UN Report Exposes Taliban's Killings and Abuses of Afghan Officials and Forces
The Taliban's control over Afghanistan since August 2021 has resulted in the deaths of numerous former government officials and armed forces members, as outlined in a recent UN report released on Tuesday.
According to the report, between August 15, 2021, and June 30, 2023, there have been documented instances of over 800 extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture, ill-treatment, and enforced disappearances targeting individuals associated with the previous government and its security forces.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) published this report on Tuesday, highlighting the widespread rights violations that persist despite the de facto authorities' declaration of a "general amnesty" for former government officials and members of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF).
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, remarked, "UNAMA’s report presents a sobering picture of the treatment of individuals affiliated with the former government and security forces of Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover of the country. Even more so, given they were assured that they would not be targeted, it is a betrayal of the people’s trust." Türk urged the Taliban to acknowledge the report's findings, uphold international human rights standards, prevent further violations, and hold those responsible accountable.
The UN mission's interviews with Afghan individuals revealed cases of torture and ill-treatment by Taliban members, including physical beatings with pipes, cables, verbal threats, and verbal abuse. Some families reported their relatives being arrested or going missing, with their bodies discovered days or even months later, while others have yet to be located. The report highlighted the case of Alia Azizi, the former Head of the Herat Women’s Prison, who disappeared on October 2, 2021, and remains unaccounted for as of August 22 this year.
The UN mission called on the Taliban to clarify the terms of the general amnesty and advocated for transparent and credible criminal investigations into alleged human rights abuses against former government officials and ANDSF members.
Roza Otunbayeva, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Head of UNAMA, stressed, "While the announcement of a general Amnesty by the Taliban in August 2021 was a welcome step, it continues to not be fully upheld, with impunity for human rights violations prevailing. The de facto authorities must demonstrate a genuine commitment to the general amnesty. This is a crucial step in ensuring real prospects for justice, reconciliation, and lasting peace in Afghanistan."
In response to the UNAMA report, Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesperson for the Taliban, asserted that the group has indeed honored their commitment to a general amnesty and is actively investigating "some personal and unknown cases of revenge" attacks. He also criticized the United Nations and others for focusing on negative aspects rather than acknowledging the positive changes in Afghanistan.