13.12.2001 | Statement of the International society ‘Memorial’

On the anti-terrorist campaign in Afghanistan


The war against bin Laden’s terrorists and protecting talibs has begun. It is already obvious that the unprecedented crime against humanity committed on 1 September 2001 in New York and Washington will not remain unpunished. Sooner or later Usama bin Laden and his accomplices will be caught and tried or destroyed.

We endorse the declared goals of the anti-terrorist campaign.

At the same time we express our sympathy to the Afghani people, who became hostages of terrorists and fanatics. The leaders of the USA and their allies state that blasts of rocket and bombs, already launched or still planned, are pointwise and are directed against terrorists and talibs’ only. Well, we shall hope that it is the truth.

We hope that the negative experience of the ‘anti-terrorist’ campaign of the Russian government in Chechnya, where the peaceful population suffers most of all, will be accounted for in preparing the current operation. We also hope that the experience of the invasion of the Soviet army to Afghanistan will also be considered. The result of the mentioned invasion was the death of hundreds of thousands of Afghani people and many thousands of Soviet soldiers. Another result was that Afghanistan became the arena of the civil war that has not ended yet. Talibs’ rule in Kabul is nothing but a distant consequence of the Soviet aggression of 1979.

We would like to think that, making alliances with the states, which practice massive and rude violations of human rights, the political leaders of the developed democratic countries and the international public are not going to ‘pardon’ their allies. It is necessary to exert pressure on these states to make them change their internal policy related to their dissidents. It is necessary not only from moral, but also from pragmatic considerations. We remind that it was the cruel suppression of the peaceful political opposition in Uzbekistan that led to the appearance and rooting of terrorist fundamentalist organizations in the Central Asia.

The leaders of the anti-terrorist coalition declare that, along with the military component, the campaign envisages also the political goal: establishing peace in Afghanistan, and the humanitarian one: aid to the Afghani people with food and medical drugs.

These intentions are right and reasonable. Yet, they are not sufficient.

The declared goal of the Kosovo campaign of the NATO of 1999 was also noble: to prevent genocide. Yet, it was not completely achieved. An action that obviously went outside the operating international law, was not accompanied by any attempts to concord the international right and the system of international relations with modern requirements. The result was new splashes of violence on the Balkans and now in Macedonia.

Probably, the campaign in Afghanistan will lead to the destruction of terrorists and their accomplices in this country. It is also possible that the operation will bring peace to Afghanistan. But it is unable to finish radically the international terrorism. Terrorism cannot be defeated, if the struggle is limited by frontiers of a separate country. For the victory global and coordinated efforts of the whole world are needed and, first of all, a cardinal reconstruction of the entire international right.

Today there exists no definition of terrorism that is acknowledged by the international community. If such a definition existed, then it, together with well-developed tools of applying sanctions against endorsers of terrorists, would enable the community to efficiently fight the terrorism danger. And, which us as essential, to suppress the attempts of a number of states to solve their internal or external problems in the form of ‘fighting terrorism’.

The world community, and, first of all thew countries actively participating in the anti-terrorist operation, are obliged to set a goal: to develop the international legislation that would distinctly define the crimes, which demand an immediate international forceful interference, to create a super-national court organs determining the necessity of such interference and instruments determining the procedure of applying force. It is high time to begin the construction of the new system of international relations based solely on the right.

The WW2 became the war of mankind against fascism only after the allies defined and publicly declared not only military and political, but also international and legal goals of this war. As a result, the UNO was created, which, being imperfect as it is, became a great step forward in uniting mankind. It was the UNO that created the Great Charter of the 20 thcentury – the Universal Declaration of human rights; it was the UNO that adopted the Pacts of 1966 on human rights – the first step in giving the Declaration the force of a law.

Nowadays, as never before, actual is A. D. Sakharov’s thought that human rights are a necessary basis for building a just and stable world.

Directorate of the International society ‘Memorial’

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