A 2015 UN Human Rights review of detainees in Afghan Government detention facilities revealed still-alarming prevalence of torture in interrogations, despite legal prohibition and an earlier Presidential Decree. Nearly a third of interviewed detainees reported severe beatings with pipes, cables and sticks, suspension, electric shocks, and near asphyxiation. Are laws and skills really the problem? Where will accountability come from?
As a student of law at Kabul University, I recognize the importance of legal framework, courts, and human rights. As a citizen of Kabul, I know that the reality of our rights depends not only on what is written, but what is practiced. But things will change faster than some people expect. I’m also a product manager at Facebook, and a believer in the power of social networks to spread news and ideas and challenge intractable problems.
They say you should learn from your mistakes. But that assumes that you are noticing your mistakes, or calling out failures as failures, rather than rationalizing them. Afghanistan has so many decades of development to recover to catch up with our neighbors not only in building and buying things, but in establishing durable institutions that dignify human life.