Annual Report: Afghanistan 2011

Report
May 28, 2011

Annual Report: Afghanistan 2011

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  • On 5 September, Sayed Hamed Noori, a presenter, journalist and Deputy Chairman of Afghanistan National Journalists Union, was murdered in Kabul.
  • On 18 September (election day), Radio Kapisa FM director Hojatullah Mujadadi was arrested by the NDS at a voting station in Kapisa province. He claimed he was threatened by both the governor and NDS officials because of his independent coverage of the situation in the province.
  • Japanese freelance journalist Kosuke Tsuneoka was kidnapped in late March during a reporting assignment in a Taleban-controlled region of northern Afghanistan. His captors released him to the Japanese Embassy on 7 September. After his release, he said that his captors were not Taleban insurgents, but “a group of corrupt armed factions” with links to the Afghan government.

Freedom of religion

People converting to other religions were prosecuted by the Afghan judiciary. Three Afghans who converted to Christianity were arrested and detained by the NSD. Faith-based NGOs accused of proselytizing were forced to temporarily suspend their activities.

  • In October, Shoib Asadullah was arrested for converting from Islam to Christianity. A primary court in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif threatened to execute him for apostasy if he refused to recant.

Violence against women and girls

Afghan women and girls continued to face endemic violence and discrimination at home and in the public sphere. The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission documented 1,891 cases of violence against women, but the true number may be higher.

  • In March, 18-year-old Bibi Aysha had her nose and ears cut off by her husband in Uruzgan province, southern Afghanistan, apparently on the order of a Taleban commander acting as “judge” for the crime of running away from her abusive in-laws.
  • On 9 August, the Taleban shot dead a woman, after forcing her to abort her foetus, in Badghis province on accusations of adultery.
  • On 16 August, the Taleban stoned to death a couple for alleged adultery and elopement in Imam Sahib district, Kunduz province.

Afghan women and female politicians, including parliamentary election candidates, were increasingly attacked by the Taleban and other armed groups.

  • In March, Member of Parliament Fawzia Kofi was injured by gunfire by unknown gunmen while travelling from Jalalabad to Kabul.
  • In April, Nadia Kayyani, a Provincial Council member, was left in a critical condition after being attacked in a drive-by shooting in Pul-e-Khumri, the provincial capital of Baghlan, northern Afghanistan.
  • Two Afghan aid workers were killed in Helmand after returning from Garmseer district where they were running a project for women’s economic empowerment. Both women were forced out of their car by a group of armed men. Their bodies were found the next day near Garmseer district centre.

Refugees and internally displaced people

UNHCR reported that 102,658 Afghans were forced to flee their homes in 2010 as a result of the armed conflict, bringing the total number of internally displaced people to 351,907.

  • Around 26,000 people were displaced in Helmand province between February and May after NATO launched a major military operation against insurgent groups in Marjah district, Helmand province.
  • More than 7,000 people were displaced from the Zhari and Arghandab districts of Kandahar province after a major NATO military operation in the area in September. The warring parties failed to ensure adequate humanitarian assistance for the displaced.

According to UNHCR, 2.3 million Afghans continued to live abroad as refugees, the majority in neighbouring Iran and Pakistan. Fewer refugees chose to return to Afghanistan as a result of increased insecurity, poor infrastructure, scarce employment opportunities and lack of basic services, including education and health. Most of the displaced living in informal settlements in urban areas lacked similar basic services, and were at risk of forced evictions.