The European Parliament,
–Having regard to Council conclusion on Afghanistan of 26 October 2015
–Having regard to 1949 Geneva Conventions and their two 1977 Additional Protocols
–Having regard to the Commission statement of 3 October 2015
–Having regard to the article 135 of its Rules of Procedure
–Having regard to the EU Local Strategy for Human Rights Defenders in Afghanistan in 2014
–having regard to the article 135 of its Rules of Procedure,
A. Whereas in the last decade the EU has provided more than €647 million to meet the basic needs of the Afghan population and launched EUPOL Afghanistan, extended until the end of 2016, to advice at the strategic level the reform efforts of the Afghan Government in building a civilian police service that operates within an improved rule of law framework and in respect of human rights.
B. Whereas following the completion of the mission of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) at the end of 2014, a new, follow-on NATO-led mission called Resolute Support was launched on 1 January 2015 to provide further training, advice and assistance for the Afghan security forces and institutions.
C. Whereas between 6 and 8 November, afghan militants claiming loyalty to Daesh beheaded seven ethnic Hazara civilians, among them 3 childrens, who had been abducted in the southern Afghan province of Zabul
D. Whereas the Hazara minority, one of the national ethnic minorities recognized in the new Afghan constitution, has long faced persecution and it is thought that at least 19 more Hazara people are held by militants in Zabul
E. Whereas on 11 November 2015 thousands of protesters marched in Kabul for the killing of the seven Hazaris, carrying banners and photos of the victims, calling for national unity and calling on the leaders of the National Unity Government to resign over their failure to stem violence in the country; whereas Afghan presidential guards opened fire and reportedly wounded seven people trying to disperse the protesters as some of the demonstrators tried to scale the walls of the palace
F. Whereas President Ghani condemned the beheadings and promised an investigation stating that the incident was an indication that the enemy was losing the war;
G. Whereas over the past year a leadership crisis within the main Afghan Taliban group gave birth to splinter insurgent groups, including Daesh factions; whereas in the south of the country a showdown between Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mansour and Mullah Sadullah, leader of the factions that don’t recognize the new Taliban leadership, is taking place; whereas according to reports at least 110 militants have been killed and dozens wounded during these clashes, while innocent people are caught in the fights and their houses are looted.
H. Whereas this splinter groups’ expansion has raised the danger for Afghan civilians and pointed out the increased weakness of the Afghan government and its security forces; whereas at the same time the main Taliban group has seized new territory from the government particularly in the country’s north and south
I. Whereas Afghan national forces, who took over from international troops after NATO ended most combat operations last year, have been struggling to contain the spreading insurgency as demonstrated by the Taliban seizing the key northern city of Kunduz; whereas president Obama has changed USA plans to reduce U.S. forces in the country for the next year;
J. Whereas in the night of 3 October 2015 a hospital of Doctors Without Borders was repeatedly struck by a series of aerial bombing raids by an U.S. Air Force gunship; whereas it has been reported that at least 30 people were killed and over 30 were injured; whereas President Barack Obama apologized and promised a full inquiry;
K. Whereas 14 years of war in Afghanistan have sadly proven that a military intervention has not been helpful in stabilizing the country and that only an afghan-owned peace process that has to include a strong commitment for human rights, has the chance to improve the situation of Afghan people,
1. Strongly condemns the senseless murder of 7 civilians in the southern province of Zabul, an act that amount to war crimes and reminds that the perpetrators must be held accountable; recalls that the murder and the kidnapping of civilians are serious violations of international humanitarian law, which all parties to the armed conflict are required to uphold.
2. Express its sincere condolences to the families of the victims; is extremely worried by the deterioration of security in Afghanistan and by the amount of violence directed to civilians;
3. Calls on the authorities to uphold the rule of law in the country and to lunch an investigation and actions to bring the perpetrators of the barbaric murder of the Hazari people to justice;
4. Is extremely worried by the escalating violence that threatens civilians, especially the weakest groups such as minorities, women and children; calls on the government to do everything in its power to protect civilians from insurgents and from conflict related harm,
5. Stresses the importance of the EU Local Strategy for Human Rights Defenders in Afghanistan which has the aim to provide for political and financial support to a number of organizations working in the field of human rights; believes that only by working on the root causes of the conflict such as poverty, violations of human rights and instability a sustainable solution will be viable in Afghanistan
6. Believes that the EU should concentrate its action on brining humanitarian aid to those in need in the country and on supporting NGOs, humanitarian aid agencies and aid workers to access to the most vulnerable affected populations in line with basic humanitarian principles
7. Reaffirms its support for the Afghan people and for the reform agenda of the government; stresses the importance of investing in civil society and education to give a better future to younger Afghans as continued investment in education will help to speed a needed change in the country by, among other things, increasing the role for Afghan women,
8. Calls on all parties to the conflict to engage constructively to find a lasting solution; supports, with the help of Pakistan, the reopening of direct talks between the Talibans and the Afghan government as peaceful negotiations are the only way to bring peace to Afghanistan,
9. Calls for a credible, independent international investigation into the attack on the Doctors without Border’s hospital in Kunduz; reminds that the basis of international humanitarian law is the principle of distinction, which applies in all armed conflicts and obliges “Parties to a conflict” (whether states or non-state armed groups) to target only military objectives and not the civilian population or individual civilians or civilian objects (homes, schools and hospitals) as failing to make this distinction in military operations represents an indiscriminate attack and is a war crime
10. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council, the Commission, the Governments and Parliaments of the Member States, and the Government and the Parliament of Afghanistan.