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

Hostage Crisis Could Divide Japan Over Plans to Boost Military

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Monday the government is working closely with the Jordanian government to secure the release of remaining Japanese hostage Kenji Goto More

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Country's youngest ever PM Alexis Tsipras, 40, sworn in Monday and says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts More

Multimedia National Geographic Photo Camps Empower Youth

Annual mentoring program's mission is to give young people a voice to tell their own stories through photography More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid