The last US troops left Afghanistan on 30 August after nearly twenty years of war and occupation. The country’s pro-Western government collapsed suddenly in mid-August, just four months after Washington and its NATO allies announced that they would be withdrawing, and ten days after the Taliban captured its first major city.
The US-led war in Afghanistan constituted “gross violation of human rights” and gave rise to a host of “inhumane crimes” which must not be left unanswered, North Korea’s foreign ministry has said.
In a statement on its website Sunday, Pyongyang indicated that the two decade-long US-led ‘counter-terrorism’ operation in Afghanistan “came to an end with the hasty flight of US troops”.
“At this moment in time, the world is raising the voices demanding that US troops should be brought to justice at all costs for its atrocities of mass destruction committed against innocent people in this country and that a stern judgement be made on the criminals,” the ministry said.
Pyongyang recalled recent statements by officials in Iran and China regarding the US occupation and the crimes against civilians, including deaths and injuries caused by US drone strikes, and other acts of violence.
“The US should be brought to justice at all costs for its crimes of killing innocent people in different parts of the world behind the veil of the ‘judge of human rights’,” the ministry said, suggesting that “all the places trampled upon by US troops [are] reduced to the barren land of human rights.”
In another statement related to Afghanistan earlier this month, the foreign ministry pointed to the recently held 31st special session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, at which it said “many countries pointed out that those responsible for crimes against humanity in Afghanistan,” and demanded that they be called to account. “They stressed that the US and its allies left no other legacy in Afghanistan but the death of 241,000 people, including 7,792 children,” Pyongyang recalled.
“It is clearly shown that the US and the Western countries, though they advocate ‘protection of human rights’, are the stranglers of human rights, mercilessly trampling upon even the right to life, the basic right to human rights, and that they receive unanimous denunciation from the international society,” the foreign ministry argued.
Pyongyang emphasized that there are “no statutes of limitations for crimes against humanity and the criminals who have violated human rights [cannot] evade the stern judgement of the international society.”
The foreign ministry’s statement comes amid the continuing deterioration of relations between North Korea and the United States. The country test fired a new type of long-range cruise missile over the weekend, with the test the first of its kind since March. The earlier test followed the US decision to move forward with large-scale military drills with the South Korean military. North Korea views such exercises as rehearsals for an invasion of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the country’s official name.