WK (Credibility Hizb-i-Islami Pashtuns- Kabul) Afghanistan  UKIAT 00280
Date of hearing: 25 August 2004
Date Determination notified: 04 October 2004
|Secretary of State for the Home Department||RESPONDENT|
(a) The Adjudicator's decision to prefer an uncertified translation made for the Home Office in place of the apparently certified translation produced by appellant. The Adjudicator relied on the Home Office version to make his adverse credibility findings (paragraph 11 and 32 of the determination).
(b) The Adjudicator's reliance upon the appellant's demeanour in that after breaking down in tears, 'the appellant's eyes were not reddened and he did not appear to be truthful he did not appear to be someone who was genuinely upset'.
(c) The alleged persecution of the Hizb-i-Islami and in particular supporters of Engineer Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, leader of Hizb-i-Islami Gulbuddin, who was expelled in February 2002 for his vocal opposition to President Hekmatzar Karazi. In April 2002 a number of his supporters were detained in Kabul accused of conspiring to plant bombs. The appellant's father was found dead near a canal and the claimant relies upon this as evidence of the Northern Alliance's opposition to the family as Hizb-i-Islami supporters.
(d) The Adjudicator's failure to consider background evidence about the difficulties of return to areas outside Kabul.
- 1 January 1981 The appellant was born in Jalalabad, in Ningrahar Province, Afghanistan. His family were Hizb-i-Islami supporters, his father and uncle Commanders in Hizb-i-Islami.
- 1996 The appellant ceased going to school in Ningrahar when the Taliban came to power. He used to go to Hizb-i-Islami meetings with his father, although he was not a member. Usually the meetings were about Pashtun welfare. His understanding was that it was a legal party.
- 15 March 1997 The Taliban arrested the appellant's uncle Modeer Lawang who has not been since. The uncle was working as an assistant for Haji Abdul Qadir.
- 22 December 2001 Hamid Karzai, a Pashtun royalist, was sworn in as head of a power sharing Transitional Administration which included Haji Abdul Qadir as one of five Vice-Presidents.
- January 2002 The first contingent of the International Security Assistance Force arrived in Afghanistan.
- April 2002 The former King Mohammed Zahir Shah returned, making no claim to the throne of Afghan.
- May 2002 the UN Security Council extended the mandate of the International Security Assistance Force until December 2002, with allied Forces continuing their military campaign to find remnants of Al Qa'ida and Taliban forces in the south east.
- June 2002 The Loya Jirga elected Hamid Karzai as head of state and he chose his Transitional Administration members, to serve until 2004, including Turkey took over as the head national in ISAF.
- July 2002 Vice President Haji Abdul Qadir assassinated.
- 15 August 2002 the appellant claims to have received a threatening letter telling him to stop supporting Haji Abdul Qadir.
- 23 August 2002 He received another threatening letter.
- 22/23 August 2002 Northern Alliance soldiers visited the appellant's house warning him not to support Haji Abdul Qadir.
- 27 August 2002 The appellant left Jalalabad with the help of an agent.
- September 2002 Hamid Karzai narrowly escaped an assassination attempt in Kandahar his home town.
- 4 September 2002 appellant arrived in the United Kingdom.
- November 2002 appellant received a telephone call from abroad to say his father had disappeared.
- February 2003 Germany and the Netherlands took over as the league nations in the ISAF.
- 19 February 2003 the US Department of State designated Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, leader of Hizb-i-Islami Hekmatyar, an international terrorist. Hekmatyar returned to Afghanistan at about this time after being expelled in 2002, but his whereabouts are unknown in Afghanistan.
- August 2002 NATO took control of security in Kabul, this being the organisations first operational commitment outside Europe in its history.
- August 2003 it was reported that Hizb-i-Islami were one of the groups believed to have been responsible for a spate of attacks on Afghan and Western government, military had humanitarian targets.
"6.328 An international Crisis Group (ICG) Asia Briefing published on 30 March 2004 stated that, "In the weeks since the constitutional Loya Jirga, the president has appointed a number of former Hizb-i-Islami (Hikmatyar) commanders and political figures to high-level post, including Bashir Baghlani as governor of Farah, Khyal Mohammad as governor of Zabul, and Sabawoon as minister-adviser in the Ministry of Border and Tribal Affairs." According to ICG, "The incorporation of former Hizb-i-Islami personalities into the government has accelerated since the Constitutional Loya Jirga, an indication that the support extended to Karzai by the party's erstwhile members may be more than a short-term alliance."
"6.123 The world Directory of Minorities further notes that "despite the dominant position they have held, Pashtuns do not form a homogeneous group, and many have fallen victim to oppression at the hands of their own elites. The power and leadership of individuals are perhaps what divides Pashtuns, not only into different tribes but also into numerous sub-tribes, each isolated within its own borders. Interference in one another's affairs has caused conflicts among sub-tribe throughout their history. Yet external interference, or interference by the central government, has usually resulted in a unified response."  (p 539)
6.124 In 1997, a UNHCR background paper on refugees and asylum seekers from Afghanistan noted that Pashtuns made up the great majority of the refugees in Pakistan. The Pashtun tribal population of Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) still had much in common in terms of culture, language and traditions with their fellow Pashtun-speakers across the border (the "Duran Line') in Afghanistan. The Duran Line of 1893 demarcated the border of modern-day Pakistan and Afghanistan. There is a long tradition of mobility among the Pashtuns who live in the NWFP and those of eastern Afghanistan. Notably, some 60,000 nomads ('kuchis' or 'powindahs' as they are respectively known in Afghanistan and Pakistan) were accustomed to moving annually with their herds between summer and pastures in Afghanistan and winter pastures in Pakistan. Others were merchants or businessmen with interest in Kabul, Kandahar and Jalalabad in Afghanistan and Peshawar in Pakistan, who moved regularly between the two countries. [11a] (p 5).
6.130 In early March 2003 it was reported by the BBC World News that the main local leaders in Afghanistan had agreed to bring an end to factional fighting and help thousands of Afghans return to their homes. UN officials said that the agreement had been secured by Ruud Lubbers, the UN High Commissioners for Refugees.
6.131 According to a UNCHR report issued in July 2003, "Since April 2002, the situation for Pashtun minorities in the North and West has progressively improved. UNHCR has been actively supporting initiatives to prepare for the voluntary, safe and dignified return of displaced Pashtuns to the North, and the major party leaders in the North have given assurances that their rights will be respected. Although the situation has calmed in certain regions, particularly in Badghis as well as in the North-East where there have been larger Pashtun refugee and IDP returns, the situation of Pashtun communities remains precarious in the North West, where harassment and opportunism by local commanders have not ceased."
6.132 On 21 March 2004, a UNAMA spokesman announced that "Go and see" visits were underway in the Northern Provinces. According to the spokesman, "The Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation (MoRR) and UNCHR have organized the second "go and see" visit by leaders of internally displaced people (IDPs) as well as refugee representatives from Balochistan Province in Pakistan (as you know,) the first "go and see" visit organized last month to Faryab Province has proven very useful in helping IDPs make decision about their possible return back to their places of origin Many of these families had fled the north-western province nearly three years ago and were staying in Zar-e-Dasht camp in Kandahar Province. They are of Pashtun ethnicity and had left their homes due to conflict and human rights violations after the fall of the Taliban regime. The return momentum is picking up, taking advantage of improved conditions in the North West. About 100 more internally displaced families have expressed their willingness to return to their places of origin in Badghis Province and another 40 families are eager to return back to Faryab Province."
Mrs J A J C Gleeson
07 October 2004