White phosphorus is a napalm-like substance that burns when it comes in contact with human flesh, it sticks to the skin and continues to burn as long as there is oxygen. The result is severe and possibly lethal chemical burns.
”Like napalm, white phosphorus is, by its very nature, a weapon that is likely to cause superfluous injuries or unnecessary suffering,” – so The International Red Cross concludes in a text book (Den humanitære folket og Danmark – ’International Humanitarian Law and Denmark’) used by the Danish military.
Even so, Danish and foreign coalition forces in Afghanistan are using white phosphorus in large quantities, often in residential areas – a fact that can be established on the basis of leaked documents from Afghanistan that the Danish daily Information has obtained.
The documents are part of the socalled Afghan War Diary, but have so far been withheld by Wikileaks.
A review of the Afghan military documents reveal more than 1,100 instances where ISAF has used white phosphorus grenades, rockets and bombs. 59 of the documents have never been published before.