Accountability for Past Atrocities Should Include All Perpetrators, Says HRW

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that five years after the Taliban suicide bombing in Kabul, the perpetrators have not been brought to justice.

HRW said in a report published on Friday that on January 27, 2018, in a horrendous attack, the Taliban rigged an ambulance with explosives and detonated it in downtown Kabul, killing more than 100 people, mostly civilians.

According to HRW, 2018 was one of the deadliest years for civilians during the past 20 years in Afghanistan.

“But the Taliban was not alone in committing atrocities that year. Their rivals – groups aligned with the Islamic State – carried out numerous attacks targeting schools and mosques, killing hundreds of civilians, largely in Shia and Hazara communities,” reiterated the rights group.

The United States and Afghan governments, according to the rights group, increased airstrikes and adopted looser military rules of engagement to effectively combat the Taliban, resulting in the deaths of over 500 civilians. “In April that year, an Afghan government airstrike on a madrassa killed over 30 children and wounded 50 more,” the report read. “Officials apologized but held no one accountable.”

HRW has also accused the former Afghan, Australian and American forces of committing war crimes and failing to prosecute the perpetrators.

“Afghan police and special forces also continued to carry out enforced disappearances and torture, including the sexual abuse of children, while failing to investigate or prosecute perpetrators. In 2018, reports also emerged of summary executions of civilians and other war crimes by Australian and US special forces in Afghanistan,” HRW report read.

According to HRW, the Taliban have also carried out summary executions and enforced disappearances, and have imposed policies that severely restrict the rights of women and girls since taking over the country.

HRW has accused the Taliban of not taking any steps to end human rights violations, let alone investigating or prosecuting those responsible.

HRW continues to emphasize that ignoring the harm done to certain victims, ultimately denies justice to all.