US concerned by reports of summary killings in Afghanistan

The U.S. and other world powers are “deeply concerned by reports of summary killings” in Afghanistan by the Afghan government or allied forces, the U.S. State Department said on Thursday, describing this as “very…

US concerned by reports of summary killings in Afghanistan

The U.S. and other world powers are “deeply concerned by reports of summary killings” in Afghanistan by the Afghan government or allied forces, the U.S. State Department said on Thursday, describing this as “very concerning.”

The comments came in a statement in response to a Reuters report this week on several videos allegedly showing the killing of suspected Islamic State militants in a sharia court in Helmand province.

Helmand province is part of a geographical belt in southern Afghanistan that both the Taliban and IS have sought to infiltrate.

The U.S. military last month said it killed 200 Islamic State fighters in separate operations last month in Helmand and neighboring Kandahar province.

Earlier this week, the United Nations human rights office said it was reviewing accounts of government soldiers and policemen executing suspected Islamic State fighters.

“The world is … deeply concerned by reports of summary killings in eastern and western Afghanistan allegedly committed by Afghan National Defense and Security Forces and by the pro-government militias,” the U.S. State Department said in a statement.

“Such abuses will only further undermine the trust and legitimacy of the government and the Afghan military.”

The White House, State Department and Pentagon all declined to comment on the reports.

The Afghan government denies any such killings and has accused the Taliban and other foreign-backed groups of carrying out the executions. The Taliban denies the allegations as well.

When asked about reports in an earlier briefing with reporters, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said such deaths were “not reflective of the way” the United States, the Afghan government or the coalition forces worked with Afghan military and security forces.

“We have a very strong partnership in Afghanistan and we will continue to work closely with the government of Afghanistan and the (Afghan National Defense and Security Forces),” Nauert said.

In another statement, the State Department said: “In addition to targeting suspected terrorists and their supporters, (Afghanistan’s) security forces are required to act against threats to Afghan civilians, including members of religious minorities. Human rights violations committed against members of religious minorities in Afghanistan … must be stopped.”

In the comments in the statement, the U.S. State Department said recent reports of the abuse “demand that Afghan authorities live up to their responsibility to protect all citizens, and to ensure that Afghan forces do not engage in such abuse.”

The incidents are the latest in which the Taliban have said they have found corpses of people they have killed, and some have said that some victims might have been among them.

In its statement on the allegations, the U.N. rights office said it “is deeply concerned by credible reports that Afghan government forces, together with pro-government militia forces, have summarily executed alleged members of the Taliban and affiliated insurgent groups”.

In Kandahar province, where nearly one-third of Afghanistan’s opium-producing area is located, nine were found dead with gunshot wounds, the U.N. said.

The U.N. human rights office in Afghanistan could not be reached for comment on the latest developments in Helmand province.

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This article was written by Yeganeh Torbati from The Washington Post and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected]

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