New Delhi: The Taliban have summarily executed or forcibly disappeared more than 100 former police and intelligence officers in just four of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces since taking over the country on August 15, according to a report released by Human Rights Watch (HRW).
The Taliban, through their intelligence operations and access to records left behind by the Ashraf Ghani government, have also identified new targets for arrest and execution despite proclaiming an amnesty, the report said.
The Taliban leadership directed members of surrendering Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) units to register with them to receive a letter guaranteeing their safety. Individuals who registered were screened for ties to military, police, militia, and special forces units or to commanders or former provincial authorities.
The report said these screenings were used by the Taliban to detain and summarily execute or make individuals disappear within days of registration.
The 25-page report, “No forgiveness for people like you – Executions and enforced disappearances in Afghanistan under the Taliban,” provided evidence of the killing or disappearance of 47 former members of ANSF who surrendered or were apprehended by the Taliban between August 15 and October 31.
HRW said it gathered credible information on more than 100 killings from Ghazni, Helmand, Kandahar, and Kunduz – four of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan. The executions have generated fear among former officials and others who believed the Taliban takeover would lead to an end to “revenge attacks”.
“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.”
In Nangarhar province, the Taliban targeted people they accuse of supporting the Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP). As the UN has reported, Taliban operations against ISKP “rely heavily on extra-judicial detentions and killings”. Many of those killed were targeted because of Salafist views or tribal affiliations.
On September 21, the Taliban announced the establishment of a commission to investigate reports of human rights abuses, corruption, and other crimes.