AI report on Afghanistan: civilians killed by international forces and impunity
Amnistía Internacional publicou a semana pasada un breve informe sobre Afganistán, centrado no alto número de civís que morreron recentemente en accións da ISAF, coalición liderada polos Estados Unidos, así como na impunidade dos responsables. Debemos recordar que o Goberno español forma parte da coalición, aportando actualmente máis de setecentos militares (o total aproximado da ISAF ronda os cincuenta e seis mil, e case a metade son estadounidenses).
O informe leva por título “Getting away with murder? The impunity of international forces in Afghanistan”. Copio un extracto da súa introducción:
Millions of Afghans face violence and insecurity worse than at any period since 2001, when the USA and its allies ousted the Taleban from power. The conflict between the Afghan government and its international supporters, on the one hand, and on the other hand a loose coalition of Taleban, anti-government groups like Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hezb-e Islami, and criminal militias, has now escalated to cover more than a third of Afghanistan, including areas just outside Kabul. In 2008, more than 2,000 Afghan civilians died as a direct result of the conflict, while tens of thousands have been displaced from their homes, and millions more suffer the indirect impact of insecurity in the form of significantly restricted access to education, health care, and even their farms and markets. It was the activity of anti-government groups that injured most civilians in 2008, as in past years. But some 40 per cent (795) of civilian casualties were due to operations by international and Afghan security forces— a 30 percent increase from the 559 reported in 2007. Most of these civilians killed and injured by international forces suffered as a result of airstrikes and raids of homes by international and Afghan forces.
Many Afghans, including President Hamid Karzai, increasingly complain about the number of civilian casualties caused by international military forces and the lack of public accountability and responsibility for these incidents. On several occasions, President Karzai has condemned “careless operations” by international military forces and as recently as 25 January 2009 criticized international forces for an incident in which, according to the President’s office, 16 civilians were killed. There is now a persistent perception among many Afghans that international forces in Afghanistan do not sufficiently consider the well-being of ordinary Afghans—a perception successfully reinforced by the propaganda effort of the Taleban and other anti-government forces.
While air strikes by international (predominantly US) forces have garnered much recent attention, night-time raids on houses have resulted in significant injuries to Afghans and their property and fomented tremendous fear and resentment among the local population.As explained in a December 2008 report by the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), “While night time house searches resulted in fewer deaths [than air strikes], night raids frequently involved abusive behaviour and violent breaking and entry at night, which stoke almost as much anger toward [pro government forces] as the more lethal airstrikes. In areas where night raids are prevalent, they were a significant cause of fear, intimidation, and resentment toward [pro-government forces].”
The international military forces’ lack of accountability and their ad hoc investigation and compensation programs have aggravated the situation. As the USA and its allies have started dispatching more troops to Afghanistan, a concerted effort is urgently needed to minimize further civilian casualties and develop a system for prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigation leading to the prosecution of anyone suspected of having violated international or other applicable law, as well as for systematic reparation process for civilians who are killed or injured as a result of international military operations. […]