Tag Archives: Taliban

ICC Weighing More Than a Million Statements by Afghans Alleging War Crimes Violations

Trove of claims submitted to International Criminal Court alleges crimes committed by various factions since 2003, including Afghan forces, the Taliban, the CIA, and the U.S. military.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 2-16-2018

A U.S. soldier in Spin Boldak, Afghanistan on Feb. 8, 2015. (Photo: U.S. Army/Capt. Lindsay Roman

International Criminal Court (ICC) judges are weighing over one million statements from Afghans who allege they are victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by actors in the armed conflict there, including Afghan forces, the Taliban, the CIA, and the U.S. military.

The victims began submitting their statements to the ICC judges in late November after ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda asked the court for authorization to begin a formal probe of possible war crimes committed in Afghanistan, saying, “there is a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in connection with the armed conflict in Afghanistan.” The development, said Solomon Sacco, head of international justice at Amnesty International, was “a seminal moment for the ICC.”   Continue reading


Blackwater Founder’s ‘Disturbing’ Plan to Privatize Afghan War Gains Ground

“There’s a bad record of contractors and human rights abuses.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. published 8-8-2017

Despite the fact that private contractors have a long record of abuse and deadly criminality, Prince believes that they should have a stronger presence in Afghanistan. (Photo: Melissa Golden/Redux)

As President Donald Trump vents his frustration with the United States’ “losing” strategy in Afghanistan, the “notorious mercenary” and Blackwater founder Erik Prince has seized the moment to offer his favored alternative: privatize the war.

According to a report by Katrina Manson of the Financial Times on Monday, Prince has drafted a proposal—dated August 2017—that would hand the longest war in American history over to a private “band of experienced sergeants,” who would fight alongside U.S.-trained Afghan forces.

Prince, Manson writes, “proposes a two-year plan for fewer than 5,000 global guns for hire and under 100 aircraft, bringing the total cost of the U.S. effort to turn round a failing war to less than $10 billion a year.” Continue reading


Colonialism and Greed: Trump Considers Afghan War Expansion to Exploit Minerals

Trump is reportedly being encouraged by corporate executives to take advantage of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-26-2017

Trump appears committed to the belief that mineral extraction “could be one justification for the United States to stay engaged in” Afghanistan, the New York Times reported. (Photo: DVIDSHUB/Flickr/cc)

As the 16th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan approaches, President Donald Trump is reportedly being pressured by a billionaire financier and a chemical executive to extend the scope of the conflict for one simple, greedy reason: to exploit Afghanistan’s mineral reserves.

According to James Risen and Mark Landler of the New York Times, the Trump administration is “considering sending an envoy to Afghanistan to meet with mining officials” as the president is receiving encouragement from Stephen Feinberg, the billionaire head of DynCorp, and Michael Silver, the head of American Elements, a firm that specializes in “extracting rare-earth minerals.” Continue reading


‘I am on the Kill List’

“Singling out people to assassinate, and killing nine of our innocent children for each person they target, is a crime of unspeakable proportions.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-13-2016.

An MQ-1 Predator drone. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lt Col Leslie Pratt)

An MQ-1 Predator drone. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lt Col Leslie Pratt)

“Stop trying to kill me.”

That’s the message a man from Waziristan, Pakistan’s border area with Afghanistan, has brought to the UK this week, saying that the U.S. has targeted him for death by placing him on the so-called kill list.

In an op-ed published Tuesday at the Independent, tribal elder Malik Jalal explains he’s in England “because I decided that if Westerners wanted to kill me without bothering to come to speak with me first, perhaps I should come to speak to them instead. I’ll tell my story so that you can judge for yourselves whether I am the kind of person you want to be murdered.” Continue reading


The War in Afghanistan Has Turned a Generation of Children Into Heroin Addicts

By Michaela Whitton. Published 5-9-2016 by The Anti-Media

By davric (collection personnelle) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By davric (collection personnelle) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

One of the many catastrophic legacies left behind by the longest war in U.S. history is that Afghanistan produces 90% of the world’s opium. As with most parts of the world, the most vulnerable pay the heaviest price of war, and the country has faced a harrowing escalation in the number of child heroin addicts.

“What’s happened in Afghanistan over the last 13 years has been the flourishing of a narco-state that is really without any parallel in history,” Kabul-based journalist Matthieu Aikins told Democracy Now back in 2014. Continue reading


Failed US Policy in the Middle East

By Ellen Rosser. Published 2-29-2016 by Common Dreams

(Photo: Mark Holloway/flickr/cc.)

(Photo: Mark Holloway/flickr/cc.)

The United States has been involved in the Middle East for almost one hundred years because of the vast oil reserves there, and the US has been militarily involved since 1967, when the US began supplying Israel with weapons with which to defend itself. However, the US has only been involved in the “quagmire” of Middle East wars since 2001. Continue reading


‘Perpetrators Can’t Also Be Judges’: War Crime Probe Demanded at White House Gate

More than 540,000 people sign petition calling for independent investigation of MSF hospital bombing, as new evidence throws Pentagon findings into further doubt

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-9-2015

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)delivered over 540,000 signatures on Wednesday to the White House echoing the organization's call for an independent investigation. (Photo: MSF-USA/ Twitter)

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)delivered over 540,000 signatures on Wednesday to the White House echoing the organization’s call for an independent investigation. (Photo: MSF-USA/ Twitter)

Wearing white lab coats, workers with the international humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders and their supporters on Wednesday delivered boxes and boxes of petitions to the White House gates bearing the signatures of more than half a million people who are reiterating the call: “Even war has rules.”

In the more than two months since the U.S. military bombing of a Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, the Obama administration has thus far refused to respond to the medical charity’s demand for an independent investigation.  Continue reading


No Excuse, Says Human Rights Lawyer, Obama Can Still Close Guantánamo

President undermined his own plan to shutter the notorious facility by agreeing to the “defense” bill

By Sarah Lazare, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-11-2015


After President Barack Obama agreed on Tuesday to sign a $607 billion “defense” bill that undermines his own plan to shutter the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay, media outlets sounded the death knell for hopes that the facility will close before his term ends in 2017.

But Omar Shakir, a Bertha fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights, told Common Dreams that the president, in fact, still retains the ability to close the prison—and must act now to fulfill his repeated pledges. Continue reading


MSF: Forcible US Intrusion Into Hospital May Have Destroyed War Crimes Evidence

“Their unannounced and forced entry damaged property, destroyed potential evidence and caused stress and fear for the MSF team,” says medical charity.

Written by Sarah Lazare, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-16-15.

A devastated room adjacent to the emergency entrance in the western wing of the Outpatient Department building. (Photo: Andrew Quilty/Foreign Policy)

A devastated room adjacent to the emergency entrance in the western wing of the Outpatient Department building. (Photo: Andrew Quilty/Foreign Policy)

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said that the U.S. military’s forcible intrusion into its hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan on Thursday potentially destroyed evidence of its war crime and underscores the need for a truly independent investigation into the U.S. bombing that killed 22 people.

“[MSF] confirms that an armored vehicle forced its way through the closed main gate of our hospital in Kunduz yesterday, Oct. 15, at 1:30 p.m. local time,” the organization said Friday. “Their unannounced and forced entry damaged the gate to the property, destroying potential evidence in the process and causing stress and fear for the MSF team.”

“An MSF team had arrived earlier in the day to visit the hospital. Only after the armored vehicle forced its way into our compound was MSF informed that this intrusion was in fact a delegation from the U.S./NATO/Afghan investigation team,” the group continued. “This happened despite an agreement made between MSF and the joint investigation team that MSF would be given notice before each step of the procedure involving the organization’s personnel and assets.”

The U.S. bombing of the MSF hospital on October 3 killed 10 patients,12 staff members, and wounded 37 people. The Pentagon acknowledged earlier this month that its Special Forces were responsible for the deadly attack, but only after changing the official story at least four times, including initial denials of culpability and claims of justification.

Citing an unnamed former intelligence official, the Associated Press reported Thursday that “special operations analysts were gathering intelligence on an Afghan hospital days before it was destroyed by a U.S. military attack because they believed it was being used by a Pakistani operative to coordinate Taliban activity.”

The newly-revealed details could indicate “that the hospital was intentionally targeted,” Meinie Nicolai, president of the operational directorate of MSF, told AP. “This would amount to a premeditated massacre.”

Nicolai added that MSF staff “reported a calm night and that there were no armed combatants, nor active fighting in or from the compound prior to the airstrikes.”

Some have expressed skepticism of the AP report, penned by journalist Ken Dilanian, due to the article’s reliance on an anonymous source to spread allegations that the hospital was being used by the Taliban or its associates.

The medical charity has repeatedly declared that the bombing of the hospital—a protected space under humanitarian law—amounts to a war crime and only an independent probe can be trusted to reveal the truth about the attack. While the U.S., NATO, and Afghan authorities have launched their own investigations, MSF argues “it is impossible to expect parties involved in the conflict to carry out independent and impartial investigations of military actions in which they are themselves implicated.”

On Thursday, MSF launched a petition “to call on President Obama and the United States to consent to an independent investigation.” MSF press officer Tim Shenk told Common Dreams that the initiative garnered 50,000 signatures in the first 24 hours.

While U.S. President Barack Obama formally apologized to MSF for the deadly attack, the U.S. government has yet to consent to an impartial, international investigation.

Obama did, however, announce Thursday that he is defying earlier pledges and extending the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan—which entered its 15th year last week—by leaving up to 5,500 soldiers in the country until at least 2017.

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An International Conscience

By Robert C. Koehler. Published 10-15-2015 by Common Dreams

American Special Forces in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, January 1, 2014. (Photo: US Army/Sergeant Bertha A. Flores)

American Special Forces in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, January 1, 2014. (Photo: US Army/Sergeant Bertha A. Flores)

“The Pentagon said on Saturday that it would make ‘condolence payments’ to the survivors of the American airstrike earlier this month on a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders in Kunduz, Afghanistan, as well as to the next of kin of those who died in the attack.”

Such a small piece of news, reported a few days ago by the New York Times. I’m not sure if anything could make me feel more ashamed of being an American.

Turns out the basic payout for a dead civilian in one of our war zones is . . . brace yourself . . . $2,500. That’s the sum we’ve been quietly doling out for quite a few years now. Conscience money. It’s remarkably cheap, considering that the bombs that took them out may have cost, oh, half a million dollars each. Continue reading