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The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has requested permission to resume an investigation into war crimes in Afghanistan that will not focus on alleged crimes by the United States, but those committed by the Taliban and others groups.

In a statement issued on Monday, ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan said he had filed a request to resume his office’s investigation into alleged atrocities committed in Afghanistan since July 1, 2002.

Khan, who has been in his nine-year tenure for six months, said investigations would focus on the actions of the Taliban and the Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K) militia. He added that other aspects of the investigation would be “deprioritized” due to a lack of resources and would focus on “The extent and nature of the crimes within the jurisdiction of the court”.

The prosecutor said his decision to request a resumption was a reflection on the current situation in Afghanistan. “There is no longer any prospect of genuine and effective national investigations into article 5 crimes in Afghanistan. It is this observation that made this request necessary ”, he stated.



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The ICC investigation, which was fully opened last year, was later postponed as the Afghan government said it would investigate the crimes itself. The Hague-based tribunal has been examining atrocities in the region for the past 15 years, including possible offenses committed by US and NATO troops.

In his statement, Khan specifically noted the “the deplorable attacks of August 26, 2021, near Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, claimed by the Islamic State in Khorasan province”, and added a determination to prioritize crimes “by IS-K, as well as the Taliban.”

Human Rights Watch associate director for Asia, Patricia Gossman, told The Associated Press that the prosecutor’s statement was “really disturbing” insofar as the investigation “Will only prioritize some of the parties to the conflict – and in particular will apparently completely ignore the very serious allegations against US forces and the CIA.” “

Horia Mosadiq, an Afghan human rights activist, also condemned the ICC prosecutor’s announcement, saying it was a “an insult to thousands of other victims of crimes committed by Afghan government forces and US and NATO forces.”

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