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War criminals are always the others

The village Darwan, is located in the südafghanischen province of Uruzgan. Remote, poor and haunted by war and destruction. In September 2012, Darwan was ambushed by the Australian Special Forces SAS and their Afghan allies. Helicopters appeared in the sky, soldiers jumped off and left a bloody mess in the village. In total, three men were killed. As usual, it was said that they were on Terrorist Hunt and were looking for members of the Taliban. A man from the village is said to have killed three Australian soldiers. However, all three victims were civilians, as a detailed search by Australian broadcaster ABC made clear last year. After the three men were brutally killed, the soldiers kidnapped more people. In the following days, they were interrogated and tortured in a NATO military base in the provincial capital Tarinkot.

Since war crimes have been reported, the Australian authorities seem to take the case seriously. This was partly due to extremely problematic features. Last June, the ABC’s offices were searched by the police. Many media related to Afghanistan research were seized. The massacre in Darwan was not the only crime associated with Australian elite soldiers and uncovered by ABC. In 2017, the station published Leaks from the Ministry of Defence, showing that soldiers have killed civilians, including children, in other parts of Afghanistan during their deployment. The Australian public accepted the police raid as a scandal and as an attack on the freedom of the press.

Recently reported the channel that the Australian Federal Police for the first time sent investigators to Afghanistan to investigate allegations of war crimes. ABC also stresses in this context that the authorities attach importance to the research of the transmitter. Otherwise, despite the raid a few months ago, it would probably not have come to such a step. On the ground, the Australians will be supported by Afghan investigators in order to conduct Interviews with villagers, victims and their families. It is not known which cases are being investigated. Of course, one can also be sceptical about such an investigation from the beginning. Who knows, whether the Australian police authority ultimately does not Research in favor of the perpetrators and rejects the results of the journalists? After all, the village was then attacked by Australians and Afghans – in other words, soldiers of the Kabul government. No one can guarantee that actors who clearly position themselves in the Afghanistan war and continue to promote a “war against terrorism” while spreading Terror themselves will not want to wash up themselves.

Nevertheless, it should be said here that a step in this direction must be welcomed for the time being and may serve as a model for other states whose soldiers have committed war crimes in Afghanistan. Media could potentially play a leading role, as ABC has shown. Other international Mainstream media would also have the means and investigative Teams to investigate such crimes. In this context, however, it should not be forgotten the destructive shooting aid, with which many large media have been supporting the “war against Terror” for years and making it possible indirectly.

The invasion of Darwan is not an isolated case

There is something to say about the war crimes of Western troops in Afghanistan. What happened in Darwan is anything but an isolated case – and it was discovered only after six years. Anyone who knows rural Afghanistan knows how many such massacres have taken place, mostly on a much larger scale. Again and again, NATO soldiers stormed villages and attacked people. They have tortured, raped and killed eyewitnesses according to numerous reports – and in the end they would have bombed to cover their tracks. The list of crimes is long, perhaps too long. Only a fraction of these crimes have been uncovered so far.

The reason for this is the fact that the perpetrators benefit from the “nature” of the Afghanistan war. They know that many crime scenes are hardly or only too late to be visited by journalists or human rights activists. In addition, in doubt, they can always blame their Afghan allies: “we have only done what they wanted us to do.“Or:” we have only relied on their information,” it says again and again.

All this, of course, is a Problem for those actors who document the war. Since 2009, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has published reports on civilian victims in the country. It also finds very critical words for US troops and Afghan allies in the country. Only a few months ago, UNAMA made it clear that in the first six months of 2019 most civilian casualties were taken into account by” government-friendly " troops. Airstrikes and night raids were rated as particularly problematic and would mostly kill civilians. Human rights organisations such as Human Rights Watch also continue to stress this fact. Recently, a comprehensive report on the crimes of CIA militias in the country was published.

What is the extent of the “war against Terror” in the country has currently achieved, make new figures clear. According to the Pentagon, at least 1,113 airstrikes took place in the country last September alone. This meant that around 40 attacks were carried out every day.

What this in turn means is that every day villages like the remote Darwan are bombarded, and in December there were perhaps 40 villages a day. Most of the victims are civilians,and everyone should know that by now. Anyone who continues to wonder why insurgent groups such as the Taliban are becoming stronger is a fool. “The whole village has now fallen into the hands of the Taliban and we and the Americans are to blame,” a government official recently said in conversation with me. He referred to a night raid in which seven civilians were killed by Afghan and US soldiers.