The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) says the Taliban militants ruling the war-torn country have carried out more than 200 extrajudicial killings of former Afghan government officials and security forces since taking control two years ago.
UNAMA said in a report published on August 22 that in the period between August 15, 2021, and June 30, 2023, at least 800 instances of human rights violations, including arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture and ill-treatment, and enforced disappearance were carried out against individuals affiliated with the former government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and its security forces.
This came despite the Taliban’s announcement of an amnesty in 2021 for former government officials and military personnel.
“UNAMA’s report presents a sobering picture of the treatment of individuals affiliated with the former government and security forces of Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover of the country,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk.
“Even more so, given they were assured that they would be not targeted, it is a betrayal of the people’s trust. I urge the de facto authorities to carefully consider the findings of this report and to uphold their obligations under international human rights law by preventing further violations and holding perpetrators to account,” he added.
WATCH: She once helped put Taliban militants in prison, but now they are hunting her. Many former state prosecutors are in hiding and have been in fear for their lives since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan two years ago. Now one of them, a female prosecutor, agreed to an interview with RFE/RL. She told us she lives “like a prisoner,” constantly moving from one safe house to another. We have distorted her voice to protect her identity.
The Taliban rulers, who have not been recognized by any government around the world, have not commented the UNAMA report.
The Taliban swept to power in Afghanistan as international troops completed their withdrawal from the country after two decades.
The Taliban’s unrecognized government has since been slapped with sanctions amid international isolation because of its extensive human rights abuses, including severely limiting the rights of women and girls despite pledges of a more tolerant brand of rule than that of their predecessors in the late 1990s.
Approximately half of the recorded killings documented by UNAMA occurred in the initial four months following the Taliban’s rise to power, with an additional 70 cases recorded throughout last year.
During interviews with the UN mission’s researchers, Afghan citizens disclosed details of mistreatment and abuse carried out by members of the Taliban security forces, including physical assaults using pipes and cables, verbal threats, and other forms of abuse.
The UN mission also documented through testimony from family members the arrest and dispappearances of people, with bodies sometimes being discovered days or months later.
UNAMA said that, to date, efforts by the de facto authorities to investigate and hold perpetrators accountable for the incidents have been “extremely limited” and that in the few cases where an investigation was announced, “progress lacks transparency and accountability; impunity prevails.”
“While the announcement of a general Amnesty by the Taliban 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 secretary-general’s special representative for Afghanistan and the head of UNAMA.
“The de facto authorities must demonstrate a genuine commitment to the general amnesty. This is a crucial step in ensuring real prospects for justice, reconciliation and lasting peace in Afghanistan,” she said.