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US to Take All Steps to Protect Americans After ICC Allows Afghan War Probes - Pompeo

© Sputnik / Ekaterina Lyzlova / Go to the photo bankU.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, Russia, May 14, 2019
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, Russia, May 14, 2019 - Sputnik International
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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States will do its utmost to protect its citizens after the International Criminal Court (ICC) decided to allow probes into possible war crimes committed in Afghanistan, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters in a press briefing on Thursday.
"This is a truly breathtaking action by an unaccountable political institution masquerading as a legal body", Pompeo said. "I will reiterate one more time, the United States is not a party to the ICC. And we will take all necessary measures to protect our citizens from this renegade unlawful so-called court".

The statement comes after senior judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) authorised earlier in the day the court's prosecutor to launch an investigation into alleged war crimes in Afghanistan.

The decision overturns a ruling last year that blocked ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s request to investigate due to a lack of cooperation from Kabul and Washington.

British soldiers of the 1st Batallion of the Royal Welsh before a patrol in the streets of Showal in Nad-e-Ali district, Southern Afghanistan, in Helmand Province on February 25, 2010 - Sputnik International
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Bensouda’s successful appeal opens the way for investigations into war crimes and crimes against humanity thought to have been perpetrated by the Taliban, and US and Afghan forces in Afghanistan.

The United States has opposed the International Criminal Court since it was created by the United Nations, claiming it would be used for politically motivated prosecutions of Americans by nations with grudges against the United States.

US Confident Taliban Working to Keep Commitments Under Peace Agreement

"We still have confidence that the Taliban* leadership is working to deliver on its commitments. We are working to deliver on ours", US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during the briefing.

Spokesman for Afghanistan’s Office of the National Security Council Javid Faisal said earlier in the day that the Taliban movement has breached the peace agreement signed with the United States by launching numerous attacks against Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) after inking the deal.

​The Taliban observed a reduction in violence for one week before signing the peace agreement with the US on 29 February, after which attacks were launched across the country, resulting in dozens of reported military and police deaths.

Afghan security forces stand guard during a fight against Taliban fighters in Kunduz province north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019 - Sputnik International
Over 20 Afghan Soldiers, Police Officers Killed in Renewed Taliban Violence - Source
Peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban leadership are scheduled to begin on 10 March, but a clause in the US-Taliban peace deal, greenlighting the release of up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners from Afghan custody, has become a sticking point that could jeopardise the entire agreement.

*Taliban is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia

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