Rights in Afghanistan at risk as NATO troops leave - report

KABUL Fri Feb 1, 2013 3:19pm IST

Afghan children are seen as soldiers from the U.S. Army's Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment go on patrol near Command Outpost AJK (short for Azim-Jan-Kariz, a near-by village) in Maiwand District, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, January 31, 2013. REUTERS/Andrew Burton

Afghan children are seen as soldiers from the U.S. Army's Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment go on patrol near Command Outpost AJK (short for Azim-Jan-Kariz, a near-by village) in Maiwand District, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, January 31, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Andrew Burton

KABUL (Reuters) - Afghanistan's human rights situation remains poor and will likely deteriorate even further with the departure of NATO-led forces from the country next year, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in its annual global report on Thursday.

Increasing international fatigue over the 11-year war has led to reduced pressure on the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai to limit the role of warlords, corrupt politicians, and other human rights abusers, the report said.

"The future of human rights protections in Afghanistan are in grave doubt," HRW Asia director Brad Adams said.

"Corruption, little rule of law, poor governance, and abusive policies and practices deprive the country's most vulnerable citizens of their rights."

The situation for people at risk of abuse was expected to worsen as NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) gradually withdraws its troops ahead of the end-2014 deadline for the end of the NATO-led war, the report said.

The report's concerns echoed a United Nations paper released in January which said that despite ongoing international attention, torture and mistreatment of Afghans held by the country's police and spy agencies was continuing.

The HRW report reserved particular concern for the plight of women, suggesting a decline in basic rights won back in education, voting and employment since the Taliban were ousted from power in 2001.

The report noted that a 2009 law designed to prevent violence against women remained "largely unenforced" and 2012 had seen a worrying rise in attacks on women.

(Reporting by Dylan Welch; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

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