Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

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Amid War Crimes Allegations, Afghan Government Lacks Proper Mechanisms to Investigate

AAN Thomas Ruttig < 1 min

Just Security (blog), 27 November 2019

Former AAN colleague Qayoom Suroush writes, following up on Human Rights Watch’s recent  report “’They’ve Shot Many Like This’: Abusive Night Raids by CIA-Backed Afghan Strike Forces”:

The government has pledged to investigate the allegations. (…)

The Afghan government established the Civilian Casualties Prevention and Mitigation Board in May 2016 at the Presidential Information Coordination Center, also known as Tawhid Center, and adopted a National Civilian Casualties Prevention and Mitigation Policy in mid-2016. However, in practice, the center demonstrates little evidence of impact, considering that civilian casualties have been rising continuously in recent years. Moreover, the Tawhid Center, as Human Rights Watch also indicates, only collects data on civilian casualties and lacks any required capabilities for conducting independent investigations.

In the absence of such a permanent institutional capacity, a common practice within the Afghan government has been to issue a presidential decree forming an ad-hoc fact-finding delegation of officials from various government offices. (…)

The Afghan government has created dozens of such delegations in recent years for investigating incidents and disputes between communities and/or between communities and the government. These delegations usually submit their findings to the president, and none of their reports are publicly available. Moreover, no security officer accused of killing or harming civilians has been brought to justice as a result of the findings of such delegations, or at least no such information has been released to the public.