[JURIST] The first war crimes trial in the history of Afghanistan began Monday in Kabul as a former Afghan intelligence chief faced charges of authorizing the arrest, torture, and mass killings of hundreds of opponents of the country's Communist government [Wikipedia backgrounder] in the 1980s. Assadullah Sarwari has been imprisoned since 1992, when the Soviet-supported communist regime was overthrown by Mujahideen forces [LOC backgrounder]. Sarwari has 20 days to prepare a defense affidavit, and his trial will resume in 25 days. If convicted, he could face the death penalty. Earlier this month the Afghan government adopted a plan to investigate war crimes [JURIST report] and human rights violations committed from 1978 until the end of Taliban rule in 2001. Reuters has more.