UN official calls for detailed inquiry on Afghan deaths

London, Sept 26 (ANI): A United Nations investigation into alleged war crimes in Afghanistan should be launched to identify and prosecute individuals responsible, says a former top-ranking UN official, Philip Alston, on extra judicial killings.

According to The Guardian, Alston called for the UN Human Rights Council to investigate the "conduct of the war" in Afghanistan amid rising concern over the level of civilian casualties caused by coalition forces, including Britain, and by the Taliban. It should be modelled, he said, on the inquiry into Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip.

In his first interview since stepping down last month after six years as the UN's special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Alston said the lack of prosecutions concerning alleged war crimes was a major cause of concern because of the large number of Afghan civilians killed in the conflict.

"If states are not carrying out reasonably neutral investigations and prosecutions of what appear to be serious violations, it does leave open the possibility that the international community should be intervening in some way," he added.

Last year's contentious UN investigation into Israel's campaign in the Gaza Strip found evidence that both Israel and Hamas had committed war crimes. Yet the failure of the European Union and the US to endorse the inquiry triggered claims by human rights groups that western powers would pursue war crimes violations only when it suited them, the paper reports.

More than 1,000 Afghan civilians were killed in armed violence and security incidents in the first six months of the year, although most deaths are attributable to the Taliban. A number of instances of alleged civilian killings by British forces in Afghanistan were recently revealed in secret military files published by whistleblowing website WikiLeaks. (ANI)

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