GENEVA: China’s envoy told the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday that the US army and the militaries of its coalition partners should be held accountable for rights violations allegedly committed in Afghanistan. During a session on reports of Taliban abuses, Chinese Ambassador Chen Xu gave no details of the alleged violations in the nearly 20 years since US troops entered Afghanistan to fight the Taliban after the Sept 11 attacks.
However, Amnesty International has previously said that thousands of Afghans have been killed or injured by US forces of which few have been brought to justice.
The US Department of Defense at the time defended its efforts to avoid casualties. The Chinese envoy told the Human Rights Council:
“The US, UK, Australia and other countries must be held accountable for the violation of human rights committed by their military in Afghanistan and the evolution of this current session should cover this issue.”
Council members agreed to mandate reports on any rights violations by the Taliban. “Under the banner of democracy and human rights the US and other countries carry out military interventions in other sovereign states and impose their own model on countries with vastly different history and culture,” Chen said, adding that this had inflicted “great suffering”.
China, which has not fought in Afghanistan, is seen to be holding out an olive branch to the Taliban and the latter has also said that Beijing can contribute to its economic development. Unlike the United States, its NATO coalition partners and Russia, China may be at an advantage since it has not sent troops there in the past. “We will continue developing a good neighbourly, friendly and cooperative relationship with Afghanistan and continue our constructive role in its process of peace and reconstruction,” Chen added in his speech.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday Russia, China, the United States and Pakistan are interested in serving as mediators in resolving the crisis in Afghanistan,
“We remain committed to the task of establishing peace and stability on Afghanistan’s territory so that it poses no threats to the region,” Lavrov said. The statement comes after the Taliban took over Afghanistan and ousted president Ashraf Ghani in a 10-day lightning strike, which shocked the world.
Lavrov also said Russia opposed the idea of allowing Afghan refugees enter Central Asia, the former Soviet region that lies between Russia and Afghanistan, or having US troops there. “If you think that any country in Central Asia or elsewhere is interested in becoming a target so that the Americans could fulfil their initiatives, I really doubt anyone needs that,” he told.