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China, Iran, more demand UN punish US for ‘war crimes’ in Afghanistan in formal letter

U.S. Marines with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force - Crisis Response - Central Command, provide assistance during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 20, 2021. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Nicholas Guevara)
September 16, 2021

China delivered a statement to the United Nations on Tuesday accusing the U.S. military of committing war crimes in Afghanistan and calling on them to be “brought to justice.” The statement was delivered on behalf of China, Bolivia, Burundi, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Venezuela.

“The U.S.-led military intervention in Afghanistan is the root cause of humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan. By April 2020, at least 47,000 Afghan civilians had been killed in the war waged by the U.S. and more than 10 million Afghan people were displaced,” China’s statement said.

“The crimes committed in Afghanistan by military personnel of the U.S. and its allies, such as killing of civilians and torture, must be thoroughly and impartially investigated. The perpetrators must be brought to justice and the victims deserve justice and remedy,” the statement added.

The statement called on the UN to hold the U.S. accountable, alleging that the U.S. is obligated to remain in Afghanistan to ensure “peaceful reconstruction.”

“We express our deep concern that the United States and its allies have conducted military intervention in Afghanistan for 20 years, which severely undermined the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, compromised its economic and social development, and violated the human rights of Afghan people.”

According to data compiled by Harvard University’s Kennedy School and Brown University’s Cost of War project published by the Associated Press, between 2001 and April 2021, 2,448 U.S. service members were killed, along with 3,846 contractors, 66,000 Afghan military and police, 47,245 Afghan civilians, 1,144 NATO and allied service members, 444 aid workers, and 72 journalists. Additionally, 51,191 members of the Taliban and other opposition groups were killed.

China’s statement came two weeks after the U.S. completed a full withdrawal of U.S. personnel from the country, and evacuated more than 120,000 people. China has since expressed its support for the Taliban, calling them “a pivotal military and political force in Afghanistan and is expected to play an important role in the process of peace, reconciliation and reconstruction in Afghanistan” in July.

The Taliban has similarly praised China and vowed not to take actions harmful to China, which it now considers its “main partner” in rebuilding Afghanistan.

“China will be our main partner and represents a great opportunity for us because it is ready to invest in our country and support reconstruction efforts,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called China and the Taliban’s relationship “a positive thing.”