A new report released by Amnesty International titled “Left in the Dark,” has found the U.S. military has systematically disregarded or hid evidence of war crimes, unlawful killings, and torture in the war torn country of Afghanistan.
The report uses ten case studies where violence has claimed the lives of civilians in the country, all of which “raise concerns about the unlawful use of force.” However, according to the report, “Very few cases involving alleged unlawful killings of civilians in international military operations have led to prosecution.”
Even when a trial has been sought, what the Daily Beast is calling, the “compromised military justice system,” has failed to produce justice for the slain, injured, or maimed.
One victim talked with Stars and Stripes, telling of their experience at Camp Nerkh at the hands of military forces. “First,” says the victim, “they took off my clothes… Then they tied a thin plastic cord around my penis so I couldn’t pee. Then they forced me to lie down face down on the floor. Four people beat me with cables.”
The Amnesty International report also claims two of the case studies offer “abundant and compelling” evidence of war crimes. One case involves the shooting death of two pregnant women and a 17-year-old girl in a nighttime raid in the eastern Paktia province.
According to the Independent, a press release from the U.S. forces in the area about the incident stated the three women were found by U.S. troops “bound and gagged” within their home. This same release stated the three were killed in a “traditional honour killing.”
What is important to note is not all civilian deaths in a combat or war zone are ruled as unlawful. Under international law, in order for a civilian death to be classified as unlawful, the victim must be indiscriminately or deliberately targeted. Even then, a proper and impartial investigation must be carried out in order to deem these two criteria are met.
The Pentagon has made several claims stating they would investigate various incidents which could be classified as war crimes, but according to a 70-year-old patriarch in Afghanistan named Haji Sharabuddin, he has yet to hear of any results from an investigation or if there was even investigations held .
President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, said, according to Stars and Stripes, “I believe that the civilian casualties must not happen at all… Our aim and yours must be stopping the civilian casualties.”