LM NEWS 24
LM NEWS 24

Taliban Troops Torture Civilians In Panjshir Province

Taliban security forces in northern Afghanistan’s Panjshir province have unlawfully detained and tortured residents accused of association with an opposition armed group, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Friday.

Since mid-May 2022, fighting has escalated in the province as National Resistance Front (NRF) forces have attacked Taliban units and checkpoints. The Taliban have responded by deploying to the province thousands of fighters, who have carried out search operations targeting communities they allege are supporting the NRF.

During search operations in other provinces, Taliban forces have committed summary executions and enforced disappearances of captured fighters and other detainees, which are war crimes.

“Taliban forces in Panjshir province have quickly resorted to beating civilians in their response to fighting against the opposition National Resistance Front,” said Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The Taliban’s longstanding failure to punish those responsible for serious abuses in their ranks puts more civilians at risk.”

A human rights advocate who has interviewed several former detainees and a source with direct information about Taliban detentions spoke to Human Rights Watch about the Panjshir situation.

Former detainees in early June reported that Taliban security forces detained about 80 residents in Panjshir’s Khenj district and beat them to compel them to provide information about the NRF. After several days, the Taliban released 70, but have continued to hold 10 people whose relatives they accuse of being members of the group, a form of collective punishment.

Former detainees said the district jail held nearly 100 others who have alleged links to the NRF. None had access to their families or lawyers. Others have been held in informal detention facilities.

According to the New York-based rights group, people taken into custody must be promptly charged with a criminal offence or released.

“The protections of international human rights law also apply. Denying detainees access to lawyers and family members is prohibited and increases the risk of torture and enforced disappearance. Collective punishment – the punishment of individuals for alleged actions of others – is a violation of the laws of war and a war crime,” the HRW said.

The NRF, headed by Ahmad Massoud, is the principal armed opposition group in Panjshir and neighboring provinces. It includes some fighters who had served in the former Afghan National Security Forces. (ANI)

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