Afghan captives held by the Taliban have been subjected to abuse, ill-treatment and actions that may amount to torture, the UN said.
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said on Sunday it interviewed 13 detainees from a group of 53 recently rescued from the Taliban.
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The group mainly consisted of members of the Afghan forces but also civilians and government officials.
The group was freed on April 25 when Afghan troops raided a Taliban-run detention facility in the Khas Uruzgan district in southern Uruzgan province.
Most of the captives were held since 2018, with three since 2016, the UNAMA statement said, adding they were kept in poor conditions and subjected to forced labour.
It cites the detainees as saying that the Taliban killed some of their captives.
“I am gravely concerned about these serious allegations of ill-treatment, torture and unlawful killing of civilians and security personnel, as well as the deplorable conditions of detention,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the head of UNAMA.
The detainees were shackled while in captivity and almost all said they were beaten.
The Taliban told them it was punishment for supporting the government, working with the US or fighting the armed group.
The UN statement comes as Washington’s peace envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad is pressing ahead with talks with the Taliban, who refuse to negotiate directly with the Kabul government.
The talks so far have focused on a timetable for US troop withdrawal as well as Taliban guarantees that they won’t harbour “terror” groups or allow Afghanistan to be used as a staging ground for global attacks.
As the war approaches its 18th year, 14,000 US troops are still in Afghanistan, and senior US intelligence officials have repeatedly warned that the country remains fragile.
The UN said in its quarterly report in April that between January and March 2019, armed groups killed 227 civilians and injured 736 others.
In contrast, Afghan and international security forces killed 305 people and injured 303, a 39 percent jump from the same period last year.
During the same period, aerial operations by both Afghan and international military forces caused 145 deaths, half of them women and children, UNAMA said.