Human Rights Watch (HRW) says that U.S.-trained Afghan forces are committing war atrocities.
The group in a 53-page report released Thursday alleges that the forces have killed civilians in night raids; that people imprisoned by the group have disappeared; and that they have attacked health care facilities that treated rebels. The report details 14 cases between 2017 and 2019, and includes interviews from 39 residents and witnesses.
The advocacy organization is calling on the U.S. to investigate its involvement in the alleged war crimes and stop backing forces that have allegedly committed the acts.
It criticizes the U.S. government for putting a higher priority on fighting the Taliban than on policing or taking responsibility for acts carried out by Afghan special forces. It also suggests that the special forces be disbanded or brought under Afghanistan’s Defense Ministry.
“In ramping up operations against the Taliban, the CIA has enabled abusive Afghan forces to commit atrocities including extrajudicial executions and disappearances,” said Patricia Grossman, an associate Asia director for Human Rights Watch who wrote the report.
The advocacy organization shared their report with the Afghanistan and U.S. governments.
Kaber Aqmal, a spokesman for the Afghani national security adviser, declined to respond to the report.
He said “the Afghan government is doing its best to safeguard lives of the Afghan civilians, we are looking for all those possible ways to avoid civilian casualties” and attributed the rise in deaths to Taliban insurgents, according to The Associated Press.
The Associated Press also included a quotation attributed to the U.S. military in response to the report.
“The battlefield is complex — the fighting is in crowded cities and in populated villages,” the military statement said. “Our challenges are immense because we face enemies who do not wear uniforms, who hide among women and children, and who use lies about the death of civilians to try and check our effectiveness.”
U.S.-Taliban negotiations were called off by President Trump after the group claimed responsibility for a bombing that killed a U.S. soldier and a dozen others in Afghanistan last month. Reports have said the officials from both countries are considering starting talks up again.