Nearly 400 civilians killed in Afghanistan under the Taliban regime: UN | News

It is the first major human rights report since the Taliban seized power from the former US-backed government in August.

A new United Nations report has indicated that nearly 400 civilians have been killed in attacks in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover, more than 80% by a group affiliated with ISIL (ISIS).

It is the first major human rights report since the Taliban seized power from the former US-backed government in August, raising concerns in the West about a wider rollback of the rights of people. women, journalists and others.

It covers the period from August 2021 to the end of February and indicates that 397 civilians were killed mostly in a series of attacks by the Islamic State in the province of Khorasan, group ISKP (ISIS-K).

More than 50 people suspected of having links to the armed group were killed in the same period, he added, and some were tortured and beheaded and left on the side of the road.

Afghans inspect the damage inside a Shia mosque in Kandahar [File: Javed Tanveer/AFP]

“The human rights situation for many Afghans is deeply concerning,” said Michelle Bachelet, High Commissioner for Human Rights, in a speech presenting the report to the highest human rights body in Geneva on Monday.

“Several suicide and non-suicide attacks have been perpetrated by the ISKP against Shia Muslims, mostly from the Hazara ethnic group,” she added.

The ISKP, which first emerged in eastern Afghanistan in late 2014, is believed to have spread following the Taliban takeover and has been blamed for several attacks in recent months, including one on the Kabul airport last August.

Women’s rights

In the same speech, Bachelet said Taliban leaders in Afghanistan had restricted women’s rights and freedoms. She called for women to be allowed to “fully participate” in public life.

Bachelet also spoke of “a number of disturbing cases of enforced disappearances” of activists and protesters and expressed concern about restrictions on freedom of expression.

“I remain concerned about the gradual erosion of civic space,” she said.

Female students attend a class at Badakshan University
Students take a course at Badakshan University [File: Omer Abrar/AFP]

Under their previous regime from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban barred women and girls from accessing education. They said they have since changed that policy.

The Geneva-based Rights Council is expected to appoint a special rapporteur on Afghanistan to investigate alleged abuses by the Taliban and others at the end of its current month-long session.

“Devastating” crisis

In addition, Ms. Bachelet said the country is facing “a devastating humanitarian and economic crisis” which is hampering the economic, social and cultural rights of the Afghan people.

“More than half of the population now suffers from extreme levels of hunger. An increase in child labor, child marriage and the sale of children has been observed,” Bachelet noted.

According to the UN, nearly nine million Afghans are at risk of starvation.

The foreign aid that once supported the country has been slow to return in the wake of US sanctions.

The country’s economy is on the verge of collapse after international financial institutions cut funding and the United States froze Afghanistan’s assets.

Earlier this month, US President Joe Biden decided to withhold about $7 billion in Afghan assets, reallocating half of the money to compensate victims of the September 11 attacks.

Aid agencies and experts have called for the lifting of sanctions against the Taliban, saying these measures are aggravating the humanitarian crisis.

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