Conflicts & War

‘Taliban use civilians as human shields, execute anyone with ties to govt’

New York, Aug 4 (EFE).– Taliban fighters have executed soldiers, police, and civilians with alleged ties to the Afghan government, Human Rights Watch said in a chilling report on Wednesday.

The United States Embassy in Kabul also tweeted about alleged rights violations by Taliban militants who use civilians as human shields.

The allegations by the US and the global rights watchdog come amid a growing Taliban onslaught that has gripped the war-torn country after the withdrawal of foreign forces that began on May 1 and will conclude by September.

“We hear many reports of the (Taliban) placing landmines in civilian homes and hiding behind families while attacking the (Afghan forces),” the embassy said.

“If confirmed, this could constitute a war crime. How can the Taliban claim to be fighting for Afghans while using them as human shields,” it said, urging for an immediate ceasefire in the country.

Human Rights Watch, citing residents from various provinces, said the Taliban identified residents who worked for the Afghan National Security Forces.

The Islamist militia asked former police and military personnel to provide a document purportedly guaranteeing their safety.

“However, the Taliban have later detained some of these people incommunicado and, in cases reported to Human Rights Watch, summarily executed them,” the rights group said.

Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director at Human Rights Watch, noted that summarily executing a civilian or combatant anyone in custody violates the Geneva Conventions and is a war crime.

“Taliban commanders with oversight over such atrocities are also responsible for war crimes,” Gossman said.

A journalist, tracking detentions since Taliban forces took control of the Malistan district in the west of Ghazni Province, told HRW that militants entered houses searching for members of the security forces and government employees.

He said the Taliban had killed at least 19 security force personnel in their custody, along with several civilians.

The rights group claimed that it had obtained a list of 44 men from Spin Boldak, Kandahar, whom the Taliban have allegedly killed since July 16.

“All had registered with the Taliban before being summarily executed,” HRW said.

International humanitarian law prohibits detaining civilians unless necessary for imperative security reasons.

Retaliatory detentions are a form of collective punishment and are also prohibited.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is currently investigating allegations of war crimes and serious human rights abuses by all parties to the conflict, including the Taliban.

“Taliban forces need to recognize that in new areas under their authority, they are obligated to ensure that all civilians are protected,” Gossman said. EFE


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