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US chided for new policy on Taliban leaders

US chided for new policy on Taliban leaders

Dec 25, 2014 - 20:06

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The Transitional Justice Coordination Group (TJCG), a leading civil societyinfo-icon coalition, on Thursday voiced its grave concern at the release of some Talibaninfo-icon detainees from the US-run Guantanamo Bay prison.

The coalition also expressed its concerns over the increasing civilian casualties and the delay in cabinet formation. The group urged the government to prosecute former Gitmo detainees, who had committed crimes and set free the innocent.

It called on the international community and human rights groups to mount pressure on the US to review its new stance on Taliban leadership.

On Monday, the Pentagon announced US forces in Afghanistaninfo-icon would not target Taliban’s supreme leader Mullahinfo-icon Omar and others unless they posed a direct threat to America.

TJCG member Mohammad Yunus Akhtar told Pajhwok Afghan News if the Taliban were not the enemy to the US why the Americans had come to Afghanistan 13 years back.

“America’s new policy not to target Taliban leadership has raised concerns among civil society groups in Afghanistan,” he said. TJCG said it was also worried about the release of Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo because experience showed attacks increased after such releases.

The coalition insisted the innocent prisoners should be set free, but guilty ones should be prosecuted.

Pentagon recently handed over four Guantanamo detainees --- Shah Wali Khan, Ali Gul, Abdul Ghani and Mohammad Zahir -- to the Afghan government.

Currently 132 more terror suspects, including eight Afghans, are held in the detention facility in Cuba.

Another TJCG member, Ahmad Shah Stanikzai, criticised the delay in formation of the cabinet and called it a reason behind the deteriorating security situation. “The cabinet should be formed without further delay so that people’s concerns are diminished.”

After being sworn in on Sept 29, President Ashraf Ghani promised he would introduce his council of ministers in 45 days, a deadline that already passed.

Presidential spokesperson Nazifullah Salarzai had said the cabinet picks would be introduced next week.

Worried by the unprecedented rise in civilian casualties this year, the TJCG asked the US to consider allegations of civilian deaths against its troops. The UN last weekend released a report showing a 20 percent increase in civilian casualties in Afghanistan in 2014.

The report put death toll at 3,188, with another 6,429 civilians sustaining injuries since the start of the year.

The civil society coalition issued a resolution urging the government not to hire people accused of human rights abuses and war crimes in its agencies.



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