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Afghanistan reports of torture and killing contradict Taliban's promises

Published on August 20, 2021 9:31 AM

by Peter Beaumont and Hannah Ellis-Petersen

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Evidence of Taliban killings, detentions and intimidation is emerging across Afghanistan, ominously contradicting the hardline Islamist group's promise earlier this week not to take revenge against its opponents.

With reports of the Taliban going door to door searching for those who worked with the former Afghan government or western countries, claims have also emerged of Taliban fighters torturing and killing members of an ethnic minority in Afghanistan after overrunning their village last month.

Amnesty International said its researchers had spoken to witnesses in Ghazni province who recounted how the Taliban killed nine Hazara men in the village of Mundarakht between 4 and 6 July.

Hazaras are Shia Muslims who were previously persecuted by the Taliban and who made major gains in education and social status in recent years.

The brutality of the killings was "a reminder of the Taliban's past record, and a horrifying indicator of what Taliban rule may bring", said Agn├Ęs Callamard, the head of Amnesty International.

The rights group warned that many more killings may have gone unreported because the Taliban cut mobile phone services in many areas they have captured to prevent images from being published.

In a separate incident, Taliban fighters also killed a relative of an Afghan journalist working for the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle who they were looking for in western Afghanistan. The broadcaster revealed that three more of its journalists had also had their homes raided.

"Move heaven and earth': pressure on Biden to speed up visas for Afghans who helped US There have been reports of demonstrators being killed in several cities in recent days, and the beating and intimidation of those trying to flee the country, not least around the airport in Kabul.

Commenting on the Deutsche Welle case, Katja Gloger of the German division of Reporters Without Borders said: "Sadly, this confirms our worst fears. The brutal action of the Taliban shows that the lives of independent media workers in Afghanistan are in acute danger."

Many Afghans fear a return to the Taliban's harsh rule of the late 1990s, when the group largely confined women to their homes, banned television and music, chopped off the hands of suspected thieves and held public executions.

The concern was underscored by a report written by the RHIPTO Norwegian Center for Global Analyses, which provides information to the UN, that said militants were ...