War crime against Afghans

After the release of appalling report by Australian Defence Force about the killing of Afghan prisoners and civilian by its Special Forces, China has demanded a through probe into the alleged war crime. China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lijian Zhao at a news conference condemned that act of murdering civilians by Australian Forces and described it a “hypocrisy of those” who considers themselves as guardians of human rights and freedom. Beijing has called for a thorough investigation and holding perpetrators to account. The stance is identical to the reaction shown by Afghan Foreign Ministry and Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission.

A report released by Australian Defence Forces (ADF) brings to lime light the credible evidence on the war crimes committed by their Elite Force deployed in Afghanistan after the incident of 9/11 and subsequent induction of US and NATO troops there. In a series of incidents 39 Afghan prisoners and civilians were killed after their capture and arrest during 2009-13. The ADF blamed the crime on unchecked “war culture.”

The inquiry into the alleged war crime was conducted by Major General Justice Paul Brereton. He interviewed 400 witnesses. The inquiry found evidence that junior officers were told to get their first kill by shooting prisoners in a practice known as blooding. It t tells that the crime was not done by the war tired soldiers but were ordered by the officers in command to do so. Treacherously, weapons and other items were planted near the bodies of the victims to cover up the crime. The report states that additional incidents establish war crime treatment cruelty and ensures for justice the families of victims.

Australia had sent its forces in Afghanistan following the overthrow of Taliban regime in Kabul as a part of US led coalition.

The inquiry report reveals that 25 Special Forces soldiers had taken part in unlawful killings of noncombatants and captured prisoners in 23 separate incidents. It recommended 36 incidents in total to be investigated by federal police. ADF Chief General Angus Cambell said that none of the incident can be described as being in the heat of battle. The Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has termed the inquiry report as difficult and bad news for the Australians about its special forces. He has conveyed his sorrows to the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani over telephone.

In response the to the ADF investigation report, Afghan Foreign Ministry said the incidents mentioned in the report were unforgivable but its publication was an important step towards justice. In other words Afghan government wants justice for the families of victims of war crime through due process of law. The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission has welcomed the report but noted it had not established enough evidence to ensure criminal prosecution to bring the perpetrators of war crime to justice. The commission urged that the required evidence be sought and adequate compensation be paid without delay.” Only through a series of independent inquiries the truth can be uncovered about the murder of innocent Afghan, which falls within the category of blatant war crime, the commission emphasied.

Ironically, the initial action taken by Australian military authorities is nothing but eyewash, reminding the genocide that their ancestors had committed against “Aborigines”, the original inhabitants of Australia. The Chief of Australasian Army Lieutenant General Rick Burr said on Friday that administrative action notices have been issued to 13 soldiers proposing termination of their services. It is an established fact that leaders of western democracies and Australia have demonstrated racism in their so called norms of human rights. Let us hope that diplomatic pressures from Asian countries will mount to deliver justice to Afghans, for which China has raised a strong voice.

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