AFGHANISTAN: ARMS MUST BE MONITORED

The human rights organisation is also calling for greater safeguards – including reporting and monitoring - of US, UK and allied 'military-to-military' force deployments that may involve the training of foreign military forces or private companies for a range of covert operations.

Amnesty International UK Director of Communications Richard Bunting said:

'The unmonitored and irresponsible flooding of Afghanistan with arms for both Taleban and Northern Alliance forces has helped make life a misery for the people of that land.

'It is crucial that stringent monitoring of arms transfers to Afghan fighters ensures that those with a history of committing human rights violations don't end up with fresh supplies of weaponry.

'The Coalition has a responsibility not only to screen all warring parties before providing military assistance, but also to apply the same standards to any of its own ‘special operatives''.

Amnesty International is extremely concerned that the Russian government is reportedly planning deliveries of US$45 million worth of arms to the Northern Alliance with no human rights conditionality criteria. The shipments reportedly included Soviet-era T-55 tanks, combat vehicles, small arms and ammunition; Russian Mi-8 and Mi-24 helicopters could also be included.

Recent supplies to the Northern Alliance have, according to reports, already been sent from Iran and Russia via central Asian states, especially Tajikistan, as well as from the Slovak Republic. In the USA, the Congress is currently considering a law to provide $300 million worth of military assistance to 'eligible Afghan resistance organisations' despite existing US laws that contain human rights clauses.

Amnesty International is also calling on the government of Pakistan to fully enforce a UN arms embargo on transfers to the Taleban, while appealing to Saudi Arabia to halt financial support from its residents.

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