- 1 Ante September 11th, 2001 Taliban conscription
- 2 Post September 11th, Pre-collapse Taliban conscription
- 3 Post-collapse Taliban conscription
- 4 References
Ante September 11th, 2001 Taliban conscription
Prior to the collapse of their regime the Taliban made widespread use of conscription, and according to some of the Guantanamo captives, kidnapping and virtual slavery.
Conscription of children
According to a report from Oxford University the Taliban made widespread use of the conscription of children in 1997, 1998 and 1999. The report states that during the civil war that preceded the Taliban regime thousands of orphaned boys joined various militia for "employment, food, shelter, protection and economic opportunity." The report said that during its initial period the Taliban "long depended upon cohorts of youth". Witnesses stated that each land-owning family had to provide one young man and $500 in expenses. In August of that year 5000 students aged between 15 and 35 left madrassas in Pakistan to join the Taliban.
Post September 11th, Pre-collapse Taliban conscription
According the ABC report Ahmed Zia said there had been a large-scale exodus from Kabul. He claimed the Taliban were rounding up young boys for battle. He also claimed the Taliban were forcing people to give blood.
The British paper The Daily Telegraph reported, on September 29, 2001, that the Taliban's supreme leader, Mullah Omar, had closed all Afghanistan's religious schools, so the students could fight beside the Taliban.
"Samim, the young man who fled with his family, is an ethnic Tajik. He said he had a lucky escape Thursday night, walking home from the bazaar with his friend, Farid Alsoo. They stumbled across a Taliban patrol roughly shoving young men into a minivan. About five or 10 young men were already captive. The Taliban men seized Alsoo and pushed him into the van. They tried to get me, but I ran,' Samim said. 'They chased me for a few meters, but I got away,' he said, speaking in English. As the family breadwinner, he couldn't afford to be arrested or pressed to fight."
Post-collapse Taliban conscription
Accounts of the Taliban's conscription policies from Guantanamo detainees
On March 3, 2006, after exhausting all it legal appeals, the US Department of Defense was forced to comply with a court order and release information about the identity of the captives held in extrajudicial detention in the Guantanamo Bay detainment camps, in Cuba. The DoD released thousands of pages of documents prepared for, or arising from, the captives' Combatant Status Review Tribunals and Administrative Review Board hearings.
Those thousands of pages of documents revealed that many of the detainees described themselves as conscripts, sometimes enlisted at gunpoint, and imprisoned in their barracks under armed guards, kept on hand for the Taliban to use as "cannon fodder".
"Enemy combatant" status
Some skeptical commentators have discounted the accounts of Guantanamo detainees whose stories suggested they weren't hardened terrorists. However, there are captives who even the American intelligence analysts acknowledged were reluctant conscripts.
Under questioning by US District Court Judge Joyce Hens Green US Government lawyer Brian Boyle confirmed that the definition of "enemy combatant" status was so broad that even a little old lady from Switzerland, who sent money to what she thought was a legitimate charity, could be classified as an "enemy combatant" if workers for that charity clandestinely diverted some of its resources to back projects with ties to terrorism.
Some of the Guantanamo detainees had their classification as "enemy combatants" confirmed because they had a business arrangement to supply al Qaeda, or the Taliban, with mundane items, like firewood; some claimed they were enlisted at gunpoint, and housed in their barracks under armed guard; some claimed they were kidnapped, and employed as kitchen helpers, or servants, as virtual slaves; and some said that they were conscripted, not for military duties, but simply to perform civilian duties the Taliban couldn't fill through normal hiring practices.
- Jo Boyden, Jo de Berry, Thomas Feeny, Jason Hart (January 2002). "Children Affected by Armed Conflict in South Asia: A review of trends and issues identified through secondary research" (PDF). University of Oxford Refugee Studies Centre. pp. pages. Retrieved 2008-01-05.
- Afghani men dodge Taliban conscription, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, September 26, 2001
- Pakistanis fail to win handover of bin Laden, The Daily Telegraph, September 29, 2001
- Refugees flee Taliban conscription, Los Angeles Times, October 13, 2001
- Clive Stafford Smith (April 21, 2007). "Have you received your gift pack?". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-04-22.
- Summarized transcripts (.pdf), from Nasrullah's Combatant Status Review Tribunal - pages 40
- Summarized transcripts (.pdf), from Shabir Ahmed's Combatant Status Review Tribunal - pages 80-90