Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently asked questions and answers about the lists containing names of Afghans who were transferred between the Security Services and detention centres and/or executed in 1978 and 1979.
Do the Netherlands Police and Prosecutor's Office possess any further information about disappearances and executions in Afghanistan?
No, they do not. The Netherlands authorities have not conducted further investigations into the documents. The decision to publish the documents was taken in the interest of the victims and relatives.
Which information do the documents contain?
The Death Lists give information about the fate of more than 4700 Afghans in 1978-1979. The Transfer Orders contain information about the transfer of more than 670 Afghans between AGSA and prisons.
The Death Lists consist of rows of names, mostly in alphabetic order. With those names are mentioned: father’s name, occupation, place of origin and an accusation.
Examples of such accusations are: echwani, ashrar and Maoist anti-revolutionary. On each list, a date between 1978 and 1979 is written. On some lists, there is a Government-stamp.
The Transfer Orders give names as well, together with the names of parents, occupation and place of origin. In addition, these documents contain information about the locations where those involved were interrogated and detained. The dates on the Transfer Orders give information about the dates of interrogation and detention. Furthermore, the Transfer Orders bear the name and the signature of the involved officials. One of those officials was the deceased suspect.
Why are these documents made public?
Several witnesses who were heard in the course of the investigation, relatives of victims, saw these documents for the first time when the Netherlands Police showed them. For thirty years, they had not heard what had happened to their loved ones after they had been arrested. The Death Lists and Transfer Orders provide this kind of information for the first time. For example: one of the witnesses was happy even to know a possible date for her father’s death, so she could now remember him on that day every year.
The close relatives of the deceased in this case have the right to know the truth about the circumstances of the disappearance and the final fate of their loved ones as well as the outcome of the Dutch investigation.
Why did the Prosecutor’s Office wait for more than a year before it made these documents public?
After the death of the suspect in The Netherlands, the Prosecutor’s Office has taken some time before it proceeded to inform the victims and witnesses. The reason for this delay is that the Dutch criminal investigation has yielded clues against two other suspects, who reside outside The Netherlands. The Netherlands Prosecutor’s Office has given foreign authorities time and space to conduct unhindered investigations.
Are the documents authentic?
The original Transfer Orders were handed to the Netherlands Police by the now deceased Afghan Mirwais Wardak, editor of the book ‘The Hard Evidence of the Crimes of Khalq and Parcham’. According to the Netherlands Forensic Institute, the emblem found on the documents as well as the printing technique and ink used to sign them, match the years 1978-1980. Several survivors whose names are mentioned in the Transfer Orders, have confirmed to the Netherlands Police that the information contained in those documents is correct. Around the dates mentioned and together with the other persons listed, they have indeed been handed over to AGSA and were subsequently transferred to the mentioned prisons, such as the Pul-i-Charkhi and the Deh Mazang.
The Death Lists have been handed to the Netherlands Police by a witness who had received them years ago from former United Nations Rapporteur for Afghanistan Felix Ermacora. The accuracy of the contents of the Death Lists is confirmed by the accounts of surviving relatives. One witness who was heard by the Netherlands National Police, for example, has confirmed that her family members whose names appear on the Death Lists were indeed arrested and subsequently disappeared in the relevant time-frame.
Finally, the information in the Death Lists is consistent with information contained in the Transfer Orders. In several cases, there are matches between identifying information in both sets of documents.
How did these documents end up in the hands of the Netherlands Police and Public Prosecutor's Office?
The documents were obtained in the course of a criminal investigation. The investigation concerned the involvement of an Afghan male residing in the Netherlands in War Crimes and Enforced Disappearances, committed in Afghanistan in 1978-1979. The suspect was the former Chief of the Interrogation Department of the Afghan Security Service AGSA, predecessor to the KAM, KhAD and WAD. In this capacity, he was involved in Torture, Extrajudicial Killings and Enforced Disappearances. The suspect died in march 2012, shortly before he was to be arrested.