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Ali Khan argues that the internationally recognized crime of genocide applies to the intentional killings that NATO troops commit on a weekly basis in the poor villages and mute mountains of Afghanistan to destroy the Taliban.
Sloganeers, propagandists and politicians often use the word "genocide" in ways that the law does not permit. But rarely is the crime of genocide invoked when Western militaries murder Muslim groups.
The dehumanized label of "Taliban" is used to cloak the nameless victims of NATO operations. Some political opposition to this practice is building in NATO countries, such as Canada, where calls are heard to withdraw troops from Afghanistan or divert them to non-combat tasks.
source (July '07)
Ban Ki-Moon, the United Nations Secretary-General, raised the issue of civilian casualties on a four-hour visit to Afghanistan on Friday on which he met the senior Nato commander there, the American General Dan McNeill.
Senior British soldiers have previously expressed concerns that McNeill, who took command of the 32,000 Nato troops in Afghanistan only recently, was 'a fan' of the massive use of air power to defeat insurgents and that his favoured tactics could be counter-productive.
Of course, the Times does not bother to mention that the Afghan opium trade--in fact much of the opium trade in the so-called "Golden Crescent" (Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan)--was cultivated and nurtured by the United States government and the CIA, leading to countless cases of miserable heroin addiction in America and Europe. Reading the Times, we get the impression the Taliban--at one time sponsored by the CIA and Pakistan's intelligence services, so long as they were kicking Russian hindquarter--are responsible for the opium trade all on their lonesome. As usual, the Times twists the story through omission.
In murdering the Taliban, NATO armed forces systematically practice on a continual basis the crime of genocide that consists of three constituent elements - act, intent to destroy, and religious group. The crime, as defined in the Convention, is analyzed below:
1. Act. The Convention lists five acts, each of which qualifies as genocide. NATO forces in Afghanistan are committing three of the five acts. They are killing members of the Taliban. They are causing serious bodily harm to members of the Taliban. They are deliberately inflicting on the Taliban conditions of life calculated to bring about their physical destruction in whole or in part. Any of these three acts committed one time constitutes the crime of genocide. NATO combat troops have been committing, and continue to commit, these acts through multiple means and weapons.
2. Intent to Destroy. The crime of genocide is a crime of intent. It must be shown that NATO combat troops and the high command ordering these troops carry the requisite intent to destroy the Taliban. Mere negligent killings do not qualify as genocide. The statements of NATO's Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and those of NATO spokesmen leave no doubt that the NATO conducts military operations to "hunt and destroy" the Taliban. Preemptive strikes to kill the Taliban are sufficient proof that NATO troops and commanding generals have specific intent to destroy as many Taliban members as they can find. The weekly murderous planning and intelligence gathering to locate and eliminate the Taliban leaders and members further demonstrate that the killings in Afghanistan are not negligent, accidental, or by mistake. For all legal purposes, NATO's incessant and deliberate killings of the Taliban are powered with the specific intent to destroy a religious group.
3. Religious Group. The Genocide Convention is far from universal in that it does not protect all groups from genocide. Its protection covers only four groups: national, ethnic, racial and religious. (Political groups are not protected). The Convention does not require the complete eradication of a protected group as a necessary condition for the crime of genocide. Even part destruction of a protected group constitutes the crime. It is no secret that the Taliban are a religious group. (They may also qualify as a national (Afghan) or ethnic (Pushtun) group). The Taliban advocate and practice a puritanical version of Islam. The Convention does not demand that the protected group advocate and practice a form of religion acceptable to the West or the world. The questionable beliefs and practices of a religious group are no reasons to destroy the group. That the Taliban are armed or support terrorism or oppress women are unlawful excuses to commit genocide. (All reasons that Hitler had to murder Jews would be simply irrelevant under the Convention).
It may, therefore, be safely concluded that NATO combat troops and NATO commanders are engaged in murdering the Taliban, a protected group under the Genocide Convention, with the specific intent to physically and mentally destroy the group in whole or in part. This is the crime of genocide.