on the scene. The triggering incident was that in Kandahar, a favourite of a warlord had abducted and confined a woman in his house whom he would rape every day. One day Taliban were passing in front of that house when they heard the screams of a woman seeking help. On entering the house, they found a woman who was chained and was subjected to rape at the will and desire of the warlord worker. Taliban recovered the woman and later took the criminal into custody, held an open trial and punished them within no time.  This quick justice gave a fresh breath to all the oppressed, suppressed and voiceless people of the area who welcomed the Taliban. In 1995 and they destroyed the warlords and war criminals and brought peace and justice to the area. Henceforth, Taliban were welcomed where ever they went and they established their rule over Afghanistan without any fight accept for the Northern Alliance who were being backed by the outside powers like Russia, India, Iran etc.  Later when in 2001, the US invaded Afghanistan, they brought the same warlords into power who once again resorted to their old methods of harass, loot and kill. By any chance, these warlords were not the alternative of the Taliban but once again the people are suffering but for few and the voices of the suppressed people are further suppressed under the US and NATO.

Only Justice can bring peace in Afghanistan:

Peace cannot come without Justice, which means the prosecution of war criminals and warlords in Afghanistan. Similarly like the prosecution of Radovan Karadzic. The same experience will mark the end of business to crime and dirty work in Afghanistan too.

The genocide committed by Bosnian Serbs under Mr Karadzic in 1992-1995 finally took him to the justice.

After his arrest the former Serb Leader appeared in Hague.   His tribunal was hpw debut for war crime in Afghanistan.

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The impression of war crimes is an idea new to Afghanistan. All Afghan people are looking for justice for their offenders.

Most recently Liberia’s former President Charles Taylor has appeared in Hague. The charges associated to his role in the bloodshed of neighbouring Sierra Leone where he apparently supported rebels responsible for widespread atrocities.

Afghanistan’s violent foes should also be brought under similar legal circumstances to avoid crime against humanity in Afghanistan. The only way remains which can take the country back to peace.

They have killed hundred of thousands innocent during 1990s as well as after the fall of Taliban regime.

Warlords and drug lords who are wanted for war crimes and crimes against humanity are key part of the Afghan government.

The widespread corruption and drug business is link with their work that is at its highest level.

Lack of justice turned the criminals across Afghanistan very impudence and they are getting around with no fear of legal prosecution because the judicial system is hugely dominated by warlords and corrupt officials.

Afghanistan faces of state terrorism:

In early December 2003 when a Pakistani engineer became the first victim of violence in Ghanzi province, the Afghan

Abdul Rashid Dostam

Abdul Rashid Dostam

Interior Minister of the time Ali Ahmad Jalali urged the killers were not connected to the Taliban.

Five armed men were arrested in connection with the attack on road constructor but few months later the suspected attackers had been freed.  The justice has been ignored.

Now, seven years later, the number of foreign aid workers dead in Afghanistan reached to its highest total. The recent killing of a group of aid workers in Badkhshan brought the number to 154. A figure published in June this year shown the number of foreign aid workers killed in Afghanistan 146.

This is a high cost foreign aid agencies are paying in Afghanistan. Including Afghan population, the key victims of injustice are aid workers, journalists and investors. On June 7, 2008 a Journalist Abdul Samad Rohani was abducted from the heart of Lashkar Gah, the main city of Helmand province where Afghan government’s control is strong. His dead body was then left in a nearby cemetery.

Few days before his killing Rohani had discovered a secret jail run by Helmand police in Nawa district; this became the reason for his elimination by the Police. The initial impression was that Rohani had been abducted by the Taliban and killed but the truth came out when Helmand Governor Gulab Mangal stated in June this year that the journalist was kidnapped and killed by Afghan Security Officials. Declaring ‘’I’m unable to arrest the killers’’.

Rohani 25, was the oldest son of a family of seven children. He was married and he left behind two widows and two children daughter Zahra and son, Amran.

On November 1, 2008 another similar killing proved the government of Hamid Karzai involved in the series of killings and kidnapping civilian figure.  Mohammad Ashraf Dustukhel a trader has been assassinated just a few meters from a key police check point near Afghan Presidential Palace and Ministry of Defence. Interior ministry’s record shows that sixteen police officer were present in check point in the same time. Despite continuing calls for justice his family was unsuccessful to bring the killers to the court.

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Now, shall we think ahead who might commit the massacre of aid workers?

Badkhshan’s armed groups:

However, the atrocity has been attributing to Taliban but local support for Taliban militancy is very trifling in Badkhshan, north of the country, the Northern Alliance rules that area.

The people loyal to different Northern Alliance’s faction are still carrying illegal arms and some of them have been employed in the Police Force, this has given them the power to act as they wish and subdue the people and make them respond to their demands no matter what. Some of these people are made carriers of drugs and some are deployed to kill and harass others.

The province is very far from the control of law and order. Badkhshan is located near Tajikistan a very easy region for traffickers to transport drug to Central Asia and to Russia. The traffickers need an insecure region to allow drug industry to secure the illegal business.

The pure sacrifices of foreign nationals are happen because of injustice promoted by the warlords holding Afghanistan’s official power. Aid workers and Afghan civilians are paying the high price.

Only the removal of key warlords and gangsters within current Afghan government can decrease illegal armed activities. It will improve Afghanistan’s security for local population as well as for aid workers. The justice should be restored.

Without Pakistan, real peace cannot be achieved in the region, same time its also imperative to involve Taliban in the peace process and open the doors to them without any discrimination.

Hanan Habibzai  was born in 1979  in Baghlan Province.  At the Soviet invasion,  his family entered Pakistan  he grew up in a refugee camp near Peshawar. After completing his secondary education in Peshawar, he studied at Kabul University. Just before the fall of Taliban regime in 2001,  Habibzai began working with the BBC World Service as a correspondent and as a freelancereporter for Reuters in Afghanistan. Currently he is based in London, writing on the conflict in Afghanistan and the regional politics. Habibzai is known as one of the key critics of warlords and war criminals in the country who are still holding power. While in the UK, since last year he is working  for  Radio liberty as freelance correspondent covering the Afghan and Pakistan related issues around Europe and the UK. During his work for Radio Free Europe he covered Afghanistan: London Conference in the beginning of 2010. He also produced several stories on Illegal migrants and the business of human traffickers.

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