Taliban fighters massacred nine members of the ethnic Hazara community after taking control of Ghazni province in Afghanistan last month, Amnesty International said, highlighting the risk faced by thousands of Afghans even as the Islamist fundamentalists are pushing the message of peace and unity through various channels. Citing statements from eyewitnesses, Amnesty International reported six men were shot while three were strangled to death.
One of the victims of the Taliban’s brutality was strangled with his own scarf and had his arm muscles sliced off, according to the global human rights organisation. Providing the graphic details of an incident, Amnesty said a 45-year-old man 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.”
The report of brutal killings of ethnic minorities raise apprehensions about the Taliban’s promise of peace and inclusivity in the region. Agnes Callamard, the head of Amnesty International, said in a statement that the targeted killings are proof that ethnic and religious minorities remain at particular risk under Taliban rule in Afghanistan.
“The cold-blooded brutality of these killings is a reminder of the Taliban’s past record, and a horrifying indicator of what Taliban rule may bring,” Callamard, who has also previously served as a special rapporteur appointed by the UN Human Rights Council, said.
Amnesty International believes the killings represent a tiny fraction of the total death toll inflicted by the Taliban as they have disrupted mobile phone service in many of the recently captured areas. It called for the protection of thousands of Afghans at serious risk of Taliban reprisals, including academics, journalists, civil society activists and women human rights defenders.
US President Joe Biden, who has been facing flak for rushing the troops out of Afghanistan, also said he doesn’t think the Islamist fundamentalists have changed at all. “I think they’re going through a sort of existential crisis about: Do they want to be recognized by the international community as being a legitimate government? I’m not sure they do,” Biden said in an interview with ABC aired Thursday.