Northern alliance said to be as bad as Taliban on rights

Posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2001

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Tahmeena Faryal, her face hidden, said the Taliban and the northern alliance ''have outdone each other'' in carrying out massacres and violating women's rights in Afghanistan.

Faryal, who fled Afghanistan after the December 1979 Soviet invasion and became a human rights activist as a refugee in Pakistan, spoke at a U.N. panel.

She warned that a return to power for the northern alliance would return the country to civil war. The alliance has swept the Taliban from power, moving out of the north of the country under the cover of U.S. bombing.

''Both the Taliban and the northern alliance have outdone each other in all kinds of hair-raising massacres and violations of human rights and women's rights,'' she said.

She said the northern alliance, which ruled Afghanistan from 1992-96 until driven out by the Taliban, decreed that all women be veiled.

During their rule, ''hundreds of young girls preferred to commit suicide than be raped or forcibly married'' to alliance men, Faryal said.

Now, she said, the northern alliance ''poses as advocates of women's rights.''

Under Taliban rule, women had to be veiled from head to toe, and could not work or go to school.

Faryal spoke at a U.N. panel discussion as the representative of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, founded in 1977.

The U.N. top envoy for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, announced Tuesday that representatives of Afghan groupings, including the northern alliance, will meet Monday in Berlin, intending to quickly form a transitional government.

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