Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch Report on ISI-Sponsored Hell in Af-Pak

11/09/2010 06:55 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Melissa Roddy Filmmaker and member of the Fieldwork International Group

Despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary, isolationist, pro-chaos writers insist that negotiations between the Taliban and Karzai's so-called peace council will yield a result preferable for the Afghan people to the presence of US and NATO Coalition forces. A preview of what a premature US/NATO military exit really means for Afghanistan can be found in two reports, one from Human Rights Watch and the other from Amnesty International.

The Human Rights Watch report focuses attention on atrocities committed against Afghan civilians during the 1990s by various warlords, most of whom operated under the guidance and support of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI). The report is titled "Blood Stained Hands" and includes tales of people being rounded up simply on the basis of their ethnicity and locked into cargo containers, which were then destroyed with rocket propelled grenades. In some instances, groups of civilians were thrown into prison cells and sprayed with machine gun fire. Militias indiscriminately rocketed residential neighborhoods. All the while, Gulbaddin Hekmatyar's cannons showered the entire city of Kabul with a hail storm of missiles from the surrounding hilltops. The report reveals that the killing, maiming, raping and beating of civilians was widespread.

HRW stated that one of its primary motivations in publishing "Blood Stained Hands" was to focus international attention on the commanders and political faction leaders who committed the crimes of the 1990s, because many of those individuals now hold high office in the Afghan government, including positions in the police, military, intelligence services and as advisors to President Hamid Karzai. In fact, upon being reelected President in 2009, Hamid Karzai proceeded to fill his cabinet with members of Gulbaddin Hekmatyar's Hezb-e-Islami party (HIG). Now the roster of his so-called peace council includes the names of many of the very same ISI controlled militia leaders who participated in the murder of hundreds of thousands of Afghans during the 1990s.

In a 2010 report, entitled "As If Hell Fell On Me," Amnesty International pulls back the curtain on human rights violations committed by the Taliban in Pakistan in 2009, including the destruction of 170 schools and closure of another 4,000 in the Swat Valley, the firebombing of barber shops and the assassinations of hundreds of tribal elders and members of the secular Awami National Party. According to Amnesty's report (which predates this past summer's devastating floods), over the past year, more than 8,500 people were killed in Pakistan's northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province and more than 2 million Pakistani Pashtuns displaced by Taliban violence.

In June of this year, the Taliban cut off the hands of two men in the town of Kolhat. One Kolhat resident told me that the men were too frightened to even accept the medical help arranged for them by their friends and families. Also this past summer, across the border in Afghanistan, the Taliban beheaded 11 civilians, hung to death a 7 year old boy, and murdered 10 doctors. 

Spreading terror and creating chaos are the job for which the Taliban are paid by Pakistan's ISI. In 2008, Atia Abawi of CNN reported that two young men, who were arrested for throwing corrosive acid in the faces of teenage schoolgirls in Kandahar, admitted that a man from the Pakistani Consulate had offered them $2,000 to commit the crime. This same man also offered them $4,000 to kill a school teacher and $10,000 to burn down a school. For the pro-chaos movement to promote the notion that Afghans want to live under such conditions is to callously and chauvinistically suggest that some 30 million Afghans are suicidal.

Both Afghan and Pakistani Pashtun sources claim that keeping Afghanistan and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region of northwest Pakistan weak and unstable are key elements of ISI's "strategic depth" policy for countering a purely theoretical Indian invasion. (India has not invaded since 1971.) The Taliban, Haqqani Network and HIG are all Pakistani paramilitary groups trained, funded and supplied by ISI for the purpose of destabilizing Afghanistan and suppressing the separatist inclinations of Pakistan's own Pashtun population. 

Difficult as it may be for the pro-chaos isolationists to believe, civilian sources from within the Khyber Pakhtunkwa have stated that locals call the Predator drones operated by the CIA "angels," because of the relief they provide in delivering communities from Taliban oppression. The Amnesty report also clearly shows that the drones are causing a tiny fraction of the damage being inflicted on the people of northwest Pakistan by the Taliban and its allies.

HRW has stated in the past that hundreds of thousands of Afghan civilians were killed during the 1990s and Afghans continually express to me their fear that, if NATO withdraws before the Afghan government can effectively defend Afghanistan against the ongoing attacks by Pakistan's proxies -- including the Taliban, HIG and the Haqqani Network -- the groups which committed the atrocities described in the Amnesty and HRW reports will fall all over each in a bloody competition for power, even worse than the 1990s, and Afghanistan will experience another holocaust.