The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor is seeking approval to resume an investigation into alleged war crimes in Afghanistan but will "deprioritize" investigating suspected crimes by the US and its allies.
Karim Khan, who took over as ICC prosecutor in June, said he would focus on Taliban and ISIS-K, citing recent allegations. ISIS-K took credit for the August 26th suicide attack at the Kabul airport that killed over 100 Afghan civilians and 13 US troops.
Khan’s reasoning is that the ICC has limited resources, and the Taliban and ISIS-K are responsible for more recent alleged crimes. But the last known US airstrike in Afghanistan took place on August 29th, and it killed 10 civilians, including seven children.
According to Al Jazeera:
A lawyer for alleged victims of US torture in Afghanistan was "stunned" after Khan announced he would "deprioritize" the investigation into American forces, a probe that has long enraged Washington.
There were other instances in the final weeks of the US war in Afghanistan of civilians being killed by US airstrikes. In early August, US airstrikes in Lashkar Gah killed destroyed a health clinic and a school, killing at least 20 civilians.
In 2020, the ICC moved forward with an investigation into alleged US war crimes in Afghanistan. The Trump administration reacted by slapping sanctions on ICC officials, which were lifted by the Biden administration in April. The investigation was on hold as the now-defunct US-backed Afghan government was promising to do the investigation on its own.
Is this the same ICC which wanted to investigate US war crimes in Afghanistan but then desisted when threatened by the US? https://t.co/AIcYPiaxHy— asad abukhalil أسعد أبو خليل (@asadabukhalil) September 29, 2021
While the Biden administration has lifted ICC sanctions, it has come out in opposition to the court’s decision to investigate alleged Israeli war crimes in Gaza. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the ICC is "unfairly" targeting Israel even though the ICC said it will also investigate claims made against Hamas.