Afghan; Taliban Execution and Forced Disappearance

How Good Is Political Declaration on Armed Conflicts

Despite a proclaimed amnesty, the Taliban have executed or forcibly disappeared more than 100 former police and intelligence officers in just four provinces after they took over Afghanistan on August 15, 2021, according to Human Rights Watch.

In its latest report “‘No Forgiveness for People Like You,’ Executions and Enforced Disappearances in Afghanistan under the Taliban,” the Human Rights Watch documents the killing or disappearance of 47 former members of the Afghan National Security Forces (military personnel, police, intelligence service members, and militia) who had surrendered to or were apprehended by Taliban forces between August 15 and October 31.

Associate Asia director at Human Rights Watch Patricia Gossman said that the Taliban leadership’s promised amnesty has not stopped local commanders from summarily executing or disappearing former Afghan security force members. “The burden is on the Taliban to prevent further killings, hold those responsible to account, and compensate the victims’ families,” she added.

SURRENDERING PERSONNEL

The Human Rights Watch said that they interviewed 40 people in-person in the four provinces and another 27 by telephone, namely witnesses, relatives and friends of victims, former government officials, journalists, healthcare workers, and Taliban members.

Despite the Taliban leadership directing members of surrendering security force units to register to receive a letter guaranteeing their safety, they have used these screenings to detain and summarily execute or forcibly disappear people within days after they register, leaving their bodies for their relatives or communities to find, the Human Rights watch said.

EMPLOYMENT RECORDS

Moreover, the report mentions that Taliban used the employment records that the former government left behind to identify people for arrest and execution. As an example, they said that Taliban forces went to the home of Baz Muhammad (Kandahar city), who had been employed by the National Directorate of Security (NDS), and arrested him. However, the relatives later found his body.

The Taliban is also blamed of carrying out abusive search operations, including night raids, and forcibly disappearing suspected former officials.

“Taliban night raids are terrifying,” a civil society activist from Helmand province was quoted as saying. “They are conducted on the pretext of disarming ex-security forces who have not surrendered weapons. Those that ‘disappear’ are [victims] of night raids. The family can’t report or confirm. The families can’t even ask where [the person has been taken,” the Human Rights Watch reported him.

GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS

The Report also mentions about the plight of a former provincial military officer in Helmand who had surrendered in late August. Since then, his family has been unable to find out where he is being held, or if he is still alive.

The report mentions that executions and disappearances have generated fear among former government officials and others who might have believed that the Taliban takeover would bring an end to the revenge attacks that had been characteristic of Afghanistan’s long armed conflict.

IS

The report pointed out that the Taliban targeted people in Nangarhar province, accusing them of supporting the Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP), an affiliate of the Islamic State.

Though the Taliban on September 21 announced the establishment of a commission to investigate reports of human rights abuses, corruption, theft, and other crimes, no such investigation has been carried out into any reported killings.

“The Taliban’s unsupported claims that they will act to prevent abuses and hold abusers to account appears, so far, to be nothing more than a public relations stunt,” Gossman said. “The lack of accountability makes clear the need for continued UN scrutiny of Afghanistan’s human rights situation, including robust monitoring, investigations, and public reporting,” she added.

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