Afghan police abuse not in prisons, but in public (VIDEO)

Posted on | november 7, 2011 | No Comments

Just a few days ago a member of the Karzai-led mafia in Afghanistan rejected a United Nations report about systematic torture in Afghan prisons. As the torture inside prisons occurs mainly during investigations and is hard to prove because the Afghan Intelligence will never allow anyone to film it. However, a video posted on facebook shows how the police abuse and humiliate Afghan citizens in public.

The eight-minute video, apparently recorded by a police officer whom the abused person (the one in the ladies dress) calls ‘sir’, shows that a group of policemen have arrested two men one of whom wears a wig, a black burqa and underneath it a red women’s dress. At least three of the policemen, armed with weapons in one hand and with cameras in the other, and continuously laughing and using abusive language, order him to remove his wig, the burqa and his other belongings, and film every detail. Then they order him to wear everything back so the policemen can film how he ‘makes’ himself.

The poor man in the women’s dress, clearly embarrassed and afraid, continuously begs in Dari language: ‘Don’t do this to me sir, don’t film me sir. Why are you humiliating me sir?’ The suffering from the humiliation is very clear on his innocent face. But the ‘sir’, instead of showing any mercy, continues to make fun of him and orders him to hurry up and do what he says otherwise ‘I will beat you so hard that you will remember.’ When the police officer asks him where he was arrested, he says: ‘From the market of Maryam High School’, in Kabul. To the officer’s question why he dressed himself as a woman, he replies that they were buying some clothes in the market and wanted to do some entertainment. Using very foul language, the officer accuses him for prostitution.

It is no longer a secret that the Afghan government, from Karzai to the lowest rank policeman, is so corrupt, so incompetent and so unprofessional that the Afghan people are once again forced into the corner of hopelessness from where they have only limited options: to flee the country or to join the insurgent groups. Using their weapons and power to abuse and humiliate people the way showed in this video and that only because the man wears a ladies dress for some entertainment, was considered only a pre-2001 phenomenon when the religious police of the Taliban used schools as torture centers. Now, if the police do this to entertainers in public, what happens inside prisons and torture centers can only be imagined.

The strangest thing is that the Afghan police were able to arrest this man so easily despite the fact that he had done his best to pass himself as a perfect woman (a wig, a burqa, a beautiful red dress, lipstick, fake breasts, a beautiful handbag, clean shave, etc.), while those terrorists who only wear a burqa and an unfitting ladies dress (with a long beard, no fake breasts, no lipstick and often heavily armed) mostly evade the police attention and reach their target.

Men in burqa
The use of burqa by men is not unusual in Afghanistan (and the neighboring countries). Terrorists use it for terrorist activities (like suicide bombing, group attacks, transferring weapons and explosives, escapes), criminals use it to achieve their own goals, and men who provide entertainment use it to reach their fans and audience, particularly when the kind of entertainment they provide is legally forbidden or culturally considered a shame. The man in this video belongs to the last group. Why people are forced to go for entertainment in burqa while living in a democracy is a question, but why the state police abuse them is a concern. This attitude of the state police must be strongly condemned and immediately stopped.

The video
The man’s, who has dressed himself as a woman, pleas not to be filmed are understandable. He could be recognized and targeted by extremist groups if the video went on the internet or any other media. That has happened, the video is widely shared on facebook as ‘public’, accessible at this link.

Besides that, he may have been afraid that the video could be used to blackmail him or shame him in the community. The person who posted this video on facebook could be one of the policemen who filmed him, which is, if true, appallingly unethical, unprofessional and irresponsible. 

AUTHOR: Hadi Hairan
E-MAIL: ahhairan [at]


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