US Embassy accuses Taliban of possible war crimes

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The U.S. Embassy in Kabul is accusing the Taliban of committing war crimes after a report from an Afghan watchdog concluded that the insurgent group violated international humanitarian law by killing civilians and looting the property of residents.

“In Spin Boldak, Kandahar, the Taliban massacred dozens of civilians in revenge killings. These murders could constitute war crimes; they must be investigated & those Taliban fighters or commanders responsible held accountable,” the U.S. Embassy in Kabul wrote, along with icons of a British and American flag with the words “urge #CeasefireNow.”

“The Taliban’s leadership must be held responsible for the crimes of their fighters. If you cannot control your fighters now, you have no business in governance later,” the embassy added in a separate tweet, with the link to the report from the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC).

The British Embassy in Kabul tweeted the same statements.

The Taliban last month said it took control of Spin Boldak, the key border crossing with Pakistan, as it continued to make gains in Afghanistan amid the United States withdrawal of troops.

The AIHRC report, released on July 31, concluded that the Taliban “committed retaliatory killings of civilians and looted the property of several local residents, including the properties related to former and current government officials.” The group launched an investigation after the Spin Boldak district was seized.

Specifically, it said that the insurgent group, after capturing the area, “began sweeping in many villages adjacent to the district market, looking for former and current civil servants and identifying government supporters. The Taliban expelled them from their homes and killed them; as some of those bodies have been identified so far.”

The group said that the killing of past and present government officials, in addition to reports of civilians being murdered, “is a clear violation of international humanitarian law and can amount to war crimes.”

“While the Taliban leadership has officially stated that its affiliated militants will not harm civilians or civilian facilities; but this and other similar incidents show that contrary to what they proclaim, the group has no practical commitment to the principles of international human rights and humanitarian law,” the AIHRC added.

Suhail Shaheen, a Taliban representative negotiating for the group in Doha, told Reuters that the tweets with the accusations were “baseless reports.”

The U.S. is set to complete its withdrawal process on Aug. 31, effectively putting an end to America’s longest war.

Concerns, however, are now rising about the stability of the Afghani government once all U.S. troops are gone, especially as the Taliban continues to make gains in the region.

Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenTaliban push closer to front lines of two major Afghanistan cities US blames Iran for attack on oil tanker off Oman Biden ramps up pressure on Iran as it grapples with protests MORE last week said reports of attacks on Afghani citizens by the Taliban are “deeply, deeply troubling.”

He also said that an Afghanistan that “does not respect the rights of its people” and “commits atrocities against its own people” would become a “pariah state.”

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