President Karzai of Afghhanistan's signature is on a pardon for three gang-rapists who just happened to be cronies of a former Taliban commander and Afghan MP. The woman who was raped and her family didn't even know about it until the men turned up in their village again, but Karzai's office says he doesn't know anything about it.
“Everyone was shocked,” said Sara’s husband, Dilawar, who like many Afghans uses only one name. “These were men who had been sentenced and found guilty by the Supreme Court, walking around freely.”
Sara’s case highlights concerns about the close relationship between the Afghan president and men accused of war crimes and human rights abuses.
The men were freed discreetly but the rape itself was public and brutal. It took place in September 2005, in the run up to Afghanistan’s first democratic parliamentary elections.
... A copy of the pardon was numbered, dated in May and appeared to bear the personal signature of Hamid Karzai. It recommended the men’s release because, it said, “they had been forced to confess to their crimes.”
When showed copies of the presidential pardon and court papers, President Karzai’s spokesman, Hamayun Hamidzada, was visibly shocked and said that if the documents proved genuine, Mr Karzai would be “upset and appalled.”
He said it was impossible that President Karzai could knowingly have signed a pardon for rapists, but refused to speculate on how the pardon could have come about.
An Afghan MP told the Independent's Kate Clark that “The commanders, the war criminals, still have armed groups,” he said. “They’re in the government. Karzai, the Americans, the British sit down with them. They have impunity. They’ve become very courageous and can do whatever crimes they like.” UN officials say cases such as this are increasingly common - and the family of Sara, the raped woman, are in hiding again.
There's none of this that an Afghan Surge can solve - just as the Iraqi Surge hasn't solved very similiar problems there. And yet again the need to pretend that "democracy" follows in the Bush administration's wake outweighs the needs of the common people, while exiles pushed by the West and local crooks carve up the country to suit themselves. Such nice allies we have.