Target: President Barack Obama
Goal: Thoroughly and impartially investigate the killings in the Nerkh District of Afghanistan
New allegations blame the deaths of 18 men from the Nerkh District in Afghanistan on United States soldiers. It is imperative that the United States thoroughly and impartially investigate these allegations and prosecute those responsible. The United States has a poor history of investigating and prosecuting human rights abuses committed by military units during its 12 year campaign in Afghanistan. This shows a poor image of the country and it needs to be rectified.
In November 2012, allegations emerged when local residents claimed they were connected to operations run by military unit ODA 3124, which was a new unit in the Nerkh District. In February of that same year, a man by the name of Nasratullah was found with his throat slit. His family claims that the man was taken into US custody, and the men there are responsible for his death. In the wake of protests, the President of Afghanistan ordered US forces to leave the province.
The unit ODA 3124 left the district, but in April, shepherds found human remains around the perimeter of where the base was located. With the help of residents, more human remains were found scattered around the base’s location. Some of the remains were intact and other were body parts. Residents were able to identify the bodies as residents of the Nerkh District. All of the bodies were in US custody. The Afghanistan government has concluded that 18 deaths were linked to the unit ODA 3124.
Following the discovery of the bodies, family members of the victims gave accounts of what happened to journalists, United Nations’ officials, and the Afghanistan authorities. A Rolling Stone article featured residents seeing their neighbors disappear or killed, and the victims had some ties to ODA 3124. Another testimony described detainees being beaten by the soldiers in ODA 3124 along with an Afghan interpreter by the name of Zikria Kandahari who was also working with the unit.
The United States’ state that the unit ODA 3124 was not involved in the killings of the 18 men, but rather it was the interpreter. But with another criminal investigation opened and new evidence turning up via the Red Cross, the statements from the United States are beginning to look cloudy. Witnesses in the Nerkh district have also said they have not been interviewed. The United States needs to examine all evidence with the utmost transparency, and ensure those responsible are tried and prosecuted.
Dear President Barack Obama,
It has come to my attention that military unit ODA 3124 is linked to the deaths of 18 Afghan men. After the unit left the Nerkh district, residents found the remains of several bodies buried around the perimeter of the base. After residents identified the bodies, they realized that the deceased had been taken into US custody and were never seen again. This discovery has greatly outraged the people of Nerkh and they wish to see justice. Many of them believe that unit ODA 3124 was involved and I am inclined to agree.
There is new evidence emerging about the deaths and injuries suffered by these victims. I am imploring you to ensure that the evidence is examined thoroughly and the investigation will be an impartial and transparent one. Unfortunately the United States does not have a good history of prosecuting human rights abuse committed by military forces during the 12 year campaign in Afghanistan. This does not sit well with me and I wish for it to be rectified.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Joshua E. Powell via Wikimedia