ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Iraqi Shia militia Hashd al-Shaabi have been useful in defeating Islamic State (IS), and they will continue to be useful, said the spokesperson of the US State Department John Kirby on Thursday.
Kurdistan24 correspondent in Washington DC asked Kirby in a press briefing whether the US has done anything to address the Human Rights Watch (HRW) concerns regarding Iraqi Shia militia Hashd al-Shaabi's participation in Mosul offensive.
The militia also known as Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) has been reported for multiple human rights violations.
Kirby stated that the US has ‘publicly supported’ the Prime Minister of Iraq Haider al-Abadi that, “They [PMU] have been useful in helping expel Daesh [IS] from areas of Iraq, and they will continue to be useful.”
He mentioned that Washington has said before that PMU needs to be part of Iraqi organizational command structure, and they have been to a degree that satisfies Abadi. “We fully expect that they [PMU] will have a role to play going forward,” Kirby said
On Thursday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) sent a letter to Abadi and a copy to the Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani regarding the upcoming Mosul operation. The organization raised concerns about the Iraqi government forces in failing to abide by international humanitarian and human rights law during the offensives to liberate territory from IS.
HRW asked Abadi to prevent the armed forces “that are implicated in laws of war violations, including the Badr Brigades, the Hezbollah Brigades (Kata’ib Hezbollah), and other groups within the PMF, from participating in planned operations to retake Mosul.”
PMF consists of tens of militias created in 2014 backed by Iran to defeat IS in Iraq.
Editing by Ava Homa