NATO officials confirmed to this reporter that they routinely destroy Afghan homes, businesses and other structures that may be linked to the Taliban, but they refuse to provide any statistics as to how many have been destroyed. The Washington Post and The New York Times indicate that the practice is widespread and they have confirmed that whole villages have been leveled. (These field reports are referenced at the end of this article.)
In June, 2010, the United Nations special rapporteur for human rights, Richard Falk publicly condemned the Israeli Government for its destruction of Palestinian homes. In contrast, the U.N.’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, and the U.N.’s Special Representative in Afghanistan, Staffan de Mistura, have been deplorably silent regarding similar actions by UN-supported NATO forces in Afghanistan.
This is what we know. NATO soldiers in Afghanistan operates under the acronym “ISAF” ISAF troops have the authority to destroy any structure in Afghanistan which they believe is being used to store weapons or narcotics, or which may be booby-trapped with explosives. The standard seems to be that any home can be destroyed with artillery or air strikes as long as there is some suspicion regarding it. The rationale for the destructions is that searching potentially booby-trapped homes is too dangerous a task.
There are at least six problems with this ISAF policy: Continue reading