Afghanistan dispatches: HRW report on Taliban killings of former military officers ‘shocking’
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Afghanistan dispatches: HRW report on Taliban killings of former military officers ‘shocking’

Law students and lawyers in Afghanistan are filing reports with JURIST on the situation there after the Taliban takeover. Here, a Staff Correspondent for JURIST in Kabul comments on  a new report by Human Rights Watch on Taliban killings of former government officers despite an announced “amnesty.”  For privacy and security reasons, we are withholding our Correspondent’s name. The text has been only lightly edited to respect the author’s voice.

Today’s Human Rights Watch report on Taliban assassination of former government officials, especially those from the military, is shocking. The report says that the Taliban have killed more than 100 former military, police, and intelligence officers of the former government after they seized power in August in Afghanistan. All these assassinations and murders occurred only in four provinces: Ghazni, Helmand, Kandahar, and Kunduz.

The report suggests that investigations of the killings will be initiated by the Taliban. But the Taliban are refusing such acts and adds that all arrest and punishments are followed by court orders and no one has been punished without a court order. What is alarming is that the Taliban say that all arrests and punishments are done by court orders. But it seems that most of the targeted people were arrested, punished, killed, and detained without a court order.

After 15 August, for almost two months – and even now – the courts in most of the provinces have been closed for many reasons. In my opinion, many people within the Taliban used this period to harm, target, and even kill people due to personal enmity.

The HRW report also adds information on the arrest of former officials, and disappearing of many others. The Taliban have been searching for known former members of the security forces and have been threatening and harassing family members to reveal the places of those hiding. Some of those who were eventually arrested were unaware, Human Rights Watch said. Most others were detained and their families have no information where they are detained and if they are still alive.   One example cited in the report is that of Baz Mohammad, originally from Paktika province, who was hired in Kandahar by the National Directorate of Security (NDS), a former government intelligence agency. Around September 30, Taliban forces came to his home in Kandahar and arrested him. His relatives later found his body. The assassination, which took place about 45 days after the Taliban took control of the country, suggests that senior Taliban officials ordered or at least knew about the assassination.