The Taliban’s deputy chief minister Abdul Salam Hanafi said on Sunday anyone violating the general amnesty of former government officials and security forces will be prosecuted.
This comes after the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a report last month that it had recorded credible reports of serious human rights violations by the Taliban against hundreds of former government officials and former armed forces members, including 218 extrajudicial killings.
UNAMA documented at least 800 instances of extrajudicial killing, arbitrary arrest and detention, torture and ill-treatment and enforced disappearance carried out against individuals affiliated with the former republic government of Afghanistan and its security forces since the Taliban takeover in 2021.
While the report sparked widespread condemnation, the Taliban rejected the claims and said the incidents are not “documented and have not been proven.”
However, speaking at a ceremony to mark the end of the Taliban’s annual accountability program, Hanafi said any act of revenge is considered a crime and that perpetrators will be prosecuted.
“No one has the right to take revenge on anyone. If, God forbid, any incident happens, we consider it a criminal act and not the policy of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (Taliban). The person who commits such a crime, whoever, junior or senior [member], will be brought to court and will be held accountable according to Islamic principles,” Hanafi said.
UNAMA documented at least 218 extrajudicial killings of former government officials and ANDSF members since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. The most targeted groups affiliated with the former government were ANA members, Afghan National Police, National Directorate of Security officials and Afghan Local Police.
In most instances, individuals were detained by the Taliban’s security forces, often briefly, before being killed. Some were taken to detention facilities and killed while in custody, others were taken to unknown locations and killed, their bodies either dumped or handed over to family members.
The report stated that UNAMA has documented more than 424 arbitrary arrests and detentions of former government officials and ANDSF members since the Taliban takeover, and at least 14 instances of enforced disappearance.
One example given was that of Alia Azizi, former head of the Women’s Prison in Herat province, who disappeared on October 2, 2021. She has not been seen or heard of since.
In addition to this, more than 144 instances of torture and illtreatment of former government officials and ANDSF members by Taliban members have been documented since 15 August 2021, including beatings with pipes, cables, verbal threats and abuse. Individuals reported to UNAMA that they were tortured or ill-treated by de facto officials in order to force them to make confessions regarding their work with the former government or ANDSF, or to hand over weapons.
Multiple reports were also received of threats made to former government officials and ANDSF members, both by unknown people and by Taliban members.
UNAMA stated that the apparent impunity with which the Taliban members continue to commit human rights violations against former government officials and ANDSF members is of serious concern.
The report stated that to date, efforts by the Taliban to investigate and hold perpetrators accountable for the incidents described in the report have been extremely limited. Even in the few, isolated cases where an investigation was announced, progress lacked transparency and accountability; impunity prevails.
The report meanwhile pointed out that the Taliban has on a number of occasions responded to killings as having been about “personal enmity or revenge” and that the action was not carried out in an “official” capacity.