Newly disclosed Pentagon documents reveal that the Pentagon does not vet foreign proxy fighters trained by them for a history of rape and torture.
American special forces have trained up foreign proxy fighters and sent them on ‘kill-or-capture’ missions without ascertaining whether they have histories of rape, torture, extrajudicial killings, or other human rights abuses, the New York Times reported on Sunday, citing newly disclosed Pentagon documents.
Such surrogates are paid, equipped, and deployed without any vetting required to verify that they have a clean human rights record, according to documents obtained by the NYT.
The ‘gap in rules’ applies to proxy forces hired to carry out counterterrorism missions, as well as allied forces who are trained under an irregular warfare program designed to help countries that are at risk of invasion by larger neighbors.
One such clandestine mission in Ukraine was allegedly terminated just before Moscow launched its military operation against Kiev’s forces in February 2022, but some officials reportedly wish to restart it, according to a Washington Post report earlier this year.
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To skirt compliance with a law banning security assistance to forces with a history of human rights violations, the Pentagon has interpreted its proxy programs as not aiding its foreign allies, the Times said. Rather, proxy forces are equipped to pursue US objectives, not to build up the defense capabilities of their own countries. The legal tactic is “a dishonest reading of the plain text and intention of Congress,” former Pentagon lawyer Sarah Harrison told the newspaper.
According to EuroNews, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said at an event last Friday in Florence that Ukraine would collapse in days without the West’s military supplies.