Ekaterina Chukaeva – The 20-year-long US military campaign in Afghanistan should be investigated by a range of competent international organizations, including the International Court of Justice, in addition to the investigations conducted by the US government itself, activists told Sputnik.
Earlier in November, the US Defense Department concluded an investigation into an August airstrike in Afghanistan that killed ten civilians, including seven children. The Defense Department said the incident was regrettable, but the strike did not violate any law. The US military initially reported there were no casualties in the strike apart from what it said were two terrorists in a vehicle.
The incident took place on August 29 as the United States was completing its withdrawal from Afghanistan and 13 US soldiers were killed at the Kabul airport. The incident is seen by many as another stain in the two-decades-long US presence in Afghanistan that started with the infamous War on Terror initiated by then US President George W. Bush. Activists have noted the United States conducted 13,000 drone strikes in Afghanistan and killed up to 900 civilians, including 180 children.
“There should be many more investigations from international bodies into US actions in Afghanistan over the past twenty years,” Madelyn Hoffman, a social justice activist who was the Green Party candidate for the 2021 gubernatorial elections in the US state of New Jersey, told Sputnik.
Hoffman said the investigations should not only focus on the August drone strike but the multiple other incidents that have occurred since the United States invaded Afghanistan. She recalled that many peace organizations opposed the invasion of Afghanistan as an inappropriate and illegal response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Hoffman noted that the United States has tried to pay a monetary sum to the families of the strike victims, but the matter should be investigated by independent parties.
“It is never fair to ask the offending party to investigate itself for criminal activity. Clearly, it is not in the interest of the investigators to find itself guilty of criminal activity,” she said.
No one questions the criminality of the US presence in Afghanistan, but it is a fact the US invasion was illegal from the start, Hoffman said.
“It continued for almost 20 years. Any action, like the killing of the ten Afghan civilians in the drone strike, was thus illegal, regardless of any findings of the Pentagon,” she added.
Hoffman recalled that the United States has meddled in the Afghanistan’s affairs for decades and additional actions are needed to complement any reparations to address the wrongs inflicted on Afghans.
“Reparations would be a start, but much more would be needed to persuade the families of Afghan civilians killed in this illegal war to forget about the violence and displacement inflicted on the Afghan people,’ she said.
Another activist, David Swanson, said the problem of the recent investigation into the airstrike is that the international community allowed the US Defense Department to investigate its own actions.
“There should be prosecution by the ICC, the World Court, the Afghan government and through universal jurisdiction by the courts of every nation on earth not viewing itself as a US slave,” he said.
Swanson serves as executive director of WorldBeyondWar.org and as campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org.