Taliban fighters slaughtered nine men of the Hazara ethnicity after taking control of Afghanistan’s Ghazni province last month, Amnesty International said in a new report.
In the findings released Thursday, witnesses recounted the killings that took place July 4-6 in the village of Mundarakht, Malistan district. The accounts undermine the Taliban’s claims that he has changed.
The Hazara community is the third largest ethnic group in Afghanistan, with predominantly Shia Muslims. They have long been discriminated against in the Sunni-majority country and were previously persecuted by the Taliban.
According to the Amnesty report, six of the men were shot and three were tortured to death, including a man who was strangled with his sling and the muscles in his arms were severed.
On July 3, fighting escalated in Ghazni province between Afghan government forces and the Taliban. Villagers told the human rights watchdog that they fled into the mountains to traditional iloks, their summer pastures, where they have basic shelter.
There was little food for the 30 families who fled. The next morning, July 4, five men and four women returned to the village for supplies. When they returned, they found their homes had been looted and Taliban fighters were lying in wait for them, Amnesty said.
A man, Wahed Qaraman, 45, was taken from his home by Taliban fighters who broke his legs and arms, shot him in the right leg, tore out his hair and hit his face with a blunt object, according to the report.
Another man, Jaffar Rahimi, 63, was severely beaten and accused of working for the Afghan government after money was found in his pocket. The Taliban strangled him with his scarf. Three people who buried Rahimi said his body was covered with bruises and the muscles in his arms were cut.
Sayed Abdul Hakim, 40, was taken from his home, beaten with sticks and rifle butts, had his arms tied and was shot twice in the leg and twice in the chest.
A witness, who attended the funerals, told Amnesty: “We asked the Taliban why they did this, and they told us: ‘When it is time for a conflict, everyone dies, few people die. it doesn’t matter whether you have weapons or not. . It is the time of war.
During the two-day killings, three other men – Ali Jan Tata (65), Zia Faqeer Shah (23) and Ghulam Rasool Reza (53) – were ambushed and killed at a police checkpoint. Taliban as they left the iloks, and attempted to go through Mundarakht to reach their homes.
Ali Jan Tata was shot in the chest and Rasool was shot in the neck. According to witnesses, Zia Faqeer Shah’s chest was so riddled with bullets that he was buried in pieces.
Three other men were killed in their home village. Witnesses told Amnesty that Sayeed Ahmad, 75, insisted the Taliban would not harm him because he was an elderly man and intended to return to feed his cattle. He was killed with two bullets in the chest and another in the side.
When the Taliban took control of Mundarakht on July 3, the group shot dead Zia Marefat, 28, in the temple as he walked alone towards the ilok. Karim Bakhsh Karimi, 45, was also shot, “execution style, in the head”.
The killings are likely only a tiny fraction of the death toll inflicted by the Taliban, as the group cut off mobile phone service in many areas they recently captured, controlling photos and videos shared from those areas. , Amnesty said.
Agnes Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International, said that “the cold-blooded brutality of these killings is a reminder of the Taliban’s past and a horrific indicator of what the Taliban regime can do.”
“These targeted assassinations are proof that ethnic and religious minorities remain particularly threatened under the Taliban regime in Afghanistan,” Callamard said.
Amnesty urged the UN Security Council to pass an urgent resolution demanding that the Taliban respect international human rights law.
He also called on the United Nations Human Rights Council to launch “a strong investigative mechanism to document, collect and preserve evidence of ongoing crimes and human rights violations”.
After taking control of Kabul, the Taliban sought to present themselves as more moderate than when they imposed a brutal regime in the 1990s. At a press conference on Tuesday, a Taliban spokesman said that the group did not intend to carry out retaliatory attacks against anyone who served in previous governments, worked with foreigners or who were part of the national security forces.
But a confidential UN threat assessment report said fighters in the group were going door-to-door searching for opponents and their families, and also screening people on their way to the airport. from Kabul.