Taliban Targets Refugees in Pakistan

Many prominent anti-Taliban Afghan nationals who fled their homes to live in Pakistan have been harassed, threatened, beaten, and even murdered.

Murder victims include the wife and children of political activist Abdul Haq and the brother-in-law of Afghanistan’s last communist president, Najibullah, who himself was hanged by the Taliban’s army. Also murdered were the wife and son of Shah Bacha Shinwari. Shinwari leads a moderate Afghan reconciliation commission.

The homes of Afghan National Democratic Party head Satan Gul Sherzad and a relative of former Afghan President Sibghatullah Mojaddidi were attacked, although no one was injured.

Afghan women who hold jobs in Peshawar, Pakistan report that men claiming to be members of the Taliban have threatened them and warned them to stop working at return to their homes. Female teachers at girls schools within Afghan refugee camps have also been threatened. Men claiming to be part of the Taliban warned them to limit schooling to girls under the age of 8 and to teach only the Muslim holy book, the Koran.

Taliban leaders have denied responsibility for all of these crimes. Taliban Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Sattar Pakties stated, “We are not interested in any other country….We have enough problems in our own country.”

Human rights group Amnesty International has urged the Pakistani government to protect Afghans living there with little success.


AP - February 17, 1999

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