Nearly 200 Killed and Detained in One Month; the Taliban’s Claims of Security Falter
Despite claims by the Taliban of a cessation of conflict and their assurance of civilian safety, Afghanistan continues to witness widespread civilian killings and arbitrary detentions. Data gathered by Etilaatroz, KabulNow’s affiliated Farsi newspaper, show that at least 61 individuals have lost their lives, and 129 have been detained between August and September.
Perpetrators and motives behind the majority of these killings have remained unknown, raising suspicions about the regime’s involvement. Statements from the Taliban have occasionally ascribed these killings to familial disputes, domestic violence, and burglary.
Following the return to power in August 2021, the Taliban declared a general amnesty, assuring former government and military personnel of full immunity. However, the subsequent two years have seen continued killings and detentions of former government officials and military personnel. The United Nations has recently documented the killings of 218 former military and government personnel by the Taliban.
Findings of KabulNow show that Parwan, Takhlar, and Baghland provinces, all well-known anti-Taliban strongholds, have witnessed the highest number of casualties, totaling ten cases in the first and seven in each of the latter provinces. The majority of the victims in all three provinces were former military personnel of the previous government. On September 12th, the Taliban arrested and subsequently tortured and killed the young Abdul Nazir in Parwan.
Local sources confirm that the Taliban were behind at least 13 of these cases, targeting, the victims primarily on charges of kidnapping, affiliation with the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan, one of the key anti-Taliban armed forces, or their service in the former national army.
Mr. Nazir was the younger brother of Abdul Jamil, a former Jihadi commander affiliated with the Jamiat Islami Party, the political party that populates the leadership of the anti-Taliban NRF. Dozens more have been detailed in these provinces, mostly on charges of affiliation with the NRF, including in Panjshir, from where the NRF launched its insurgency after the government in Kabul collapsed.
On September 7th, the Taliban killed two young athletes in the northern Balkh province. The Taliban accused them of kidnapping without any due process or presenting evidence. However, our reports suggest that at least one of the victims had a military background in the former government but had been living a civilian life for several years.
In the country’s southern Uruzgan province, four Hazara residents have been killed in a wave of violence that suggests ethnically motivated targeting. The most recent incident involved the beheading of a father and son on September 20, after their arrest by unknown armed men.Local sources report that 17 residents of Joy-e Now in the Khas Uruzgan province have been killed since the Taliban’s takeover.
The Taliban authorities have largely remained silent in either addressing the criminal cases or sharing information about them with the media.
In Bamyan, the Taliban arrested 27 men, all of Hazara background, over land disputes with Kuchis, who are Pashtun nomads. , Some were able to secure their release after paying substantial sums as bail while the rest are still in Taliban custody.
In a separate incident in Ghor province on September 14, 18 aid workers, including seven women and an American citizen, were detained by the Taliban on accusations of proselytizing Christianity. In the neighboring provinces of Faryab and Balkh, the regime’s morality police arrested 35 men during the past month for playing or listening to music.
On September 10, the Taliban’s morality police raided the dormitory of Faryab University and arrested 29 students for playing music. The students were released the next day, with their heads shaved as an act of shaming, and were subsequently barred from the University dorms.
Among the victims, at least nine were women. Three women were reportedly killed by their husbands, while the perpetrators of the other murders remain unidentified. Among the victims was Hora Sadat, a young YouTuber who was mysteriously killed in Kabul on August 21. The Taliban police reported the arrest of two suspects in relation to the case, including a woman.
In early September, Neda Parwani, a woman protester, was arrested with her husband and their four-year-old child. On September 7th, Elaha Shahrukhi, a young woman in Mazar-e-Sharif, was arrested for allegedly failing to adhere to the Taliban’s prescribed hijab regulations. She has remained in Taliban custody since.