Area of Abdul Rashid Dostum
Until the conquest of Balkh by the Taliban in 1998, Abdul Rashid Dostum controlled the following provinces: Samangan, Balkh, Jowzjan, Faryab, and Baghlan provinces. According to Human Rights Watch many of the violations of international humanitarian law committed by the United Front forces date from 1996-1998 when Dostum controlled most of the north.
According to Human Rights Watch in 1997, some 3,000 captured Taliban soldiers were summarily executed in and around Mazar-i Sharif by Dostum's Junbish forces under the command of Abdul Malik Pahlawan. The killings followed Malik's withdrawal from a brief alliance with the Taliban and the capture of the Taliban forces who were trapped in the city. With the U.S. War on Terror, troops loyal to Dostum also returned to combat. In December 2001, during the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, between 250 and 3,000 (depending on sources) Taliban prisoners were shot and/or suffocated to death in metal truck containers. The prisoners were killed while being transferred from Kunduz to Sheberghan. This became known as the Dasht-i-Leili massacre In 2009, Dostum denied the accusations.
Dostum belonged to those commanders making their own, often draconian, laws. Human Rights Watch has released documents alleging widespread crimes targeted against the civilian population. Human Rights Watch asked to actively discourage and refuse support in any way to any group or coalition that includes commanders with a record of serious violations of international humanitarian law standards, specifically naming Abdul Rashid Dostum; Haji Muhammad Muhaqqiq, a senior commander of the Hezb-i Wahdat; Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, leader of the erstwhile Ittihad-i Islami; and Abdul Malik Pahlawan, a former senior Junbish commander.
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