Crimes of War: Afghanistan

Patricia Gossman

Conflict has raged in Afghanistan since April 1978. It has been marked by brutality on a massive scale. Although the major fighting ended with the defeat of the Taliban in 2001, conflict continues especially in the south and east of the country, and many of those responsible for war crimes in earlier phases of the war continue to wield power. During every phase of the fighting, Afghan and foreign armed factions committed crimes against humanity and serious war crimes. These included large-scale massacres, disappearances and summary executions of tens of thousands of Afghans, indiscriminate bombing and rocketing that killed hundreds of thousands of civilians, torture, mass rape and other atrocities. There has never been any serious effort, international or domestic, to account for these crimes.

South African police massacre striking miners

Bill Van Auken

South African police opened fire with automatic weapons on striking platinum miners in the country’s North West province on Thursday, killing at least 30. Other reports cite a death toll as high as 40.

Corpses were strewn on the ground after a three-minute hail of gunfire. Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa told the media, “A lot of people were injured and the number keeps on going up.”

The mass killing came on the sixth day of a strike by miners at Marikana operations of the British-owned Lonmin Plc, the world’s third-largest platinum mining company. Thousands of rock drillers walked out of the mines last Friday to press their demand for a doubling of salaries. The platinum mines are among the lowest paying in South Africa, and miners charge that little has changed in their conditions since the end of apartheid nearly two decades ago.

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