Worldwide court backs Afghan war crimes probe

Saturday, 07 Mar, 2020

The US on Wednesday also carried out its first air strike on Taleban fighters in Afghanistan since the two sides signed a troop withdrawal agreement last Saturday.

The deal would allow allied forces to leave the country within 14 months in return for various security commitments from the Taliban and a pledge to hold talks with the Afghan government - which the militant group so far has refused to do.

"The upsurge in violence in parts of Afghanistan over the last couple days is unacceptable", Pompeo told a news conference in Washington.

The ICC, dubbed the "world's first permanent global criminal court" is an independent body that seeks to complement national courts in trying individuals charged with genocide and war crimes. Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar has ever since become the Taliban's deputy political leader and chief negotiator.

United States officials have sought to play down the violence, describing the Taliban as more of a ragtag rebel force than an organized military that can control all of its members.

USA forces and other foreign troops entered Afghanistan in 2001 after the September 11 al Qaeda attacks on the United States and overthrew the Taliban government, which had been protecting al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. "We're working to deliver on ours".

Both the U.S. and Afghanistan have strongly opposed the probe.

"It is a very hard situation and Taliban must honor their commitment". A reduction in violence would show the Taliban can control their forces and demonstrate good faith ahead of any signing, which would see the Pentagon withdraw about half of the 12,000-13,000 troops now in Afghanistan.

In recent months the group has been hit by mounting setbacks after being hunted for years by United States and Afghan forces along with multiple Taliban offensives targeting their fighters.

The United States plans to seek UN Security Council backing for the peace deal, according to AP.

Mr Trump admitted that the security of the US-backed Afghan government was not guaranteed by the USA deal. "And they have the additional incentive that President Ghani said that he will refuse to release the prisoners before the talks start".

The draft would acknowledge the Afghan people's demand for lasting peace and an end to war and recognize "that a sustainable peace can be achieved only through an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace process that leads to an inclusive negotiated political settlement".

The US-Taliban deal also included three other main conditions: a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire, a Taliban pledge that Afghan soil would not be used as a launchpad to threaten US security, and that intra-Afghan negotiations would be launched by March 10. "All the parties understand that it's time for prisoner exchanges to take place". He went on say the Afghan government itself pleaded with the ICC not to take this course.

In a new veiled swipe at the government, Pompeo urged Afghans not to care only on "the narrow interest that you happen to represent".

The Lawfare Project worked to stop this move, but was stymied by the court, Filitti said.