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HomeWorldAmnesty International alarmed over Taliban’s ‘cold-blooded executions’

Amnesty International alarmed over Taliban’s ‘cold-blooded executions’

International rights body decries killing of 11 ANDSF members who had laid down arms

Amnesty International (AI) Secretary General Agnès Callamard has said that the Afghan Taliban have not given up their ‘cold-blooded executions’ after the group killed 13 ethnic Hazaras in Kahor village in Khidir district on August 30.

According to an AI investigation, around 300 Taliban fighters closed in on the Kahor village on August 30 and launched a shooting spree on former Afghan National Defence Security Forces (ANDSF) members and their families even though they had already surrendered. Eleven of the 13 victims were members of the security forces.

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Callamard said that the killings were evidence that the Taliban had not given up their atrocities from when they were first in power in Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001. She said that Afghan Taliban should stop the human rights abuse immediately and ensure that those who served in the now fallen Afghan government would be allowed to live safely in peace.

Previously, around 34 ANDSF members had sought refuge in Kahor after the Taliban took control of the Daykundi province that houses the village on August 14. ANDSF soldiers had decided to surrender after the Taliban fighters rapidly advanced through the region. Mohammad Azim Sedaqat arranged to dismantle ANDSF weapons and on August 29, the men negotiated to bend their knees to the Taliban.

On the day of the killings, the Taliban unleashed gunfire on the crowd of frantic people as some tried to flee and killed two ANDSF members and two civilians, which included a 17-year-old woman Masuma. As per eyewitness testimonies cited by AI, the Taliban took nine ANDSF members, who had surrendered, to a nearby river basin and executed them. AI reported that they had visual proof that the ANDSF members were shot in the head.

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The deceased were taken by family members for burial in a nearby village at Dahani Qul, which was confirmed through photos obtained by AI. The Taliban meanwhile ordered those who had escaped to surrender immediately with an official warning them that he had no qualms in killing more people as he had killed numerous times before.

On September 1, Daykundi province’s Taliban chief, Sadiqullah Abed, negated killing the Hazaras but confirmed that a Taliban official was wounded in an attack in the region. Abed’s confirmation was consistent with AI’s investigation, which revealed that ANDSF member had retaliated by firing at the Taliban after they first initiated the attack in Kahor.

The reported killings defied the Afghan Taliban’s declaration of ‘general amnesty’ for all who served in the previous government. On August 17, two days after Kabul fell to the Taliban, their spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said that the group had turned over a new leaf and would respect human rights in the country.

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