Credible reports of Taliban executions; women, journalists, civil society leaders in danger: UN rights chief

United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has said that she had received credible reports that the Taliban had committed serious violations, including summary executions of civilians, in Afghanistan

Aug 24, 2021
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United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet

United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has said that she had received credible reports that the Taliban had committed serious violations, including summary executions of civilians, in Afghanistan. She also asked the Geneva Forum to set up a mechanism to monitor the group’s actions closely in the coming days. 

Around a week ago, the Taliban, an Afghan Islamist fundamentalist group, seized power in the country, toppling the US-backed democratically elected government in Kabul. 

In her speech to the Human Rights Council, Bachelet said on Tuesday, "There are grave fears for women, for journalists, and for the new generation of civil society leaders who have emerged in the past years. " 

"Afghanistan’s diverse ethnic and religious minorities are also at risk of violence and repression, given previous patterns of serious violations under Taliban rule and reports of killings and targeted attacks in recent months," she said.

Earlier, reports in local media also showed that the Taliban fighters had been involved in harassing, and beating local journalists who were covering anti-Taliban protests in a few cities. 

Recently, the Taliban fighters have allegedly executed civilians in the Andarab district in northern Baghlan province, where people supported anti-Taliban resistance forces. Several women and children, fearing the Taliban, later fled the district, according to local media reports. 

In the UNHRC session, Nasir Ahmad Andisha, a senior Afghan diplomat from the deposed government, called for accountability for Taliban actions, describing an "uncertain and dire" situation where millions of people fear for their lives, reported Reuters.

During the session, several independent U.N. human rights experts, in a joint statement, confirmed what many people were saying on social media platforms that the group has been conducting door-to-door, hunting former government officials. 

"Searches, arrests, harassment, and intimidation, as well as seizures of property and reprisals, are already being reported,” they said.

Despite the general amnesty announced by the group, fighters on the ground are reportedly carrying lists of people who had earlier worked with the government and foreign forces in the country. 

Thousands of people have been rushing to Kabul airport in an attempt to get out of the country, fearing reprisal from the hardliner group which is now set to rule the country of about 32 million people, half of them young, who have no experience of previous Taliban rule between 1996-2001. 

(SAM)