The United Nations says it has received “credible allegations” of extrajudicial killings of more than 100 former Afghan national security forces and others associated with Afghanistan’s former government since its fall three months ago, with most taking place at the hands of the ruling Taliban.
The Taliban took over Afghanistan in a rapid military sweep in mid-August amid a chaotic withdrawal of the United States-led foreign forces from the country.
In a speech to the Human Rights Council on Tuesday, Nada Al-Nashif, the UN deputy high commissioner for human rights, said at least 72 of the more than 100 alleged killings were “attributed to the Taliban”.
In several cases, Al-Nashif added, “the bodies were publicly displayed. This has exacerbated fear among this sizeable category of the population.”
There was no immediate comment by the Taliban.
Moreover, Al-Nashif said at least 50 suspected members of a local affiliate of ISIL (ISIS) known as ISIS-Khorasan Province, ISKP (ISIS-K)- an ideological foe of the Taliban – died by hanging and beheading in Nangarhar province alone over the same period.
She described Taliban rule as being marked by extrajudicial killings across the country and restrictions on women’s and girls’ basic rights.
A Taliban decree earlier this month barred forced marriages but failed to refer to women’s and girls’ rights to education, work and their freedom of movement and to participate in public life, she said.
Families face “severe poverty and hunger” this winter amid reports of child labour, early marriages and “even the sale of children”, Al-Nashif said.
The UN says more than 23 million Afghans – more than half the population – will face an “acute” food shortage in the winter months, forcing millions to choose between migration and starvation.
The UN’s World Food Programme said on Tuesday that its latest surveys estimated that 98 percent of Afghans are not consuming enough food – up 17 percentage points since August.
‘A litany of abuses’
In her update, Al-Nashif said at least eight Afghan activists and two journalists have been killed since August, while the UN has also documented 59 unlawful detentions.
“The safety of Afghan judges, prosecutors, and lawyers – particularly women legal professionals – is a matter for particular alarm”, she added.
Afghanistan’s envoy from the former government accused the Taliban of committing a wide range of abuses, including targeted killings and enforced disappearances.
“With the military takeover of Kabul by the Taliban, not only we see a total reversal of two decades of advances … but the group is also committing a litany of abuses with full impunity which in many cases is going unreported and undocumented,” Nasir Ahmad Andisha told the forum.
The comments came after the United States and other countries harshly condemned the Taliban following a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report earlier this month documenting 47 summary executions.
Those killings were of former members of the Afghan National Security Forces, other military personnel, police and intelligence agents “who had surrendered to or were apprehended by Taliban forces” from mid-August through to October, it said.
Taliban spokesman Qari Sayed Khosti flatly rejected the HRW report and other claims about extrajudicial killings as “not based on evidences.”
He said there were some cases of former members of the now-defunct Afghan National Defence and Security Forces who had been killed, but that was “because of personal rivalries and enmities.”