Afghan warlords: Please don’t prosecute us

Afghanistan’s warlords and their followers are planning a major rally in Kabul tomorrow. Their cause?  Impunity. Of course, they wouldn’t put it quite that way. The country’s warlords will be demonstrating in favor of a bill guaranteeing amnesty for the mujahidin who fought against Soviet occupation. In the gathering, the people will show their support ...

By , a professor at Indiana University’s Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies.
603836_022207_karzai_05.jpg
603836_022207_karzai_05.jpg

Afghanistan's warlords and their followers are planning a major rally in Kabul tomorrow. Their cause?  Impunity. Of course, they wouldn't put it quite that way. The country's warlords will be demonstrating in favor of a bill guaranteeing amnesty for the mujahidin who fought against Soviet occupation.

In the gathering, the people will show their support for the jihadi leaders and for the amnesty bill," said Waqif Hakimi, spokesman for Jamyat Islami, one of the Islamist factions involved in the country's 1992-1996 civil war. "It will be huge. I think 50,000 people will attend."

SHAH MARAI/AFP

Afghanistan’s warlords and their followers are planning a major rally in Kabul tomorrow. Their cause?  Impunity. Of course, they wouldn’t put it quite that way. The country’s warlords will be demonstrating in favor of a bill guaranteeing amnesty for the mujahidin who fought against Soviet occupation.

In the gathering, the people will show their support for the jihadi leaders and for the amnesty bill,” said Waqif Hakimi, spokesman for Jamyat Islami, one of the Islamist factions involved in the country’s 1992-1996 civil war. “It will be huge. I think 50,000 people will attend.”

SHAH MARAI/AFP

Afghanistan’s warlords have become unsettled as international human rights groups push for prosecutions of the worst crimes committed during the country’s long and bloody civil war. An amnesty bill has gotten the parliament’s support, but now needs President Hamid Karzai’s blessing.

It’s not clear that he’ll give it. The warlords now like to pretend that they were all fighting the good fight against the Soviet infidels (and some were), but many committed heinous atrocities against ordinary Afghans. Still, the amnesty issue puts Karzai—and the United States—in a tough spot. Battling the Taliban resurgence is the immediate priority, so delving into twenty years of atrocities would be damned inconvenient. Karzai’s already unenviable job just got a little bit harder.

David Bosco is a professor at Indiana University’s Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies. He is the author of The Poseidon Project: The Struggle to Govern the World’s Oceans. Twitter: @multilateralist

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