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Coronavirus
LOW Source: covid.gov.pk
Pakistan Deaths
28,252
2424hr
Pakistan Cases
1,263,664
89324hr
1.7% positivity
Sindh
465,175
Punjab
437,572
Balochistan
33,114
Islamabad
106,402
KPK
176,650

THE HAGUE: The International Criminal Court's new chief prosecutor said Monday he wants to focus his investigation in Afghanistan on the Taliban and Islamic State-Khorasan, and to "deprioritise" alleged war crimes by US forces.

Karim Khan said he had asked judges to allow him to relaunch the probe -- put on hold last year at the request of Kabul's then-government while it said it would investigate war crimes itself -- following the Taliban takeover in August.

"Recent developments in Afghanistan and the change in the national authorities, represent a significant change of circumstances," Khan, who took over as prosecutor in June at the Hague-based court, said in a statement.

"After reviewing matters carefully, I have reached the conclusion that, at this time, there is no longer the prospect of genuine and effective domestic investigations."

Khan asked judges for "expedited" permission to resume the probe.

The Afghanistan probe's inclusion of alleged US crimes had infuriated Washington.

Taliban denies killing civilians, calls for independent inquiry

The administration of former US president Donald Trump imposed sanctions on Khan's predecessor Fatou Bensouda over the issue.

Khan said that he would now narrow his focus in Afghanistan due to the "limited resources" of the ICC as it investigates various situations around the world.

"I have therefore decided to focus my office's investigations in Afghanistan on crimes allegedly committed by the Taliban and the Islamic State-Khorasan Province ("IS-K") and to deprioritise other aspects of this investigation," he said.

UN rights boss says she has credible reports of Taliban executions

This was because of the "gravity, scale and continuing nature of alleged crimes by the Taliban and the Islamic State" and the need to "construct credible cases capable of being proved beyond reasonable doubt in the courtroom," Khan said.

The ICC prosecutor specifically mentioned the deadly August 26 attack on Kabul airport claimed by IS-K in which 13 US service members and more than 100 Afghan civilians were killed.

"In relation to those aspects of the investigation that have not been prioritised, my office will remain alive to its evidence preservation responsibilities, to the extent they arise," he said.

Pentagon says Kabul drone strike killed 10 civilians in 'tragic mistake'

The ICC was set up in 2002 to investigate the world's worst crimes in cases where member states were either unable or unwilling to investigate them themselves.

Former prosecutor Bensouda asked ICC judges to approve a formal investigation into Afghanistan in 2017. Appeals judges ruled in March 2020 that it could go ahead.

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