By lex, on February 10th, 2011
Human rights groups – after much soul searching – have finally decided to choose between greater and lesser evils in Afghanistan:
International and local human rights groups working in Afghanistan have shifted their focus toward condemning abuses committed by the Taliban insurgents, rather than those attributed to the American military and its allies.
Outraged by growing civilian casualties, many activists are now calling for the insurgents to be investigated for war crimes and viewed as war criminals. The insurgents are now blamed for more than three-fourths of all civilian casualties, according to United Nations statistics, and those casualties increased by 20 percent last year.
Several groups have approached the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which has been conducting a preliminary inquiry into war crimes charges in Afghanistan.
The activists’ concern would have been unheard-of a year ago, when a series of large-scale civilian casualty episodes caused by NATO forces outraged Afghans and prompted President Hamid Karzai to repeatedly condemn his own allies. Human rights groups joined the chorus of blame…
The change in attitude is prompted by more than just raw statistics. NATO and American military leaders have made reducing civilian casualties a cornerstone of their policy and have moved quickly to investigate claims of abuses and often issued apologies.
“NATO, in some cases they acknowledge their mistakes; to some extent they have taken positive steps in terms of reducing their impact,” said Ajmal Samadi, director of Afghanistan Rights Monitor. “On the insurgent side we don’t have any acknowledgment of the problem and instead we see a brazen continuation of their crimes.”
Haul ‘em afore The Hague, says I. Or else bar ‘em from Switzerland.
Sure, that’ll show ‘em.