Europe, Asia - Pacific

UK, US urged to probe killings by its forces in Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s rights body says besides Australian forces, other forces, including British, also committed violations

Shadi Khan Saif   | 20.11.2020
UK, US urged to probe killings by its forces in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan 

Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission Friday demanded the UK open an independent public inquiry to investigate the alleged unlawful killings by Brittan’s special forces in the war-ridden country.

Against the backdrop of recent revelation of Australian forces’ involvement in killing of at least 39 Afghan civilians, the AIHRC made this call, claiming its documented reports suggest other foreign military missions too have committed violations of the International Human Rights Laws and Law of Armed Conflict.

“The AIHRC calls on the U.S and UK, and other countries with an armed presence in Afghanistan to respond to these media reports, and to investigate their forces’ participation, and leadership, of acts of violence against Afghan non-combatants, including detainees and civilians,” it said in a statement.

The rights group welcomed the Australian government’s move seeking an apology from the Afghan government and people.

It said the Australian government, now and in the future, must commit to listening to Afghan victims’ demands for truth and justice.

UK making prosecution ‘impossible’

A BBC Panorama program in 2019 reported that a Royal Military Police (RMP) investigation found dozens of suspicious killings by the UK Special Forces on night raids. It said in one case, the RMP had even brought charges against members of the UK Special Forces for murder, falsifying a report and perverting the course of justice.

In an Aug. 2020 article, Clive Baldwin, the Human Rights Watch’s senior legal advisor, charged that the UK government is doing its best to ensure it is almost impossible to prosecute such crimes.

He claimed evidence has continued to emerge in the UK court hearings and public inquiries of abuses, such as torture, by UK soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan that appear on their face to be war crimes.

“Successive British governments have repeatedly interfered in criminal justice, most blatantly by ministers shutting down criminal inquiries into UK forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. The current government is going even further, having a draft law before parliament creating a “presumption against prosecution” for alleged crimes committed by UK soldiers overseas more than five years ago. Rather than ensure justice for crimes like those alleged in Afghanistan, it would make it even harder to prosecute, even when the evidence had been withheld for so long.”

According to official figures, currently there are nearly 1,000 UK troops deployed in Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led Resolute Support mission to train and assist the Afghan forces.

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