The United Nations said more than 200 former Afghan officials and security forces have been killed since the Taliban seized power
ISLAMABAD (AP) – More than 200 extrajudicial killings of former Afghan government officials and security forces have taken place since the Taliban took control of the country two years ago, according to a United Nations report released Tuesday.
According to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, the groups that have been targeted the most by the Taliban are the former army, police and intelligence forces.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan has documented at least 800 human rights violations against former Afghan government officials and security forces between August 15, 2021, when the Taliban seized power, and the end of June 2023.
The Taliban swept through Afghanistan as US and NATO forces were in the final weeks of their withdrawal from the country after two decades of war. US-trained and supported Afghan forces collapsed in the face of the Taliban advance and former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country.
“Individuals were detained by the de facto (Taliban) security forces, often briefly, before being killed. Some were taken to detention centers and killed in custody, others were taken to unknown locations and killed, their bodies either dumped or handed over to family members.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk said in a press release issued alongside the report that it “provides a sobering picture of the treatment of former government and security force personnel”.
“What is more, given their assurance that they will not be targeted, this is a betrayal of people’s trust,” Al-Turk said. He urged Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers – the country’s “de facto authorities” to fulfill their “obligations under international human rights law by preventing further abuses and holding perpetrators to account”.
Since their seizure of power, the Taliban have not faced any major opposition and have avoided internal divisions.
The Taliban-led Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied the report, saying it was not aware of any cases of human rights abuses committed by Taliban officials or employees.
“There have been no reports of extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrest and detention, torture and other acts against human rights by employees of the security services in the Islamic Emirate against employees and security forces of the previous government,” it said in a statement. .
The report said former Afghan soldiers were most at risk of human rights abuses, followed by police and intelligence officials. Violations were recorded in all 34 provinces, with the highest number recorded in Kabul, Kandahar and Balkh provinces.
The majority of the violations took place in the four months following the Taliban’s seizure of power, with UNAMA recording nearly half of all extrajudicial killings of former government officials and Afghan security forces during this period. The report added that rights violations continued even after that, as 70 extrajudicial killings were recorded in 2022.
The report documented at least 33 human rights violations against ex-police officers in the southern province of Kandahar, accounting for more than a quarter of all human rights violations against ex-police personnel across the country.
UNAMA documented at least 14 cases of enforced disappearance of former government officials and members of the Afghan security forces.
On October 2, 2021, Alia Azizi, the former head of the women’s prison in the western province of Herat, did not return home from work and her whereabouts remain unknown. The report stated that although an investigation into her disappearance had been launched, the Taliban had not released any information about her whereabouts.
The United Nations documented more than 424 cases of arbitrary arrest and detention of former government officials and members of the Afghan security forces, while more than 144 cases of torture and ill-treatment were documented in the report, including beatings with pipes and cables, verbal threats, and other abuses. .
The Taliban initially promised a general amnesty for those associated with the former government and international forces, but these pledges were not kept.
The report said that the failure of the Taliban authorities to “fully abide by their stated commitments and to hold perpetrators of human rights violations to account could have serious repercussions for the future stability of Afghanistan.”
Rosa Otunbayeva, the head of the UN mission in Afghanistan, said that while the Taliban’s announcement of a general amnesty in August 2021 “was a welcome step, it remains not fully supported, with impunity for human rights abuses.”
She urged the Taliban to show “genuine commitment to the general amnesty”. This is a critical step in ensuring real prospects for achieving justice, reconciliation and lasting peace in Afghanistan.”
Despite initial promises of a moderate administration, the Taliban have imposed strict rules, banning girls’ education beyond sixth grade and banning Afghan women from public life and most businesses, including to NGOs and the United Nations. In the late 1990s, when they also imposed their interpretation of Islamic law.
The decrees sparked international outrage against the already ostracized Taliban movement, whose administration is not officially recognized by the United Nations and the international community. ……………..