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You Can Get Away With Murder When Your Dad Is An Afghan Warlord

World  (tags: Afghanistan, 'CIVILLIBERTIES!', 'HUMANRIGHTS!', conflict, crime, death, murder, society, terrorism )

- 2112 days ago -
Wahidi Beheshti maintains that he played no part in Shakila's murder, yet at the time of Shakila's death he refused to call the police and instead carried the teenager's lifeless body to his car.


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Kit B (276)
Wednesday September 4, 2013, 8:36 am
Photo Credit: via -- Shakila's dead body

On a cold January afternoon last year, Qurban the bodyguard left his boss's house in Bamyan province, Afghanistan to buy some coal at the bazar. Qurban's boss was Wahidi Beheshti—governor of a remote district in Bamyan province—who had been allowing Qurban, his wife Soraya and her 16-year-old sister Shakila to stay at his home.

As Bamyan is among the more secure of Afghanistan's provinces, Qurban thought little of heading into town without his Kalashnikov. However, it was that sense of security that saw him return to Beheshti's house to find Shakila lying on the floor, barely conscious, bleeding to death from a single gunshot wound to the chest. Qurban's weapon, which the police later determined had fired the fatal shot, was leaning against the wall on the far side of the room.

I heard all of this at the end of last month during a press conference organized by the Kabul-based NGO, Human Rights and Eradication of Violence Organization (HREVO), which hosted Shakila’s brother, Mohammad Alam, Director Zahara Sepehr of the Afghan women and children's support organisation DSAWCO, and Aziz Rafi from Afghanistan’s Civil Society and Human Rights Network.

Wahidi Beheshti maintains that he played no part in Shakila’s murder, yet at the time of Shakila's death he refused to call the police and instead carried the teenager’s lifeless body to his car. However, according to Sepehr, the shot and the commotion that ensued alerted Beheshti's neighbors, who called the police.

Beheshti told the police that he was in prayer at the time of the murder and didn't even hear the gunshot, despite the fact that Soraya, Shakila's sister, heard it from outside, before rushing indoors to find Shakila unable to talk and barely able to move her limbs. "Despite the powerful 7.62 caliber round piercing Shakila’s heart and exiting through the back of her body, she managed to cling onto life for a full 20 minutes after the shooting," Mohammad Alam added.

It should be noted here that Beheshti hails from a powerful family. His brother, Jamal Fakhul Beheshti, is an MP and his father was a warlord during the jihad against the Soviet invasion. He has used that power at every juncture in a bid to “wrap the matter up in whatever way possible.” According to Zahara, the court initially found the governor not guilty, citing the fact that not enough evidence was found in the initial police investigation.

However, after it emerged that the court was potentially under Beheshti’s influence, the case moved to a second meeting, where the governor tried to blame Qurban for the murder. "Wahidi," Mohammad Alam explained, "then contacted our family, saying that the only way Qurban could be spared jail was if they called Shakila’s demise a suicide."

At the second hearing, the judge ruled out suicide after observing the impossibility of a girl Shakila's size shooting herself in the chest with a Kalashnikov, before leaning it against a wall and walking across the room to die. Not a trace of blood was found on the weapon or anywhere else in the room.

Today, more than a year and a half after the incident, Beheshti is not only a free man, but remains in office despite prominent civil society groups and local media outlets pointing to his guilt. Even more depressingly, according to Aziz Rafi, there remained a strong chance of Beheshti ultimately walking away as a free man.

Rafi blamed “Afghanistan’s culture of impunity” among its leaders, reinforced by the population’s “lack of political will” as the chief barriers to justice. Abdul Wadood Pedram, Executive Director of HREVO, agreed: "In Afghanistan, there is no [political] system, just relationships between high profile people who protect their own interests," he explained. "There is no rule of law. Law is only implemented for ordinary people, further undermining the Afghans' faith in the political system."

After the years of turmoil that followed the bloody, Soviet-backed Saur Revolution in 1978, and the subsequent invasion that plunged the country into a chaos from which it is still recovering, efforts at nation building (at first by Pakistan and then by the United Nations) focused on "strong men," many of whom were despised by a broader populous who longed for peace. Women in general, as well as civil society organizations and unarmed moderates, were completely left out of any state building attempts.

During an informal gathering at Kabul’s Ministry of Information and Culture, Dr. Ashraf Ghani—former chancellor of Kabul University—told me that protracted warfare in Afghanistan has nurtured a political climate in which people hold little respect for titles or positions of authority, instead focusing solely on the individuals in office.

"Once that person leaves, the ministerial title becomes effectively meaningless and the next incumbent has to start from scratch—gradually building the loyalty and support of the population," he said. "This both undermines—and is indicative of—a culture that holds little or no regard for the rule of law or for the political system itself."

The case has yet to be concluded, but was moved to Kabul in order to be formally closed on the grounds of "not enough evidence," leaving Beheshti to walk free. If this happens, it will strike yet another blow to the rule of law in Afghanistan, and only foster more disenfranchisement from Afghans towards their government.

By Maximilian Clarke | VICE Magazine |

. (0)
Wednesday September 4, 2013, 10:08 am
The only rule is might is right; I have it, you don't, case closed.

Kathy Chadwell (354)
Wednesday September 4, 2013, 12:12 pm
This culture thing is something I will never be able to wrap my mind around. All the killing and abusing. I fear compassion has left the Earth. This is a must see also. Am I the only one outraged and wanting to tear this POS eyes out?
Horrible treatment of a newborn by a pediatrician

Kit B (276)
Wednesday September 4, 2013, 12:17 pm

No Kathy you are not the only one and I sure hope that video gets some attention and the doctor loses his license as he is carted off to jail. Unfortunately there is not enough information to file a complaint against this jerk.

Mike M (8)
Wednesday September 4, 2013, 1:54 pm
The backward way of thinking, fear and so called government is the only way that they can maintain there hold over people so they become nothing but dirt beneath their rulers feet

pam w (139)
Wednesday September 4, 2013, 2:21 pm
Women's lives aren't worth much in Islamic cultures. But...we already know that.


Christine Stewart (134)
Wednesday September 4, 2013, 3:21 pm
Sadly, it seems anyone can get away with murder, if the victim is female....

Rose Becke (141)
Wednesday September 4, 2013, 3:59 pm
Makes me sick

Lindsey O (19)
Wednesday September 4, 2013, 4:43 pm
Although the powerful tend to be able to act with more impunity everywhere (Chappaquiddick, anyone?), in some areas (like with this story) they seem to be able to get away with far greater abuses on a far more routine basis. A sad story.

marie T (163)
Wednesday September 4, 2013, 4:53 pm
My heart bleeds for these women sadly it only seems to get worse
Thanks for posting Kit

Past Member (0)
Wednesday September 4, 2013, 5:31 pm
This is an outrage but a lot of Islamic laws take away all women's rights. I try to keep an open mind but the story about abused by Islamic people are becoming everyday news also on care2 , a lot of frightening happenings pertaining to Islamic culture. The more i read, the more i feel Mohammed was not a good man. I think I will have to read the Koran to try to understand what is happening, the good news is now so many autrocities are being reported all over the world. It is starting to make people like me become more involve and try to understand the religion and culture. Thank you Kit for posting. This is an eye opener for me.

JL A (281)
Wednesday September 4, 2013, 5:38 pm
Good example of why there are agencies needed to work on human rights.

marie T (163)
Wednesday September 4, 2013, 5:51 pm
Human Rights needs a lot of work done on it JLA in many ways it has got out of hand and no longer achieves what it used to

Mitchell D (82)
Wednesday September 4, 2013, 7:02 pm
What we are getting, in this story, seems hugely incomplete., but it does not seem that in their culture one gets anything like what we think of as justice...not that we always get it here, either.

Sheila D (194)
Wednesday September 4, 2013, 7:10 pm
What's happening there is not much differen from what's hapening in many countries, including America. The rich and powerful get away with murder...on a much large scale if you consider what pollutes our air, water, and land is killing us slowly, but surely. Thanks.

Joanne Dixon (37)
Wednesday September 4, 2013, 7:37 pm
This differs from George W Bush and Dick Cheney how exactly?

Robert O (12)
Wednesday September 4, 2013, 9:22 pm
This is absolutely shocking, horrible and unforgivable! Thanks Kit.

Stan B (123)
Thursday September 5, 2013, 12:56 am
I can think of no worse fate for a woman than to be born in an Islamic dump like Afghanistan.

Sherri G (128)
Thursday September 5, 2013, 3:39 am
I don't believe in a hell but I do believe there are plenty of hells on this earth and one of those is being a woman in Afghanistan. TY Kit Noted.

. (0)
Thursday September 5, 2013, 7:45 am
That's not right! Thanks for sharing, Kit.

Elizabeth M (65)
Thursday September 5, 2013, 12:30 pm
Females in many parts of this world do not get any respect, are looked at as a lesser person, beaten, raped, killed, sold and whatever terrible things a man of powers mind can conjure up. In many of these countries there is no such thing as justice.
Thank You Kit.

Roger G (148)
Thursday September 5, 2013, 2:24 pm
noted, thanks
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