State Dept on Afghanistan: 'Pervasive Government Corruption ... Widespread Disregard' For Rule of Law

By Michael W. Chapman | May 16, 2018 | 3:05pm EDT
An Afghan man being trained
for the National Security
Forces. (YouTube)

( -- In the longest war in U.S. history -- 17 years in October -- American forces in Afghanistan have greatly weakened Al-Qaeda and removed the Taliban from power, at a cost of more than 2,300 U.S. soldiers' lives.

However, despite the sacrifices and work to install a self-functioning democratic government in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the latest U.S. State Department Human Rights Report on Afghanistan reveals there is "pervasive government corruption" and "widespread disregard for the rule of law."

In addition, independnet reports document the resurgence of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, as well as ISIS in Afghanistan. 

Below are some of the highlights from the State Department's 37-page report on Afghanistan. All of the material quoted is from the 2017 report

U.S. troops training the Afghan Police Force. (YouTube)

"The most significant human rights issues included extrajudicial killings by security forces; disappearances, torture; arbitrary arrest; detention, including of women accused of so-called moral crimes; and sexual abuse of children by security force members."

"Additional problems included violence against journalists, criminalization of defamation; pervasive government corruption; and lack of accountability and investigation in cases of violence against women."

"Discrimination against persons with disabilities and ethnic minorities and discrimination based on race, religion, gender, and sexual orientation persisted with little accountability."

An anti-government fighter in Afghanistan.  (YouTube)

"The Taliban and other insurgents continued to kill security force personnel and civilians using indiscriminate tactics such as improvised explosive devices (IEDs), suicide attacks, and rocket attacks, and to commit disappearances and torture.

"The Taliban used children as suicide bombers, soldiers, and weapons carriers."

"In March [2017] the Taliban in northern Badakhshan Province stoned a woman to death for suspected 'zina' (extramarital sex). There were other reports of the Taliban cutting off the hands and feet of suspected criminals." (Emphasis added.)

The U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) reported a "high concentration of torture and abuse by police in Kandahar Province." (Emphasis added.)


"Types of abuse included severe beatings, electric shocks, prolonged suspension by the arms, suffocation, wrenching of testicles, burns by cigarette lighters, sleep deprivation, sexual assault, and threats of execution."

"In November 2016, First Vice President General Abdul Rashid Dostum allegedly kidnapped Uzbek tribal elder and political rival Ahmad Ishchi. Before detaining Ishchi, Dostum let his bodyguards brutally beat him. After several days in detention, Ishchi alleged he was beaten, tortured, and raped by Dostum and his men. (Emphasis added.)

"On August 14, Balkh Governor Atta Mohammed Noor allegedly attempted to arrest his political rival Asif Mohmand. The ensuing shootout resulted in three deaths and 13 persons injured. There were reports that Atta and his sons then detained and beat Mohmand and bit off a piece of his ear." (Emphasis added.)

Afghanistan's First Vice President General Abdul Rashid Dostum. (YouTube)

"Judicial officials, prosecutors, and defense attorneys were often intimidated or corrupt. Bribery and pressure from public officials, tribal leaders, families of accused persons, and individuals associated with the insurgency impaired judicial impartiality. Most courts administered justice unevenly, employing a mixture of codified law, sharia, and local custom."

"Government officials continued to enter homes and businesses of civilians forcibly and without legal authorization. There were reports that government officials monitored private communications, including telephone calls and other digital communications, without legal authority or judicial warrant." (Emphasis added.)

"UNAMA attributed 67 percent of civilian casualties to antigovernment forces, including the Taliban and ISIS, and 18 percent to progovernment forces.

"The AIHRC [Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission], in its annual report of civilian casualties, reported 2,823 civilians killed from March 2016 to March 2017.


"On August 5, [2017], ISIS-K and the Taliban attacked a Shia village in Sayyad district of Sar-e-Pul Province and killed more than 40 civilians."

"On January 10, a Taliban suicide attack in Kabul killed more than 30 individuals and injured some 70 others...."

"On May 31, a truck bomb exploded, killing 150 and injuring 500 outside the German embassy in Kabul."

In June, "Police shot and killed five protesters, including Salem Izidyar, the eldest son of Deputy Speaker of the Senate Alam Izidyar. At Izidyar’s funeral three suicide bombers struck on foot, killing at least a dozen persons."

"UNAMA documented 131 cases of conflict-related abductions and 467 abducted civilians in the first six months of the year [2017], a decrease from more than 1,100 abducted civilians in the same period in 2016."

The Afghan National Police "reported that unexploded ordnance (UXO) killed 140 individuals per month."

Explosive remnants of war (ERW) "caused 296 child casualties (81 deaths and 215 injured, making it the second-leading cause of child casualties in the first half of the year."

"The AIHRC reported that government security forces in Kandahar Province used child recruits." (Emphasis added.)


"The Taliban also continued to attack schools, radio stations, and government offices."

"The Afghan Journalist Safety Committee (AJSC) reported 10 journalists killed in the first six months of the year."

"The May 31 bombing, widely attributed to the antigovernment Haqqani group, killed 31 employees of the Roshan television and news media telecommunications company and caused millions of dollars of damage to the company’s headquarters."

"Traditional societal practices continued to limit women’s participation in politics and activities outside the home and community, including the need to have a male escort or permission to work." (Emphasis added.)

Young Afghan girls at a school inside a tent.  (YouTube)

"Women active in government and politics continued to face threats and violence and were the targets of attacks by the Taliban and other insurgent groups."

"Under the law rape does not include spousal rape." (Empasis added.)

"Under the penal code, if a man convicted of honor killing sees his wife or other close relation in the act of committing adultery and immediately kills or injures one or both parties to defend his honor, he cannot receive a prison sentence of more than two years." (Emphasis added.)

"On March 7, the Taliban convicted and stoned to death a woman accused of adultery in Badakhshan Province." (Emphasis added.)

"Women who walked outside alone or who worked outside the home often experienced harassment, including groping and being followed."

"Key obstacles to girls’ education included poverty, early and forced marriage, insecurity, lack of family support, lack of female teachers, and a lack of nearby schools." (Emphasis added.)

"There were press reports of sexual abuse perpetrated by teachers and school officials, particularly against boys."

"Police reportedly beat and sexually abused children." (Emphasis added.)

"Some members of the security forces, including members of the Afghan security forces, and pro-government groups sexually abused and exploited young girls and boys." (Emphasis added.)

"On January 22, in Paktika Province, Afghan National Border Police reportedly sexually abused a 13-year-old boy at their check-post before shooting him."

"There were multiple reports of ‘bacha bazi,’ a practice in which men exploit boys for social and sexual entertainment." (Emphasis added.)

"On March 20, a Tajik police commander in Faryab Province reportedly killed the son of another police commander, an Uzbek, for hosting a bacha bazi party with Tajik boys."

"There were reports from Badakhshan Province that Taliban militants bought young women to sell into forced marriage." (Emphasis added.)

"Exploitation of children for sexual purposes, often associated with bacha bazi, was widespread, although some aspects of this practice are separate crimes under the penal code."


"The majority of buildings remained inaccessible to persons with disabilities, prohibiting many from benefitting from education, health care, and other services."

A woman is stoned to death in Afghanistan. (YouTube)

"Sikhs and Hindus faced discrimination, reporting unequal access to government jobs and harassment in school, as well as verbal and physical abuse in public places."

"Men, women, and children were forced into poppy cultivation, domestic work, carpet weaving, brick kiln work, organized begging, and drug trafficking." (Emphasis added.)

"Child labor remained a pervasive problem. …  Children were also heavily engaged in the worst forms of child labor in mining (especially family-owned gem mines), commercial sexual exploitation, transnational drug smuggling, and organized begging rings. Some forms of child labor exposed children to land mines."

"Women made up only 7 percent of the workforce."

"Women who worked reported they encountered insults, sexual harassment, lack of transportation, and an absence of day-care facilities. Salary discrimination existed in the private sector. Female journalists, social workers, and police officers reported they were often threatened or abused."

An IED explodes in Afghanistan. (YouTube)

"The minimum wage for permanent government workers was 6,000 Afghanis ($103) per month. … [T]he minimum wage for workers in the nonpermanent private sector was 5,500 Afghanis ($95) per month."

“According to the Central Statistics Organization, 36 percent of the population earned wages below the poverty line of 1,150 Afghanis ($20) per month.” (Emphasis added.)

A U.S. soldier and military dog in Afghanistan. (YouTube)

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