UN Afghanistan investigation details extrajudicial killings, torture and human rights abuses under Taliban regime News
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UN Afghanistan investigation details extrajudicial killings, torture and human rights abuses under Taliban regime

The United Nations Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) Wednesday released a report holding the ruling Taliban regime responsible for numerous extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary arrests, and other inhumane punishments over the course of nearly a year since the Taliban seized power.

UNAMA’s report extensively outlines the deteriorating human rights situation in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover. It summarizes the group’s findings during that time with a special focus on the treatment of civilians, the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan, and the restriction of fundamental freedoms. The report also contains recommendations to both the Taliban and the international community on how to best address past incidents and prevent others in the future. 

The report is careful to emphasize that the vast majority of incidents identified by their investigation were committed by either those aligned with the controlling Taliban forces or by the armed insurgent group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant – Khorasan Province (ISIL-KP).

In total, UNAMA found that Taliban forces engaged in 239 extrajudicial killings, 313 arbitrary arrests and detentions, 46 cases of incommunicado detention, and 73 instances of torture. Most of the incidents targeted former Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) soldiers, officials from the previous administration, ISIL-KP members, or National Resistance Front soldiers. The group also identified an additional 217 instances of excessive or degrading punishments and 118 excessive uses of force by Taliban forces against civilians. Finally, Taliban forces also allegedly engaged in at least 163 human rights violations targeting journalists and 64 violations targeting human rights defenders.

UNAMA also recognized an additional 2106 civilian casualties (700 killed, 1406 wounded), most of which were caused by improvised explosive device attacks attributed to ISIL-KP and unexploded ordnances from the multitude of past conflicts within the region. They also stated that of six journalists who were killed during the last ten months at least five of them were killed by self-identified ISIL-KP members.

In reference to the report Markus Potzel, the Acting Secretary General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, called on the Taliban to rein in their forces and follow international law stating that:

As reflected by the United Nations Security Council in the extension of UNAMA’s mandate, Afghanistan as a state remains party to a number of instruments concerning human rights and fundamental freedoms. With this in mind, I urge the de facto authorities to do their utmost to address the concerns outlined in our report and meet their international obligations to protect and promote the human rights of all Afghans.