Conflicts & War

Human rights abuse allegations mar Taliban government’s first days in office

Kabul, Sep 10 (EFE).- The Taliban seize power in Afghanistan with a rhetoric of reconciliation and openness, but allegations of abuse have increased since they assume office, such as restrictions against women and arrest and torture of protesters.

The announcement of the Taliban’s interim government this week has signaled that not much is going to change in the country from the time of the earlier government of the Islamists between 1996 and 2001, dominated by human rights abuses.

The number two in the previous government Mullah Hasan Akhund, has been named the head of the current regime.

More than a dozen members of the new cabinet figure in the terror blacklist of the United Nations Security Council, and many of them are facing arrest warrants by US agencies.

These include Sirajuddin Hakkani, who faces a $10 million reward by US authorities for information leading to his capture, and has been named the new interior minister of Afghanistan earlier this week.

One of the most criticized measure of the new government is a harsh crackdown on protests in the country’s main cities, in which thousands of protesters, including women, had come out demanding their rights and supporting opposition groups.

“The Taliban have repeatedly insisted that they will respect human rights, yet these claims are completely at odds with what we are currently seeing and hearing in cities across the country,” Afghan activist and Amnesty International’s South Asia campaigner Samira Hamidi said in a statement recently.

She added that “Afghans who have taken to the streets, understandably fearful about the future, are being met with intimidation, harassment, and violence – particularly directed at women. Multiple journalists attempting to cover the protests have reported being detained, beaten up and having their equipment confiscated.”

Images of two Afghan journalists who were arrested and allegedly tortured by the Taliban, went viral and triggered alarm as they were shown with torture marks on the back and unable to walk without help.

At least 14 mediapersons were allegedly hit and temporarily arrested by the Islamists earlier this week.

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