Amid Calls for UN Investigation Into Kunduz Strike, US Senator Suggests that the UN Does Not Investigate Taliban Abuses. He’s Wrong.
Today, following calls for an independent inquiry into the US airstrike on the MSF hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) – during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing – asked Gen. John Campbell whether the UN investigates abuses by the Taliban. Sullivan stated that the UN does not investigate the Taliban “typically,” as a way of making a point about the unfairness or imbalance of the UN investigating the Kunduz airstrike. A transcript is below (emphasis added).
Sen. Dan Sullivan I’m going to follow up on a number of the previous questions you’ve been asked. First, Sen. Shaheen had asked about a UN investigation possibly into the hospital accident. Does the UN usually investigate major deliberate attacks on civilians in Afghanistan when they’re conducted by the Taliban?
Gen. John Campbell: Sir, I haven’t seen that in the past. Frankly, I don’t know.
Sullivan: I don’t think they do typically. So, do you think it would seem fair or balanced if the UN conducted an investigation which was on something that was clearly an accident — the hospital bombing — when they don’t investigate deliberate Taliban killing of civilians? Do you think that would viewed as fair or balanced? Or something that Command needs or would welcome?
Campbell: Sir, I can’t comment on how the UN would do that. What I can comment on is, as I said up front earlier, I have complete trust and confidence in the team that we have to be thorough and transparent. If there were mistakes made, we’ll make sure that those come out. If there are people we have to hold accountable, we’ll make sure we do that. I have every trust and confidence in the US and the NATO investigation ongoing.
Sullivan: I think most of us here do as well. And I certainly don’t think an additional investigation by the UN would be warranted or welcomed by this committee.
In fact, the UN regularly investigates Taliban or “anti-government elements” violence, as a quick look at the UN’s website for its Afghanistan mission readily shows. The UN investigates Taliban violence that is deliberate, as well as reckless, and it investigates cases where the facts of an attack may seem quite clear, as well as those where the circumstances are initially far murkier. Continue Reading »