KABUL: Foreign intelligence agencies are launching deadly raids in Afghanistan and shirking responsibility when innocent civilians die, a U.N. rights official said. Philip Alston, a special rapporteur of the U.N. Human Rights Council on extra judicial, summary and arbitrary executions, referred to three such recent raids in the country’s south and east. He appeared to imply American involvement. Alston said the raids were part of a wider problem of unlawful killings of civilians and lack of accountability in Afghanistan. He said about 500 civilians had died so far this year, mostly at the hands of the Taliban but also the police.
Alston did not give the nationality of intelligence operatives involved in the mainly nighttime raids on militant suspects, but he mentioned one raid in January that killed two Afghan brothers. He said it was conducted by Afghans and personnel from a U.S. special forces base in Kandahar.
He said Afghan government officials have said the victims had no connection to Taliban insurgents.”It is absolutely unacceptable for heavily armed internationals accompanied by heavily armed Afghan forces to be wandering around conducting dangerous raids that too often result in killings without anyone taking responsibility for them,” Alston told reporters after 12 days traveling Afghanistan.
He said foreign intelligence agencies were operating with apparent “impunity” in certain provinces where insurgents are active. He said such secret operations were “absolutely unacceptable.” Alston did not disclose his sources of information, but said he had met with senior government ministers, the chief justice, the Afghan intelligence chief, international military commanders across the country, members of civil society and tribal elders. “Based on my discussions, there is no reason to doubt that at least some of these units are led by personnel belonging to international intelligence services,” he said.
“I am trying to encourage both the Americans and the Afghan government and others to take some of this seriously,” Alston said. Alston said there had also been raids in the eastern province of Nangarhar _ another hotbed of the Taliban insurgency and al-Qaida militants, where U.S. special forces and other American-led units operate. Alston said such units are “composed of Afghans but with a handful at most, of international people directing it.” He said international military forces of all ranks that he spoke to either claimed to be unaware of the raids, said they would look into it or said they could do nothing about it.-SANA