Taliban killed more than 100 former army personnel in Afghanistan says Human Rights Watch. (File Photo)
The Taliban is responsible for the killing and disappearances of over 100 former police and intelligence officers according to the latest comprehensive report by Human Rights Watch (HRW).
The report, released on Tuesday, documents the killing or disappearance of 45 former Afghan National Security Forces soldiers who had surrendered to or were apprehended by the Taliban between August 15, when they captured power, and October 31. In all, the group “gathered credible information on more than 100 killings from” four provinces, according to a statement.
Accusing the Taliban leadership of "condoning" the "deliberate" killings, the report said that they had not prevented their commanders from targeting former soldiers and police.
“The Taliban leadership’s promised amnesty has not stopped local commanders from summarily executing or disappearing former Afghan security force members,” said Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director at HRW. “The burden is on the Taliban to prevent further killings, hold those responsible to account, and compensate the victims’ families.”
The Taliban has repeatedly assured that former government staff would be safe under a general amnesty towards those who had worked for the police, army, or other branches of the state. But many suspected that the Taliban will not stand by their word. The Taliban have a long history of killing members of the security forces and civil society figures.
The report says the Taliban forces have hunted down former officers using government employment records and have targeted those who surrendered and received letters guaranteeing their safety. In some cases, local Taliban commanders have drawn up lists of people to be targeted, saying they committed "unforgivable" acts.
"The pattern of killings has sown terror throughout Afghanistan, as no one associated with the former government can feel secure they have escaped the threat of reprisal," says the report.
"The Taliban's unsupported claims that they will act to prevent abuses and hold abusers to account appear so far to be nothing more than a public relations stunt," Gossman observed.
Reacting to the report, Thomas West, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan who is currently talking to the Taliban leaders in Doha, tweeted: “The Taliban are aware that the U.S. is deeply concerned about reports of retaliatory killings & forced disappearances of former ANSF members. We have urged the Taliban to ensure their promise of amnesty is upheld throughout their ranks and hold those responsible to account.”
The Taliban are aware that the U.S. is deeply concerned about reports of retaliatory killings & forced disappearances of former ANSF members. We have urged the Taliban to ensure their promise of amnesty is upheld throughout their ranks and hold those responsible to account.
— U.S. Special Representative Thomas West (@US4AfghanPeace) November 30, 2021
According to Afghan experts, there are countless human rights violations happening every day. But no one will speak against the Taliban out of fear of reprisals.
Afghan expert Ahmed Rashid says: "I don't see any way the Taliban are going to put their fighters on trial. Unfortunately, it's going to get covered up and that will give licence to more killings in the future".