(New York) -- The proposed international security force for Kabul should be expandable to meet security needs throughout the country, Human Rights Watch urged today.

In a letter to the United Nations Security Council on the Bonn Agreement and the interim government of Afghanistan, Human Rights Watch urged that any U.N. security personnel deployed to Afghanistan receive appropriate training in international humanitarian, human rights, and refugee law, including child- and gender-related provisions. Human Rights Watch also called on the Council to mandate the creation of a force that is expandable to other locations to meet future security requirements.

In addition, the letter recommended:

  • U.N. Assistance for New Afghan Security and Armed Forces. Human Rights Watch called on the Council, in providing assistance for U.N. training of Afghan security forces, to insist on a screening program aimed at disarming and disqualifying from service persons who have been implicated in serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.
  • Creation of an International Commission of Experts. Noting that the Bonn agreement allows the U.N. to investigate past human rights abuses, Human Rights Watch urged the Council to establish an international Commission of Experts for Afghanistan, to investigate crimes against humanity and serious violations of international humanitarian law.
  • Refugee Issues. Human Rights Watch requested that the Council direct UNHCR to work with the new Afghanistan authority, to create a multilateral Refugee and Repatriation Commission, with representatives of the Afghan authority, Iran, Pakistan, and UNHCR, to discuss - with input from Afghan refugee leaders and NGOs - future plans and agreements for the voluntary return and reintegration of refugees.
  • Commitment to International Justice. Human Rights Watch urged the Council to reiterate the principle that amnesties from prosecution must not be declared for persons who have committed crimes against humanity or serious violations of international humanitarian law.