Call for sanc­tions against new Afghan de­fence min­is­ter

Oman Daily Observer - - FRONT PAGE -

KABUL: In­ter­na­tional rights group Hu­man Rights Watch (HRW) has urged ma­jor donors to im­pose sanc­tions on Afghanistan’s newly ap­pointed act­ing de­fence min­is­ter over al­leged war crimes and hu­man rights abuses.

Pres­i­dent Ashraf Ghani’s de­ci­sion last month to ap­point the fiercely anti-tal­iban Asadul­lah Khalid prompted an out­cry from hu­man rights or­gan­i­sa­tions which ac­cuse him of be­ing in­volved in as­sas­si­na­tions, tor­ture and il­licit drug busi­ness while serv­ing as gover­nor of Ghazni and later of south­ern Kan­da­har in 2005 and 2008.

“Cred­i­ble ev­i­dence of se­ri­ous hu­man rights abuses and war crimes linked to Khalid have fol­lowed him through­out his gov­ern­ment ca­reer,” Hu­man Rights Watch (HRW) said in a re­port pub­lished on Satur­day.

Brad Adams, Asia Di­rec­tor at HRW called on donors in­clud­ing the United States and Canada to im­pose sanc­tions on Khalid, freeze his as­sets and ban him from en­try.

“The Euro­pean Union and other donors should im­pose sim­i­lar sanc­tions to send a clear mes­sage that re­turn­ing a known hu­man rights abuser to a po­si­tion of au­thor­ity is sim­ply un­ac­cept­able,” he said.

Khalid, , who barely sur­vived a Tal­iban sui­cide at­tack shortly he took over the Na­tional Direc­torate for Se­cu­rity in 2012, de­nies the charges and says they are po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated.

His ap­point­ment and that of fel­low Tal­iban critic Am­rul­lah Saleh as in­te­rior min­is­ter come amid grow­ing mo­men­tum in talks be­tween US spe­cial en­voy Zal­may Khalilzad and Tal­iban rep­re­sen­ta­tives, who have re­sisted US pres­sure to in­clude Ghani’s gov­ern­ment.

Crit­ics say Khalid’s ap­point­ment will only com­pli­cate peace ef­forts after 17 years of con­flict. It has also fu­elled ac­cu­sa­tions that Ghani was try­ing to neu­tralise po­ten­tial op­po­nents by bring­ing them onto his side ahead of the elec­tion.

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