September 11, 2001 : Attack on America
Testimony of A. Quadir Amiryar, Ph.D. Executive Director Central Asia Research and Development Center George Washington University Before the Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights; October 31, 2001

Testimony of

A. Quadir Amiryar, Ph.D.

Executive Director

Central Asia Research and Development Center

George Washington University

Before the

Subcommittee on International Operations

and Human Rights


October 31, 2001

Grave violation of Human Rights

The latest report of the UN Secretary General H.E. Mr. Annan to the General Assembly and Security Council on Afghanistan that was issued on August 17, 2001 clearly refers to a number of gross violations of human rights by the warring factions in general and by the Italian’’s militia in particular.

"" In the sphere of HR there has been no improvement in the policies, practices and circumstances that undermine the ability of Afghans to enjoy their most fundamental rights. As noted in previous reports, combination of war, weak and unrepresentative government mechanism and widespread and deep-rooted poverty coupled with the drought and profound underdevelopment is a deadly mixture for a growing number of Afghans""

Another aspect of the tragedy in Afghanistan is the existence of a widespread and officially sanctioned discrimination against women, girls, Shiia and Hazars in the areas that are controlled by the Taliban,

In spite of several well documented reports by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the existence of an established pattern of repeated and massive violations of human rights and humanitarian laws it was only the terrorists attack on New York, Washington and Pennsylvania that brought Afghanistan into the headlines.

Dr. Kamal Hussain, Special Raportuer and the author of several reports on human rights in Afghanistan had called upon the international community to establish an independent international inquiry into the massacres and other grave human rights violations committed by parties to the armed conflict in Afghanistan. Concerning the violations the reports were very specific such as summary execution of civilians by Taliban forces in the Yakawlang district of the province of Bamyan in January 2001. More information became available about massacres from reports published by a number of organizations, for example the UN Secretary General, H.E. Mr. Annan’’s report of 17 August 2001 to the Security Council and the most detailed of these reports being one dated 19 February 2001 by Human Rights Watch.1

In addition

Intl. Criminal Laws: Crimes of Genocide

All parties in the Afghan Civil War are guilty of grave breaches of international humanitarian law. The arms, cash and supplies provided by the neighboring states and other outsiders have been directly contributed to serious violations of international criminal and humanitarian laws such as aerial bombardments of civilian population, indiscriminate bombings, rocketing and other military attacks on civilian populated areas, massacres, killing of civilians, summary executions of prisoners and crime of torture. Several cases of crimes of genocide are recorded by the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights, in Mazar, Bamian, Yakawlang, Samangan, Rubatak and Pul-I-Khumri. (2)

War Crimes:

In his latest report the Commissioner called on the UN members and the International Community to take the initiative to expose make the accountable and responsible for war crimes, breaches of international humanitarian law and gross violations of human rights.3


Afghans civilians struggling running for their life in search of a shelter for survival caught in the middle of a war, closed gates of the neighboring states, the aerial bombardments of Allied Forces in search of Bin Laden, added to their pain suffering and a sense of fear and misery, a feeling of being abandoned physically and mentally exhausted and tortured.

The new flows of refugees into Pakistan, Iran and Central Asia require additional resources to be mobilized so that those fleeing for security, hunger and the war and Arial bombardments are not treated inhumanly as has been experience of many of the refugees in the past.


For many years terrorism and training camps to promote acts of terror have been organized and funded by their foreign supporters. For example Several months before the latest terrorist acts in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania, on May 29, 2001 a Federal Court in New York found four men, guilty of conspiracy in the bombing of the U.S> Embassies in Nairobi and Dar as Salam in August 1998. The Court found that three of the perpetrators had received training in camps run by al-Qaeda network in Afghanistan. Other suspects linked to al-Qaeda who were allegedly linked to al-Qaeda have been arrested are in France, Germany, Italy, Spain the UK and the U.S.

Religious Intolerance:

The Human Rights Committee, in Geneva, on September 25, 2001 announced "" it has extremely grave concerns about the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in Afghanistan, especially as related to the situation of women, public and summery executions, and religious intolerance"". (UNHCHR R. 25 sep 2001)

In the absence of a government or international managerial structures on the ground following the completion of the mission by the Allied Forces human rights violators may feel emboldened to commit further crimes against the civilian population with impunity.

Therefore it is very important to have a representative government in Afghanistan that would be recognized by the neighboring states is essential.

Post- Taliban Administration:

Reasons for prolongation of war and grave violations of human rights in Afghanistan were various. Lacking of a legitimate government capable of enforcing civil rights and protecting the basic liberties of its citizens. . Failure of the UN to implement the Geneva Accord, following the defeat and withdrawal of the former Soviet Union and the renewal of additional foreign interference. Imposing of various unrepresentative governments over Afghans by outsiders. Absence of trust between the rulers and the ruled, and destruction of the national, social, political and cultural institutions

The role of international community and the UN in the transitional era of the process is critical because the main causes of the war in Afghanistan are external. It is the UN and the Security Councils obligation to protect the people of Afghanistan from external interference and from the destructive armed conflict, which continues to be externally supported. *(HCHR Feb. 2001).

All segments of the Afghan population are united on the imperative need for change of the prevailing situation. In order to introduce change a comprehensive strategy is needed in which carefully orchestrated and coordinated moves are made both at the internal and external level.

The need is clear for initiating and sustaining a process in which all segments of the Afghan population inside and outside Afghanistan should be able to revive their traditional sociopolitical institutions and to establish a representative, pluralistic, participatory form of government and constitution, The philosophy of the future administration must be based on the rule of law and equality of citizens in front of the law.

The international community, in particular acting through the Security Council, is expected to discharge its fundamental obligation to protect the people and territory of Afghanistan from external interference and from the destructive armed conflict, which continues to be externally supported. The new flows of refugees into Pakistan and Iran call for additional resources to be mobilized so that those fleeing from threats to their life and security from drought, hunger and conflict are not treated inhumanely as has been experience of many of the refugees. 4

Road Maps:

Post-Taliban Administration can be formed into two separate stages, first the transitional structure or entity and second the regular and permanent structure that shall be based on the basic principles of democracy, separation of powers, independent judiciary, an elected House of representatives and an elected Senate. The responsibility for the management of

State and public policy should be shared between the executive and legislative organs of the state. .

The term of the transitional entity shall be limited to three years with no renewal.

The composition of the transitional administration should represent the socio-political fabric of the Afghan society. Every effort should be made that this entity will be inclusive, proportional and pluralistic. In other words members of every ethnic, social, religious, and languages are included.

After 23 years of occupation, loss of fundamental freedoms, foreign interference and civil war the people of Afghanistan deserve to insist on retaining a large measure of autonomy over their lives. Because this is essential for a constitutional system dedicated to the rule of law.

The system of the future government shall be based on the rule of law and must be defined by a constitution. Sovereignty belongs to the people. People delegate a portion of their rights to the state, only for the enforcement and implementation of their civil rights and liberties. A significant portion of the constitution must be dedicated to specify citizen’’s civil rights and human rights.

In the Post -Taliban Administration the former King H.M. M. Zahir Shah would be able to lead and facilitate the transitional administration. He enjoys a good deal of respect and serves as a reminder of the democratic era in Afghanistan. Also, he expressed his desire to serve the people of Afghanistan in that capacity.

What the U.S. Can Do?

The US should address the basic causes of terrorism and support Afghans who are willing to destroy the terrorist’’s networks that have turned Afghanistan into a launching pad for the extremist movements.

The US should coordinate its activities in Afghanistan and the formation of the transitional Administration, including activities related to the reconstruction with UN and its specialized agencies and the Coalition of the Alliance.

The US must begin to coordinate its military, political and humanitarian strategies. Prioritizing of military strategy and military objectives may contribute to a negative image for political and humanitarian strategies. Specially, as an alternative Administration to the Taliban regime takes shape, it will be important that that entity have popular support within Afghanistan. To the extent, Afghans associate that entity with bombing of urban areas and the disruption of vital humanitarian relief operation; it will not win popular sympathy.

Assist Afghanistan with the reconstruction of state, restoration of a legitimate government, accountable to it citizens and meet the minimum requirements for recognition by Afghanistan’’s neighbors and international community.

To advance the formation of a popular alternative to Taliban rule, to end the suffering of innocent Afghans living in the vicinity of US military targeting and to expedite humanitarian relief, the U.S should divert its attacks away from urban areas and transport facilities needed to move humanitarian supplies. It should also avoid targeting electric generating facilities, which are vital to water pumping in drought stricken areas or other installations essential to the provision and utilization of water.

The US should allocate funds and empower the UN to search for a Talent- search within the Afghan Diaspora to identify critically needed technical, administrative, and other skills to be located to the new Administration. Funds should be made available to support Diaspora Afghans on extended sabbaticals in services of the reconstruction of Afghanistan.


Given the status of civil war, power of the war-lords, absence of a centralized legitimate government I can not see any improvement in the implementation or enforcement of human rights.

The most imperative task for Afghans in collaboration with the international community is the configuration of a legitimate government, political independence, territorial integrity and the institution of a constitution that should emphasize promotion of the rule of lam and equality of all citizens before the law.

The US working through the UN should provide funds to the transitional Afghan Administration to be used in building a cadre of commanders who would be paid to ensure security in their areas and pledge loyalty to the new Administration.

US and the coalition of Alliance must encourage the UN to play an active role in the post ––Taliban administration of Afghanistan, by assisting them with the training, and attracting the most qualifies Afghan compatriots to participate in the reconstruction of the state.

Irrespective of who is assigned to train the trainers no one can deny the importance and relevance of this issue to the mission of state building for Afghanistan. Therefore the sooner the UN and its specialized agencies such as UNICEF, UNISCO, WHO, WFP, and in collaboration with the Allied Coalitions must resume the planning for it the smoother the transition may be.

Critical to the success of this effort would be to design mechanisms for accountability and transparency of management of resources to be provided for reconstruction. Pakistan and the neighboring states should be persuaded to accept and support the creation of a broad-based Afghan government. The role of the UN should be enhanced to help establish a transitional government composed of a cross-section of Afghans.( Ghani, FT 9/27/01

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