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article imageOp-Ed: US government refuses to cooperate in US war crime investigation

By Ken Hanly     Nov 13, 2013 in World
Kabul - The Afghan intelligence service has abandoned its investigation into the killing of a group of civilians in Wardak province of Afghanistan after being refused access to the US Special Forces soldiers who are suspected of being involved.
A week ago Matthieu Aikins at Rolling Stone gave detailed evidence that U.S. forces committed war crimes against Afghans. The alleged crimes included extra-judicial executions, torture, and disappearances of at least 17 men.
The day after the article was published, Human Rights Watch issued a statement that urged an official investigation noting that “the U.S. has a meager record of investigating and prosecuting human rights abuses allegedly committed by its forces during its 12-year military presence in Afghanistan.”
A report by the Afghan National Directorate of Security(NDS) said: “Despite many requests by NDS they have not cooperated. Without their cooperation this process cannot be completed,”
When the US does decide that an offense has happened the perpetrators often escape severe punishment. In Iraq, eight of nine US soldiers charged with the Haditha massacre in 2005 were not convicted. Twenty-four Iraqi men, women, and children were massacred. Only Staff. Sgt. Frank Wuterich was convicted in a plea bargain that involved demotion to the rank of private but no jail time.
The so-called "Kill Team" in Afghanistan planned the killing of many innocent Afghans by framing the situationd as cases where the team had been threatened and so that the team killed in self defense. There is a long article in Rolling Stone that gives the details of their operations. Most of the team received reduced sentences and will be eligible for parole in a relatively short time. While the ringleader did receive life in prison he could be eligible for parole in less than ten years.
In another incident in Afghanistan in February of 2012, US Special Operations Forces, surrounded a home in a village in the province of Paktia. Two men who went out to ask why the house had been surrounded were shot dead The US forces then also shot and killed three female relatives including two pregnant mothers and a teenager. The troops then lied about what happened and altered evidence of their crimes. Although the Pentagon was eventually forced to apologize, none of the soldiers were charged. Only through continued investigations and reports by journalists did these events even come to light.
Several investigations by the US military cleared US Special Forces of any wrongdoing in the Wardak events according to spokesperson Colonel Jane Crichton : "U.S. forces conducted several investigations in response to specific allegations from November 2012 to February 2013. At the time, inquiries found no reliable evidence to substantiate misconduct. " However, after further complaints and information provided by the International Red Cross a new investigation was ordered. This was back in July but the investigation was only recently revealed. Now we find out that although the US is carrying out another investigation on its own, it is at the same time ensuring that the Afghan authorities cannot investigate thoroughly causing them to abandon their own investigation. Under these circumstances another US investigation has very little credibility.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about us war crimes, Afghan war, Aghan directorate of national security
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