War crimes and civilian casualties in Afghanistan

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On April 2, 2018 Afghan government air forces targeted a gathering in Archi district of the Kunduz province of Afghanistan and killed and wounded hundreds of civilians including tens of children. The public gathering was organized in an area under the control of the Taliban where thousands of people attended a graduation ceremony. Some Taliban commanders and militants were also among the participants at the gathering.

The declaration from the presidential palace, as well as the statements of the Ministry of Defense, shamelessly justify the government’s brutal military operation and the killing of more than 60 civilians and 150 injured. The government shared with the media a list of Taliban commanders that were killed in the 2nd April air strikes to show they targeted the right place and right people! However, residents of the Archi district, including wounded people and children, as well as reports from the Kunduz hospitals, all prove that 85% of the victims were civilians, children and students.

According to the Geneva Conventions and Rome Statutes of the ICC, targeting civilians in blind air strikes that result in casualties and loss of civilian lives is a war crime and the perpetrators must be prosecuted.

The government of Afghanistan by killing of a few Taliban commanders will not be recognized innocent while leaving behind 60 dead and 150 injured civilians and children in the same operation.

The Taliban and Daesh also offer the same excuse for their suicide attacks while targeting the government security forces. But, the actual number of civilian casualties is ten times more than the government forces killed.   

Following the protests by residents of Archi and media pictures of the dead and injured bodies of tens of children and hundreds of other civilians, the government of Afghanistan, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and Independent Human Rights Commission in Afghanistan altogether tasked a commission to investigate the case and provide a report! In fact this is not the first case of war crimes committed by the Afghan government or US/NATO forces. In 2015, US forces targeted a hospital belonging to Doctors without Borders in Kunduz province where tens of patients were burnt and killed in the air strike. Similarly, there are so many other examples of civilians’ victims in other provinces where public gatherings and wedding ceremonies were targeted by the NATO forces and their puppet regime in Kabul. For each case the Afghan government and its supporters in NATO assigned a delegation to inspect the issue, but nobody was prosecuted and nothing given to the victims and harmed people.

Since the US strategy for South Asia and Afghanistan was declared by the Trump government, there is a regular increase in the killing of civilians and violence in Afghanistan.  

Left Radical of Afghanistan (LRA) denounces the brutal military operation by Afghan government and US forces in Afghanistan and asks for civilian protection in any situation in any time. LRA believes the war agenda of US imperialism in Afghanistan, the escalation of military operations and killing of people blindly will not help to restore peace; it will certainly amplify the conflict and will impose irreparable losses on civilians. As long as the brutality against the civilians is increased by war parties in Afghanistan, the anti-occupation resistance will grow and enter in new phase of struggle.

Left Radical of Afghanistan (LRA)

Afghanistan – April 4, 2018

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