By JEFFREY KAYE
Posted by Bulatlat.com
Two reports coming out of Afghanistan illustrate the depth of hypocrisy and subterfuge characterizing the US/NATO intervention in that country. One could cite a myriad of such examples, so immoral and wrong is the US war there.
In the first report, a 2009 human rights assessment prepared by Canada’s Foreign Affairs Department, obtained by The Canadian Press and reported at CBC News, revealed a skyrocketing suicide rate among Afghan women:
“Self-immolation is being used by increasing numbers of Afghan women to escape their dire circumstances and women constitute the majority of Afghan suicides,” said the report, completed in November 2009….
The director of a burn unit at a hospital in the relatively peaceful province of Herat reported that in 2008 more than 80 women attempted suicide by setting themselves on fire, many of them in the early 20s.
It’s not as if the plight of Afghan women under the US-backed Karzai government hasn’t gotten some attention. The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) recorded 184 cases of self-immolation by Afghani women in 2007, versus 106 in 2006. In Herat alone, in the first six months of 2008, 47 women, desperate from an escape from a life of domestic servitude, violence, rape, injustice, and other crimes, set themselves on fire and ended up in the emergency room of the local hospital. Ninety percent died from their serious burns.
The police and judiciary do not launch any formal investigations to determine the causes and motivations of suicide and self-burning by women, according to the AIHRC.
As a result, men who force and provoke women to self-immolation and other forms of suicide remain immune from all legal and penal repercussions.
To delve into the statistics only reveals a more doleful picture: almost 90 percent (!) of Afghan women have been victims of violence, 60 percent of all marriages are forced. The US-backed regime has made some token moves to assist women, such as creating police task forces staffed by women officers. But the female officers aren’t allowed to do any outreach. Meanwhile, Afghan President Hamid Karzai infamously supported a law that allows for spousal rape. (Afghanistan is not alone in this, however, as Bahrain, too, “offers women no protection from spousal rape.”)
US/NATO-Backed Afghan Regime Practices Torture
As the US plans to transfer administrative control of its Bagram detention facility to the Afghanistan government, a separate scandal links the Afghan government to the torture and murder of a prisoner in its custody. According to a report by Human Rights Watch (HRW), Afghan citizen Abdul Basir was tortured while in custody of Afghani security forces last December, and killed when he was pushed or thrown out a window. His family was told he committed suicide. But HRW has posted pictures of the tortured marks on Basir’s body.
It wasn’t easy to try and get an investigation of Basir’s death in Afghanistan – from this brave new government (“elected” by massive fraud) that has guaranteed justice and due process to the Bagram prisoners, once they get their hands on them. According to HRW’s report on Basir’s death:
An NDS official told family members that Basir’s father, Zalmai, signed a statement confirming that Basir had committed suicide and that an autopsy was not required. The family told Human Rights Watch that NDS officials told them that if they buried the body, Basir’s brothers and father would be released.
However, concerned that the marks on Basir’s body may have been signs of torture, the family took the body to the Forensic Department of the Health Ministry where an autopsy was carried out. The findings have not been made public. The family reported that security agency officials later came to the house where the body was held and gave them a message to bury the body. When the family tried to take the body to parliament, they said, agency vehicles blocked their way.
While the Afghan defense ministry assures the world press that “all international conventions on prisoners’ rights would be implemented” once it gets control of Bagram, the many reports of arbitrary arrest, torture, and other ill-treatment by Afghan security forces suggest otherwise. In fact, there is nothing very trustworthy about either the Afghan government or its US/NATO backers, who have averted their eyes from anything that would besmirch the credentials of their war purposes in Afghanistan.
This leads the leaders of the Western alliance to some pretty strange places. Take Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Talking to interviewers for the French-language television network TVA about the many reports that prisoners captured by Canadian forces and turned over to Afghani authorities were tortured, even killed, Harper said:
“We are speaking here of a problem among Afghans. It’s not a problem between Canadians and Afghans. We’re speaking of problems between the government of Afghanistan and the situation in Afghanistan. We are trying to do what’s possible to improve that situation, but it’s not in our control.”
For Harper, the system of transferring prisoners to the Afghans “works very well,” though he admits there are “problems from time to time.” As an example of some of these problems, read the over 40 redacted emails sent from former Canadian diplomat Richard Colvin to then-Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay alleging the torture of detainees transferred by Canadians to Afghan prisons.