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AIHRC flays communist regime’s massacres

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KABUL: The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) on Thursday strongly condemned mass killings under the communist regime in the 1970s, saying it had been delivered death lists the International Crimes Unit of the Netherlands National Police had obtained from Afghanistan.
As part of a war crimes investigation, the Netherlands prosecutor's office on Wednesday released nearly 5,000 names of Afghans tortured and killed in 1978 and 1979 by Afghan intelligence officials.
"These lists end the uncertainty of numerous relatives who have been in the dark for decades about the fate of their fathers, brothers, uncles, cousins and other loved ones," the prosecutor's office said in a statement.
"The Netherlands authorities hope that the list will bring closure to the tormenting uncertainty that thousands of Afghan relatives have lived in for years."
The prosecutor's office said Afghan interrogation methods "included beatings, electricity and sleep deprivation. Overpopulation, little to no sanitary provisions or medical care, and violence by the guards were so severe that they amounted to cruel and inhuman treatment."
Dutch police subsequently tracked down several witnesses, including a 93-year-old woman in Hamburg, Germany, with a 154-page list in the Dari language of people executed in 1978 and 1979.
It was in chronological and alphabetic order, complete with their fathers' names, their professions, places of residence and charges against them.
Many families had been searching for years for information on their loved ones, the prosecutor's office said. One woman reported hearing that people had been lined up and shot with machine guns and that anyone still alive had been buried with bulldozers behind Pul-i-Charkhi prison near Kabul.
At Pul-i-Charkhi an estimated 27,000 prisoners were executed from April 1978, when the communists took over, until the Soviet invasion in December 1979.
The AIHRC said in a statement the lists had raked up the wounds of Afghans and it appeared every tribe and ethnic group had been tortured under the cruel communist regime. “No one was safe, the regime was killing everyone.”
It added the lists illustrated a small part of crimes against humanity by the then regime that had been claiming to end centuries-old atrocities against Afghans.
AIHRC chief Seema Samar said: “I find it hard to explain my sentiments, but as part of my job I strongly condemn all those individuals who had committed crimes against my nation.”

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