The US and Coalition forces were involved in the killing of Afghan men and inflicting war crimes during the 20 year war with Afghanistan.
According to a report published on The New Yorker, after the US had quickly removed Taliban following its invasion in 2001 and placed Hamid Karzai as the head of government in Afghanistan, the Mujahideen commander Dado became the Intelligence chief of the Helmand Province. The first year of the US rule was reportedly peaceful. As the story of an Afghan girl named Shakira unfolded in the report, the US allies and partnership with the Ninety-third Division and Dado, whom the US had rescued from exile was found to be unusual.
Dado was a wealthy fruit vendor who turned into a Mujahideen commander, and had the reputation of committing violence against civilians and killing while Ninety-third division also had a similar reputation and stories of their men being involved in robbery, killing and raping women and young boys were widespread.
USA allies with militias accused of raping and killing women and young boys
But the US had supposedly revived the Ninety Third Division and befriended it. The Division however, began raiding and attacking the villagers, but mainly focused on collecting bounties from the US government for providing Taliban soldiers. According to a British officer, Mike Martin, these Division men were paid 200 dollars for each Taliban Commander captured.
The Ninety Third Division men in the meantime started to use the opportunity to their advantage. Because there were not many Taliban leaders and commanders around, they began targeting whomever they wanted and labelled them as terrorist. The writer Anand Gopal wrote in his report, “A lieutenant colonel with U.S. Special Forces, Stuart Farris, who was deployed to the area at that time, told a U.S. Army historian, ‘There was virtually no resistance on this rotation.’ So militias like the Ninety-third Division began accusing innocent people.”
In February, 2003, they branded Hajji Bismillah—the Karzai government’s transportation director for Gereshk, responsible for collecting tolls in the city—a terrorist, prompting the Americans to ship him to Guantánamo. With Bismillah out of the way, the Ninety-third Division monopolized the toll revenue. In March 2003, a similar incident happened when the US convoy was attacked, and Dado played the US government into believing an ex-Taliban recruit named Mullah Jalil was the culprit. Though, suspicions exist that US government had Jalil to Guantamo despite having knowledge that Dado’s men were responsible.
Reportedly, the Helmandis continued to be taken away by the US troops or the North Division men. Mohammed Nasim, a farmer was captured and sent to the Guantamo according to classified information. A man named Abdul Wahid died because of injuries suffered during an attack by the Ninety Third Division’s forces. He died in a cage in US custody.
US forces killed many, many civilians in Afghanistan
Muhammad, a fifteen year old, allegedly had died in a drone attack. A man called Muhammad Wali was shot when he had came out to get water. Khan Muhammad, a seven year old was killed in a bomb explosion. Bor Agha, a 12 year old was fired from an Afghan national Base before being warned not to get too close to the base.
The author mentions one incident when an uncle of Shakira’s husband was killed. He wrote, “After the fighting ended, he (uncle) visited a mosque to offer prayers. A few Taliban were there, too. A coalition air strike killed almost everyone inside. The next day, mourners gathered for funerals; a second strike killed a dozen more people. Among the bodies returned to Pan Killay were those of Abdul Salam, his cousin, and his three nephews, aged six to fifteen.”
Stories of such atrocities abound. In 2019, while the US government engaged in talks with the Taliban, the US troops worked with the Afghan government and launched the most horrific attack on Sangin Valley, killing villagers and children. People were bombed at funerals in the the days that followed including a child who was killed in one of these attacks at an Islamic school.
Ahmed Noor Mohammad, a villager, who had lost his family in the US bombing of the Sangin Valley, reported the massacres to the United Nations and to the Afghan Government. He joined the Taliban later when he found no response.
British officers stationed in Afghanistan were concerned that the US forces were killing too many Civilians and tried to have the American Special Forces removed from the scene. While the coalition forces wanted to show that the locals there wanted liberation from Taliban, a classified intelligence report revealed that the locals warned of vacating their areas if the coalition forces are not withdrawn.
Such atrocities provide a glimpse into the manner in which the USA botched its war in Afghanistan. Due to the multitude of atrocities the US and their allies committed, Taliban gained sympathy among significant sections of the population. Even two days prior to completing the process of withdrawal from the country, a US drone strike wiped out 10 members of a single family, at least 6 of whom were children.
The US claimed that it was a ‘defensive airstrike’ against terrorists associated with the Islamic State of Khorasan Province but their main target turned out to be an aid worker, an ally of the United States.