Twelve months after the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan, promising “amnesty to all”, data shows that they are the most prolific perpetrators of violence against civilians within the country. They have killed at least 418 people.
The Armed Conflict Location and Event Project has documented 961 incidents of violence involving civilians since 15 August 2021 , when Kabul fell. More than half of these were allegedly committed by Taliban fighters.
Habib Khan, the founder of Afghan Peace Watch, which works with ACLED in order to track political violence, stated that this figure could be higher.
He stated that he believed most of the violence coded under the unidentified arm groups category (36% total) was perpetrated and committed by the Taliban.
These incidents were not attributed to any identifiable groups by Mr Khan’s team due to the lack of reliable information.
Not only were there incidents involving improvised explosives (IEDs), bombings, and suicide bombings, but also violence directed at civilians, such as assaults, sexual violence, and forced abductions.
Khan stated that “despite the amnesty the Taliban is systemically attacking former members of Afghan national defense and security forces”, as also women activists and journalists.
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Since the Taliban took over, violence against civilians has been documented across Afghanistan.
You can map this. Each red dot represents a place. The more incidents recorded, the larger the red dot.
The highest number of incidents in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul is 140, since the Taliban took power.
After being tortured by Taliban, a former military officer had been arrested and murdered on 19 June.
Many of these violence events have been against women. A group of Taliban fighters beat them in Lashkar Gah. Helmand.
Eyewitnesses stated that the Taliban had recently made it a rule to ban women from wearing certain clothes and not accompanying a man.
One month prior, a Taliban gunman opened fire on a civilian vehicle that failed to stop at Kandahar’s checkpoint. According to reports, the group was out shopping for food.
On 21 February in Herat, the Taliban opened fire on a vehicle, killing three civilians, including a former officer of the police.
Not just for the Taliban
Unidentified groups may have attacked areas in Afghanistan where the Taliban hold full control, such as the southern regions. They could be linked to Islamic State or other armies.
Khan’s team observed IS “stepping up their attacks” in northern and eastern Afghanistan. Since the Taliban’s overthrow, they have carried out numerous bombings and attacks that have killed at least 681 civilians.
Although IS has been recorded as having killed more civilians than Taliban, nearly half of that figure comes from . The attack on 26 Aug 2021 at Kabul’s airport which killed at least 170 civilians. Ten times more violence was committed by the Taliban against civilians.
The Taliban replies
Since the Taliban took power, the number of civilians who have been victims of violence has decreased. This is mainly due to the 2001 end of the conflict, which saw a decline in wartime violence like shelling and IEDs.
Afghanistan’s violence is characterized by a lot of targeted violence against individuals or groups.
Dr Roudabeh Kishi is the director of research at ACLED. She stated that “we’re seeing more direct targeting (of civilians) whether it’s by Taliban hands, which many of it is, or also by the Islamic State or unidentified arm groups.”
The Foreign Affairs Committee has warned that the Taliban are carrying out targeted killings. The Foreign Office also stated that there is not enough evidence to support the claim that the regime is responding against international pressures on human rights.
Sky News was informed by a Taliban spokesperson that they were protecting the honour, property, and lives of their people in response to the new information. They are not subject to any violations. We shouldn’t. They are our people.”
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