Crime Justice

Herat photo exhibition showcases crimes during Soviet occupation of Afghanistan

By Omar

A photo exhibit on the former Soviet Union's crimes and atrocities in Afghanistan has reignited anger toward the Russian regime and highlighted its continued meddling in Afghan affairs. The exhibit was open to the public on August 20-22, 2020, in Alama Saljuqi Hall in Herat city, Herat Province. [Omar]

HERAT -- A photo exhibit on the former Soviet Union's crimes and atrocities in Afghanistan has reignited anger toward Moscow and highlighted its continued meddling in Afghan affairs.

The exhibit with 100 black-and-white photos was open to the public on August 20-22 in Allama Saljuqi hall in Herat city.

The goal of the exhibition was to showcase Soviet crimes in Afghanistan and raise the awareness of youth about the Soviet invasion of 1979-1989, which killed more than 1 million Afghans.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is behind his country's current expansionist approach in Afghanistan, said Tariq Nabi, the organiser of the event.

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A former mujahideen fighter at a photo exhibition in Herat city August 20 looks at a picture of himself when he was fighting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. [Omar]

"Russia provides money and weapons to the Taliban, trying to escalate the war that results in the killing of Afghans and the destruction of Afghanistan," he added. "Russia should learn a lesson from history and not repeat its past."

"Russian crimes will never be forgiven in Afghanistan as they have been recorded in history," said Nabi. "Soviet atrocities and their killing of ordinary Afghans have been recorded in history as taints on humanity and as a dark era, and they will remain in our memories."

Crimes showcased at this exhibition are the real face of the Russian regime, as it has always committed atrocities and massacres for no apparent reason in many countries, said Abdullah Karimi, a resident of Herat city.

"We Afghans will never forget Russia's crimes," he added. "This country killed and handicapped millions of our countrymen and destroyed our infrastructure."

"Russia invaded Afghanistan for no justifiable reason and killed hundreds of thousands of innocent humans. Our hatred of Russia won't decrease, and we will never forgive this brutal country," he said.

Condemning Russia's meddling

"Russia is interested in interfering in Afghanistan's internal matters, but Afghans won't allow this country to interfere and repeat history," said Herat Governor Sayed Wahid Qatali.

"The time of supporting terrorists has passed, and such meaningless interference must stop," he said. "Many countries have a tendency to meddle in Afghanistan, but these efforts are being blocked."

If the Russian regime tries once again to destroy the values of the Afghan people, Afghans will stand against it as they did three decades ago, and they will not allow it to achieve their goals, said Qatali.

The Soviet invasion of the country dishonoured the national and religious values of Afghans, and it resulted in a shameful defeat, he said.

Russian leaders and politicians should learn from the past and stop their efforts to interfere in Afghanistan, said Maulawi Abdul Ghani Jamshidi, deputy director of the Herat Department of Hajj and Religious Affairs.

"When [the Soviet Union] invaded Afghanistan and destroyed the country, it faced the resistance of Afghans and subsequently a defeat, and it shamefully left Afghanistan," he added. "Its defeat in Afghanistan must remain a lesson for Russia's leaders and the next generation so that they don't interfere in Afghanistan again.

Russian support for the Taliban and other terrorist groups is a repetition of the mistakes that the current generation's fathers made, he said.

"Those who help Russia achieve their goals in Afghanistan are just like those who supported Russia when it invaded our country, and they won't see anything other than shame and defeat," Jamshidi added.

"Every group or party that supports Russia's goals in Afghanistan will face a defeat just like those who shamefully withdrew from Afghanistan three decades ago," he said.

War compensation

Russian soldiers had no mercy and buried hundreds of Afghans alive, said Muhammad Ghaus Ahrari, a former mujahid who fought against Russia and lost family members in the war.

"We call for the convening of fair international trials that can precisely assess Russia's crimes in Afghanistan and put pressure on this country to compensate Afghans for the crimes it committed in Afghanistan," he said.

"Russia is afraid that Afghanistan will one day ask it for compensation; therefore, Russia doesn't allow Afghanistan to have a strong government, and it weakens the government by providing weapons to anti-government elements to keep the war going," Ahrari said.

The Russian regime should give compensation for the blood of 1.5 million innocent Afghans and rehabilitate the infrastructure it ruined, said Muhammad Yaqob, a former member of the mujahideen.

"If there is justice and the international community seeks it, Russia should give compensation for the crimes it committed in Afghanistan," he said.

"History shows that Afghans didn't want to fight as they are peace-loving people," he added.

"It was the Russians who invaded Afghanistan and forced Afghans to defend their country. Russians killed innocent Afghans and turned our country into ruins," Yaqob said.

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All the miseries and forty-year war of Afghanistan are because of Russia. If that country had not interfered in the internal affairs of Afghanistan forty years ago and had not brought its troops to Afghanistan, we would have had a much more progressive country now, even better than Turkey. After the Soviet invasion and the defeat of this country in Afghanistan, all the infrastructures of Afghanistan were destroyed. And the war, which broke out with the invasion of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, is still going on. Therefore, Russia is the cause of killing of millions of people and disruption of the situation in this country. After peace is restored in Afghanistan, Russia must provide free assistance to the Afghan government and people for the next 40 years so that the Afghan government can stand on its own feet again.

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Part two Everyone oppressed in Afghanistan, Russia oppressed, Russian-backed communist regime oppressed, Mujahedeen oppressed, Taliban oppressed, the post-Taliban government oppressed. And still the leaders of this government do not make peace in order not to lose power. If they are not really tyrants and they do not love power, then why they do not hand over the government to Taliban who ended colonialism in Afghanistan and defeated the United States? They say every day that they are defending the democratic system and the tricolor flag. This democratic system, in which oppression, injustice and corruption are rampant or widespread, is not worth the killing of even a single soldier of the army or police. For the people of Afghanistan, peace is important, not democratic system or emirate system. The poor people of Afghanistan need peace and bread, not the three-color flag of the Afghan government or the white flag of Taliban.

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It is good that a documentary on the Russian crimes was shown, but the crimes of Mujahedeen, who committed crimes after the defeat of Russia in Afghanistan, brutally killed thousands of people, destroyed the country and caused the emergence of Taliban, must also be shown. During Hamid Karzai's rule, a documentary on the crimes of Mujahedeen was made by Human Rights Independent Commission and was supposed to be shown in an exhibition, but the then government did not allow the commission to do so, because most of the high-ranking government officials, including Marshal Mohammad Qasim Fahim, the First Vice President was also involved in those crimes. Documentary of the recent twenty-year government must also be shown. When Amrullah Saleh was director of National Directorate of Security, he killed thousands of people under the name of Taliban. In northern Afghanistan, the Northern Alliance killed thousands of Pashtun elders. They grabbed the lands of Pashtuns. General Dostum weakened Pashtuns in Faryab, Samangan and other northern provinces. That’s why the situation deteriorated in the north, and Pashtuns stood against the government. Americans also committed crimes in Afghanistan; they bombed thousands of civilians in Afghanistan. If we are realistic, we must disclose all those who committed crimes in Afghanistan. End of part one

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Neither Russians had to invade Afghanistan nor Americans had to. When one looks at the situation of Afghanistan before the Soviet Union's invasion, both Russians and Americans used to work in building Afghanistan. Both countries achieved construction works in Afghanistan that on one side pleased Afghans; and on the other side both Americans and Russians were admired for, but unfortunately Russians committed a crime and invaded Afghanistan, they killed the then Afghan president (Hafizullah Amin), and continued their cruelties where they killed a large number of people. On the other side, the government's opponents who were trained by Pakistan and called themselves holy warriors killed many people, destroyed the infrastructures with the money and weapons they received from America and then they got engaged with each other as a result of which they destroyed Kabul city and looted the honor of Afghans. Now, it is necessary for America, Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, India and other countries which see their benefits in the fighting in Afghanistan to sit together, solve the issue of Afghanistan,and let Afghans live a peaceful and human life.

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