Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Friday, January 12, 2007

Whereabouts of Afghan girl kidnapped, exchanged for dog, remain unknown

The case of an eleven year-old Afghan girl who was kidnapped and allegedly exchanged for a fighting dog has drawn international attention of late, highlighting the grave inadequacies of the Afghan government and the sway of warlords in the region, IWPR reported on Thursday.

In August, the girl disappeared from her home in Kunduz in northeastern Afghanistan - reportedly taken by armed intruders in the middle of the night. The identity of her kidnappers is unknown, however, and remains a contentious issue. The girl’s mother has accused Mullah Nazar, a powerful former militia leader, of the crime. Others have claimed the act was the work of forty year-old, mentally ill man whom the girl had been promised to for marriage when she was just an infant, or the man’s father, as the girl’s family had refused to honor the marriage agreement.

The whereabouts of the girl are still unknown, with her mother believing that she is being held across the border in Pakistan. Neither the provincial governor in Kunduz nor the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission has provided much assistance in the investigation, with the Commission claiming that its work has been hamstrung by the involvement of influential regional warlords. The warlords, despite being officially disarmed by the United Nations, apparently still hold much sway in the area.

"The warlords may have been disarmed technically, but their power has quadrupled," said one Kunduz resident. "They have found other sources of influence such as drug trafficking. They control the whole country, and if they want a girl, they take her. Anyone who opposes them is killed, and no one from the government or from human rights organizations will investigate."

For the full article, click here.


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