Afghan `heroes' condemned

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The Independent Online
Islamabad (AP) - In a scathing report that accuses Afghanistan's feuding Muslim groups of mass murder, torture and the rape of thousands of women and children, Amnesty International yesterday condemned other countries for not speaking out.

"The human rights catastrophe in Afghanistan has reached appalling proportions and yet governments around the world are ignoring the tragedy," the report says. "Muslim states - so vocal about human rights violations of Muslims in Bosnia-Herzegovina and other parts of the world - have done little to stop the killings and torture, including rape of young Muslim girls and boys, in Afghanistan."

The Muslim heroes who threw out the Communists in 1992 are now reviled by most Afghans as power-hungry warlords. Two years of fighting has left 15,000 people - mostly civilians - dead and much of the capital, Kabul, in ruins.

The four-page report is based on the statements of refugees from Kabul in camps in Pakistan. It tells how one 16-year-old girl "was raped . . . after armed guards entered her house and killed her father for allowing her to go to school", and another jumped from a fifth-floor balcony to escape rape.

It adds: "Most Western governments sent enormous supplies of arms and military facilities to Afghanistan during the Cold War and they now remain silent while those same arms are used to kill unarmed civilians."