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  1. #21
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    Jan 2007


    Airstrike on madrasa kills 100s of graduating students - world silent

    From https://www.rferl.org/a/afghanistan-.../29145508.html

    eyewitnesses and villagers who survived the attack claim the air strikes in the Taliban-controlled Dasht-i Archi district in Kunduz Province did not target militants, and killed dozens of civilians -- including children -- who had gathered for a religious ceremony.
    Residents of Dasht-i Archi claim no members of the Taliban were present as hundreds of people gathered for dastaar bandi, a ceremony marking the graduation of young men who have memorized the Koran, Islam's holy book.

    Nasruddin Saadi, the district governor of Dasht-i Archi, said on April 3 that the air strikes hit a mosque and religious school, killing and wounding around 150 people.

    The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said the same day that its investigators were in the area looking into "disturbing reports of serious harm" to civilians.

    Amanullah, a resident of Dasht-i Archi, located around 80 kilometers from the provincial capital, told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan on April 3 that the air strikes hit a ceremony for which hundreds had gathered in the Gojar Akhundzada mosque and nearby fields. He claimed around 50 civilians were killed and scores injured.

    "The helicopters first fired artillery and then rockets,” said Amanullah as he stood outside Zone Hospital. “Everything was destroyed. The area was littered with dead bodies and body parts.”

    “There was nobody there to help us,” added Amanullah, who only goes by one name. “There were no ambulances. We had to transport the wounded by car to Kunduz city.”

    Amanullah claimed there were no Taliban fighters present at the religious ceremony in the district.

    “There were only civilians,” he says. “Most were clerics and religious students. It was a graduation ceremony for students."


    Victims' relatives demand accountability over Kunduz air raids

    Family members reject defence ministry claims that no civilians were killed in Kunduz attack targeting Taliban fighters.

    Distraught relatives of children killed in a government air raid targeting Taliban fighters in Afghanistan's Kunduz province have rejected official claims that no civilians were killed in the attack as "dishonest".

    A religious school in the Dasht-e-Archi district of the northern province was hit late on Monday.

    The Afghan government said the raids targeted a Taliban gathering, but witnesses and local officials maintained that at the time of the attack, a Dastaar Bandi ceremony - an event celebrating young men completing the memorisation of the Quran - was taking place at the school.

    There are conflicting reports over the number of people killed in the attack, and under which circumstances.

    A district official said a total of 70 people - including children and top Taliban commanders - were killed, while witnesses put the death toll to at least 100. Nematullah Temori, spokesman for the provincial governor, said seven civilians were killed in the attack.

    But General Mohammad Radmanish, spokesman for the defence ministry, said that according to their intelligence, no civilians were present at the time of the air raid.

    He told Al Jazeera that the air raid targeted a Taliban gathering where members of the group were discussing plans to capture Kunduz city.

    "The Taliban were gathered in a room planning their next move to take over Kunduz city.

    "We have surveillance footage of armed men and pictures of Taliban leaders in the area that was attacked," he said, adding that 18 Taliban commanders were killed in the raid.

    Rest here


  2. #22
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    Jan 2007


    Family of Afghan man tortured by CIA demands US reveal location of his body

    Gul Rahman was killed murdered in a secret CIA interrogation torture facility where he endured being doused with frigid water and shackled naked

    It took almost 15 years for Gul Rahman’s family to receive a direct acknowledgment that he had been killed in a secret CIA interrogation facility in Afghanistan.

    Now the family is pressing the United States to disclose what happened to his remains.

    A Freedom of Information Act (Foia) request filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the family seeks “information on what agents of the United States did with the body of Mr Gul Rahman, an Afghan citizen, following his death in CIA custody in November 2002”.

    Rahman disappeared in October 2002, when the family was living in a refugee camp near Peshawar, Pakistan. He was delivered to a clandestine CIA prison near Kabul known as “the Salt Pit”, where he endured more than three weeks of interrogation that included being doused with frigid water and shackled naked or in a diaper for days in stress positions.

    He was discovered dead in his cell on 20 November 2002, after being restrained overnight on the concrete floor on a night when the outside temperature dropped below freezing.

    Gul Rahman’s family, represented by his nephew Obaid Ullah, filed a lawsuit in 2015 alongside two surviving former Salt Pit prisoners against James Mitchell and John “Bruce” Jessen, the two contract psychologists who designed the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation program”. A settlement reached in that lawsuit last year included a statement confirming that “Gul Rahman was subjected to abuses in the CIA program that resulted in his death and pain and suffering to his family”.

    But the settlement left unresolved the mystery of what happened to Gul Rahman’s remains. Internal CIA investigations produced for the lawsuit recorded that the CIA ordered a freezer to preserve the body for an autopsy, and summarized an autopsy report that listed the likely cause of death as hypothermia. No records relating to the disposition of Rahman’s remains have been released.

    The Geneva Conventions and other international treaties require that prisoners who die in custody in wartime be buried in marked graves, that the graves’ locations be recorded in a registry, and that their families be notified and allowed access to the gravesites when hostilities end.

    In a deposition for the lawsuit against Mitchell and Jessen, Obaid Ullah pleaded for return of his uncle’s remains. “Where is his gravesite and what happened to him?” he said. “If they killed him I wish they would let us know: here is your dead body. At least present the dead body to us.”

    Steven Watt, the ACLU attorney who filed the Foia request on behalf of the family, called the CIA’s continuing refusal to account for Rahman’s remains “a failure of basic human decency”.

    “Honoring this small but significant request will help bring his family, including his mother, his wife, and three daughters, long-needed closure,” Watt said. “It will also shed further light on one of the most controversial and tragic aspects of the CIA’s now-defunct torture program,” he added.

    Rahman’s death in November 2002, and the death of another prisoner the CIA delivered to an interrogation facility in Afghanistan two weeks later, convulsed the CIA’s fledgling Rendition, Detention and Interrogation program.

    The deaths came as the CIA was debating what to do with videotapes of the torture of Abu Zubaydah, which included 83 sessions of waterboarding, and as a second CIA captive, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, was being subjected to similar treatment at the CIA’s black site in Thailand. Mitchell and Jessen led both those interrogations, and also participated in the interrogation of Gul Rahman in Afghanistan.

    This turbulent period is likely to receive renewed scrutiny during the forthcoming congressional confirmation hearings for Gina Haspel, Donald Trump’s nominee to direct the CIA. Haspel, currently deputy director of the CIA, reportedly oversaw the Thai black site during Nashiri’s interrogation, and had a central role in the eventual destruction of the videotapes, which prompted a lengthy justice department investigation that ended without charges.

    The Foia request filed on Wednesday is directed to the CIA, the Department of Defense, and the state department. It specifically seeks information relating to the disposition of Gul Rahman’s body and its present location, and to protocols for family notification, investigations, and treatment of remains in the event of a death in CIA custody.



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