Obama Admin: No Grounds To Probe Afghan War Crimes
2009-07-11 0:00

By Lara Jakes | HuffingtonPost.com

Obama administration officials said Friday they had no grounds to investigate the 2001 deaths of Taliban prisoners of war who human rights groups allege were killed by U.S.-backed forces.

The mass deaths were brought up anew Friday in a report by The New York Times on its Web site. It quoted government and human rights officials accusing the Bush administration of failing to investigate the executions of hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of prisoners.

U.S. officials said Friday they did not have legal grounds to investigate the deaths because only foreigners were involved and the alleged killings occurred in a foreign country.

The Times cited U.S. military and CIA ties to Afghan Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, whom human rights groups accuse of ordering the killings. The newspaper said the Defense Department and FBI never fully investigated the incident.

Asked about the report, Marine Corps Col. David Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman, said that since U.S. military forces were not involved in the killings, there is nothing the Defense Department could investigate.

"There is no indication that U.S. military forces were there, or involved, or had any knowledge of this," Lapan said. "So there was not a full investigation conducted because there was no evidence that there was anything from a DoD (Department of Defense) perspective to investigate."

A Justice Department official said the FBI had no jurisdiction to investigate. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Separately, Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller declined to comment.

A spokesman for former President George W. Bush did not have an immediate comment Friday night.

Reacting to the Times' report, human rights group Physicians for Human Rights called for the Justice Department to begin a criminal investigation into whether the Bush administration blocked inquiries into the Taliban deaths.

"For U.S. government officials to claim that there is no legal basis to investigate this well-documented mass atrocity is absurd," said the groups deputy director, Susannah Sirkin.

The allegations date back to November 2001, when as many as 2,000 Taliban prisoners died in transit after surrendering during one of the regime's last stands, according to a State Department report from 2002.

Witnesses have claimed that forces with the U.S.-allied Northern Alliance placed the prisoners in sealed cargo containers over the two-day voyage to Sheberghan Prison, suffocating them and then burying them en masse using bulldozers to move the bodies, according to the State Department report. Some Northern Alliance soldiers have said that some of their troops opened fire on the containers, killing those within.

Dostum, the Northern Alliance general who is accused of overseeing the atrocities, has previously denied the allegations.

A former U.S. ambassador for war crimes issues, Pierre Prosper, told the Times that the Bush administration was reluctant to investigate the deaths, even though Dostum was on the payroll of the CIA and his soldiers worked with U.S. special forces in 2001.

Dostum was suspended from his military post last year on suspicion of threatening a political rival, but Afghan President Hamid Karzai recently rehired him, the Times reported.



Article from: HuffingtonPost.com



Related Articles
New Revelations Compel Obama and Congress to Prosecute Bush and Aides for War Crimes
McClellan’s Missile: Media Crimes As War Crimes
U.S. reverses Afghan drug policy
Pentagon admits "problems" with Afghan air strike
More Than 17,000 Troops Headed to Afghanistan
US and NATO protecting Afghan drug trade
GLARE Non-Lethal Green Laser in Afghanistan (Video)
Germany-Afghan istan-ISAF/WRD ISAF used Afghan children to detect land-mines: ex-German soldier
Airstrikes kill scores of Afghan civilians: officials


Latest News from our Front Page

Boris Nemtsov, Putin Foe, Is Shot Dead in Shadow of Kremlin - A Staged Shooting?
2015-02-28 22:37
NY Times: Boris Nemtsov, Putin Foe, Is Shot Dead in Shadow of Kremlin Mr. Nemtsov, a former first deputy prime minister of Russia, was killed in central Moscow in the highest-profile assassination in Russia during the tenure of President Vladimir V. Putin. A Staged Shooting? ... Why does the dead body of fitness enthusiast Boris Nemtsov have a pot belly? The Anti-New York Times doesn't ...
Holocaust, Hate Speech and Were the Germans so Stupid?
2015-02-28 20:31
Description form YouTube: This is an updated version of the video which was taken down by YouTube following a spurious copyright-infringement claim. It addresses issues regarding claims that Zyklon B in liquid form gives off fumes at temperatures below 0º C. As the world approaches the brink of a new Middle East crisis this time involving Syria, clearly at the behind-the-scenes ...
The Jewish Roots of Leonard Nimoy and What the ‘Live Long and Prosper’ Hand Symbol Really Means
2015-02-28 0:20
Leonard Nimoy first saw what became the famous Vulcan salute, “live long and prosper,” as a child, long before “Star Trek” even existed. The placement of the hands comes from a childhood memory, of an Orthodox Jewish synagogue service in Boston. The man who would play Spock saw the gesture as part of a blessing, and it never left him. “Something ...
Baby born still INSIDE his amniotic sac is hailed a ‘medical miracle’ by doctors [Video]
2015-02-27 22:46
What an incredible miracle… Not only was the little boy three months early – he was born inside his amniotic sac. I’ve never heard of this happening before. If you look at the picture, you can see him clearly with his little arms and legs curled up. He was still being given oxygen by his mom until the sac was ...
California Infant Dies after 8 Vaccines, Family Gets Him Back from Hospital Cremated
2015-02-27 21:55
Parents in California are distraught after losing their infant son after being vaccinated. He died in his sleep and was taken to the hospital already deceased. Hospital staff ruled his death as sudden infant death syndrome. The couple was told an autopsy was required to be performed on their son. After returning home, waiting to get an update, they never received ...
More News »