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Afghanistan: Taliban ‘tortured and massacred’ Hazara minority last month

20th Aug 2021
Afghanistan: Taliban ‘tortured and massacred’ Hazara minority last month

By Nadine Osman

London, (The Muslim News): The Taliban massacred nine members of the Hazara minority in Afghanistan, says human rights group Amnesty International in a harrowing report published Thursday.

The report includes testimonies from witnesses who gave accounts of the killings and torture which took place between July 4 and 6 in the Malistan district in the eastern Ghazni province.

Since taking over the Afghan capital Kabul on August 15, the Taliban have tried to portray a more restrained image.

But Amnesty said the violence on Afghanistan’s third-largest ethnic group was a “horrifying indicator” of Taliban rule.

The rights group interviewed eyewitnesses and reviewed photographic evidence after the killings of the mainly-Shia Muslim community.

Villagers told Amnesty International they had escaped to the mountains when fighting intensified between Government forces and Taliban fighters on July 3.

There was little food for the 30 families that fled. The next morning, July 4, five men and four women returned to the village to gather supplies. On their return, they found their homes had been looted and Taliban fighters were lying in wait for them.

One man, 45-year-old Wahed Qaraman, was taken from his home by Taliban fighters who broke his legs and arms, shot him in the right leg, pulled his hair out, and beat his face with a blunt object.

Another man, 63-year-old Jaffar Rahimi, was severely beaten and accused of working for the Afghan Government after cash was found in his pocket. The Taliban strangled him to death with his scarf. Three people involved in the burial of Rahimi said that his body was covered in bruises and that the muscles of his arms had been carved off.

Sayed Abdul Hakim, 40, was taken from his home, beaten with sticks and rifle butts, had his arms bound, and was shot twice in the leg and twice in the chest. His body was then dumped next to a nearby creek.

One eyewitness, who assisted with the burials, said, “We asked the Taliban why they did this, and they told us, ‘When it is the time of conflict, everyone dies, it doesn’t matter if you have guns or not. It is the time of war.’”

“The cold-blooded brutality of these killings is a reminder of the Taliban’s record and a horrifying indicator of what Taliban rule may bring,” said Amnesty’s Secretary-General, Agnès Callamard.

“These targeted killings are proof that ethnic and religious minorities remain at particular risk under Taliban rule in Afghanistan,” added Callamard.

The report added that mobile phone services have been cut in many of the areas that have been captured by the Taliban, and so information about the killing had not leaked out until now.

Hazaras have been attacked regularly causing many casualties

On May 08, a suicide bombing killed 85 Hazara civilians, mostly schoolgirls, and wounded more than 240 Sayed ul-Shuhada high school in Dasht-e-Barchi area. The explosion went off at a time when the teenage schoolgirls were leaving their school. No group claimed responsibility but the government blamed the Taliban for the bombing.

Amnesty called on the UN to investigate and protect those at risk.

 

[Photo: Taliban Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid promised at the press conference on 17 August 2021 in Kabul, Afghanistan that minorities will be protected under Taliban rule. Photographer: Sayed Khodaiberdi Sadat/AA]

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