US State Department: The Taliban committed widespread human rights violations in 2022

The U.S. Department of State has released its annual report on the state of human rights in Afghanistan, revealing that the Taliban and ISKP committed grave human rights violations in 2022. The report indicates that the Taliban engaged in arbitrary killings, forced disappearances of former government officials, and “relentless” discriminatory and oppressive measures against women.

The report also highlights other violations committed by the Taliban, including poor conditions for prisoners, arbitrary detention, interference with privacy, punishment of innocents for possible violations by a family member, illegal employment and use of child soldiers, restrictions on freedom of expression, violence against journalists, and interference with social freedoms. Additionally, the report sheds light on ISKP’s targeted killings, deadly attacks against Hazaras and Sufi gatherings, and the use of children as soldiers.

The U.S. State Department report notes that the Taliban’s rule has been characterized by widespread disregard for the rule of law and official immunity for those responsible for human rights violations. Although the Taliban announced a general amnesty prohibiting reprisals against officials and others associated with the previous government after August 2021, credible reports of reprisals, including targeted killings and forced disappearances, continued to occur in 2022.

“Between August 2021 and June, UNAMA Human Rights Service (HRS) recorded 160 targeted killings, 178 arbitrary arrests and detentions, 23 instances of incommunicado detentions, and 56 instances of torture and mistreatment of former security and pre-August 2021 government officials carried out by the Taliban. Between June and December, UNAMA documented at least 55 targeted killings, 102 arbitrary arrests and detentions, and 20 cases of torture and mistreatment.” The report states. 

According to the report, the Taliban were involved in targeted and retaliatory killings of their opposition in 2022, and there have been no measures taken to address the perpetrators of these abuses.

Women and girls have also suffered under Taliban rule, as the group has issued repressive edicts that effectively barred their participation from education, employment, recreational activities, and independent travel. Women reporting gender-based violence have been arrested by the Taliban police and all protection shelters for women and girls have been forced to shut down, leaving them vulnerable to violence, sexual assault, forced marriage, abuse and exploitation. 

While rape and domestic violence are criminalized under Afghan law, the Taliban’s dismantling of the judicial system has significantly weakened the enforcement of these laws. Opportunities for redress for abuses have been “slim to nonexistent” under the Taliban, according to the State Department report. 

The report further adds that despite the Taliban’s creation of a commission to remove child soldiers from their ranks, the recruitment of children as soldiers by the Taliban and ISKP continues. However, the use of children by these groups has decreased compared to the past 12 years.