Law and order
The National Security Directorate, Afghanistan's national security agency, has been accused of running its own prisons, torturing suspects, and harassing journalists. The security forces of local militias, which also have their own prisons, have been accused of torture and arbitrary killings. Warlords in the north have used property destruction, rape, and murder todiscourage displaced Pashtuns from reclaiming their homes. Child labor and human trafficking remain common outside Kabul. Civilians frequently have been killed in battles between warlord forces. Poor conditions in the overcrowded prisons have contributed to illness and death amongst prisoners; a prison rehabilitation program began in 2003.
In the absence of an effective national judicial system, theright to judicial protection has been compromised as uneven local standards have prevailed in criminal trials. Fair trial principles are enshrined in the Afghan constitution and the criminal procedure but frequently violated for various reasons, including the lack of well-educated, professional staff (especially defence lawyers), lack of material resources, corruption and unlawful interference bywarlords and politicians.
Freedom of speech and the media
The government has limited freedom of the media by selective crackdowns that invoke Islamic law and has encouraged self-censorship. The media remain substantially government-owned. The nominally lesser restrictions of the 2004 media law have been criticized by journalists and legal experts, and harassment and threats continued after itspassage, especially outside Kabul.
Discrimination against Hindus
In May 2001, according to news reports, the Taliban considered an edict requiring Hindus to wear identifying badges on their clothing. On May 23, 2001, Taliban radio announced that the edict was approved by religious officials. However, Mullah Omar reportedly did not sign the edict and it was not implemented bythe Taliban. The Taliban claim was that the proposed edict would protect Hindu citizens from harassment by members of the religious police. International observers regarded the proposed edict as part of the Taliban's efforts to segregate and isolate non-Muslim citizens, and to encourage more Hindu emigration. The reaction of Hindu citizens reportedly ranged from indifference to outrage.Discrimination against non-Muslims
According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), in September 1999, the Taliban issued decrees that forbade non-Muslims from building places of worship but allowed them to worship at existing holy sites, forbade non-Muslims from criticizing Muslims, ordered non-Muslims to identify their houses by placing a yellow cloth on their rooftops, forbade non-Muslims from living in the sameresidence as Muslims, and required that non-Muslim women wear a yellow dress with a special mark so that Muslims could keep their distance.
Freedom to proselytize
A small number of foreign Christian groups were allowed in the country to provide humanitarian assistance; however, they were forbidden by the Taliban to proselytize. A June 2001 decree stated that proselytizing by non-Muslims waspunishable by death or deportation in the case of foreigners. Taliban officials subsequently stated that the decree was only a guideline.
On August 3, 2001 Dayna Curry and Heather Mercer were arrested by the Taliban along with 22 others for their work with Shelter Now, a Christian aid organization based in Germany. The Taliban also seized Bibles and videos and audio tapes from the members of thegroup. The workers were tried for violating the Taliban prohibition against proselytizing. On November 15, 2001 Dayna Curry and Heather Mercer were freed by Operation Enduring Freedom forces, after the Taliban had fled Kabul.
Freedom of speech, including on religious matters
The Taliban prohibited free speech about religious issues or discussions that challenge orthodox Sunni Muslim views....