Taliban Kill 13 Hazara Citizens

Taliban forces have committed unlawful killings against 13 Hazara nationals, Amnesty International said on Tuesday (5/10).

The killing took place in the village of Kahor in Daykundi province in central Afghanistan on August 30, according to an investigation by the leading rights group.

Eleven of the victims were members of the Afghan national security forces who had surrendered to the Taliban and two civilians, among them a 17-year-old girl.

The reported killings come about two weeks after the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan in a lightning operation culminating in the takeover of Kabul. At the time, Taliban leaders were trying to convince Afghans that they had abandoned the harsh rules they had imposed on the country in the late 1990s.

The world has been watching whether the Taliban will fulfill their initial promise of tolerance and inclusivity towards women and ethnic minority groups, including the Hazara. However, the Taliban’s actions so far, such as new restrictions on women and the appointment of an all-male government, have caused dismay in the international community.

The ethnic Hazara make up about nine percent of Afghanistan’s 36 million population. They are often targeted because they are Shia Muslims in a predominantly Sunni country.

Amnesty’s secretary general, Agnes Callamard, said that “the cold-blooded execution of dozens of Hazara residents is further evidence that the Taliban committed horrific abuses like they had committed during their previous administration in Afghanistan”.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid and Bilal Karimi did not respond to a phone call from the Associated Press office seeking their comment.

Amnesty International said Sadiqullah Abed, the Taliban’s appointed police chief for Daykundi, denied the killing had taken place and said only that a Taliban member had been injured in the attack in the province.

Ethnic Hazara children stand in their cave, on a cliff once inhabited centuries ago in Bamiyan, October 2021. (Photo: Bulent KILIC / AFP)

Ethnic Hazara children stand in their cave, on a cliff once inhabited centuries ago in Bamiyan, October 2021. (Photo: Bulent KILIC / AFP)

The Taliban took control of Daykundi province on August 14, Amnesty said, and an estimated 34 Afghan soldiers fled in Khidir district. The soldiers, carrying military equipment and government weapons, agreed to surrender to the Taliban.

Mohammad Azim Sedaqat, who led the group of surrendered soldiers, arranged the surrender of weapons in the presence of a number of Taliban members.

On August 30, an estimated 300 Taliban militants arrived in a convoy near the village of Dahani Qul, where a number of members of the security forces were staying, some with their families, Amnesty said.

As security forces attempted to leave the area with their families, the Taliban overtook them and opened fire on the crowd, killing a 17-year-old girl named Masuma. A soldier retaliated, killing a Taliban member and wounding another.

The Taliban continued to open fire as the families fled, killing two soldiers, according to the report. After nine soldiers surrendered, the Taliban took them to a nearby river valley and executed them, according to the rights group.

Amnesty said it had verified photos and video evidence taken after the killings. [ab/uh]

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