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Over 772 Killed and Injured in Afghanistan in 2023, New Report Finds

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – A UK-based human rights organization says that at least 506 people including women and children have been killed and 266 others have been injured in various human rights violations in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan in 2023.

In its annual report released on Saturday, March 2, Rawadari, an Afghan NGO based in London, documented various violations of the right to life in Afghanistan, including targeted, mysterious, and extrajudicial killings.

Rawadari says it monitored the human rights situation in Afghanistan throughout 2023, collecting information and evidence from local sources in 28 provinces of the country.

This is the second annual report from Rawadari, which was founded after the collapse of the former republican government in Afghanistan.

The report indicates that among those killed in Afghanistan in 2023 were 390 men, 38 women, and 58 children. Victims included former government officials, their family members, human rights advocates, tribal elders, and opponents and critics of the Taliban.

According to the report, there are instances where the Taliban, particularly their intelligence agency, assassinate former government officials and then announce that these individuals were affiliated with ISIS or had committed suicide.

The organization says it could not document the precise reasons behind some of these incidents due to the Taliban’s suppression of media and its tight control over information related to these incidents.

“The Taliban’s intelligence and information and cultural departments have also verbally warned local journalists and media outlets to refrain from covering targeted and extrajudicial killings and other security incidents that reflect “badly” on Emirates [Taliban].” 

The report’s findings reveal that in 2023, the Taliban “arbitrarily and unlawfully” detained at least 623 individuals across 22 provinces, among whom were 55 women. Those detained included former government employees, members of local uprising forces, human rights activists, journalists, religious scholars, ethnic leaders, businessmen, as well as critics and opponents of the Taliban.

Established in 2022, Rawadari says it regularly monitors human rights situations in Afghanistan. Many of its senior employees were associated with rights organizations in Afghanistan, including its founding director, Shaharzad Akbar, who was the last chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.

Findings of Rawadari are consistent with numerous reports by other sources including multiple organs of the United Nations about human rights violations in Afghanistan. For example, in recent months, there has been an increase in the number of cases of corporal punishment in public.

Rawadari reports that the Taliban publicly flogged at least 942 individuals across 8 different provinces in 2023. 

“In most cases, the Taliban subject suspects of crimes to flogging without any form of investigation or gathering of evidence to prove the crime,” the report says.

Based on the report’s findings, in southern Kandahar alone, where the regime’s supreme leader resides, at least 788 individuals were subjected to public and private floggings on various charges in 2023. Similarly, in Uruzgan province, at least 85 individuals, including 13 women, faced floggings.

The latest incident of Taliban flogging occurred in central Bamyan province in mid-February. In this event, the regime flogged 13 individuals, including five women, accusing them of theft and engaging in relationships outside of marriage.

“In October 2023, Taliban officials in Bamyan province informed female doctors, nurses, and pharmacy staff that they could not continue their duties without a male guardian. Likewise, in Nimruz province, the Taliban authorities expelled over 100 female health workers and replaced them with male relatives of local Taliban members,” part of the report reads.

Furthermore, the findings of the report illustrate that the Taliban handle legal and judicial cases related to women’s personal affairs in a discriminatory manner. They either fail to address cases of violence against women or decide against the victims.