AIHRC expresses concerns over release of senior HN members

Issuing a statement today, November 14, Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commissions (AIHRC) has expressed concern over release of notorious commanders of Haqqani Network (HN). By releasing notorious HN commanders, the government turns a blind eye on the demands of victims’ families who have lost their dear members.  

“[The commission] is concerned that recent prisoner swap would lead to continuous negligence of the demands of the victims for ensuring justice and accountability and promotes the culture of impunity,” part of the statement read.

The AIHRC noted that release of notorious prisoners would endanger achieving a sustainable peace in Afghanistan.

The statement also underlined that participation of the war victims must be essential in every stage of the peace talks, adding that the warring parties and international community, by turning a blind eye on the human rights of the victims, will damage the credibility of peace process.

On the other hand, secretariat of Afghanistan Civil Society Joint Working Group (ACSJWG) have denounced the release of the three senior Haqqani members – Anas Haqqani, Hafiz Abdul Rashid, and Haji Mali Khan.

The ACSJWG also urged the Afghan government to provide clarifications on the decision and make a public apology.

In a televised message, President Ghani confirmed yesterday, November 13, that three high profile members of the Taliban and Haqqani network would be freed in exchange for the release of American and Australian captives, Kevin King and Timothy Weeks.

Kevin King in the right and Timothy Weeks in the left

King, 60, and Weeks, 48, were working as teachers at the American University of Afghanistan and were abducted by the Taliban from an area close to the university compound, in Kabul, in August 2016.

The statement by Mr. Ghani came while earlier last month his spokesperson announced that ‘Anas Haqqani was redline’ for the Afghan government and he would not be released under any condition.

A commander in field, Anas Haqqani, the son of Jamaluddin Haqqani, was arrested in 2016. A court in Kabul sentenced him to death on charges of atrocities committed by Haqqani Network, a militant network led by his family members.