Amnesty: Taliban should face war crimes charges over civilian casualties

Amnesty International (AI) on Tuesday called for the Taliban and other insurgent groups in Afghanistan to be tried for war crimes for targeting civilians. The statement was released following the 2010 Mid-Year Report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict from the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan  (UNAMA). The report found that in the first six months of 2010 there had been 3,268 civilian deaths and injuries, 76 percent of which were attributed to the Taliban and allied groups fighting NATO forces and the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. This constitutes a significant shift from 2009, where NATO accounted for just under half of all civilian casualties in the country, marking a 95 percent increase in civilian casualties attributed to the Taliban and related groups. The report also found the number of child and women casualties to have risen 55 and 6 percent, respectively, over the same period in 2009. This data prompted AI to call for the investigation and prosecution of the Taliban and other responsible groups for war crimes:

The Taleban and other insurgents are becoming far bolder in their systematic killing of civilians. Targeting of civilians is a war crime, plain and simple. The Afghan people are crying out for justice, and have a right to accountability and compensation. There is no practical justice system in Afghanistan now that can address the lack of accountability. So the Afghan government should ask the International Criminal Court to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity that may have been committed by all parties to the conflict.

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