The “Taliban” have committed the war crime of collective punishment against civilians in Afghanistan’s Panjshir province, Amnesty International said in a new report published on Thursday.
“Civilians targeted with torture and unlawful killings; detainees subjected to extrajudicial executions, mass arbitrary arrests and detention intended to intimidate local population. Thousands of people are being swept up in the Taliban’s continued oppression,” the report reads.
“In Panjshir, the Taliban’s cruel tactic of targeting civilians due to suspicion of their affiliation with the NRF is causing widespread misery and fear,” said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.
"This report includes mass or group arrests that affected almost a village and the torture of civilians that led to their death. This report also includes the fact that the Taliban arrested family members on the charge that their family members belong to the National Resistance Front,” said Zaman Sultani, South Asia researcher of Amnesty International.
According to the report, “in at least three cases, the Taliban tortured to death civilians they had arrested in the Bazarak and Rokha districts of Panjshir province. The men were farmers and cattle ranchers, who were operating under traditional rules that allowed for animals to be sent to the mountains in summer.”
Amnesty International is calling on the Taliban authorities to investigate the cases documented, and hold fair trials before ordinary civilian courts where warranted.
“According to the Amnesty International report, war crimes have taken place in Panjshir,” said Abdullah Ahmadi, a human rights activist.
However, the Islamic Emirate said that this organization does not accurately reflect the circumstances in Panjshir.
The Islamic Emirate's spokesperson, Zabiullah Mujahid, said that no civilians were killed in Panjshir and that anybody who had been detained during the fighting in the province was released.
"There are no arbitrary arrests at all, and Panjshir is currently secure, therefore there is absolutely no reason to make any arrests.
In the past, when there was war, if anyone was arrested, they were arrested on charges of suspicion and were released, and no arbitrary killings were carried out, except for those who were armed. They fought and were killed in the war,” Mujahid noted.
Previously, a number of different organizations have claimed that various human rights violations have been carried out in Afghanistan, and the claims were repeatedly denied by the Islamic Emirate.