U.S. Armys disobedience to U.N. investigation into air strikes causing civilian casualties in Afghanistan

 U.S. Armys disobedience to U.N. investigation into air strikes causing civilian casualties in Afghanistan

The United Nations has released a report showing that 39 civilians were killed and injured in an air strike launched by the U.S. military in Afghanistan in May.

U.S. forces in Afghanistan responded quickly, questioning the method of the United Nations investigation, saying that the air strikes did not kill or injure non-combatants.

[Serious casualties

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) jointly released a report on May 9 showing that the US military launched air strikes in Farah and Nimroz provinces in Western Afghanistan on May 5, hitting more than 60 targets.

It is reported that 30 civilians were killed, 5 civilians were injured and 4 were missing in the air strikes, including 14 children and 1 woman.

After the air strike, the Afghan Assistance Mission dispatched an investigation team to the local area to learn about the situation, to visit some of the affected facilities on the spot, and to talk face to face with 21 local residents. The investigation lasted more than four months and concluded that US air strikes caused serious harm to civilians.

The report also said investigators received credible information indicating that another US operation killed 30 civilians, mostly women and children; the team will follow up to verify this information.

Fight against precision?

U.S. forces in Afghanistan quickly rebutted the report, saying U.S. and Afghan government assessments showed no civilian casualties in May.

The statement said that the U.S. air strikes precision hit multiple methamphetamine, or methamphetamine processing plants, accurate hit targets, comprehensive assessment shows that the air strikes did not cause non-combatant deaths or injuries.

From 2017 to 2018, the U.S. Army attacked drug processing sites in Afghanistan several times, confirming that the Afghan Taliban obtained funds by processing drugs. However, Agence France-Presse reported on the 9th that the intensive air strikes by the US military seemed not to help cut off the sources of funds of the Taliban in Afghanistan, but to affect local civilians.

A U.S. Defense Department official told AFP privately that the U.S. military has not attacked Afghan drug processing sites since May 5.

[Key differences

Several media reported that the United Nations and the United States had differences on how to define legitimate military objectives.

According to the United Nations report, the drug processing points are operated by criminal groups, the operators have no combat capability, and the processing points do not conform to the definition of legitimate military objectives.

The United States has identified the Afghan Taliban as possessing and operating drug processing sites, targeting people who may kill civilians and people who are hidden among civilians.

The Afghan government said Thursday that Asim Omar, head of the South Asian branch of al-Qaida, was killed in a September raid by government forces and US troops stationed in Afghanistan. The Afghan Taliban deny Omars death, pointing out that the purpose of such statements is to cover up the fact that the raid mistakenly attacked the wedding site, leading to serious civilian casualties.

In April, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan released a report showing that most of the Afghan civilians who lost their lives irregularly in the first quarter of this year died from guns fired by international coalition forces and Afghan government forces, not by the Taliban and other armed groups. This is the first time that this phenomenon has occurred in recent years.

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