UN: After Taliban Takeover, a Grim Number

Report says 100-plus ex-Afghan, international forces killed since Taliban took over in August
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 31, 2022 6:28 AM CST
UN: After Taliban Takeover, a Grim Number
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during an interview at UN headquarters on Jan. 20 in New York.   (AP Photo/Robert Bumsted, File)

The United Nations has received "credible allegations" that more than 100 former members of the Afghan government, its security forces, and those who worked with international troops have been killed since the Taliban took over the country Aug. 15, according to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. In a report obtained Sunday by the AP, Guterres said that "more than two-thirds" of the victims were alleged to result from extrajudicial killings by the Taliban or its affiliates, despite the Taliban's announcement of "general amnesties" for those affiliated with the former government and US-led coalition forces. The UN political mission in Afghanistan also received "credible allegations of extrajudicial killings of at least 50 individuals suspected of affiliation with ISIS-KP," the Islamic State extremist group operating in Afghanistan, Guterres said in the report to the UN Security Council.

Guterres added that despite Taliban assurances, the UN political mission has also received credible allegations "of enforced disappearances and other violations impacting the right to life and physical integrity" of former government and coalition members. Guterres said human rights defenders and media workers also continue "to come under attack, intimidation, harassment, arbitrary arrest, ill-treatment, and killings." Eight civil society activists were killed, including three by the Taliban and three by ISIS extremists, and 10 were subjected to temporary arrests, beatings, and threats by the Taliban, he said. Two journalists were killed—one by ISIS—and two were injured by unknown armed men. The secretary-general said the UN missions documented 44 cases of temporary arrests, beatings, and threats of intimidation, 42 of them by the Taliban.

The Taliban overran most of Afghanistan as US and NATO forces were in the final stages of their chaotic withdrawal from the country after 20 years. They entered Kabul on Aug. 15 without any resistance from the Afghan army or the country's president, Ashraf Ghani, who fled. The Taliban initially promised a general amnesty for those linked to the former government and international forces, and tolerance and inclusiveness toward women and ethnic minorities. However, the Taliban have renewed restrictions on women and appointed an all-male government, moves that have been met with dismay by the international community. "The situation in Afghanistan remains precarious and uncertain six months after the Taliban takeover as the multiple political, socioeconomic, and humanitarian shocks reverberate across the country," said Guterres.

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On a positive note, Guterres reported "a significant decline" in the overall number of conflict-related security incidents, as well as civilian casualties, since the Taliban takeover. Despite the reduction in violence, Guterres said the Taliban face several challenges, including rising attacks against their members. Guterres said intra-Taliban tensions along ethnic lines and competition over jobs have also resulted in violence, pointing to armed clashes on Nov. 4 between Taliban forces in Bamyan city. In the report, the secretary-general proposed priorities for the UN political mission in the current environment, urged international support to prevent widespread hunger and the country's economic collapse, and urged the Taliban to guarantee women's rights and human rights.

(More Afghanistan stories.)

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