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August 5, 2006: One Pit Present; Possible Excavation Vehicles Visible

Shows the Dasht-e-Leili site on August 5, 2006, and indicates one open pit visible, with two likely vehicles atop the area which would become the second pit.


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In May of 2009 the Science and Human Rights Program of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) undertook a review of satellite imagery acquired of the Sheberghan area in the Jowzjan Province of northern Afghanistan. This review was done at the request of Physicians for Human Rights, who asked AAAS to provide satellite imagery analysis for their investigation of possible mass graves at Dasht-e-Leili, near Sheberghan. According to PHR, the graves had reportedly been created in 2001. Then, at some point during 2006 two large pits were dug and the fill from them taken away. Hoping to clarify the excavation date, PHR requested that AAAS research and acquire available satellite imagery of the area to determine when two the sizeable pits possibly comprising the graves might have first appeared.


Using coordinates provided by PHR, AAAS located and analyzed multiple images of the site acquired by the QuickBird, Ikonos, TopSat, and SPOT-5 satellites.


Images and text on this page are drawn from the AAAS report, High-Resolution Satellite Imagery and Possible Mass Graves in Sheberghan, Afghanistan, June 26, 2009 (available here:

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Taken on July 11, 2009