Thursday January 20, 2022

Taliban report

December 08, 2021

The alleged summary killings of former security forces personnel and enforced disappearances in Afghanistan have elicited a reaction from across the world in the past few days. A Human Rights Watch (HRW) report has documented serious violations of human rights that the Afghan Taliban are said to have committed since assuming power in Afghanistan. The HRW report has highlighted that the security personnel who worked for the Ghani government have become a particular target of the new rulers in Afghanistan. There are at least four dozen instances documented in the report that involved such personnel who had surrendered to the Afghan Taliban. These personnel belonged to various cadres of the Afghan National Security Forces.

According to all accepted international laws pertaining to wars, those who surrender or come under arrest are entitled to fair trial and justice. No law – criminal or otherwise – allows any summary executions in this manner. Similarly, abductions or disappearances are also against the law and those in power are accountable in such cases. Though the Taliban have time and again announced that they have granted a general amnesty to all former civilian and military employees and officers, the HRW report has disputed these claims. There is also a strong possibility that some of the Taliban may be settling their own scores without seeking permission from the administration in Kabul.

It is also noteworthy that the Taliban have still not been able to install a regular government and are just making do with ‘acting ministers’. Such a temporary arrangement is unlikely to stop unauthorised executions, unless a full-time and long-term government takes effect and that the world recognizes as legitimate. If the reports are correct, the Taliban government needs to purge its ranks and identify those who are violating the law. So far, the new government has not been able to satisfy most of the world regarding their changed behaviours and intentions regarding respect for human rights and the rights of women to education and work in an independent atmosphere. There is a need for a thorough investigation into the alleged abuses. Those responsible for such acts must be taken to task and free and fair trial mechanisms should be in place across Afghanistan. The credibility of the Taliban government is at stake and in the presence of apprehensions about them, they need to improve their credentials to rule, without which they are unlikely to gain worldwide recognition as a legitimate government.