Amnesty asks Afghans to seek US war crimes accountability

Amnesty asks Afghans to seek US war crimes accountability
Thu Nov 21, 2013 10:56:45

Amnesty International has urged Afghanistan’s loya jirga, or council of about 3,000 tribal elders, to demand accountability for US war crimes in the past and future before they agree to any status of forces agreement.

“The proposed bilateral security agreement offers Afghans a crucial opportunity to press for greater transparency and accountability for war crimes allegedly committed by US troops,” said Horia Mosadiq, Afghanistan researcher at Amnesty International.

“Right now, the lack of transparency means that family members of the hundreds of Afghan civilians killed in night raids and airstrikes by US forces lack any information about the progress of US military investigations, or even about whether investigations are being conducted. This is especially worrying, since in some cases the alleged abuses could amount to war crimes.”

The Afghan leaders taking part in the Loya Jirga should insist that the proposed security agreement provides for the protection of civilians in accordance with international law.

“Loya Jirga participants should require the Afghan government to report regularly to parliament about steps the US authorities have taken to investigate alleged war crimes, bring suspected perpetrators to justice and provide reparations to victims and survivors,” said Mosadiq.

“Despite the widespread allegations of violations of international humanitarian law by US troops in Afghanistan, the US authorities have only brought a handful of cases to trial.”

The primary disagreement in US-Afghan negotiations for a status of forces agreement is over whether US occupation forces should continue to be exempt from Afghan law.

However, Washington is essentially acknowledging that it expects crimes to continue to be committed by US forces in Afghanistan.

Kabul has this expectation to, evidently. The experience of Afghans over the past decade of US war is that serious crimes by US forces, even alleged war crimes, often go unpunished.

In fact, another loya jirga, called by some a “counter-jirga,” was held earlier in November.

About 3,000 Afghan politicians, mullahs, students, and locals attended, according to the Afghanistan Analysts Network.

The attendees condemned the upcoming jirga as “predetermined” and “ordered” from Kabul.


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