NATO promises probe Afghanistan civilian deaths claim
By Shadi Khan Saif, Monday, August 11, 2014
KABUL, Afghanistan - The NATO-led security force in Afghanistan quickly reacted to a report by Amnesty International accusing foreign forces of committing war crimes over a period of four years, claiming it always investigates allegations of abuses.
"Claims are rigorously investigated and appropriate actions are taken to mitigate the possibility of civilian casualties in future operations," the International Security Assistance Force said in a statement Monday.
Earlier Monday, the London-based human rights watchdog Amnesty International released a report titled "Left in the Dark" which focused on airstrikes and night raids by U.S. forces and accused the international force of allowing apparent war crimes to go uninvestigated and unpunished.
In investigations of 10 incidents that took place between 2009 and 2013, Amnesty found 140 civilians were killed, including pregnant women and at least 50 children. It interviewed some 125 witnesses, victims and family members, including many who had never given testimony to anyone before.
"In many of the cases covered in the report, U.S. military or NATO would announce that an investigation was underway, they would not release any information about the progress, leaving victims and family members in the dark," Amnesty said.
Meanwhile the international force has said it is reviewing Amnesty's report and will respond accordingly.
The matter of civilian casualties has been a bone of contention between the Karzai administration and its western allies for a while now with nearly 20,000 civilians reportedly killed in the Afghan War since 2001.
Karzai has repeatedly criticized NATO forces for night raids in civilian areas and the killing of innocent victims in air strikes.
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