Tag Archives: Afghanistan

USA/Afghanistan: After fleeing Kabul, Afghan lawyers seek new life — and legal careers — in California


Masooda Qazi held her 8-year-old son’s hand tightly as she frantically tried to convey to a group of Dutch soldiers that she was an employee of the U.S. Embassy and was promised transport out of Kabul as it fell to the Taliban last year.

The crowd around Qazi was full of people similarly desperate to escape, and it was growing agitated. People pushed forward outside a security gate near the airport, erasing any space to move. Her son Habib began to panic.

“I can’t breathe anymore,” he said to his father, Hamid ul Rahman Qazi, who had been holding the couple’s younger son — Hasib, 4 — above the crowd on his shoulders for hours.

“We need to go back,” Hamid told his wife.

“No. Stay,” she said. “We will get success.”

More than a year later, the young family has resettled in the U.S. after escaping Afghanistan on a Dutch military plane, then waiting in a Dutch refugee camp for 10 months before finally receiving special U.S. immigrant visas.

They arrived in San Diego in June, Masooda had a baby girl in July, and they moved into their own apartment in August with the help of a refugee assistance program.

After so much turmoil and trauma, the young couple — who were successful lawyers in Afghanistan — said they finally feel safe.

But their quest for success isn’t over.

With help from others in the legal field in California — including judges, lawyers, law clerks and law professors — they hope to find their way back into their profession, which not only brought them together in Kabul but also provided them work they loved and a happy life before it all collapsed.

In that way, they are not alone.

More than 85,000 Afghan nationals have journeyed to the U.S. since the fall of Kabul, many through similar airport evacuations that same harrowing week in August 2021 — an effort the Biden administration dubbed Operation Allies Welcome. Many fled not only their country, homes, friends and loved ones, but also their established careers.

Those who have arrived on special immigrant visas such as the Qazis were largely admitted on the basis that they or one of their immediate family members “took significant risks to support [U.S.] military and civilian personnel in Afghanistan,” according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Many had held coveted positions in government agencies and international nonprofits. And some, like the Qazis, were deeply involved in building the former Afghan government’s legal and judicial systems. They fought to ensure the rule of law in court, worked as or helped train prosecutors and judges, and drafted legislation to root out corruption and better protect the rights of women.

Now in the U.S., those same professionals desperately need and want jobs, with some resettlement programs providing housing for only a few months. But the hurdles to reentering their old fields are substantial. Beyond the challenges of working in a new language, those in professions that require advanced degrees or other qualifications — such as lawyers — face even greater barriers.

Masooda and Hamid said they understand all that, but they are not deterred. After all, they had fought their way to the top of their field once before in Kabul, they told The Times in a recent interview, where barriers — especially for a woman — were also imposing.

“Always Masooda is saying, ‘We can do it again,’” Hamid said. “And I’m sure we can.”






https://www.sudouest.fr/gironde/gironde-l-avocate-afghane-freshta-karimi-laureate-du-prix-des-droits-de-l-homme-ludovic-trarieux-12366732.php (FRANCAIS)

Afghanistan: Lawyers, specifically women lawyers, are in serious danger


The CCBE urges the de facto authorities to reinstate the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association and allow all lawyers to practise law freely and without fear of persecution.

Les avocats, et en particulier les avocates, sont en grand danger. Le CCBE exhorte les autorités à rétablir l’Association indépendante du barreau afghan et à permettre à tous les avocats d’exercer librement et sans crainte de persécution.

Click to access EN_HRL_20220906_Afghanistan_Situation-of-lawyers-in-Afghanistan.pdf














https://www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2022/09/13/afghanistan-la-lutte-pour-le-respect-des-droits-fondamentaux-doit-continuer_6141329_3232.html (FRANCAIS)

Couple from Afghanistan who were prosecutors pre-Taliban, arrive in Canada to start new life


Rohi Rasa and her husband Mojeeb Bari arrived in Saskatoon on Tuesday, greeted by volunteers with Nest Saskatoon, which is sponsoring the couple.

Rohi Rasa says she and her husband Mojeeb Bari feel they have found a family after they received a warm greeting from volunteers with a local organization that helps resettle refugees when they arrived at the airport in Saskatoon.

“We found (a) very good place and (a) very good city and very kind people and everything I like,” she said on Wednesday afternoon.

Volunteers with Nest Saskatoon have been working to raise funds to sponsor the couple, who were forced to flee their home in Afghanistan after the Taliban seized power in August 2021. The organization is also helping them settle into their new life in Saskatoon.

Bari said when they were in Afghanistan and then Pakistan, they couldn’t feel secure.

“But when we came to Canada, especially Saskatoon, we feel very secure,” he said.

Rasa and Bari were both prosecutors in Afghanistan’s attorney general’s office.

Rasa was particularly at risk because she was the head of a section responsible for recovering criminal assets, often pitting her against the nation’s organized drug criminals, many of whom were believed to have ties to the Taliban.

Bari worked as a prosecutor in the attorney general’s office in the crime analysis section. He’s written three books for post-secondary students in Afghanistan who want to pursue a career as a prosecutor, and also wrote newspaper articles and lectured at a private university.



A Crisis of Justice for Afghan Victims of War


A year since the Taliban military reoccupation of Kabul and the withdrawal of the NATO military presence, justice seems even further away for victims of war in Afghanistan. While there has been a reduction in conflict-related violence, terrorist attacks as well as the fighting between Taliban and the armed resistance in PanjshirBaghlan, and earlier in Balkhab, Saripul has continued to cause civilian harm. Ongoing violence, coupled with lack of accountability, shrinking space for reporting and documentation of violations, and dismissal of rights institutions has created a bleak situation for victims in Afghanistan. Additionally, despite the catastrophic human rights situation inside the country, the international community and United Nations (U.N.) mechanisms have continued with their “business as usual” approach to accountability in Afghanistan, failing to take meaningful steps to deliver justice, ensure accountability, and counter impunity for gross violations of international humanitarian law in the country.

Afghan victims of war have been waiting for justice for a long time. Afghanistan has been in war for over 40 years, with direct international involvement for the past 20 years. Almost every family has experienced some form of harm by the various parties to the conflict, including the international military forces. In these past four decades, neither national governments and local actors, nor the international community that proclaimed commitments to human rights and democracy have taken meaningful steps toward justice and accountability for civilian victims of war in Afghanistan.

A year since the end of intense fighting, any attention to the victims of war in Afghanistan has faded and the discourse of victim-centered justice seems to be forgotten. Domestically, Taliban have dismantled the existing legal system, dissolving the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, replacing trained lawyers with their own members and fighters who only have religious training, and excluding female staff from the judiciary. It is unclear what legal framework is being upheld, with laws around protection of women from violence, and detainees from torture, being scrapped.  The justice sector has been gutted, with professionals forced out, leaving the sector voluntarily, or fleeing the country, and decisions by Taliban judges are taken on an arbitrary basis. The legal framework and institutions that once offered some protection or legal remedy to victims of war, flawed as they were, have now been completely abolished and abandoned. Afghan civil society actors and the local human rights community are mostly now in exile or keeping a low profile in Afghanistan, unable to advocate for a just peace or victims’ rights. Even the memory boxes – exhibits honoring the memories of victims of the past four decades of war, which had been on display in Kabul until last year – and the activists collecting them have been forced into exile following the takeover by the Taliban.

While the justice sector is being dismantled and the space for documentation and advocacy has completely closed, the violations continue to cause civilian harm. Executions, enforced disappearances, allegations of torture and mistreatment by Taliban have become daily news. Taliban are exercising collective punishment against communities from Panjshir and the Hazaras. They conduct “cleaning” operations in areas of conflict such as Balkhab where they raid houses and arrest civilians on suspicion of affiliation with their enemies, including the former international coalition.




https://www.amnesty.fr/refugies-et-migrants/actualites/des-afghans-repousses-par-des-tirs-aux-frontieres-de-l-iran-et-de-la-turquie (FRANCAIS)

Canada: One year after the Taliban reclaimed power Afghan judge reflects on overseeing domestic violence cases and adjusting to new life


Wahida Rahimi’s phone never left her side on August 31, 2021. She barely slept, afraid of missing a text message or call. She was so attached to the device that she vowed to never look at it again if she could flee the country safely.

Sixteen days earlier, the Taliban recaptured Kabul.

As the remaining US planes took off, Rahimi’s phone lit up with messages from colleagues asking what to do. She forwarded them screenshots she was receiving from advocates who told her “We’re going to help. Have faith. Be hopeful.” She still has those messages.

Rahimi was one of 270 female judges who were desperately trying to leave Afghanistan. Judges had become targets for the work they did in delivering justice to women in domestic violence cases and for sending the Taliban’s members to jail.

Throughout the tumult, Rahimi remained hopeful. “It was not meant to be the end for me. I’m not going to be a victim. I’m a survivor,” she told Insider.

‘It totally changed their lives’

Up until the last few days of the regime change, Rahimi was still working as a judge in Panjshir province, a mountainous region known for its natural beauty. Her commute took nearly three hours and she had to be accompanied by a driver due to safety concerns. In January 2021, two female Afghan Supreme Court judges were shot and killed in Kabul. Afghan officials blamed the Taliban, but the group denied the accusations.

Rahimi was chosen by the country’s Supreme Court in 2018 to oversee the province’s newly created court of domestic violence and presided over cases ranging from murder to physical abuse.







https://tolonews.com/fa/afghanistan-179577 (DARI)

https://www.independentpersian.com/node/264101/%D8%B3%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%B3%DB%8C-%D9%88-%D8%A7%D8%AC%D8%AA%D9%85%D8%A7%D8%B9%DB%8C/%DA%AF%D9%81%D8%AA%DA%AF%D9%88%DB%8C-%D9%81%D8%B9%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%B2%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%81%D8%BA%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%A8%D9%88%D9%84-%D8%A8%D8%A7-%D9%87%D8%AF%D9%81-%D8%A7%D8%AD%DB%8C%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D9%85%D8%B4%D8%A7%D8%B1%DA%A9%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D8%AC%D8%AA%D9%85%D8%A7%D8%B9%DB%8C-%D9%88-%D8%B3%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%B3%DB%8C (FARSI)

ABA project aims to help Afghan legal professionals establish themselves in the United States


In the weeks following the one-year anniversary of the fall of Kabul to the Taliban on Aug. 15, the ABA Journal is highlighting the ABA’s efforts to help judges and lawyers from Afghanistan resettle, obtain immigration benefits and secure jobs using their legal skills. This is part one in our series.

In early November, Michael Byowitz attended a virtual program called “Women Judges of Afghanistan: A Call to Action,” and heard the harrowing stories of female judges who fled Afghanistan as the Taliban took over their country.

The program, which was sponsored by the International Law Section’s International Human Rights Committee and featured speakers from the International Association of Women Judges, also described the work of non-governmental organizations to help these judges first find temporary refuge in other countries before resettling in the United States.

“Toward the end of the program, I asked a question, and the question was, ‘What are these people going to do for work when they get resettled? How are they going to make a living?’” says Byowitz, of counsel at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz in New York City. “And I specifically asked if there was a route for them to qualify for jobs in the U.S. legal profession, either as lawyers or in other law-related capacities.”

Byowitz, a past ILS chair, had a potential solution in mind. He proposed connecting the Afghan judges with LLM programs—one-year graduate legal studies programs that expose international students to U.S. law systems and legal reasoning. Some states, including California and New York, allow international students who earn an LLM degree to then sit for their bar exams.

He reached out to then-ABA President Reginald Turner and Executive Director Jack Rives, who told him about the ABA Afghanistan Response Project, an initiative a group of entities, members and staff established in August 2021 to assist with the growing humanitarian crisis. Byowitz shared his plan at one of its meetings and got the green light from then-ILS chair Nancy Stafford to work with their colleagues to put it into action.

Byowitz helped launch the Afghan Professionals Resettlement Task Force, which proposed a pilot program to identify a small number of candidates who are interested in obtaining LLM degrees, taking the bar exam and joining the U.S. legal profession. In June, the Board of Governors approved the pilot program, which will focus primarily on female Afghan judges, prosecutors and lawyers.

“Afghan judges, prosecutors and lawyers are highly educated, trained people who have held positions of substantial responsibility,” Byowitz says. “To utilize their skills to the best advantage for them and for the United States, we should have a program like this.”





https://www.cnb.avocat.fr/fr/actualites/chute-de-kaboul-un-apres-que-pouvons-nous-faire (FRANCAIS)

‘My Hope Died Forever’: Taliban Restrictions Are Forcing Afghan Women Out Of The Workforce


Khadija spent a few hours in the Taliban’s custody after she was arrested for attempting to organize a protest to demand the right to work in September 2021. She was questioned for hours by the Taliban and forced to vow not to provoke further protest. Since then, the Taliban have been keeping a close eye on her.

“I can’t do or say anything without thinking they’re watching and listening,” Khadija, a lawyer from Afghanistan who asked to remain anonymous due to fear of retaliation, told HuffPost over WhatsApp.

Khadija majored in Islamic law, passed the bar exam, and spent four years working as a criminal defense attorney. However, when the Taliban came to power she was no longer allowed to work and was forced to remain at home with a backlog of cases from her clients. The Taliban justice ministry took lawyer licensing control from Afghanistan’s independent bar association and asked lawyers to renew their licenses to work under the Taliban. But women don’t have the right to take the bar exam or renew their licenses anymore.

Khadija had been the sole income for her family of six and suddenly found herself in a dire financial situation.

“I no longer can practice law as a woman,” she said. “This results from the Taliban’s strict interpretation of Islam, which forbids ‘women in the position of judgment and authority’ and ‘women’s legal guardianship over men.’”

Over the past 12 months since the Taliban came to power, human rights violations against women and girls have mounted steadily in Afghanistan. The Taliban banned girls from attending school past the sixth grade and suppressed women’s movements. Women are not allowed to travel long distances without a male chaperone, and unchaperoned women are increasingly being denied access to essential services. Women hold no cabinet or decision-making positions in the Taliban’s de facto government.

Before the hard-line group took control last year, female participation in Afghanistan’s labor force had climbed from around 15% in 2009 to nearly 22% in 2019. The arrival of the Taliban particularly impacted women’s employment in certain sectors. Most ex-government workers, police members, soldiers, judges, prosecutors, lawyers, teachers and journalists have not been able to return to work, unlike their male counterparts.

Khadija decided to continue working on her pending cases after months of staying at home, but her role in these cases was reduced. Without her license, she can only represent someone in court if they grant her power of attorney.

Most of her clients are male, and she is constrained by the Taliban’s rules that forbid men and women from openly communicating in public unless they can show they are Mahram (closely related).






Pakistan: Afghan female judge fleeing Taliban appeals after Home Office refuses UK entry


Lawyers say the woman, who is in hiding in Pakistan with her son, will be killed if sent back to Afghanistan

A female former senior judge from Afghanistan who is in hiding from the Taliban with her son has filed an appeal to the Home Office after her application to enter the UK was denied.

Lawyers for the woman – who is named as “Y” – said on Saturday they had submitted an appeal on behalf of their client and her son at the Immigration Tribunal, saying she had been left in a “gravely vulnerable position” by the withdrawal of British and other western troops.

They said the British government’s decision has stopped them from joining British and settled family members in the UK who said they are “very afraid she will take her own life”.

The woman, 52, and her son, 24, fled Afghanistan and are in hiding in Pakistan after their home in Kabul was attacked and several of her former colleagues assassinated, her lawyers said in a statement.

There are believed to be about 70 Afghan women judges in Afghanistan, and about 70 more who have escaped but are in similar conditions to Y.

Katie Newbury, a partner at Kingsley Napley, the firm representing her, said the mother and son “are not safe or secure where they are now and they have close family in the UK eager to support them”.

“Since November we have repeatedly chased the Home Office for a decision given the precarious situation,” she wrote on Twitter, adding that the Home Office had “dragged their feet”.










https://news-24.fr/une-juge-afghane-qui-se-cache-des-talibans-fait-appel-du-refus-dentree-au-royaume-uni-par-le-ministere-de-linterieur-nouvelles-du-monde/ (FRANCAIS)


Afghanistan: “In the final week’s of my bachelor’s degree, I was studying law, but there was no rule of law, no freedom, and no law”


Law students and lawyers in Afghanistan are filing reports with JURIST on the situation that has developed there since the Taliban takeover. Here, our correspondent, a now-graduated law student, reflects on her academic, professional and personal circumstances before and after the fall of Kabul on August 15, 2021.  For privacy and security reasons, we are withholding our correspondent’s name. The text has only been lightly edited to respect the author’s voice.

I’m writing my story as a law student on the day that the Taliban took over the country.

I was in my last semester in Law and Political Science. The day Afghanistan collapsed I was involved in many self-made programs and plans: learning three foreign languages, competing in numerous national and international competitions, writing proposals, attempting to establish learning clubs at my university, attempting to obtain internships, and so on.

As an active law student, when the dark shadow of the Taliban took over the bright sky of Afghanistan, I lost everything I had and everything I wished to have in the future.

In the very first days of the Taliban invasion, the French institute in Afghanistan stopped its activities, such as administering international DELF/DALF tests, organizing learning classes and other kinds of cultural activities. The groups organizing international competitions in Afghanistan stopped their activities and a large number of students who had been involved in these competitions were obliged to stop following their dreams. The doors of universities, schools, and other learning institutions were closed; many international scholarship programs stopped their activities in Afghanistan, … and half the Afghan people are obliged to stay at home. I am one of that large number, a woman.

On August 15th, I lost my future, my dreams, the best version of myself in the near future, my favorite path and my peace.

After that day, I was deprived of the chance of going to university; I couldn’t follow my French and English classes; I wasn’t able to take French and English exams; I couldn’t participate in national and international competitions; I was deprived of the opportunity to get internships; I was deprived of serving my country.

After that day, I was obliged to stay at home, to forget myself, to leave my dreams,

On that dark day, I lost my freedom.

We lost everything.

After many months and with people putting lots of effort into it, the Taliban finally opened the university doors. I went to university, but it wasn’t the university that we left before August 15th. The university was empty, empty of freedom, ambition, and hope.

A gender separation plan was imposed and the male professors weren’t allowed to teach girls; the enter and exit times were fixed and no one could go out or into the university outside of the fixed times; wearing colorful dresses was forbidden; even taking a photo was forbidden for girls at university. Taliban forces were entering the faculties randomly with their guns to control the application of their ridiculous plans at university; university student associations were dissolved by the Taliban; the pictures of distinguished female professors and students were removed from the walls of faculties. The learning clubs have stopped their activities by the force of the Taliban, and the most important thing is that there was no rule of law in the faculty founded on the Rule of Law.

In the final weeks of my bachelor’s degree, I was studying law, but there was no rule of law, no freedom, and no law.





Afghan judges and prosecutors who sentenced Taliban ask Spain for help


Zobaida Akbar worked in the General Prosecutor’s Office of Afghanistan until August 15, 2021. That day, the Taliban took over Kabul, and this prosecutor, who had handled hundreds of terrorism cases against radicals and local Daesh commanders, was forced to flee his home. “We went from our house to our relatives because they were looking for us,” he says. After suffering for several weeks, he managed to leave the country and reach Islamabad, Pakistan. She is one of 32 female lawyers for whom associations of judges and prosecutors have appealed to the Spanish government, who consider her situation critical.

In an open letter sent to Pedro Sánchez, the associations Judges and Judges for Democracy and the Progressive Union of Prosecutors regret that “the Spanish government is not responding to this humanitarian crisis in the way that is expected of our country.” In their letter, they recall that these women “had the right to accuse and condemn men, and this is anathema to the Taliban’s ideology” and that “for a very long time” they sought international protection at the Spanish Embassy in Islamabad. Answer.

Qudsia Sharif is one such woman. According to elDiario.es, seven months ago, he requested international protection from the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs from the capital of Pakistan. This 28-year-old girl started her professional career in 2016 as a research lawyer in Ghor to eliminate violence against women. “At that time, I was the only woman working in justice in this province,” she explains. In 2018, she moved to Kabul to take up a position as a prosecutor, which led her to participate in around 40 trials against the Taliban, while also combining her gender research consulting work with international organizations.

“In August 2021, when the Afghan government collapsed due to the Taliban, the days of misery began, especially for women,” says Sharif. “Girls were first deprived of their right to education, protests were brutally suppressed, and protestors were arrested and tortured in prisons. Prosecutors and judges have been forced out of office and the judiciary is collapsing as cases are decided by fatwa [ley islámica]”, he explains from Islamabad. Organizations working to aid the group indicate that the Taliban have killed 26 prosecutors since taking over Kabul. “We’re trying to save our lives,” he says.

In an Amnesty International report, Published on July 27The organization agrees that “the Taliban violates the rights of women and girls to education, work and free movement; They destroy the projection and support system for those escaping gender-based domestic violence; arresting women and girls for minor violations of discriminatory rules; and contribute to the increase in the number of early and forced marriages in Afghanistan.” Additionally, the study’s findings echo what Sharifi expressed: “Women who peacefully protest these oppressive norms are threatened, arrested, imprisoned, tortured, and subject to enforced disappearance.”

“Since the union of progressive prosecutors, we have spent a year in front of the government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to prove the extreme situation experienced by the group of judges, prosecutors and human rights defenders. For a rule of law like ours to work, there must be people who guarantee this public service. When the situation changes, as the Taliban seize power, it is a moral obligation to protect these people,” UPF President Ines Herrera defends.







https://www.cnb.avocat.fr/fr/actualites/chute-de-kaboul-un-apres-que-pouvons-nous-faire (FRANCAIS)