Amnesty International on Thursday called for the application of universal jurisdiction against members of the Taliban accused of crimes under international law. Universal jurisdiction in this case would give any country the ability to prosecute Taliban members for violations of international law.
Amnesty International said on the platform X (Twitter), “The new UNAMA report demonstrates an unending pattern of extrajudicial killings against members of the former government and security forces since Taliban’s return to power in August 2021.”
This statement comes after a Tuesday report by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) which found that Taliban de-facto authorities had been committing extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, torture and other forms of maltreatment against former members of Afghanistan’s government and security forces. The report said UNAMA has recorded at least 218 extrajudicial killings of former government officials and security forces members in less than two years, from August 2021 to June 2023.
The head of UNAMA Roza Otunbayeva stated that the Taliban authorities “must demonstrate a genuine commitment to the general amnesty to ensure real prospects for justice, reconciliation, and lasting peace in Afghanistan.”
The main spokesperson for the Taliban, Zabihullah Mujahid, has rejected the UNAMA report, calling it “untrue.” He further stated that “some organizations within the United Nations, instead of understanding the realities of Afghanistan and seeing positive developments, always seek negative aspects and spread propaganda which indeed, damage their credibility.”
In August 2021, upon taking over Afghanistan, the Taliban pledged to respect women’s rights within the framework of their interpretation of Islamic law. However, the Taliban takeover has instead resulted in a significant setback for women and girls, who now face severe restrictions on education, mobility and employment.
In addition, the Hazara minority, who have faced persecution in the past, are now at risk of increased violence and discrimination.