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Harassed and raided: another day under occupation in Afghanistan

by Guy Smallman in Afghanistan

Nato troops continue to harass people in Afghanistan.  (Pic: http://www.guysmallman.com/Guy Smallman )

Nato troops continue to harass people in Afghanistan. (Pic: Guy Smallman)


It was 1am and 64-year old Mohammed Akram was playing chess with a family friend when 30 soldiers came crashing through the door of his Kabul apartment.

Within a few seconds everyone in the flat was being held at gunpoint by a mixture of Afghan and Nato Special Forces.

They hooded all the men present, including Mr Akram’s 16-year old son, and bound their hands behind their backs.

The women, including his wife and two daughters, were held in a separate room and frisked, despite being in bed when the raid had started.

This cycle of dawn raids, intimidation and violence has happened thousands of times over since the war began.

The soldiers proceeded to search the flat, destroying furniture and belongings for around two hours. Like so many other raids, they found nothing incriminating.

As they ransacked the apartment, a laptop belonging to Mr Akram’s seven-year old grandson was discovered.

He was dragged from his bed—soldiers demanded the password with a gun held to his head. Paralysed with fear he was unable to remember it as the soldiers questioned him again and again. Eventually he typed in the correct code—they found nothing but a few computer games.

The men were then taken away. Mr Akram’s wife was not told where they were being taken or even who the kidnappers were. None of them were displaying any insignia and at no point did they identify themselves.

She then discovered that the family safe had been raided and all the money was gone.

Afghan police told Mrs Akram that the men had been taken to the notorious torture prison at Bagram Airport. Instead they were still in Kabul at a local detention facility.

The men were finally released a day later—though no apology or explanation was forthcoming.

For some families caught up in the terror US and Nato forces mete out, the results have been more horrific—detention often lasts for months and hundreds have disappeared after such raids.

One relative commented, “Even if they had been terrorists, no family should be treated like this, with machine guns being pointed at children.”


Article information

International
Tue 14 Sep 2010, 17:14 BST
Issue No. 2219
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