Skip to main content
Amnesty International UK
Log in

Afghanistan: Irene Khan Issues Warning on a Country 'Living in Fear'

The human rights organisation, conducting meetings this week with President Karzai, Afghan minister for Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights's affairs and other officials and NGOs, pointed out that the targets of insecurity are particularly Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and young girls.

Amnesty International's Secretary General Irene Khan said:

'The people of Afghanistan were promised security, development and human rights for all. But with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) confined to Kabul, the real power is back in the hands of feudal power holders and regional commanders.

'The vast majority of the population live in fear. Many promises were made in Bonn but they have fallen short of expectations, short of results, short of strategy.

'There is no short cut to justice. The recent history of Afghanistan shows that insecurity has a higher cost than security.'

Amnesty International noted that donors 'do not like prisons very much' and the organisation is now calling upon Italy, which has taken the lead on rehabilitation of the penal system, to make sure that donors come up with the money, training and skills desperately needed by the Afghan Ministry of Justice

Irene Khan was speaking in Kabul today as part of the launch of a new report on Afghanistan's prisons system. The report reveals widespread abuse as well continuing neglect, and worryingly reveals the existence of 'private prisons' run by regional commanders and not by the Kabul government.

Irene Khan said:

'All detainees must be brought promptly before a judge and anyone who is being held without evidence of having committed a crime must be released immediately. Arbitrary detention and 'private prisons' must end.'

Amnesty International is urging the international community to:

  • expand security arrangements outside Kabul
  • invest in the criminal justice system
  • build human rights institutions in all provinces


An Amnesty International delegation headed by Irene Khan is in Afghanistan this week to conduct meetings with President Hamid Karzai; Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi; Minister of Justice, Abdul Rahim Karimi; Interior Minister, Ali Ahmad Jalali; Minister of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights's Affairs, Habiba Sorabi; the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission; senior government officials, Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights's groups, local and international NGOs, and members of the UN and diplomatic community.

Further Information

The full text of the prisons report 'Afghanistan: Crumbling prison system desperately in need of repair' is available at:

For other information on Afghanistan: /p>

View latest press releases