Taliban illegally killed 13 Hazara ethnic groups, says human rights group
Taliban forces illegally killed 13 Hazara ethnic groups, most of them Afghan soldiers who surrendered to the insurgents, a leading human rights group said on Tuesday.
The killings took place on August 30 in the village of Kahor in Daykundi province in central Afghanistan, according to an Amnesty International investigation.
Eleven of the victims were members of the Afghan National Security Forces and two were civilians, including a 17-year-old girl.
The reported killings took place about two weeks after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in a blitz, culminating in their takeover of Kabul.
At the time, Taliban leaders sought to reassure Afghans that they had changed from their former domination of the country in the late 1990s.
The world watched whether the Taliban would keep their initial promises of tolerance and inclusion towards women and ethnic minorities, including the Hazara Shiites.
However, the Taliban’s actions so far, such as further restrictions on women and the appointment of an all-male government, have been greeted with dismay by the international community.
The Hazaras make up about 9% of Afghanistan’s 36 million people.
They are often targeted because they are Shia Muslims in a predominantly Sunni country.
Amnesty General Secretary Agnes Callamard said “these cold-blooded executions (of the Hazaras) are further proof that the Taliban are committing the same horrific abuses they were known for during their previous rule over Afghanistan. “.
Taliban spokesmen Zabihullah Mujahid and Bilal Karimi did not respond to calls from The Associated Press for comment.
The human rights group said Sadiqullah Abed, the Taliban-appointed police chief for Daykundi, denied any killings took place and only said that a member of the Taliban was injured during of an attack in the province.
The Taliban took control of Daykundi province on August 14, according to the Amnesty report, and around 34 former soldiers sought refuge in Khidir district.
The soldiers, who had military equipment and government weapons with them, agreed to surrender to the Taliban.
Mohammad Azim Sedaqat, who led the group’s surrender, arranged to withdraw the weapons in the presence of Taliban operatives.
On August 30, around 300 Taliban fighters arrived in a convoy near the village of Dahani Qul, where members of the security forces were staying, some with family members, according to the Amnesty report.
As security forces tried to leave the area with their families, Taliban fighters caught up with them and opened fire on the crowd, killing a 17-year-old girl named Masuma.
A soldier retaliated, killing one Taliban fighter and injuring another.
The Taliban continued to shoot as families fled, killing two soldiers, according to the report.
After nine security forces surrendered, the Taliban took them to a nearby river basin and killed them, according to the rights group.
Amnesty said it verified the photographs and video evidence taken following the killings.