In at least four Afghan provinces, Taliban forces have reportedly conducted over 100 executions and forced disappearances since the terrorist group regained control.
Those attacks were recorded in Ghazni, Helmand, Kandahar, and Kunduz between August and October according to a report by Human Rights Watch.
“They were targeting the people they had fought with. And many of the cases we investigated were people really on the front lines, people who were known to the Taliban in particular localities,” said Patricia Gossman, report author, in an interview.
Gossman added that the attacks took place even though the Taliban had promised they would not seek revenge after Western forces withdrew from Afghanistan.
“They offered an amnesty; they have claimed this from their senior officials in Kabul. But what we see on the ground is in fact it doesn’t apply, at least for some people,” she said. “They are deliberately going after people either based on personal relationships and enmities or because of the role they played.”
Researchers gathered evidence for the report from 67 in-person and phone interviews with relatives, witnesses, former government officials, and even Taliban officials. The report says the former government left behind employment records that Taliban used to identify people to arrest and execute.
Gossman said, “What started out maybe as a kind of rush maybe of initial revenge killings in the first weeks, now seems to be much more deliberate. It’s spread to other provinces and it seems part of maybe a strategy to ensure that there isn’t any opposition remobilizing against them.”
In response, the Taliban told Human Rights Watch that they have only dismissed those responsible for certain abuses, but they did not provide any other information or evidence.
On Saturday, state media aired a speech by the Taliban’s Mullah Mohammed Hassan Akhund, who claims to be Afghanistan’s prime minister. He accused the former government of causing trouble. “Nation, be vigilant,” he said. “Those left over from the previous government in hiding are making remarks and causing anxiety, misleading the people to distrust their government. Nation, be vigilant, that the enemy does not overrun us again, defiant of our holy government, our security.”
In light of these executions, Human Rights Watch is calling on the United Nations to continue their scrutiny and investigation of abuses committed by the terrorist organization. So far, the U.S., the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund have frozen Afghan central bank assets and blocked cash shipments into the country after the Taliban seized power on August 15.
ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: VOA NEWS
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