According to a new Human Rights Watch report, the Taliban killed or disappeared more than 100 former Afghan security forces members in four provinces in the first two and a half months of the militants’ rule.
The deaths are part of a wave of assassinations and summary executions that have occurred across Afghanistan since the fall of Ashraf Ghani’s government in August, and are widely regarded as revenge killings.
Despite the Taliban’s announcement of a general amnesty for former government workers and military officials when they seized power, the attacks highlight the dangers that Taliban critics, activists, and members of the former government’s security forces face.
Human Rights Watch detailed the killing and forced disappearance of 47 former government security forces members who either surrendered to the Taliban or were detained by them between August 15 and October 31 in four of the country’s 34 provinces: Ghazni, Helmand, Kandahar, and Kunduz.
According to the group’s research, the Taliban are also responsible for the deaths or disappearances of at least 53 former security force members in the same provinces.
According to Ms. Gossman, the killings have evolved into a more “deliberate” effort to crush dissidents and those who may pose a threat to the new government, and the Taliban leaders have “condoned” the atrocities.
The Taliban has a long history of targeting security forces and former government officials, as well as activists, journalists, and elders. The Taliban carried out an assassination campaign against journalists, government and military workers, and civil society leaders, particularly in the 18 months leading up to the takeover, though they rarely took responsibility for the deaths.
However, the recent summary executions and assassinations have raised new concerns because they occurred despite assurances from senior Taliban leaders that the new government would not seek retribution against former government and military members.
Score-settling and blood feuds have characterized Afghanistan’s last four decades of conflict, often at the local and familial level.
The killings raise concerns that Taliban leaders may have little control over lower-ranking commanders and foot soldiers, who are thought to be responsible for the majority of the forced disappearances and executions.
Human Rights Watch documented the deaths of Afghans including a man named Dadullah, who had worked as a police officer in Kandahar city for a few months before quitting and moving to the town of Spin Boldak near the Pakistan border before the Taliban took over.
Dadullah returned to Kandahar city last month. On Oct. 23, two men believed to be Taliban members picked him up, and his body was transported home in an ambulance later that evening.
Since seizing power, government leaders have instructed former security forces members to register with local officials and surrender their weapons in exchange for a letter ensuring their safety.
According to the report, some victims’ families claim that the Taliban used these screenings to detain and kill former officials. According to the report, former civil servants in high-level government positions, such as judges, who were unaware they were required to obtain an amnesty letter, have been beaten and detained for failing to do so.
According to the report, the Taliban conducted searches for some former security force members and threatened and abused their families in an attempt to persuade them to reveal their hiding places.
According to the report, many of the victims were arrested when the Taliban’s elite special forces, known as red units, raided their homes in the middle of the night under the guise of seizing weapons. In recent years, these units have led the Taliban’s most successful operations against coalition and former government forces.