Taliban supreme leader calls for justice amid widespread abuses by the group

In a new audio message, the Taliban supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada has asked the group’s judges in Afghanistan to ensure justice, warning that the group’s government will not last with cruelty and injustice.

“Justice is the means of survival for a government. The government won’t last with cruelty. Whenever there is a poor person in prison who gets tortured and abused without committing a crime, there is no distance between that person and the god when the person screams imprecations,” the Taliban supreme leader is being heard as saying to the Taliban judges in the audio message. “The god may accept his prayers and all the [Emirate may be gone] not in a matter of hours but in a matter of seconds.”

Moreover, he warns the Taliban that in the absence of justice, murders and revenge-full killings will start. “This country will be destroyed, if the murders go untrialed and [this country] won’t last with cruelty,” he is heard as warning in the Pashto audio message.

The message comes as the Taliban fighters have been repeatedly accused of extrajudicial killings of civilians, its armed opponents, and former security forces since re-taking the power in August 2021.

Last summer, video footages released on social media showing Taliban fighters execute members of the anti-Taliban National Resistance Front (NRF) in Panjshir mountains as the two sides engaged in weeks-long battles in the north-eastern province.

Some of the video footages were verified later and the UN Special Rapporteur Richard Bennet also said in his report to the UN Security Council that the Taliban committed war crimes by executing NRF fighters with their hands bound behind their backs.

Moreover, the Taliban are also accused of torturing prisoners and in some cases the group has sent back the tortured dead bodies of the prisoners to their families.

Human rights organizations and the United Nations have repeatedly described Taliban arrests of activists, protesters, and journalists as “arbitrarily arrests” and called on the group to stop it.