Despite a promised amnesty, Taliban forces committed “unforgivable” acts in retaliation against ex-government officers, a recent report shows.
Taliban fighters have summarily killed or forcibly “disappeared” more than 100 former police and intelligence officers since taking power in Afghanistan.
Taliban forces have hunted down former officers using government employment records and have targeted those who surrendered and received letters guaranteeing their safety, the Human Rights Watch said in a report on Tuesday.
In some cases, local Taliban commanders have drawn up lists of people to be targeted, saying they committed “unforgivable” acts.
“The pattern of killings has sown terror throughout Afghanistan, as no one associated with the former government can feel secure they have escaped the threat of reprisal,” the group said in the report.
Taliban forces have also targeted people they suspect of supporting the Daesh group in eastern Nangarhar province, an epicenter of Daesh attacks, it said.
"A public relations stunt"
The Taliban leadership has repeatedly announced that workers of the former government, including members of the armed forces, have nothing to fear from them.
However, Human Rights Watch said the promised amnesty has not stopped local commanders from retaliating against former members of the army, police and intelligence services.
HRW claims to have documented the killings or enforced “disappearance” of 47 former armed forces members between August 15 and October 31. Its research indicated at least 53 more killings or disappearances as well.
The research focused on Ghazni, Kandahar, Kunduz and Helmand provinces. “But the cases reflect a broader pattern of abuses” reported in other provinces, it said.
“The burden is on the Taliban to prevent further killings, hold those responsible to account and compensate the victims’ families,” said Patricia Gossman, the organisation’s associate Asia director.
The Taliban leadership announced the creation of a commission to investigate reports of rights abuses and crimes by their own fighters in September.
According to HRW, the commission has so far only announced arrests of a few members for theft and the dismissal of others for corruption.
“The Taliban’s unsupported claims that they will act to prevent abuses and hold abusers to account appear so far to be nothing more than a public relations stunt,” Gossman said.
The Taliban seized power on August 15 when they swept into the capital Kabul as the internationally backed Afghan government collapsed.