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TOLO News, July 24, 2021

33 People Killed in Taliban-held Areas in Kandahar: Watchdog

Taliban has denied any involvement in human rights violations in areas under their control

By Massoud Ansar

Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) on Saturday said that 33 people were assassinated in Kandahar over the past two weeks.

“Religious scholars, tribal elders, civil society activists, journalists and human rights defenders and female journalists are being sacrificed in targeted attacks,” said Zabihullah Farhang, spokesman to AIHRC.

“Any group that resorts on harming civilians is conducting a war crime under the rules of war,” said Laal Gul Laal, the head of Human Rights Organization.

The Human Rights Watch (HRW), meanwhile, in a report said that hundreds of people in the districts that were fallen to the Taliban in Afghanistan’s southern Kandahar province have been detained and some were killed by the group over their alleged associated with the Afghan government and the country’s security institutions.

The watchdog said that the Taliban have reportedly killed some detainees, including relatives of provincial government officials and members of Afghanistan’s National Police (ANP) and the Afghan National army (ANA).

Citing reports by the journalists, the Human Rights Watch said that after Taliban forces took control of Kandahar’s Spin Boldak border crossing with Pakistan on July 8, and the Spin Boldak district center on July 16, they conducted searches to identify residents who have worked for the local government or security forces.

“Taliban forces that control areas around Kandahar city have carried out similar searches and have evicted some residents. Local media have reported that the Taliban have taken more than 300 people into custody and have detained them in unidentified locations,” HRW said.

“There are grave concerns that Taliban forces in Kandahar may commit further atrocities to retaliate against the government and security forces.” said Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Taliban leaders have denied responsibility for any abuses, but growing evidence of expulsions, arbitrary detentions, and killings in areas under their control are raising fears among the population.”

The Taliban have told members of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), including police who have been the principal security force in Kandahar, to register with them to receive letters guaranteeing their safety, the HRW said, quoting a local activist in Kandahar.

According to the report, Taliban forces also gone to the homes of some ANDSF members who had registered, taken them into custody, and killed an unknown number of them.

Local activists said that in one case, on July 9, the Taliban shot and killed a man named Nangiyali, in front of family members. He was a resident of Sarposa, Kandahar, who had previously worked with the police, said HRW.

“The UN, US, and other countries engaged in the peace talks should urgently call on the Taliban leadership to stop these killings and other abuses,” Gossman said.

On Thursday sources familiar with the report said that Unidentified gunmen reportedly have killed "over a 100 civilians" in Spin Boldak district of Kandahar province.

The Afghan Ministry of Interior (MoI) confirmed the report, saying these civilians were killed without any reason.

The Afghan government blamed the Taliban for the murder of civilians.

“The brutal terrorists on the order of their Punjabi bosses (Pakistan) ambushed the homes of the innocent Afghans in certain areas of Spin Boldak, looted the homes and martyred 100 innocent people,” said Mirwais Stanekzai, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior.

“They must respect intentional laws and the law of war on the battlefields,” said legal expert Qazi Abdul Rahim.

“If revenge continues in this country, they (Taliban) must remember that the nation will retaliate against them,” said former governor of Helmand Amir Mohammad Akhundzada.

The US Department of State has also raised concerns over reports of extrajudicial killings by the Taliban.

“Recent reports of violence and atrocities against interpreters and other Afghan activist indicate local Taliban forces are showing little regard towards human rights and human rights on the ground. We condemns these targeted attacks, the destruction of infrastructure as well as other attacks against the people of Afghanistan,” said Jalina Porter, the deputy State Department spokesperson.

But the Taliban has denied any involvement in human rights violations in areas under their control.

Category: Taliban/ISIS/Terrorism, HR Violations - Views: 3033