Afghanistan: US discouraged inquiry into mass killing of Taliban prisoners


(image: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images via NYT)

During the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, an incident occured in which hundreds or thousands of Taliban POWs were killed by a warlord supported by the US.

Bush administration officials repeatedly thwarted efforts to investigate the mass killing, according to American officials and human rights groups. The warlord responsible, Abdul Rashid Dostum (shown above while campaigning for president in 2004), still retains a high position within the Afghan government. How (and if) the Obama administration will deal with ongoing calls for an investigation remains to be seen. Snip from NYT article today by James Risen:

American officials had been reluctant to pursue an investigation -- sought by officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the State Department, the Red Cross and other human rights groups -- because the warlord, Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, was on the payroll of the Central Intelligence Agency and his militia worked closely with United States Special Forces in 2001, several officials said. They said the United States also worried about undermining the American-supported Karzai government, in which General Dostum has served as a defense official.

"At the White House, nobody said 'no' to an investigation, but nobody ever said 'yes,' either," said Pierre Prosper, the former war crimes ambassador for the United States. "The first reaction of everybody there was 'Oh, this is a sensitive issue. This is a touchy issue politically.' " It is not clear how -- or if -- the Obama administration will address the issue. But in recent weeks, State Department officials have quietly tried to thwart General Dostum's reappointment as military chief of staff to the president, according to several senior officials, and suggested that the administration may not be hostile to an inquiry.

U.S. Said to Have Averted Inquiry Into '01 Afghan Killings (New York Times)

Incidentally: Wikipedia says Mr. Dostum is also known as "Heavy D, and D-Diddy," and links to a subscribers-only National Geographic article as proof.