Taliban Leaders Should Be Prosecuted for War Crimes

Sanam Gul was a widow, 35 years old and pregnant.  According to news reports she was kept in captivity for three days before being shot to death in a public trial by the Afghan Taliban.  The execution took place in the Qadis District of the rural Baghdis province in Western Afghanistan.

The “court” that ordered the punishment, found Sanam Gul, also known as Bibi Sanubar, guilty of having an illicit affair, proof of which was her pregnancy.  She was sentenced to 200 lashes and then executed.  The punishment was carried out by Mohammad Yousuf, the area Taliban commander amid a crowd of onlookers.

Sanam Gul’s death comes soon after the chilling Aug 7 executions of ten medical aid workers who had been returning from a trip to provide free medical care to remote regions of Afghanistan.

These barbaric theatrics meant to intimidate and terrify local populations are not novel tactics for the Taliban.  In the time that they controlled Afghanistan, from 1998-2001, such public floggings and executions were frequent occurrences in towns controlled by the group.   In addition to such tactics of terror which misuse concepts of Islamic law to instate a reign of terror, the Taliban are also guilty of increasingly bloodthirsty killing campaigns that kill hundreds of Afghan civilians.

A U.N report released on August 10 revealed that civilian casualties caused by the Taliban have increased nearly 31% in the first six months of 2010.  This means that over 3,000 Afghan civilians have died in the shootings, killings, suicide bombings that the Taliban carry out with impunity in areas which they control.

In the first half of 2010, the executions and assassinations of civilians by the Taliban and other insurgent groups increased by over 95% to 183 recorded deaths compared to the same time last year. The victims were usually accused of supporting the According to Staffan De Mistura, Special Representative of the Secretary General of the U.N “Afghan children and women are increasingly bearing the brunt of this conflict; they are being killed and injured in their communities in greater numbers than ever before”.

In the ten years since the beginning of the Afghan war, and in the years before when the Taliban controlled huge chunks of the country, the world has watched while they have wrested all sense of security from Afghan civilians.  One of the biggest chasms in the worldwide response to the human rights abuses carried out by the Taliban has been the inability to coalesce around a unifying concept of international justice that would hold non-state groups like the Taliban accountable. Historic reliance on the nation state model has meant an initial hesitance to apply the mechanisms of shaming to non state groups which kill the innocent and use religious concepts to terrorize entire populations.

It is this view that perceives only nation states to be human rights abusers that must change drastically for groups like the Taliban to be held accountable for their brutality. The lack of an existing system of justice in Afghanistan means that unless international mechanisms of justice get actively involved in the situation, Afghan civilians will remain helpless before the bloodthirsty campaign of the Taliban.   Because of this Amnesty International is calling for the investigation of Taliban crimes so that they may be prosecuted for war crimes.

The initiation of a prosecution of Taliban leaders that so brutally executed Sanam Gul and have so cruelly taken the lives of thousands of other Afghan civilians must be held accountable.  Such accountability is crucial to insure that these same war criminals are not promoted to positions of power in any post-conflict set up.  Given that the United States, Afghanistan and other members of NATO are currently engaging in such discussions, it is imperative that the human rights abuses carried out by Taliban leaders against civilians be an integral part of their agenda.

Unless the international community takes a stand on this issue, Afghan civilians will continue to believe that they will be abandoned by the world and left to endure another regime of barbarism.

AIUSA welcomes a lively and courteous discussion that follow our Community Guidelines. Comments are not pre-screened before they post but AIUSA reserves the right to remove any comments violating our guidelines.

32 thoughts on “Taliban Leaders Should Be Prosecuted for War Crimes

  1. Thanks for the article; let me know if I can post it to the Afghanistan website links please.

    Elsie De Laere
    CS Afghanistan
    AIUSA

  2. I absolutely agree. It is essential that all instances of barbarism are challenged and the perpetrators held accountable.

  3. This is such a devastating event, and the fact that so many people in the world do not realize how this is destroying Afghanistan's population makes it all the worse.

  4. Thanks for the article; let me know if I can post it to the Afghanistan website links please.

    Elsie De Laere
    CS Afghanistan
    AIUSA

  5. Dear Ms Zakaria,

    Agree with your call for prosecution of Taliban war crimes & criminals, where these can be specifically identified & proven.

    At the same time the Taliban in general should be engaged with by the US / NATO INVADERS of Afghanistan in direct & immediate negotiations to form a power – sharing government free of US influence to end the foreign occupation of the land &, consequently, end the war itself.

  6. I absolutely agree. It is essential that all instances of barbarism are challenged and the perpetrators held accountable.

  7. This is such a devastating event, and the fact that so many people in the world do not realize how this is destroying Afghanistan’s population makes it all the worse.

  8. The report also recommended that "International military forces should make more transparent their investigation and reporting on civilian casualties including on accountability; maintain and strengthen directives restricting aerial attacks and the use of night raids; coordinate investigation and reporting of civilian casualties with the Afghan Government to improve protection and accountability; improve compensation processes; and, improve transparency around any harm to civilians caused by Special Forces operations."

  9. Dear Ms Zakaria,

    Agree with your call for prosecution of Taliban war crimes & criminals, where these can be specifically identified & proven.

    At the same time the Taliban in general should be engaged with by the US / NATO INVADERS of Afghanistan in direct & immediate negotiations to form a power – sharing government free of US influence to end the foreign occupation of the land &, consequently, end the war itself.

  10. The report also recommended that “International military forces should make more transparent their investigation and reporting on civilian casualties including on accountability; maintain and strengthen directives restricting aerial attacks and the use of night raids; coordinate investigation and reporting of civilian casualties with the Afghan Government to improve protection and accountability; improve compensation processes; and, improve transparency around any harm to civilians caused by Special Forces operations.”

  11. There should be no power sharing with the Taliban, or any other religious fanatics. That's just insane.

    But also, I think calling the Taliban's actions "war crimes" gives the Taliban too much legitimacy. They're thugs, fanatics, and criminals. No more.

  12. There should be no power sharing with the Taliban, or any other religious fanatics. That’s just insane.

    But also, I think calling the Taliban’s actions “war crimes” gives the Taliban too much legitimacy. They’re thugs, fanatics, and criminals. No more.

  13. Why does Amnesty International take on the Taliban yet run away from the LTTE?

    Is inconsistency becoming a defining feature of AI?

    The Taliban are a truly dreadful group of backward religious nutters cum terrorists. AI want them pursued for 'war crimes'.

    The Talibs deliberately murdered over 3,000 Afghan civilians in 2010. AI want "…international mechanisms of justice get actively involved in the situation," Who'll that be? Heavily armed lawyers from the UN or ICC? I think not.

    AI rightly decry a situation where "…Afghan civilians will continue to believe that they will be abandoned by the world and left to endure another regime of barbarism."

    SL did not abandon its citizens to 'endure a regime of barbarism' under the LTTE. It crushed the terrorists and their capability for creating murder and mayhem amongst the population of the island of Sri Lanka.

    It wasn't "international mechanisms of justice" which destroyed the human rights abusing capabilities of the LTTE. It was the military power of the SL state.

    AI want to make non-state actors (e.g. Talibs) accountable for their terrorism yet shy away from applying the same rigorous standards to Sri Lanka's late and unlamented LTTE.

    With the LTTE's innumerable suicide bombingsdeliberately targeting civilians, and thus constituting a war crime, AI doesn't have look far from its London offices to find LTTE war criminals. A recruiter of child soldiers for the LTTE lives in South London.

    Aunty Adele Balasingham distributing cyanide capsules to Tamil child soldiers: http://tinyurl.com/3457232

    Truly, the 'international human rights community' moves in mysterious ways, completely unfathomable to us mere mortals.

    p.s. number of civilians murdered by the LTTE in 2010? Zero.

    "International mechanisms of justice" were not involved in reaching that happy, low number of civilians murdered by terrorists in Sri Lanka.

  14. Why does Amnesty International take on the Taliban yet run away from the LTTE?

    Is inconsistency becoming a defining feature of AI?

    The Taliban are a truly dreadful group of backward religious nutters cum terrorists. AI want them pursued for 'war crimes'.

    The Talibs deliberately murdered over 3,000 Afghan civilians in 2010. AI want "…international mechanisms of justice get actively involved in the situation," Who'll that be? Heavily armed lawyers from the UN or ICC? I think not.

    AI rightly decry a situation where "…Afghan civilians will continue to believe that they will be abandoned by the world and left to endure another regime of barbarism."

    SL did not abandon its citizens to 'endure a regime of barbarism' under the LTTE. It crushed the terrorists and their capability for creating murder and mayhem amongst the population of the island of Sri Lanka.

    It wasn't "international mechanisms of justice" which destroyed the human rights abusing capabilities of the LTTE. It was the military power of the SL state.

    AI want to make non-state actors (e.g. Talibs) accountable for their terrorism yet shy away from applying the same rigorous standards to Sri Lanka's late and unlamented LTTE.

    With the LTTE's innumerable suicide bombingsdeliberately targeting civilians, and thus constituting a war crime, AI doesn't have look far from its London offices to find LTTE war criminals. A recruiter of child soldiers for the LTTE lives in South London.

    Aunty Adele Balasingham distributing cyanide capsules to Tamil child soldiers: http://tinyurl.com/3457232

    Truly, the 'international human rights community' moves in mysterious ways, completely unfathomable to us mere mortals.

    p.s. number of civilians murdered by the LTTE in 2010? Zero.

    "International mechanisms of justice" were not involved in reaching that happy, low number of civilians murdered by terrorists in Sri Lanka.

  15. Why does Amnesty International take on the Taliban yet run away from the LTTE?

    Is inconsistency becoming a defining feature of AI?

    The Taliban are a truly dreadful group of backward religious nutters cum terrorists. AI want them pursued for 'war crimes'.

    The Talibs deliberately murdered over 3,000 Afghan civilians in 2010. AI want "…international mechanisms of justice get actively involved in the situation," Who'll that be? Heavily armed lawyers from the UN or ICC? I think not.

    AI rightly decry a situation where "…Afghan civilians will continue to believe that they will be abandoned by the world and left to endure another regime of barbarism."

    SL did not abandon its citizens to 'endure a regime of barbarism' under the LTTE. It crushed the terrorists and their capability for creating murder and mayhem amongst the population of the island of Sri Lanka.

    It wasn't "international mechanisms of justice" which destroyed the human rights abusing capabilities of the LTTE. It was the military power of the SL state.

    AI want to make non-state actors (e.g. Talibs) accountable for their terrorism yet shy away from applying the same rigorous standards to Sri Lanka's late and unlamented LTTE.

    With the LTTE's innumerable suicide bombingsdeliberately targeting civilians, and thus constituting a war crime, AI doesn't have look far from its London offices to find LTTE war criminals. A recruiter of child soldiers for the LTTE lives in South London.

    Aunty Adele Balasingham distributing cyanide capsules to Tamil child soldiers: http://tinyurl.com/3457232

    Truly, the 'international human rights community' moves in mysterious ways, completely unfathomable to us mere mortals.

    p.s. number of civilians murdered by the LTTE in 2010? Zero.

    "International mechanisms of justice" were not involved in reaching that happy, low number of civilians murdered by terrorists in Sri Lanka.

  16. Why does Amnesty International take on the Taliban yet run away from the LTTE?

    Is inconsistency becoming a defining feature of AI?

    The Taliban are a truly dreadful group of backward religious nutters cum terrorists. AI want them pursued for ‘war crimes’.

    The Talibs deliberately murdered over 3,000 Afghan civilians in 2010. AI want “…international mechanisms of justice get actively involved in the situation,” Who’ll that be? Heavily armed lawyers from the UN or ICC? I think not.

    AI rightly decry a situation where “…Afghan civilians will continue to believe that they will be abandoned by the world and left to endure another regime of barbarism.”

    SL did not abandon its citizens to ‘endure a regime of barbarism’ under the LTTE. It crushed the terrorists and their capability for creating murder and mayhem amongst the population of the island of Sri Lanka.

    It wasn’t “international mechanisms of justice” which destroyed the human rights abusing capabilities of the LTTE. It was the military power of the SL state.

    AI want to make non-state actors (e.g. Talibs) accountable for their terrorism yet shy away from applying the same rigorous standards to Sri Lanka’s late and unlamented LTTE.

    With the LTTE’s innumerable suicide bombingsdeliberately targeting civilians, and thus constituting a war crime, AI doesn’t have look far from its London offices to find LTTE war criminals. A recruiter of child soldiers for the LTTE lives in South London.

    Aunty Adele Balasingham distributing cyanide capsules to Tamil child soldiers:
    http://tinyurl.com/3457232

    Truly, the ‘international human rights community’ moves in mysterious ways, completely unfathomable to us mere mortals.

    p.s. number of civilians murdered by the LTTE in 2010? Zero.

    “International mechanisms of justice” were not involved in reaching that happy, low number of civilians murdered by terrorists in Sri Lanka.

  17. I am wondering, is there a connection between the US government & Taliban?
    Because the louder the American public cry to "STOP THE WARS", the roothless & active they (Taliban/ insurgents) become. This means even they don't want the US troops & forces out of their country! This kind of reports do not make sence to me.

  18. I am wondering, is there a connection between the US government & Taliban?
    Because the louder the American public cry to “STOP THE WARS”, the roothless & active they (Taliban/ insurgents) become. This means even they don’t want the US troops & forces out of their country! This kind of reports do not make sence to me.

  19. I always wonder on the intellect on all those who want to hide the Mount Everest atrocities of West/UK/US with Taliban .

  20. As for US claims about democracy/Human Rights, not much attention need be paid to that. When it suits them, the Americans can go along readily with coups, as in Algeria, and with unrepresentative regimes, as all over the Middle East. Since when were Egypt, Morocco and Jordan, not to mention the monarchies of the Arabian peninsula, democracies? But the Americans have not the slightest problem there.

  21. A year has passed since we heard the screams of a girl from Swat and saw how she was flogged by the so called Taliban in open view of the public.

    So far witnesses or accused or accomplices are still unknown inspite of thousand's of those working for NGOs like Samar Minallah, Army, Police and Bacha Khan Followers.?

    The Swat video was fake, as after lapse of more than a year we do not the name of a journalist. It does not specify the name or identity of the ‘Swati man’ who claims to have made the video. As the same time, we do not know the name of the NGO that supposedly paid the ‘local actors’ for acting in the ‘fake’ video.

    All these were paid actors, also implies that so called Taliban leaders like Muslim Khan who admitted that the incident had happened were paid too.

  22. I always wonder on the intellect on all those who want to hide the Mount Everest atrocities of West/UK/US with Taliban .

  23. As for US claims about democracy/Human Rights, not much attention need be paid to that. When it suits them, the Americans can go along readily with coups, as in Algeria, and with unrepresentative regimes, as all over the Middle East. Since when were Egypt, Morocco and Jordan, not to mention the monarchies of the Arabian peninsula, democracies? But the Americans have not the slightest problem there.

  24. A year has passed since we heard the screams of a girl from Swat and saw how she was flogged by the so called Taliban in open view of the public.

    So far witnesses or accused or accomplices are still unknown inspite of thousand’s of those working for NGOs like Samar Minallah, Army, Police and Bacha Khan Followers.?

    The Swat video was fake, as after lapse of more than a year we do not the name of a journalist. It does not specify the name or identity of the ‘Swati man’ who claims to have made the video. As the same time, we do not know the name of the NGO that supposedly paid the ‘local actors’ for acting in the ‘fake’ video.

    All these were paid actors, also implies that so called Taliban leaders like Muslim Khan who admitted that the incident had happened were paid too.