The Taliban has killed hundreds of Afghan former military, security and government officials since the U.S.-backed government fell to the insurgents two years ago, the United Nations said in a report released Tuesday.
Taliban leader Amir al-Mu’minin verbally granted amnesty to Afghans who aided the U.S. and allied militaries in their 20-year war to stamp out Islamist insurgents, but instead have retaliated against former Army and security personnel, the investigation found. At least 200 were arbitrarily killed and hundreds more subjected to torture, disappearances and imprisonment outside of legal proceedings between Aug. 15, 2021 and June 30, 2023, the U.N.’s humanitarian arm in Afghanistan said.
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A “climate of fear” exists among former government officials and members of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) wrote in the report.
“Members of the de facto authorities continue to perpetrate, or fail to respond to, human rights violations that are carried out with apparent impunity,” UNAMA said. “The de facto authorities’ failure to fully uphold their publicly stated commitment and to hold perpetrators of human rights violations to account may have serious implications for the future stability of Afghanistan.”
Tens of thousands of former government and security officials and Afghan National Army soldiers remain in Afghanistan who, for various reasons, have not joined the scramble of Afghans fleeing the country since the Taliban takeover in August 2021, according to The Wall Street Journal. No country has recognized the Taliban as a legitimate government.
UNAMA documented more than half of the extrajudicial killings in the four months since the Taliban took over Afghanistan, and an additional 70 in 2022. In most cases, investigators were unable to track down the member or branch of the de facto government perpetrating the killings.
More than 144 individuals reported experiencing torture and abuse at the hands of the de facto authorities, including beatings with pipes and cables and treatment leading to loss of consciousness, in order to force confessions of working for the former government or ANDSF.
Taliban officials have promised to investigate incidents and have arrested suspected perpetrators, but the investigation found little evidence of a dedicated effort to systematically enforce the promise of general amnesty.
When acknowledging a killing, the Taliban has in many cases passed it off to the U.N. as motivated by “personal enmity or revenge” and not done on official orders, according to the report.
UNAMA provided a draft of the report to the Taliban’s foreign ministry, which shared it with relevant governing bodies. The response reiterated the Taliban’s commitment to amnesty.
“Until now, no case of non-compliance with the order of general amnesty of Amir al-Mu’minin has been received. In case any official or security and defense institution of the Islamic Emirate has violated the decree of amnesty, the matter will be officially investigated, and the perpetrators will be introduced to the judicial authorities for prosecution,” the Taliban said.
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