Afghanistan: US discouraged inquiry into mass killing of Taliban prisoners


30 Responses to “Afghanistan: US discouraged inquiry into mass killing of Taliban prisoners”

  1. christinedawson says:

    Yea, accidents happen all the time

  2. DWittSF says:

    It’s not a John Wayne movie. Yes, the Taliban is bad, but that doesn’t make the warlords good, and anyway, these things mean something different there than they do to Western eyes.

    Here is what Juan Cole has to say on the matter today:

    It is bad news that President Hamid Karzai has brought the old Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostam back into government, especially since he was implicated in a massacre of Taliban prisoners of war in 2001. Note that Karzai is bringing back another warlord with a lot of blood on his hands, Muhammad Fahim, as his vice president. Karzai, in fact, appears to want to turn his government into warlord central. What does that say about Karzai?

  3. Anonymous says:

    IS this the ‘burying people in shipping containers’ story?

    unrelated, pynchon is one of my captcha words…

  4. Stephen says:

    A couple of clarifications:

    1) One poster seemed to think this is about the killing of hundreds OF thousands. It is not. It is about the killing of hundreds OR thousands.

    2) Dostam has an army. He was brought into the government to stop him from using that army to fight the government. Charging him with war crimes would be a decision to fight his army.

    This is not as simple as prosecuting or not prosecuting war crimes. It is also a decision about whether or not to try fighting a second front in Afghanistan. It may need to wait until either his army is fully absorbed by the national army, or the Taliban are defeated. Dostam’s bet seems to be that by the time his army is absorbed, this will be old news.

  5. Jason Rizos says:

    You go to war with the genocidal maniacs you have, not the genocidal maniacs you want.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Meh? The US has a long history of promoting and protecting war criminals.

  7. Glidedon says:

    It’s their culture, what’s your problem?

  8. Anonymous says:

    I suppose there are worse fates than being stuck inside of a prison camp with indefinite detention sans representation possibly being tortured for hours on end.

  9. hillx075 says:

    Harper’s had a harrowing story about Dostum back in 2002. Not the most pleasant of people, by the sounds of it…

  10. reemas says:

    Xeni – you can watch a hot-off-the-press video on this story on the front page of the Hub:

    Cheers, Sameer

  11. Anonymous says:

    Killing indiscriminately via flying robot is sooooooooooooo much better! Keep it up!

  12. elevatedprimate says:

    I can’t believe I’m about to write this. Let the flames begin.

    Is Dasht-e-Leili a war crime? Probably. Should we hope that U.S. forces would hold themselves to a standard that would forbid involvement in these horrible actions? Yes.

    Can I bring myself to harbor much sympathy for the victims? I wish I could, but the answer is no.

    These actions were committed against the same people who nowadays are
    bombing schools
    in the Swat Valley, who are apparently
    buying children
    to train for suicide bombings.

    War is evil and brutal. That brutality extends to all parties involved. Glibness doesn’t add anything to the discussion. Neither does kneejerkism.

  13. Pantograph says:

    Well you don’t have to rely on sympathy for the victims. That’s why there are laws to protect everybody. (In theory at least.)

  14. DWittSF says:

    Dostum was running the prison that John Walker Lindh was brought to, so that means he’s a good guy, right?

  15. Anonymous says:

    “Is Dasht-e-Leili a war crime? Probably.” You must be an American.

  16. Bloodboiler says:

    #14 elevatedprimate: “Can I bring myself to harbor much sympathy for the victims? I wish I could, but the answer is no.

    These actions were committed against the same people who nowadays are
    bombing schools in the Swat Valley …”

    So hundreds of thousands of DEAD Talibans are bombing schools?

    But seriously, I suppose with the same broken logic you didn’t mind when certain actions were taken against people in certain towers, a few planes, center of London etc. After all, those victims were the same people who who have for decades f**ked up Middle-East among some other regions of the world.

    Or maybe we should make a distinction between being born and raised in particular group of people and being guilty of the actions of the worst people in the group.

  17. Takuan says:

    if only everyone with the choice decided not to use oil.

  18. jhutson says:

    The front-page New York Times piece represents the culmination of nearly eight years of investigation by Physicians for Human Rights. To learn more and take action, visit

  19. Oshkosh John says:

    “If I had ten divisions of those men our troubles here would be over very quickly. You have to have men who are moral… and at the same time who are able to utilize their primordial instincts to kill without feeling… without passion… without judgment… without judgment. Because it’s judgment that defeats us.” — Colonel Kurtz — “Apocalypse Now!

  20. ianm says:

    See also:

    Afghan Massacre: Convoy of Death
    A 2002 documentary by Irish documentary filmmaker Jamie Doran about alleged war crimes committed on Taliban fighters in November, 2001, after they had surrendered to Northern Alliance fighters after the siege of Kunduz.

    Watch the whole thing at GoogleVideo

  21. elevatedprimate says:

    #16 bloodboiler: Can you really tell me you see no difference between Taliban fighters and the civilians killed in the towers, in central London, on the planes, etc.?

    Let me lay it out for you in basic terms: you’re not born and raised a member of the Taliban. They’re not a tribal group. They’re not an ethnicity. They’re a political and military group who do, in fact, do things like bomb schools because they don’t want little girls learning how to read.

    Are all members that extreme? No. Are some of them in it mostly for the money? Yes. Can you tell me how to identify a “good” Taliban fighter from a “bad” Taliban fighter?

    The fact is, they chose to pick up guns and fight for a cause. Should they have been abused in the manner that they were for making that choice? Probably not.

    Also, it was hundreds or thousands…not hundreds of thousands.

  22. RicRomero says:

    Accidents will happen.

  23. mdh says:

    We can do better. We could do worse.

  24. adonai says:

    @#1 – link requires a subscription to Harper’s. A shame, sounded interesting.

  25. SeamusAndrewMurphy says:

    …mistakes were made…

  26. Anonymous says:

    Is this the situation where they carried away bodies in shipping containers?

  27. Anonymous says:

    “elevated primate” means that you have not jet managed to descend from the trees, right?

  28. Takuan says:

    to summarize: many Taliban were forced into shipping containers and left to perish in full sun. Then they machine gunned the containers. American special forces watched and probably helped.

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