According to a report released by UK-based think tank, Action on Armed Violence (AAOV), British soldiers were directly involved in the deaths of 135 children during their nine-year deployment in Afghanistan’s Southern province, Helmand. According to the details, about 881 fatality claims were submitted by the locals to UK’s Area Claims Office (ACO) during the 10 years tenure and only 64 claimants were paid compensation at the rate of £1,656 ($1,893.53) per child. According to the British Ministry of Defense (MoD), 30 out of 135 suspected child deaths were from small arms fires, while the majority of the children’s deaths occurred due to air strikes by the allied forces.
The 20-year-long war of the US-led coalition agaisnt the Taliban brought unimaginable deaths and destruction in Afghanistan. Countless drone attacks, perpetrated air strikes, and night raids, coupled with suicide attacks and ambushes by the Taliban fighters caused immense human losses to innocent civilians including women, children, and elderly people across the country. According to statistics, over 47,000 civilians had been killed including 72 journalists and 444 aid workers in the two-decades-long conflict from September 2001 to August 2022. In fact, the data represent only a small number of Afghans who knew about and were capable of going through the arduous compensation process and had enough evidence to support their claim, otherwise, there are numerous cases that were neither reported nor claimed due to lake of knowledge, proofs or necessary documents in far-flung and hilly areas in the country. Similarly, the recently released report of the AAOV only covered the children’s death that occurred during the operations of the British military contingent while the statistics regarding civilian casualties during the operations of the rest of the coalition forces and the Afghan National Army in other parts of the country could be several times higher than that.
Afghanistan had witnessed lawlessness and anarchy in most parts of the country over the past four decades during the Soviet occupation followed by the civil insurgency, and US-led invasion in the post-9/11 era. Afghans endured innumerable incidents of indiscriminate bombing, firing, drone assassination, arbitrary arrests, torture, and abuse at the hands of occupying forces, armed groups, and mercenaries across the country. The UN Human rights bodies remained silent on human rights abuses and crimes against civilians in Afghanistan in the past. Although the International Criminal Court (ICC) began a probe into alleged war crimes in Afghanistan in March 2020, but still this investigation is in limbo due to the involvement of a superpower.
Realistically, the global forums and western states-sponsored human rights advocates have dual standards regarding human rights, religious freedom, and sovereignty for white and people of color, for Euro-Americans and Afro-Asians as well as for partners and allies vis-a-vis foes and their friends, while this discrimination has ruined the oppressed nations in Kashmir, Palestine, Arakan, Haiti, and Afghanistan. Britain displayed prudence by getting wavier after spending a few thousand pounds, while other NATO countries did not accept their guilt and contradicted their own legacy. In fact, Afghans had been betrayed by their own leaders otherwise no one dare to sabotage their nation.