STUDY OF THE PROTECTION AVAILABLE TO THE CIVILIANS IN THE INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW AND THE CIVILIAN LOSSES IN THE AFGHAN CONFLICT AMANULLAH SHAH Law College, Gomal University, Dera Ismail Khan, (NWFP) Pakistan ABSTRACT The Geneva Convention IV of 1949 extensively dwells upon protection of civilians during war. The Protocol (I) Additional to the Geneva Conventions, adopted in 1977 also contains provisions for the protection of civilians from the cruelty of war. Afghanistan was attacked by US led coalition forces on 7th October 2001 in the name of “the Operation Enduring Freedom” commonly known as ‘War against Terrorism’. This paper studies the various provisions of International Humanitarian Law, particularly Geneva Convention IV and Protocol I, which are more concerned with protection of civilian population, prohibit attacking civilian objectives, and insist upon the conflicting-parties to take all pre-cautionary measures to avoid civilian casualties and losses. It will study and analyze the civilian losses and casualties occurred in Afghanistan in the ‘War against Terrorism’; whether the civilian losses were necessary and proportionate to achieving military objectives, whether it were unavoidable and all precautionary measures were taken by the US-led coalition forces; or the Afghan civilians suffered due to carefree, senseless and indiscriminate attacks on the part of the coalition forces. Whether the International Humanitarian Law protecting civilian population was taken into account or not? ______________________________________________________________________________ INTRODUCTION Ever since the institution of war, it has been understood that war is between the armed forces of belligerent states. Civilians who do not participate in hostilities should be protected against acts of war. This has been recognized from ancient days. Every modern code reiterates protection of civilians from the rigours of war. In 1938 League of Nations resolved to spare and protect civilians from aerial bombardment (Hingorani, 1995). Protection for the civilian people at the time of war was felt very insistently by the organizations struggling for the protection and enforcement of human rights particularly International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) as a large number of civilian people were perished in the world war II by indiscriminate firing and heavy bombardment of the civilian population by the fighting forces. To avoid civilian causalities, in future wars/conflicts, a convention was adopted in Geneva in 1949, “Convention (IV) _ relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, Geneva, 12 August, 1949”. The Geneva Convention IV of 1949 extensively dwells upon protection of civilians during war. The 19th conference of Red Cross in 1957 adopted the draft rules for protection of civilians during war (Hingorani, 1995). Resolution 2444 of the UN General Assembly in 1969 prohibits indiscriminate warfare which may endanger protection of civilian population during war (Hingorani, 1995). The Protocol (I) Additional to the Geneva Conventions, adopted in 1977 also contains provisions for the protection of civilians from the cruelty of war. The four Geneva Conventions have received universal recognition and ratification. All partners of the coalition against terrorism including the US are parties to these conventions. The US has not ratified the Protocol but almost all rules of the Protocol I are based on the international customary laws of the war (HRW Report 2002). This paper will study the various provisions of International Humanitarian Law, particularly Geneva Convention IV and Protocol I, which are more concerned with protection of civilian population, prohibit attacking civilian objectives, and insist upon the conflictingparties to take all pre-cautionary measures to avoid civilian casualties and losses. It will study and analyze the civilian losses and casualties occurred in Afghanistan in “the Operation Enduring Freedom” commonly known as ‘War A. Shah, Gomal university Journal of Research, 22: 80-89 (2006) 81 against Terrorism’; whether the civilian losses were necessary and proportionate to achieving military objectives, whether it were unavoidable and all precautionary measures were taken by the US-led coalition forces; or the Afghan civilians suffered due to care-free, senseless and indiscriminate attacks on the part of the coalition forces. Whether the International Humanitarian Law protecting civilian population was taken into account or not? This study is limited to the civilian losses occurred during the period from 7th October to 31st December 2001. This research is basically of descriptive nature. It has been designed to analyze the violation of International Humanitarian Law by the Coalition Forces in the operation of Afghanistan. For this purpose relevant books and relevant humanitarian law have been studied. The data are secondary as collected from national/international journals, online materials and various daily newspapers. For the collection of data, extensive and intensive study has been made of daily English newspapers, particularly, Dawn and The News from September 11, 2001 to May 2002. Definition of Civilian: Article 50 of Protocol I of 1977 defines civilians and civilian population in the following words: 1. “A civilian is any person who does not belong to one of the categories of persons referred to in article 4 (A) 1, 2, 3, and 4 of the third convention and article 43 of this Protocol. In case of doubt whether a person is a civilian, that person shall be considered to be a civilian. 2. The civilian population comprises all persons who are civilians. 3. The presence within the civilian population of individuals who do not come within the definition of civilians does not deprive the population of its civilian character”. Article 4 of the third Geneva Convention referred above in the definition, describes the categories of prisoners of war. Article 43 of this protocol referred above specifies armed forces of the conflicting parties. It means, in short, that a civilian is any person who is neither prisoner of war under article 4 of third convention nor a member of armed forces mentioned in the article 43 of Protocol I. So much importance has been given to the status of civilian by article 50 of the Protocol that according to the article in case of doubt whether a particular person is a civilian or not he shall be considered as civilian. Article 48 of the Protocol I defines civilians while article 52 of the same Protocol specifies civilian objects and differentiates it from military objectives. The article says, “Civilian objects are all objects which are not military objectives”. Military objectives are limited by this article to ‘those object which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization ……offer a definite military advantage”. It further clarifies that “in case of doubt whether an object, which is normally dedicated to civilian purposes, such as a place of worship, a house, or other dwelling or school, is being used to make an effective contribution to military action, it shall be presumed not to be so used”. Provisions of Geneva Convention IV: The provisions of Geneva Convention IV of 1949, which provide protection to the civilian population and civilian targets, are given below: Article 13: according to article 13 of the Geneva Convention IV of 1949, the whole of the population of the countries in conflict is protected against certain consequences of war, without any distinction particularly based on race, nationality, religion or political opinion. This article provides equal protection to all persons of the conflicting-nations irrespective of their race, nationality, faith or political ideology. Article 18: this article protects at all times and in all circumstances whatsoever, all civilian hospitals organized to give care to the wounded and sick, the infirm and maternity cases. Such civilian hospitals be marked by means of an emblem and cannot be object of attack. While according to article 19, the protection to which civilian hospital are entitled under article 18 above “shall not cease unless they are used to commit, outside their humanitarian duties, acts harmful to the enemy”. It is further clarified that mere treatment or nursing of “sick or wounded members of the armed forces” in these hospitals 82 A. Shah, Gomal university Journal of Research, 22: 80-89 (2006) “shall not be considered to be acts harmful to the enemy”. If any act harmful to the enemy is committed, the protection given under article 18 and 19 “may cease only after due warning has been given…. a reasonable time limit and after such warning has remained unheeded”. Article 20 of Geneva convention IV of 1949 gives protection to persons regularly and solely engaged in the operation and administration of civilian hospitals, including the personnel engaged in the search of, removal and transporting of, and earning for wounded and sick civilian, the infirm and maternity cases. Where as Article 21 gives protection to conveys of vehicles or hospital trains on land or vessels on sea conveying wounded and sick civilians, the infirm and maternity cases. According to article 27, all persons protected by the Geneva Convention IV “are entitled, in all circumstances, to respect for their persons their honour, their family rights, their religious convictions and practices, and their manners and customs. They shall at all times be humanely treated and shall be protected especially against all acts of violence or threats thereof and against insult and public curiosity”. This article provides especial protection to women “against any attack on their honour in particular against rape, enforced prostitution, or any form of indecent assault”. According to article 33, a protected person may not be punished for an offence, which he or she has not personally committed. This article prohibits collective penalties, all measures of intimidation and reprisals against protected persons and their property. Article 29 of the Convention IV presents the concept of collective responsibility. “The party to the conflict in whose hands protected persons may be, is responsible for the treatment accorded to them by its agents irrespective of any individual responsibility which may be incurred”. Protection of Civilians under Protocol I Protocol (I) Additional to the Geneva Conventions contains some provisions relating to the protection of civilians and civilian objects on land, at sea or in the air against the effects of hostilities, in addition to the rules concerning humanitarian protection contained in the fourth convention as well as other rules of international law. The provisions of Protocol I regarding protection of civilian population are enumerated below. Article 48 of the Protocol I emphasizes upon the belligerent parties to “distinguish between the civilian population and combatants and between civilian objects and military objects and according shall direct their operations only against military objectives”. Article 51 declares that “civilian population as such, as well as individual civilians, shall not be the object of attack”. This protection shall be enjoyed by the civilians, “unless and for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities”. The same article also prohibits “attacks against the civilian population or civilians by way of reprisals” or “indiscriminate attacks”. Where as article 52 of the Protocol prohibits attacking civilian objects in very clear words saying, “Civilian objects shall not be the object of attack or of reprisals.” Article 53 of the Protocol I prohibits attacks against cultural property and places of worship. It also prohibits the use of such objects in support of the military effort. Article 54: this article prohibits attack against, destruction or removal of “objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as food stuffs, agricultural areas for the production of food stuffs, crops, livestock, livestock, drinking water installations”. Article 55 provides protection to the natural environment. It says that care shall be taken in warfare to protect the natural environment against widespread, long term and severe damage. Attacks against the natural environment by way of reprisals are also prohibited. International humanitarian law protects civilians, civilian population and civilian objects not only against the direct attacks of the adversary, but it also insists upon the conflicting-parties to take precautionary measures to avoid civilian losses. It also provides some guidelines to the parties in the conflict in this regard. Article 57 of the A. Shah, Gomal university Journal of Research, 22: 80-89 (2006) 83 Protocol I is about precautions in attacks. It says “in the conduct of military operations, constant care shall be taken to spare the civilian population, civilians and civilian objects”. With respect to attacks, it says “those who plan or decide upon an attack shall; • do everything feasible to verify that the objectives to be attacked are neither civilians nor civilian objects and are not subject to special protection but are military objectives; • take all feasible precaution in choice of means and methods of attack with a view to avoiding and in any event minimizing, incidental loss or civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects; • refrain from deciding to launch any attack which may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects”. It further states “an attack shall be cancelled or suspended if it becomes apparent that the objective is not a military one or is subject to special protection or that the attack may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects”. Analyses of the Afghanistan Situation After going through the relevant provisions of the Geneva Convention IV and Protocol I which dwell upon the protection of the civilians, civilian population and civilian objects, the ‘war against terrorism’ in Afghanistan is analyzed and studied in the light of these provisions; whether the provisions protecting civilians were respected and followed by the coalition forces or not; whether precautionary measures as required by international law to avoid civilian losses, were taken or not; whether the civilian losses and casualties happened due to unavoidable circumstances or due to senseless indiscriminate attacks and excessive use of weapons. The coalition forces started operation against Afghanistan on 7th Oct. 2001 with aerial massive bombardments and cruise missiles. From the start of the campaign US attack had targeted power plant, telecommunications’ facilities and broadcasting infrastructure, as Afghanistan had no many military objectives and cites. Afghanistan is a poor and backward country and all important buildings, cites and installations have been completely or partially damaged either in the war against the Soviet occupation in 1979 or in the civil war since the Soviet withdrawal in 1989. Yet this war-ravaged country was considered strong enough to be heavily bombed for several months by the super power of the world. Three days after strikes began the US Defense Secretary, Rumsfeld announced that the US had achieved “air superiority” over Afghanistan over air force, which could not even leave the ground. The question is what were the “allies” bombing after achieving air superiority? The UN mine-clearing staff, the shepherds and their families in the village, the Red Cross food storages in Kabul, the residents of Kandahar, the schools, the mosques, the hospitals, the trucks full of terrified refugees. Not a single day passed without civilian casualty or injury. The US bombing of Afghanistan has left unknown number of civilians dead or injured. The list of incidents where non-military targets were hit by US bombs/missiles is very lengthy but only some of them are here described. On the third day of the operation, i.e. 9th October 2001, office of an UN-backed de-mining agency in Kabul was bombed, killing four security guards (The News Oct: 11, 2001). US expressed regret only after UN protest. Kadam, a village of few hundred inhabitants near Jalalabad (Eastern Afghanistan) was totally devastated by US bombers on Oct. 11, 2001 (The News Oct: 12, 2001). Nearly all the villagers were dead, the wounded, mostly children and infants were taken to hospitals in Jalalabad, according to the report of Al-Jazeera TV correspondent in Kabul. At least 160 civilians were deed (The News Oct: 14, 2001). An AFP reporter who visited the remote village saw dozens of collapsed houses, one unexploded bomb and large number of fresh graves (The News Oct: 25, 2001). On Oct 13, US bomb missed a target at Kabul airport and struck a nearby village, killing at 84 A. Shah, Gomal university Journal of Research, 22: 80-89 (2006) least four people (The News Oct: 14, 2001). The Pentagon confirmed that the bomb had gone off course due to technical error. Red Cross warehouses: US bombs hit warehouses of ICRC in Kabul, on October 16, destroying supplies and injuring at least one worker. The compound had an emblem of large Red Cross on the roof. After protest from the Red Cross the US admitted dropping a 1,000 pounds bomb close to the warehouse, saying Taliban vehicles were in the area. A warehouse of the World Food Program in Kabul was also damaged in raids (The News Oct: 17, 2001). On October 18, six houses were destroyed by the US bombs in the Kalae Zaman Khan area of Kabul. Five members of the same family were among the casualty, witnesses and relatives told AFP at the scene (The News Oct: 19, 2001). Other residential areas were also struck on the same day. On Oct 21, a US bomb landed on the neighbour hood of Parod Gajaded in the Khair Khana district of North Eastern Kabul, killing ten people, nine of them from the same extended family; witnesses told an AFP reporter who visited the scene shortly after the bombing. On the same date in another incident, convey of refugees was attacked. At least 20 civilian including nine children, were killed when the tractor and trailer were bombed on which they where fleeing US attacks on the southern town of Tirinkot (The News Oct: 22, 2001). Similar incidents were also happened near Kandahar and Jalalabad both on October 17. Hospital bombing: At least 100 civilians mostly patients were killed and score of others injured in the bombing of a hospital in Heart city on Oct. 22, according to the UN representative (The News Oct: 23, 2001). The US acknowledged a bomb went astray over the city and might have struck an old people’s house. One has to bear in mind that there is no concept of old people’s houses in Afghanistan as well as Pakistan. It is very disappointing that the super power of the world was giving false statement to the worlds and had no courage to admit its mistakes and blunders. A village in Kandahar identified as Chukar Kariz was hit by US bombs on Oct. 23, killing about 93 civilians including 18 members of one family according to the report of Qatar’s alJazeera television (The News Oct: 24, 2001). The 18 family members who died in the attack had fled Kandahar for safety in the village following US military strikes on the city. The attack on the said village was later on confirmed by the press media also (The News Oct: 25, 2001). On Oct.23, 2001 the representative of UN in Kabul also accused the coalition forces of attacking civilian targets and killing civilians. Human Rights Watch asked US to stop killing of innocent afghan civilians. All of the witnesses interviewed by HRW were adamant that there were no Taliban or Al-Qaida positions in the area of the attack (Chukar Kariz), which is in a remote rural area of Afghanistan (The News Oct: 31, 2001). Mosque bombing: according to the United Nations’ report, on Oct. 24, a mosque was hit by US bombs in a military camp in the Western Afghan city Herat and a nearby village was also targeted during attacks on the city (The News Oct: 25, 2001). Almost all major cities had become virtual ghost towns due to fear of the air-strikes. UN spokeswoman Stephanie Bunker told a press conference that the mosque was in the same compound where hospital was hit earlier by the US air force. ICRC warehouses: There were five warehouses managed and controlled by ICRC for the storage of food ad cooking oil intended for widows and disabled people, according to Mario Musa, ICRC spokesman. One warehouse was lost in the US attack on Oct, 16 (mentioned above). Three out of the remaining four warehouses were destroyed by the US bombers on Oct, 26. According to the spokesman two warehouses were directly hit by bombs or missiles and the third was destroyed in the fire (The News Oct: 27, 2001). This was second attack on the ICRC warehouses since the operation started on Oct. 7. On October 28, US bombed Ghanikhil, civilian town of the Northern Allince, killing 13 civilians including a father and his 7 children. (Universal Community of Friends). A. Shah, Gomal university Journal of Research, 22: 80-89 (2006) 85 On November 13, about 100 Taliban were killed in school. The UN coordinator’s office spokeswomen Stephanie Bunker told to press conference on Nov.13 that Northern Alliance (partner of the collation) forces had killed more than 100 young Taliban recruits hiding in a school in Mazar-i-Sharif. Al-Jazeera TV office in Kabul was bombed by US warplanes on the same date (Nov.13), hours before Northern Alliance forces entered the Afghan capital, Kabul (Dawn, Nov:14, 2001). The Qatar’s satellite station had angered some in Washington by broadcasting pre-tapped speeches of Osama bin Laden denouncing America. According to BBC world service correspondent William Reeve, the US had scored a direct hit on the offices of the Qatar based TV station Al-Jazeera, leading to speculation that the channel had been targeted deliberately because of its contacts with Taliban and Osama bin Laden. A presenter on BBC world, Nik Gowing’s argument was that Al-Jazeera’s only crime was that it was “bearing witness” to events that the US wanted to suppress (Dawn, Nov:21, 2001). He further said that there was no clear evidence that Al-Jazeera directly supported the Taliban - simply that it enjoyed greater access than other station. Certainly Al Jazeera reflects a certain cultural traditions, but only in the same way as CNN approaches stories from a western perspective. United Nations Mine Action Progammes sub office in Kandahar was hit during US aerial stakes on the city on Nov. 16. Responding to the question whether the UN had given information to the US about the location of its building in Afghanistan the UN coordination office spokesperson Stephanie Bunker said that all the sites of the UN were well marked. On the same night a mosque and the Taliban foreign ministry building were destroyed in heavy US bombing of Kandahar, killing 11 civilians and more than 25 persons were injured (Dawn, Nov:17, 2001). Civilian bombing in Kandahar and Jalalabad More than 75 civilians including women and children were reported dead and scores of others injured in air strikes by US-Anglo warplanes on Kandahar and Jalalabad on the night between 1st and 2nd December. As many as 45 persons were confirmed dead in Pacheragam district Jalalabad only (The News Dec. 3, 2001). According to Dawn’s report (Dec. 4, 2001) nearly 100 civilians were and 200 wounded in three nights of US air strikes near Jalalabad, quoting the provincial military chief commander Hajji Mohammad Zaman. United Nations Office of Coordinator for Humanitarian Assistance (UNOCHA) confirmed the reports of civilian killings in Tora Bora, and in and around Kandahar due to massive coalition bombing in the beginning of December, 2001 (The News Dec.4, 2001). Hajji Din Mohammad elder brother of Hajji Abdul Qadeer (the then Governor of Nangarhar province of Afghanistan) – criticizing US bombing of Jalalabad said that there was no justification of pounding the areas, which were under the control of anti-Taliban forces that are cooperating with the US to ascertain hideouts of the alleged terrorists. “The US forces are targeting villages and civilians in Jalalabad, which is wrong” he added (The News Dec.3, 2001). On December 9 night, bombing by US warplanes killed 16 civilians in the neighboring Paktika province that also borders Pakistan. Eyewitnesses who reached Peshawar said Paktika’s provincial capital, Sharana and Maskhel village sited about 20 kilometers away were bombed by at least two jets. The losses were higher in Maskhel where four men sitting in “Etkaf” in the Saqawa mosque were among those killed. An entire family comprising Ghulam shah, his wife and four children was wiped out in the bombing raid (The News Dec.10, 2001). Earlier another mosque was hit on the outskirts of Khost town killing over two dozens of the faithful when the US warplanes struck in a bid to eliminate a former Taliban minister and known Mujahidden commander Jalal ud din Haqqani (Yusafzai, 2001). Among the dead were several young Taliban below the age of 15 studying at a nearby madressa to learn the Holy Quran by heart. The raid took place when the mosque was full during the late evening Isha’a and Taraweeh prayers (as it was month of Ramazan). In the words of Rahimullah Yousafzai, “Having run out of military targets in Afghanistan, the US warplanes wanting to get 86 A. Shah, Gomal university Journal of Research, 22: 80-89 (2006) ride of their payloads, have bombed vehicles carrying civilians and flattened village that have nothing to do with the Taliban or Al-Qaeda Arab fighters.” The US aerial strikes that were begun on October 7, 2001 continued for several months, displaced hundreds of thousands of people, exposing them to cold and hunger and depriving them of dignity. Amidst heavy snowfall, thousands of people living in the foothills of Tora Bora and Spina Shaga Mountains had left their homes owing to severe round the clock bombing by the coalition forces. Due to the absence of United Nations officials in eastern Afghanistan, these new internally displaced persons along with the old ones in the region numbering at least 3, 00,000, were “sleeping in the open air in sub zero temperatures” without any hope of assistance in term of food, shelter or health. Meanwhile WHO officials reported that the Pacheragam health clinic in the area had been destroyed by the coalition forces heavy bombardment of the area, and the remaining clinic in the region were difficult to access (The News Dec. 14, 2001). Sixty five people were killed on Dec. 20 when US jets bombed a convoy of Afghan elders, tribal chiefs and commanders heading for the inauguration ceremony of Afghanistan’s new government in Kabul. Warplanes attacked the vehicles on a road at Sato Kandaw, 25 Kms south of Gerdez, the capital of Paktia province. According to Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) fourteen vehicles in the convoy were totally destroyed and several Afghan elders, tribal chiefs and commanders were among the victims of the killings (Dawn Dec.22, 2001). Dozens of Afghan civilians were Killed in air strikes today when a village was intentionally bombed by the US on December 27th , 2001. The villagers said there were no Al Qaida there and could not understand why they targeted. Rumsfield said they suspected that Al Qaida were there. He said Osama bin Laden is responsible for the civilian deaths. (Universal Community of Friends). On Dec. 29 in an air raid on Niazi Qala, a village in Paktia, more than 100 civilians were killed. The pentagon claimed it had hit a Taliban ammunition depot. Villagers, however said that many of the people killed, including women and children, had congregated for a wedding. (Bearak, February 10, 2002). “We’ve got about 300 incidents in our database, and I’d say about a third involve some civilian casualties that would be worth taking a second look at,” said Mr. Arkin, the Human Rights Watch adviser, who is also an adjunct Professor at the US Air Force’s School of Advanced Airpower Studies. (Bearak, February 10, 2002). The first systematic independent study has been carried out into civilian casualties in Afghanistan by Mare Herold, a US economics professor at the University of New Hampshire. Based on corroborated reports from aid agencies, the UN, eye witnesses, TV stations, newspapers and news agencies around the world, Herold estimates that at least 3, 767 civilians were killed by US bombs between Oct. 7 and Dec. 10 (Dawn Dec. 21, 2001). That is an average of 62 innocent deaths a day and an even higher figure than the 3234 now thought to have been killed in New York and Washington on September 11. According to a Pennsylvania nonprofit organization – Universal Community of Friends- the estimate of civilian losses in Afghanistan is up to 4000, (January 29th 2002). Of course, Herald’s total is only an estimate. But according to a British journalist Seumas Milne (Dec. 2001) what is impressive about Herold's work is not only the meticulous cross checking, but the conservative assumptions he applies to each reported incidents. The figure does not include those who died later of bomb injuries, nor those killed after Dec. 10, 2001, nor those who have died from cold and hunger because they were forced to become refugees by the bombardments. It dos not include military deaths (estimated by some analysts to be upwards of 10,000); or those prisoners who were slaughtered in Mazar-I-Sharif, Qala-i-Jangi, Kandahar airport and elsewhere. In the violation of the Geneva Convention IV, 1949 and the Protocol I, 1977, the US-led A. Shah, Gomal university Journal of Research, 22: 80-89 (2006) 87 collation did not take any precautionary measures for the protection of the civilian population. Consequently, a large number of civilian casualties including women and children occurred. The United Nations repeatedly sounded an alarm over the use of cluster bombs by American aircraft attacking Afghanistan. The UN reported of the cluster bomb – a weapon used by American forces in every war since Vietnam that has frequently caused civilian deaths, was the latest of a growing number of accounts of bomb going astray and causing civilian casualties – cluster bombs scatter 200 “bomblets” over a wide area but up to a quarter fail to explode, posing a long-term threat to civilians. US jets, including B-52s have dropped more than 600 cluster bombs on Afghanistan, the Pentagon says (Dawn Dec. 12, 2001). According to international demining expert, Dan Kelly, (2001) an estimated 24,000 unexploded bomblets are lying on Afghan soil, posing a deadly hazard to civilians and children in particular. “Bomblets are not like a mine that will probably blow off a limb or blind you – these things will kill or burn people up,” he added. CONCLUSIONS Three days after strikes began; the US defense secretary announced that the US had “air superiority” over Afghanistan – over an air force which could not even leave the ground. The question is why the bombing of the cities was continuously carried on? In the earlier days of the operation, the front line of Taliban particularly north of Kabul was spared, just to delay the entrance of the Northern Alliance into the capital. In the meanwhile targets close to innocent civilians and civilian targets were hit by US bombers. How such bombing can be justified? What the US was bombing? The UN mine-clearing staff, the shepherds and their families, the defenseless villages of awe-stricken civilians, the Red Cross warehouses, the mosque full of praying Afghans, trucks full of terrified refuges etc. Galloway (2001) a British MP termed this operation as “the slaughter of the world’s poorest by the world’s richest”. After complete destruction of Chowkar-Karez village in air strikes, the Human Rights Watch released a report (Oct. 2001), raising a question, “If there were military targets in the area, we would like to know what they were”? Asia Director of HRW, Sidney Jones further said, “None of the witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch knew of Taliban or Al-Qaida positions in the area of the attack”. According to Sidhu (Dec. 2001), an Indian journalist “The taking of innocent lives be they American, Indian, Pakistani, Palestinian, Israeli or Afghani- cannot be justified on any ground whatsoever.” The terrorist attacks in New York and Washington be condemned in the most vivid terms and similarly the mindless bombardment of the civilian targets in Afghanistan also needs condemnation. Steele (Oct. 2001) a British Journalist has very beautifully described the feelings of helplessness of the Afghan people in the face of massive and indiscriminate aerial bombardments by the US and British forces. “Few seem able to put themselves in the place of the people of Kabul and Kandahar, having the hellish thunder and feeling of the earthquake like vibration of missiles and bombs exploring around them. They are offered enduring freedom but are having only enduring terror”. If the attacks on the American symbols of economic and military might in New York and Washington were senseless and sewage, equally mindless has been the war against terrorism, which the Bush administration unleashed with brutal fury, leaving thousands of innocent Afghan civilians dead and homeless. Tragic though the enormous loss of life in New York was (3,234 by find count); it hardly justified the devastation of Afghanistan and the massive killing of the Afghans. In the words of David Corn (December, 2001), the Afghan civilians struck by US bombs are innocent victims not unlike those Americans killed or injured on September 11. The price in blood, for America’s war against terror, has been paid not by Britain nor by the US, nor even by the Taliban and al-Qaida leaders held responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks, but by ordinary Afghans, who had nothing 88 A. Shah, Gomal university Journal of Research, 22: 80-89 (2006) whatever to do with the atrocities, did not elect the Taliban who ruled over them and had no say in the decision to give house to Osama bin Laden and his friends. In the words of Sardar Asif Ahmad Ali (2002), the Ex-Foreign Minister of Pakistan “The Afghan nation paid an awesome price for the follies of its naive Taliban rulers. Probably 20 Afghans were pulverized for every American life lost on September 11, in this unequal commerce of death, submissive partner”. After going through the above study one comes to the conclusion that US led forces had grossly violated all relevant provisions of the International Humanitarian Law particularly Geneva Convention IV in the Operation Enduring Freedom. “Suddenly after 11September, we went mad. We bombed Afghan villages into rubble, along with their inhabitants” said an American journalist – Robert Fisk-(November 29, 2001). He continued, “When people with yellow or black or brown skin, with Communist or Islamic or Nationalist credentials, murder their prisoners or carpet bomb villages to kill their enemies or set death squad courts, they must be condemned by the US, the European Union, the United Nations and the “civilized” world. We are masters of Human Rights, the Liberals, the great and good who can preach to the impoverished masses. But when our people are murdered – then we tear up every piece of human rights legislation, sendoff the B-52s in the direction of the impoverished masses and set out to murder our enemies.” The more appropriate word would be “the self declared enemy” without any proof and giving no opportunity to diplomatic measure or peaceful resolution of the dispute through the United Nations. If the whole world’s remorse and regrets could not lessen Americans’ pain at the loss of innocent lives in New York and Washington, the regrets of US officials can certainly not diminish the pain of the Afghans. So the United States ought to establish a fund that specifically makes payments to Afghan civilians whose families, bodies, homes or business have been shattered by US air strikes. It is the only available means to redress injury. American has generously created funds for the American survivors of the Sept: 11 attacks. They must do the same for Afghans. 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