Military targets: UK faces legal challenge over Afghan ‘kill list’

Man who lost five relatives questions legality of country’s involvement.

Afp August 11, 2012


An Afghan man who lost five relatives in a US air strike is taking legal action to in an effort to force Britain to reveal its role in supplying information for a US military “kill list”, his lawyers said on Friday.

Habib Rahman, who lost two brothers, two uncles and his father-in-law in an attack on September 2, 2010, has begun proceedings against Britain’s ministry of defence and Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca).

Rahman is demanding to know the extent of Britain’s involvement in what his lawyers say is a list of people designated as targets by military forces in Afghanistan, including whether it is legal.

“Our client’s case suggests that the establishment and maintenance of the ‘killing list’ is not in line with the UK’s duties under international humanitarian law,” said Rosa Curling, a solicitor with Leigh Day and Co. The firm acknowledged that it did not know whether information provided by Britain contributed to the attack which killed Rahman’s relatives, but said it was important to have full disclosure.

“It is important that the MoD and Soca provide us with the reassurances sought, to make sure that others do not suffer the tragic loss of life as experienced by Rahman,” Curling said.

The Guardian newspaper has said the “kill list” was first mentioned in a report to the US Senate’s committee on foreign relations in 2009.

Rahman, who is from Kabul, says the attack happened while his relatives were helping his cousin Abdul Wahab Khorasani, a former parliamentary candidate, as he campaigned in the Takhar province of northern Afghanistan.

A total of 10 civilians were killed and several more injured in the attack.

Rahman’s lawyers say there is evidence it was an incidence of mistaken targeting. Britain’s ministry of defence said it could not discuss the case in detail for operational security reasons but insisted that British forces worked “strictly within the bounds of international law”.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2012.


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