HRW: Afghan government is unable to investigate civilian casualties
Patricia Grossman senior researcher of Human Rights Watch has claimed that Afghan and US officials are unable to investigate massive civilian casualties in the country. Madam Grossman has wrote in a letter: official measures by the Afghan government to track and investigate civilian casualties are significantly lacking, and U.S.-provided training for the specialized Afghan ground troops who call-in airstrikes and play a vital role in ensuring their accuracy, known as Afghan Tactical Air Coordinators (ATACs), lags far behind what is needed as aerial operations increase.
According to the letter: The laws of war permit attacks only against military objectives, which includes enemy fighters and commanders. Civilians are immune from attack, except those directly participating in hostilities. For a specific attack on a military objective to be lawful, it must discriminate between combatants and civilians, and the expected loss of civilian life and property must be proportionate to the anticipated military gain from the attack. Attacks that target civilians, that are indiscriminate, or that cause disproportionate civilian loss are unlawful.
The senior researcher of HRW adds: The US military plays a crucial role in all aspects of Afghan air operations. It provides all training to the Afghan air force, and has recently provided it with new attack aircraft and helicopters. Parties to a conflict have an obligation to investigate allegedly unlawful attacks in which they take part. Both the Afghan government and the US government have stated that they take civilian casualties seriously, yet they have rarely provided information on investigations into incidents in which civilians were killed or harmed.
Dasht-e Archi has been a Taliban stronghold since at least 2015, and most of the district is under effective Taliban control. In recent attack of Afghan air force on Gujar Akhondzadah Madrassa, according to reports at least 50 civilians were killed. Afghan defense ministry has claimed that in this attack they were able to kill at least Taliban 15 top commanders.