Amnesty Intl Says ICC Must Probe All Sides in Afghan Conflict

Amnesty International called on the ICC to probe the alleged war crimes committed by US and Afghan forces as well as others.

Amnesty International in report released on Wednesday said that “repeated war crimes and relentless bloodshed” have marked the collapse of the former Afghan government, adding that all the warring parties–the Taliban, US soldiers, and the former government security forces–are responsible for the war crimes that occurred in Afghanistan.

The report says that months before Kabul’s collapse on August 15, civilians suffered huge losses and harm as a result of the fighting between the warring parties.

“The months before the government collapse in Kabul were marked by repeated war crimes and relentless bloodshed committed by the Taliban, as well as deaths caused by Afghan and US forces,” said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

Amnesty International has called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to probe all the alleged war crimes that happened in Afghanistan, including those committed by the US forces and Afghan security forces.

“The International Criminal Court must reverse its misguided decision to deprioritize investigations into US and Afghan military operations, and instead follow the evidence on all possible war crimes, no matter where it leads,” the report said.

Previously the ICC prosecutor for Afghanistan, Karim Khan, said that ICC will probe only the alleged war crimes committed by the Taliban and Daesh. He had said that ICC will not probe cases related to US and Afghan forces. “I made a decision, based upon the evidence, that the worst crimes in terms of gravity and scale and extent seem to be committed by the so-called Islamic State [in] Khorasan and also the Taliban,” he said.

The Amnesty International report titled: No Escape: War Crimes and Civilian Harm During the Fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, documented the “torture and extrajudicial killings by the Taliban” during the final stages of the conflict, as well as “civilian casualties during a series of ground and air operations by the Afghan security forces and the US forces.”

“Homes, hospitals, schools and shops were turned into crime scenes as people were … killed and injured. The people of Afghanistan have suffered for too long, and victims must have access to justice and receive reparations,” Callamard said.

The report, quoting the United Nations Assistance Mission’s (UNAMA) findings, said that in the first six months of 2021, civilians’ fatalities increased by 47 percent against last year. UNAMA has reported that in the first half of 2021, 1,659 civilians were killed, and 3,524 others were wounded as a result of the ongoing fighting.

Amnesty International said that the ICC should probe all the crimes and should not exclude the alleged crimes committed by US and Afghan security forces.

In reaction to the ICC’s move to investigate the alleged crimes by the Taliban and exclude the US and Afghan forces from the investigation, the Islamic Emirate has said its forces have not committed any war crimes.

“The Islamic Emirate has committed no war crimes against civilians in Afghanistan. In the last 20 years, we fought for an inclusive government,” Bilal Karimi, deputy spokesman of the Islamic Emirate said earlier as the ICC defended its decision.

Amnesty Intl Says ICC Must Probe All Sides in Afghan Conflict