Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

AAN in the Media

Human rights group blasts US military investigations of Afghan casualties

< 1 min

Stars and Stripes, 11 August 2014

AAN’s Martine van Bijlert, in this article related to the recent amnesty international report criticising western forces for not doing justice after causing civilian casualties, points out one of the key problems of the international engagement in Afghanistan:

Afghans have long felt that they have no access to justice when family members or villagers are killed or injured in attacks by the international forces aligned with their own government, said Martine van Bijlert, co-director of the Afghan Analysts Network. The few who make any progress usually do so only in the more spectacular cases that garner media attention.

“It’s only a small number of events where civilians were killed that got in the press,” van Bijlert said. “Anyone who’s been here a long time and has spoken to any Afghans will have heard stories. There have been a lot of night raids.”

Especially galling to Afghans, she said, is that the coalition immediately denies civilian casualties before it knows the facts.

“I think the key here is that the military operates in a civilian environment, but they’re treating it as a battlefield,” she said. “In their view, that’s reasonable. But it’s not.”