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'The rejection of an inquiry by the United Kingdom into what is apparently the single most bloody incident of the war, during which serious abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law may have been committed, raises questions about its commitment to the rule of law,' Amnesty International said.

'It gives cause for serious concern regarding the fate of other current and future prisoners in Afghanistan. If abuses have been committed, denying an inquiry risks giving a green light to further abuses and perpetuating the culture of impunity already afflicting Afghanistan.'

Amnesty International has led calls for an inquiry into the deaths in Qala-i-Jhangi, specifically into what triggered this violent incident, including any shortcomings in the holding and processing of the prisoners, and into the proportionality of the response by United Front, US and UK forces.

'What can there be to fear from an inquiry except the truth and a clear message that impunity will not be tolerated? The history of Afghanistan is riddled with the abuse of human rights and there can be no sustainable peace in the country if impunity for past and current abuses is allowed,' Amnesty International continued.

Amnesty International's view is that if the forces who were directly involved in this incident are not willing to conduct an inquiry, an international inquiry involving the United Nations should be considered.

Amnesty International also reiterates its call for the deployment of international human rights monitors across the country as soon as possible, and for an expert commission to be established without delay to look into mechanisms for bringing to justice perpetrators of current and past serious human rights abuses in Afghanistan.

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