News / Asia

Rights Group Calls for Probes into Afghan Civilian Deaths

FILE - Relatives wrap the body of a civilian, who was killed during a clash of militants with policemen in Ghazni, southwest of Kabul, Afghanistan.
FILE - Relatives wrap the body of a civilian, who was killed during a clash of militants with policemen in Ghazni, southwest of Kabul, Afghanistan.
Ayaz Gul

At a time in Afghanistan when the U.N. says the number of civilian deaths is increasing, human rights monitor Amnesty International is calling on the United States and allied forces to do more to investigate civilian killings by their forces. The NATO-led military coalition says it investigates all reports of civilian deaths when circumstances allow. It says ISAF-related civilian casualties are down 77 percent in the last year and that anti-government forces have caused more than 90 percent of civilian casualties this year.

In a new report released Monday, Amnesty International alleges the U.S. and allied forces have killed or injured thousands of Afghan civilians since the invasion in 2001, and left the victim families without justice.

The London-based defender of human rights says the report, titled "Left in the Dark," primarily focuses on how the United States responded when civilian casualties were reported from air strikes and night raids carried out by U.S. forces.

David Griffiths, Amnesty's deputy Asia director, says the military practically makes no effort to reach out to victims’ families.

"There are thousands of civilians who have been killed or injured since 2001 and [their families] have nowhere to turn to justice. In nine out of the ten cases that Amnesty International investigated our interviewees said that none of them had been met by military investigators who were looking into those cases," says Griffiths.

Amnesty International says the U.S. military justice system “almost always fails to hold its soldiers accountable for unlawful killings and other abuses.” The group says it is aware of just six cases since 2009 where U.S. military personnel have faced trials for the killings of civilians in Afghanistan. The rights group says that international humanitarian law does not consider that every civilian death is a legal breach, but such incidents require a prompt and thorough inquiry.

The U.N. estimates that more than 12,000 Afghan civilians have died since 2009. The U.N. says about three percent of those were killed by international forces, the rest by Afghan troops or anti-government fighters such as the Taliban.

Griffiths says the report calls on the Afghan government to ensure that accountability for unlawful civilian killings is guaranteed in any future bilateral security agreements it signs with NATO and the United States.

"The government of Afghanistan also has to take responsibility in this area and we have made a recommendation to the government of Afghanistan to create a credible, independent mechanism of its own to monitor, investigate and report publicly on civilian deaths and injuries caused by Afghan forces moving forward," says Griffiths.

Amnesty says that although the United States and NATO forces in some cases have admitted civilian casualties, apologized and reportedly launched investigations, they have not provided any details on results to date.

The organization has urged the U.S. military to immediately investigate all the cases it has documented in the report along with other such incidents in which civilians have been killed.

You May Like

Photogallery Oxfam: Ebola Could Be 'Disaster of Our Generation'

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba, says the Caribbean island nation will 'gladly cooperate' with the US in the fight against Ebola in West Africa More

Multimedia Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

Refugees receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed More

India’s Ruling Nationalist Party Makes Gains in Regional Elections

Bharatiya Janata Party’s huge margin over its rivals puts it on course to form governments in the northern Haryana and western Maharashtra states More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fighti
X
Zana Omer
October 18, 2014 6:37 PM
The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.
Video

Video Church for Atheists Goes Global

Atheists, by definition, do not believe in God. So they should have no need of a church. But two years ago, a pair of British stand-up comedians decided to create one. Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans told the BBC they envisioned “something like church but without God". Their “Sunday Assembly” movement has grown from a single congregation in London to dozens of churches around the world. Reporter Mike Osborne visited with the members of a Sunday Assembly that now meets regularly in Nashville.
Video

Video Robot Locates Unexploded Underwater Mines

Many educators believe that hands-on experience is the best way to learn. Proving that the method works is a project developed by a group of students at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey. They rose up to a challenge posted by the U.S. Department of Defense and successfully designed and built an underwater robot for locating submerged unexploded ordnance. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's JFK Hospital Reopens After Temporary Ebola Exposure

JFK Hospital is Liberia’s largest and one of its oldest medical facilities. The hospital had to close temporarily following the deaths of two leading doctors from Ebola. It is now getting back on its feet, with the maternity ward being the first section to reopen. Benno Muchler has more for VOA News from Monrovia.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Expose Generation Gap

Most of the tens of thousands of protesters in Hong Kong are students seeking democracy. Idealistic youths say while the older generation worries about the present, they are fighting for the territory's future. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Hong Kong.
Video

Video Liberians Living in US Struggle From Afar as Ebola Ravages Homeland

More than 8,000 Liberians live in New York City, more than in any other city outside of Liberia itself. As VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports, with the Ebola virus ravaging their homeland, there is no peace of mind for these New Yorkers.
Video

Video Kurds See War-Ravaged Kobani As Political, Emotional Heartland

Intense fighting is continuing between Islamic State militants -- also known as ISIS or ISIL -- and Kurdish forces around the Syrian town of Kobani, on the Turkish border. The U.S. said it carried out at least nine airstrikes against Islamic State positions Friday. Meanwhile the U.N. has warned that hundreds of civilians would be massacred if the town falls to the militants. Henry Ridgwell looks at the strategic significance of the city.

All About America

AppleAndroid