A year of Taliban rule: Amnesty documents violence, impunity, broken promises

London, Aug 15 (EFE).- A year after the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan as international troops withdrew, Amnesty International has documented “gross human rights violations” of the regime.

The organization’s work highlights widespread impunity for crimes such as torture, reprisal killings and forced evictions of those who oppose the group.

In the report titled “The Rule of Taliban: A Year of Violence, Impunity and False Promises” released Monday, Amnesty noted that the situation on the ground is very different from what the Taliban leaders assured in August 2021, when they said that the rights of women and freedom of the press would be respected, among other things.

“The Taliban made public commitments to protect and promote human rights. Yet the speed with which they are dismantling 20 years of human rights gains is staggering,” said Yamini Mishra, Amnesty’s South Asia regional director.

“Any hopes of change have quickly evaporated as the Taliban seek to govern through violent repression with full impunity,” she said.

The Taliban has restricted the right to education, obscuring the future of millions of Afghan girls, said Amnesty, warning that the authorities “have subjected women to increasing violence … Sometimes as a way of punishing their family members.”

Dozens of women have been arrested and tortured for participating in peaceful protests to demand their rights, amid growing restrictions that have stripped them of their freedoms, said the humanitarian organization.

“We must not just stand on the side-lines, watching as the human rights of a whole population collapses. A firm, meaningful and united international response is the only hope of ending the nightmare that Afghans have endured for a year now,” Mishra said.

In the past 12 months, Amnesty has received “widespread reports” of Taliban soldiers beating and torturing people they believe have broken Taliban edicts or those they accuse of working with the previous government.

Hundreds of civilians have been arbitrarily detained. “Many are beaten with rifle butts or whipped during arrest,” the report said.

Amnesty collected the testimony of a female protester who said she was illegally detained and left covered in bruises.

“There was no court, no charges and no due process; we were abducted from the streets, kept in a private jail for several days during which we had no access to our family, lawyer or any other official,” she explained.

“Some of the women and girls who were with me in the same room never returned and none of us knew what happened to them.”

More than 80 journalists were also detained and tortured for reporting on peaceful protests in the past year.

“I was beaten and whipped so hard on my legs that I couldn’t stand… My family signed (a) document, promising that I would not speak out about what happened to me after my release; if I did, the Taliban would have the right to arrest my entire family,” said one of the journalists.

Amnesty International also warned of excessive use of force by the Afghan authorities as they try to enforce a ban on peaceful protests.

In several large cities, security forces dispersed peaceful protests by beating and shooting unarmed demonstrators, it said.

Within weeks of the Taliban taking power, Amnesty learned of cases of non-Pashtun Afghans being forcibly evicted from their homes and land so the Taliban could reward supporters with land seized from other ethnic groups such as Hazaras, Turkmen and the Uzbeks.

The humanitarian organization is aware of reports of evictions throughout the country. In June, the United Nations estimated that the number of displaced Afghans had risen to more than 820,000. EFE


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