Skip to comments.Beheading of Taliban would be war crime-HRW
Posted on 06/23/2004 8:21:06 AM PDT by areafiftyone
KABUL, June 23 (Reuters) - The reported beheading of Taliban captives by Afghan forces this week would be a war crime and the troops and commanders responsible should be put on trial, a U.S.-based human rights group said on Wednesday.
Namatullah Tokhi, commander of the Afghan government's 27th militia division in Zabul province, said on Tuesday soldiers there beheaded four Taliban fighters a day earlier after guerrillas cut off the heads of an Afghan interpreter for U.S.-led forces and an Afghan government soldier.
Summary executions of prisoners were a serious violation of the Geneva Conventions and human rights law, said John Sifton, Human Rights Watch representative for Afghanistan.
"If these beheadings actually occurred, it is a very serious incident: the killing of captured prisoners in the context of an international conflict is a war crime," he said.
The soldiers responsible, and the commanders who could have prevented the killings, should be arrested and tried, he said.
"If U.S. or coalition forces were on site during the killings, as they usually are during anti-Taliban operations, and they failed to try to stop the killings, they may be culpable in the crimes as well."
U.S. military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Tucker Mansager told a briefing in Kabul he had no knowledge of any incident in Zabul beyond reports in the media.
Tokhi told Reuters the interpreter and the soldier were beheaded after becoming separated from a patrol of Afghan and U.S.-led foreign troops in the Arghandab district of Zabul.
He said government troops later captured and killed four Taliban guerrillas in the same way.
"They cut off their heads with a knife, so when our forces arrested four Taliban, we cut off their heads too," he said. Contacted again on Wednesday, Tokhi denied speaking to Reuters.
A spokesman for the Defence Ministry said the matter was under investigation, but stressed there was no involvement by the Western-trained Afghan National Army (ANA), a fledgling force fighting militants alongside U.S.-led foreign troops.
Asked if the beheadings took place, he said: "We say that this act has not been carried out by the national army. We are investigating the report."
Militia forces, like Tokhi's, are on the payroll of the defence ministry and fight alongside U.S.-led forces but are not part of the new national army.
Zabul and adjoining southern provinces have been the scene of bloody clashes between Taliban guerrillas and U.S.-led and government forces since the Taliban's overthrow in late 2001.
U.S. forces invaded Afghanistan that year in pursuit of al Qaeda, the militant network sheltered by the Taliban and blamed for the September 11 attacks on the United States.
Taliban fighters have beheaded government soldiers in the past, but it is the first time government forces in Zabul have admitted doing the same, marking the escalation of a brutal conflict that has claimed more than 800 lives since last August.
The Taliban and Islamic militant allies, including al Qaeda, have declared a holy war against the 20,000-strong U.S.-led force and consider foreign and local aid workers legitimate targets as well as foreign and government soldiers and officials.
The guerrillas have also vowed to disrupt elections planned for September. (Reporting by David Brunnstrom, Mirwais Afghan and Sayed Salahuddin)
Does anybody recall a similar statement being released by these folks about beheadings committed by America's enemies?
Call the WWWWAAAAumbalance!
Yeh, these humanitarian groups are quiet when it is al-Qaeda and Islamofanatics doing the beheadings.
I am not sure that Afghanistan was a signatory of the convention, and I am less sure that the Taliban here were wearing uniforms when captured.
If either of those were not the case, then they have no Geneva Convention rights.
Where can I find the statement made by HRW condemning the murders of Daniel Pearl, Nick Berg, Paul Johnson and Kim Sun-Il?
does anybody have a list of the countries that signed the geneva convention? did afghanistan?
Ah, what about these animals who kidnap INNOCENT people, photo and behead them?
Is this NOT a war crime? Suddenly when anyone other than a "terrorist" does it, then it is a "war crime."
I can't type what I think of that or I'll be banned from FR.
So, we finally hear from the press and their lackeys on the subject of beheadings. Why am I not surprised that it's the terrorists that get the pass?
Doesn't matter. According to the G. Convention, any combatant not wearing a uniform can be considered a spy and killed on the spot.
HRW is all wet.
I looked it up. It is only a war crime if you put panties on the severed head or use it as a ball in a soccer match.
Where is this same group on the Taliban's beheading of Afghani people?
I guess it's only a war crime when perpetrated against terrorists?
Just waded through their website, I wanted to be fair.
"Holding someone hostage, and then brutally murdering him, is a heinous crime that no political cause can justify. Those responsible for this atrocity and for earlier attacks that have killed scores of civilians, Saudi and foreign alike, should be apprehended and brought to justice."
Washington Director of the Middle East and North Africa Division
No other mention of the beheading in afghanistan that precipitated the one mentioned here no mention of the journalist Pearle or Mr.berg or Mr. Kim
Doubtful Afghan Al Qeada were in proper military uniforms.
Who does this benefit?
(ten seconds, Bob)
Lots of people are. Human rights groups are nothing more than propagandists for left wing causes. That is why no one trusts them except the media.
> "I would call it "tit for tat" if it was up to me." <
Read it again. That's not what they cut off.