WORLD

More than 200 former Afghan officials and security forces killed since Taliban takeover, UN says

Aug 21, 2023, 11:39 PM

FILE - Taliban fighters patrol on the road during a celebration marking the second anniversary of t...

FILE - Taliban fighters patrol on the road during a celebration marking the second anniversary of the withdrawal of U.S.-led troops from Afghanistan, in Kandahar, south of Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023. More than 200 extrajudicial killings of former Afghan government officials and security forces have taken place since the Taliban took over the country two years ago, according to a U.N. report released Tuesday, Aug. 22. The most targeted groups have been former army, police and intelligence forces, according to the report from the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Abdul Khaliq, file)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Abdul Khaliq, file)

ISLAMABAD (AP) — More than 200 extrajudicial killings of former Afghan government officials and security forces have taken place since the Taliban took over the country two years ago, according to a U.N. report released Tuesday.

The groups most targeted by the Taliban have been former army, police and intelligence forces, according to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.

UNAMA documented at least 800 human rights violations against former Afghan government officials and security forces between Aug. 15, 2021, when the Taliban seized power, and the end of June 2023.

The Taliban swept across Afghanistan as U.S. and NATO troops were in the final weeks of their withdrawal from the country after two decades of war. The U.S.-trained and backed Afghan forces crumbled in the face of the Taliban advance and former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country.

“Individuals were detained by the de facto (Taliban) security forces, often briefly, before being killed. Some were taken to detention facilities and killed while in custody, others were taken to unknown locations and killed, their bodies either dumped or handed over to family members,” the report said.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk said in a press release issued alongside the report that it “presents a sobering picture of the treatment of individuals affiliated with the former government and security forces.”

“Even more so, given they were assured that they would be not targeted, it is a betrayal of the people’s trust,” Turk said. He urged Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers — the country’s “de facto authorities” to uphold their “obligations under international human rights law by preventing further violations and holding perpetrators to account.”

Since their takeover, the Taliban have faced no significant opposition and have avoided internal divisions.

The Taliban-led Afghan foreign ministry dismissed the report, saying it was unaware of any cases of human rights violations committed by Taliban officials or employees.

“Murder without trial, arbitrary arrest, detention, torture, and other acts against human rights by the employees of the security institutions of the Islamic Emirate against the employees and security forces of the previous government have not been reported,” it said in a statement.

The report said former Afghan soldiers were at greatest risk of experiencing human rights violations, followed by police and intelligence officials. Violations were recorded across all 34 provinces, with the greatest number recorded in Kabul, Kandahar and Balkh provinces.

The majority of violations took place in the four months following the Taliban takeover, with UNAMA recording almost half of all extrajudicial killings of former government officials and Afghan security forces during this period. But rights violations continued even after that, with 70 extrajudicial killings recorded in 2022, the report added.

The report documented at least 33 human rights violations against former police officers in southern Kandahar province, accounting for over a quarter of all human rights violations against former police members nationwide.

UNAMA documented at least 14 instances of forced disappearance of former government officials and Afghan security force members.

On Oct. 2, 2021, Alia Azizi, the former head of a women’s prison in western Herat province, did not return home from work and her whereabouts remain unknown. Despite reportedly initiating an investigation into her disappearance, the Taliban have not released any information about her whereabouts, the report said.

The U.N. documented more than 424 arbitrary arrests and detentions of former government officials and members of the Afghan security forces while more than 144 instances of torture and ill-treatment were documented in the report, including beatings with pipes, cables, verbal threats and other abuse.

The Taliban initially promised a general amnesty for those linked to the former government and international forces, but those pledges were not upheld.

The failure of the Taliban authorities “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,” the report said.

While the Taliban announcement of a general amnesty in August 2021 “was a welcome step, it continues to not be fully upheld, with impunity for human rights violations prevailing,” said Roza Otunbayeva, the head of the U.N. mission in Afghanistan.

She urged the Taliban to show “”a genuine commitment to the general amnesty. This is a crucial step in ensuring real prospects for justice, reconciliation and lasting peace in Afghanistan.”

Despite initial promises of a moderate administration, the Taliban have enforced harsh rules, banning girls’ education after the sixth grade and barring Afghan women from public life and most work, including for nongovernmental organizations and the U.N. The measures recalled the previous Taliban rule of Afghanistan in the late 1990s, when they also imposed their interpretation of Islamic law, or Sharia.

The edicts prompted an international outcry against the already ostracized Taliban, whose administration has not been officially recognized by the U.N. and the international community. ……………..

World

Associated Press

Stock market today: Asian shares mostly fall as dive for Big Tech stocks hits Wall St rally

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mostly lower Thursday, with Tokyo’s benchmark dipping more than 2%, after Wall Street’s record-breaking rally slammed into a wall of worries over potentially worsening trade tensions with China. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index finished down 2.4% at 40,126.35. The markets’ spotlight was squarely on chip companies after a report from […]

2 hours ago

Residents walk through the Petare neighborhood of Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, July 16, 2024. (AP P...

Associated Press

The uncertainty that plagues life in crisis-ridden Venezuela is also wreaking havoc on relationships

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Victoria Estevez finally met someone who saw past her shyness. They spent two months learning about their likes and dislikes, texting about their families and friends, and walking around their hometowns on Venezuela’s Caribbean coast. On a trip to the capital in December, they held each other for the first time. […]

3 hours ago

Yoko Sakato, left, and Valerie Matsunaga, right, relatives of soldiers who fought in the 442nd Infa...

Associated Press

US Army honors Nisei combat unit that helped liberate Tuscany from Nazi-Fascist forces in WWII

ROME (AP) — The U.S. military is celebrating a little-known part of World War II history, honoring the Japanese-American U.S. Army unit that was key to liberating parts of Italy and France even while the troops’ relatives were interned at home as enemies of the state following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. Descendants of the […]

4 hours ago

FILE - A view of Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, England, March 24, 2009. Leaders from a...

Associated Press

European leaders will discuss migration and Ukraine at a UK summit amid worry about Trump

LONDON (AP) — Leaders from across Europe gather at an English country mansion on Thursday for a summit clouded by worries about whether the United States would remain a reliable ally if Donald Trump secures a second presidency. Newly elected U.K. Prime Minister Keir Starmer is welcoming some 45 heads of government to discuss migration, […]

4 hours ago

Drivers are stranded due to flood waters blocking the Don Valley Parkway following heavy rain in To...

Associated Press

Flooding on highway in Toronto as torrential rain hits city

TORONTO (AP) — A major highway, several thoroughfares and a key transit hub were flooded in Canada’s largest city on Tuesday after torrential rain hit Toronto, while power outages were reported in multiple areas. Toronto police said part of the Don Valley Parkway, which runs from the north part of the city into the downtown […]

2 days ago

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands in a glass cage in a courtroom in Yekaterinbur...

Associated Press

US journalist Evan Gershkovich will appear in court for the second hearing in his trial

MOSCOW (AP) — Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich will appear in court on Thursday for the second hearing in his trial on espionage charges that he, his employer and the U.S. government vehemently deny, court records showed. The trial is taking place behind closed doors in Yekaterinburg, a city in the Ural Mountains where […]

2 days ago

More than 200 former Afghan officials and security forces killed since Taliban takeover, UN says