The US military in May 2016 released a report on the October 2015 airstrike on a Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) hospital in Kunduz that killed 42 and wounded dozens more. The report concluded that US personnel had committed violations of international humanitarian law during the operation, yet because there was no showing that the personnel acted deliberately, did not recommend that any criminal charges be brought.
At the NATO Summit in Warsaw on July 8-9, member states pledged to sustain the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan beyond 2016 and continue the mission’s training and financial assistance to Afghan security forces through 2020. At the summit, NATO members endorsed a new policy for protecting civilians that included measures to monitor its own actions in conflict areas and respond to those of partner states.
The US government did not clarify the overarching military objectives of US or NATO military forces supporting Afghan security forces. As of June 15, the US authorized its forces to “more proactively support” ANSF through providing “close air support” and “accompanying and advising Afghan conventional forces.”
The US continued to carry out counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan, often partnering with Afghan Special Forces units in ground operations. The US carried out airstrikes on a level not seen since 2011 in battles in Helmand, Kunduz, and Uruzgan when Taliban forces threated to take over provincial capitals, and against Taliban and groups affiliating themselves with ISIS, particularly in Nangarhar. More than 100 civilians were reportedly killed by US airstrikes in the first half of 2016.
Noting Taliban gains and continuing insecurity in Afghanistan, on July 6, US President Barack Obama announced a revised withdrawal timetable to leave 8,400 troops in Afghanistan by the end of December 2016. Germany, Turkey, and Italy agreed to keep their deployments in Afghanistan at current levels of 850, 760, and 500 troops, respectively, after 2016. The UK increased its troop commitment, adding 100 additional forces in July 2016.
India committed to defense and counterterror cooperation and promised assistance in education, health, agriculture, empowerment of women, infrastructure and strengthening of democratic institutions, but did not call for human right protections.
The International Criminal Court continued its preliminary examination of allegations of serious international crimes in Afghanistan, which it began in 2007.
At the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan in October 2016, donors committed US$15.2 billion to the Afghan government, but specified no concrete human rights benchmarks for that assistance.
Triggered by a surge in the return of refugees and migrants from Pakistan, in September the UN high commissioner for refugees launched an emergency appeal for Afghanistan to provide humanitarian assistance to an unprecedented number of returnees, along with hundreds of thousands of those newly displaced by the expanding conflict