A new video that appears to show Afghan soldiers beating a detainee under the gaze of American military personnel is starting to grab more attention. The footage has led two of our Observers to worry that crimes committed on the ground may go unpunished.
The video had reportedly been circulating on Afghan social media pages since September before being removed. It was subsequently obtained by Rolling Stone journalist Matthieu Aikins, who is currently investigating allegations that war crimes
were carried out by US Special Forces in the country. The video shows what appear to be Afghanistan National Army [ANA] personnel pinning down a man already bound by the hands and feet, as he is repeatedly whipped. At the one-minute mark, the camera pans to reveal unidentified men who, judging by their appearance and uniform
, appear to be US soldiers. The men watch idly while the detainee’s torturers abuse him but do not take part in the beating.
WARNING: THE FOLLOWING VIDEO CONTAINS DISTURBING IMAGES.
It’s still unclear exactly when and where the video was shot. Speaking from Kabul, one of our Observers told FRANCE 24 that at least one of the men pinning down the detainee in the video – dressed in military fatigues – was very likely an ANA soldier.
A spokesperson for ISAF [International Security Assistance Force, the name for the NATO-led coalition in Afghanistan] told FRANCE 24 they were aware of the video and had referred it to the US Army Criminal Investigation Command
, adding that “ISAF takes all allegations of improper conduct by ISAF personnel very seriously and is committed to investigating them.” The Afghanistan Ministry of Defense has also said it will investigate the incident.
According to the latest figures from ISAF
, there are still around 86,000 coalition troops on the ground in Afghanistan, including 60,000 American soldiers. They support some 187,000 ANA soldiers who have been gradually taking the lead
in combat operations up and down the country.