Taliban execute droves of former Afghan officers: Human Rights Watch Report

The Taliban have executed scores of Afghan officials despite previously promising amnesty.
A Taliban delegation in Turkey on Oct. 14
A Taliban delegation in Turkey on Oct. 14
(Adem Altan/AFP via Getty Images)

More than 100 former Afghan officials were executed or "forcibly disappeared" by the Taliban, according to a report from Human Rights Watch (HRW).

When the jihadist group completely took over Afghanistan in August 2020, leaders promised amnesty for former members of the Afghan National Security Forces, which includes police, intelligence service personnel, and military members.

Local Taliban officials did not follow the promise of peace from leadership. 

The atrocities were so horrific that one Taliban official even said that the brutality by other group members "cannot be forgiven."

The jihadist rulers reportedly used records left by the fallen government to target former officials and their families.

Taliban leaders asked former Afghan Forces members to register with the new government to receive a letter of protection. The Taliban has reportedly used this list to execute or disappear people days later. Those who do not register have been detained and beaten by the Taliban.

Former official Haji Melad Rahmati was arrested by the Taliban. He told HRW, “They took me and my younger brother to the main police station. I was beaten unconscious. They also shot me in the leg. After that they came under pressure [because of the social media attention], and they released us on one condition. They said we should come on social media to say that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan [officials] are good people and behaved very well with us.” 

On social media, the Taliban claimed Rahmati was arrested because he did not register with the current government.

Many former Afghan Forces members are in hiding, and the HRW report states that many of their families are threatened and abused by the Taliban to reveal their loved one’s locations.

Disappearances have been common in previous Afghan governments, but the violence is particularly widespread due to the use of nighttime search operations.

In September, the jihadist government established a commission to investigate human rights abuse, corruption and other crimes. As of last month, Taliban officials have only reported firing their own members for corruption and arresting several others for stealing.

Taliban fighters spoke with HRW. One told HRW about a case involving “Muhammad” who worked at a prison. “The commanders called him back to the job after a few days [after taking control of Kunduz]. They said, ‘Your job is here, you know this job.’ The prison has three gates. [“Muhammad”] crossed the first gate. He was shot dead between second and the third gate.”

More than 65 Afghans were interviewed by HRW about the executions and disappearances.

HRW brought the report to the Taliban, and officials denied the killings, saying, “It is not our policy to kill someone without trial, whether he is from ISIS or from another group.

U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West posted Tuesday on Twitter, “The Taliban are aware that the U.S. is deeply concerned about reports of retaliatory killings & forced disappearances of former ANSF members. We have urged the Taliban to ensure their promise of amnesty is upheld throughout their ranks and hold those responsible to account.”