AFGHANISTAN Human rights and NATO’s double standards

The longest war of the US and NATO occupiers has been defeated in Afghanistan. This unequal war has not only inflicted irreparable human casualties on the people of Afghanistan, but has also destroyed and damaged Afghanistan’s infrasture and social-economic foundations. Although the American invaders and their allies occupied Afghanistan under the pretext of reconstruction, democracy and protection of human rights, it soon became clear to the people that they were here to achieve their nefarious economic, military and political goals.

Protecting human rights is one of the fascinating slogans that imperialist regimes use as a weapon against their rivals and adversaries. In order to achieve their military, economic and political goals, they by misusing the slogan of human rights interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, aiding opposition parties and groups in targeted countries, imposes economic sanctions on them or invade and occupie them militarily.

Globally, it is imperialist countries and capitalist system itself that is based on usury and exploitation and continues its life by trampling on the freedoms and rights of other human beings. In the capitalist system, all spiritual values, human dignity and freedom are replaced by usury and capital gain, and thus civilization and humanity are substituted by barbarism and injustice.

The United States targeted Afghans in retaliation for around 3000 victims of 2001 9/11 attack and invaded Afghanistan a month later. Hundreds of thousands of Afghans have been killed and hundreds of thousands more injured and maimed during the 20-year occupation and war by the United States and NATO member countries. Similarly, millions more have been forced to flee their homes or migrate to other parts of the world.

The United States, who show off itself the world’s only human rights champion, despite killing and maiming nearly one million Afghans in retaliation for its 9/11 attacks,  held tens of thousands others at Bagram and Guantanamo Bay. The prisoners in US custody being inflicted many painful tortures.The US and NATO governments have granted immunity and joined hands with former warlords and war criminals in pursuit of their illegitimate interests in Afghanistan.

Following the formation of the Interim Government at the Bonn Conference in December 2001, it was decided that a Human Rights Commission should be established for Afghanistan. Then, in June 2002, the « Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission » was established. Apparently, the commission was tasked with monitoring and protecting human rights in Afghanistan and bringing violators to justice. However, the commission soon became a cover for human rights abuses by government and foreign forces and failed to identify or prosecute war criminals and human rights violators. The commission prepared a transitional justice report, but failed to publish it or take concrete steps to implement it. Afghanistan’s « National Assembly », which made up mostly of former warlords, war criminals and human rights abusers, in 2007 signed a law and pardoned all criminals and human rights violaters and invalidated all filed calims against them.

In November 2017, the « International Criminal Court » (ICC) in Hague decided to investigate war crimes and human rights abuses in Afghanistan. The court called for an investigation into the crimes committed by the Afghan government, NATO, and in particular the United States and the CIA, the Taliban and other groups involved in  war in Afghanistan since 2003. Although the Afghan people, civil society and human rights advocates support the International Criminal Court’s initiative, foreign countries, particularly the US government and the CIA, have always challenged the ICC’s efforts and created obstacles. Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo, as senior US government officials, have reacted angrily to the decision of International Criminal Court’s decision to investigate war crimes that have been committed by CIA agents and US troops in Afghanistan.They have threatened the International Criminal Court  with visa bans on its key staff and their family members and would freeze their assets. (The US imposed sanctions on senior officials in the International Criminal Court (ICC), including chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. BBC, Sept 02, 2020)

When the peace agreement between the United States and the Taliban was signed in Doha on February 2020, a key condition of the Taliban was the release of five thousand of their prisoners from Afghan government prisons. The US government accepted the Taliban’s offer, but President Ashraf Ghani opposed it, calling it his red line. He stressed that he would not release any Taliban prisoners before restoration of a country-wide ceasefire.

The position of the Afghan puppet president was angered by the Trump administration and he was soon forced to move from his red line to the green and release 4600 Taliban prisoners before the ceasefire! The release of the remaining 400 Taliban prisoners, whom are considered dangerous by the Afghan government beacuse most of them have been sentenced to death by a court for mass murder, kidnappings, drug trafficking and rape, was depended by Ashraf Ghani to the decision of a symbolic Loya Jirga.

On the day of Loya Jirga, the US embassy in Kabul distributed papers among the 3400 particiapnts of the Jirga, encouraged them to vote for the release of 400 prisoners including the 9 persons who are known as murderers of French and Austrain troops in Afghanistan. Following the decision of the Jirga in the favor of releas of all remaining 400 dangerious prisoners, Emmanuel Macron urged on Afghan government not to releas the murderers of the French soldeirs. Doesn’t the French government really understand that the release of the killers of French soldiers is not within the authority of the Afghan government and that the agreement to release in total 5000 Taliban prisoners has been signed between the Taliban and the US government and not by the Afghan government? So the fact that Macron wants the Afghan government not to release the killers of their military and civilian citizens is a foolish request. Macron should make this request to the United States and not to the puppet government of Afghanistan.

On April 2017, when the Afghan government was engaged in a peace deal with Gulbuddin’s Islamic Party, the French government opposed the release of prisoners of the Islamic Party for killing 16 French soldiers by Islamic Party fighters in the Surobi and Tagab districts. But this disagreement was soon ignored through a political deal and US pressure, and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a notorious warlord, war criminal and human rights abuser, joined the government without trial and he and his party received unparalleled financial and concessions from Afghan goverment and the US, all prisoners were released.    

Also, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said he was trying to keep in prison the killer of three Australian soldiers. Similarly, some other European countries have expressed opposition to the release of Taliban soldiers who were involved in the killing of their embassy staff in Kabul.

Apparently, the peace process now depends on the fate of only six prisoners, whom France and Australia oppose. But the other 4091 prisoners, whose hands are stained with the blood of tens of thousands of poor Afghans, are of no importance to human rights organizations, nor to France, Australia, the United States and NATO member states. This double standard of US and NATO member states has raised questions in Afghanistan as to whether the blood of French and Australian and NATO troops is more red than the blood of the Afghan people?

Did French, Australian and American troops come to Afghanistan for banquet and tourism or for a brutal mission and war? During Barack Obama’s presidency, 4147 bombs just in 2009, and in Trump’s presidency, 7423 bombs just in 2019 were used aganist the people of Afghanistan, killing or injuring hundreds of thousands of women, children and Afghans. The United States used the world’s bigest non-nuclear bomb in Nangarhar province for the first time this in 2017 to show its brutality to other rivals. But neither France nor Australia nor any other country has ever condemned this barbaric act by the United States and never called it a war crime and a violation of human rights.

The above positions of the US government and NATO member states on human rights, make it clear that the claims made by the Western countries about human rights are completely false and the only slogans that deceive the people of the world and legitimize their inhumane practices and abuses.

Such a clear dual policy of the United States, France and Australia towards human rights shows the extent to which they are committed to the protection of human rights and the extent to which they believe in it. But the people of Afghanistan will never forgive these blatant war crimes and human rights violations by the United States, France, Australia and NATO member states.