The Taliban are carrying out retaliatory attacks on former soldiers and government employees, the UN has been told – when a video appeared showing Islamist fighters forcing young men into the trunks of their cars in the capital, Kabul.
Michelle Bachelet, speaking at the Human Rights Council on Monday, said she has seen “credible reports” of Taliban fighters searching from house to house to track down anyone who has helped the former government or the US.
‘Officials who worked for previous administrations and their families’ [are] arbitrarily held,” she said. “In some cases the officials were released, in others they were found dead.”
As she spoke, images emerged online of men — some of whom appear to be Taliban fighters — forcing at least four men into the trunk of a car.
Images have surfaced of men who appear to be Taliban fighters bundling other men in car boots in the Afghan capital, Kabul
According to Iran International correspondent Tajuden Soroush, the footage was filmed in the Salang Wat district of Kabul and the men are ethnic Panjshiris.
The Panjshiris have a long history of fighting the Taliban and are one of the Tajik minorities often persecuted by the group.
It’s unclear exactly why these young men were being held, but it comes just after the Taliban claimed to have conquered the Panjshir Valley – where an alliance of warlords held out against Islamic rule.
UN officials have also reported increasing attacks and threats, she added, without providing details.
Ms Bachelet also highlighted “deeply disturbing information” about Taliban attacks on the offices of some interest groups.
“Contrary to assurances that the Taliban would uphold women’s rights, women have been gradually kept out of the public sphere over the past three weeks,” she told the 47-member council as it opened its fall session.
She said girls over the age of 12 are not allowed to go to school in some places in Afghanistan and that women’s affairs departments have sometimes been dismantled.
The Taliban have publicly insisted that their rule over Afghanistan will be more moderate than it was in the 1990s, when the brutal interpretation of Sharia law deprived women of their rights, along with public flogging and executions.
It’s unclear why the men were detained, but social media reports suggest they are ethical Panjshiris – a group often persecuted by the Taliban
Meanwhile, UN human rights czar Michelle Bachelet told the human rights council she has “credible reports” of reprisals by Taliban fighters
But almost daily stories have emerged of the horrors to which Afghan people – especially women and ethnic minorities – are subjected under their rule.
Footage surfaced over the weekend showing Taliban fighters beheading an Afghan soldier before holding his head up as they sang.
Other footage shows militants beating and beating people in the street as reports of targeted killings and fighters going door-to-door looking for US blue passports.
Journalists have also complained of being kidnapped and beaten, although the Taliban insist they want a free press to operate in the country.
The beheading images emerged days after Taliban militants executed the brother of one of the leaders of the Afghan resistance fighters.
The man was the brother of Amrullah Saleh, the former Afghan vice president who became one of the leaders of the anti-Taliban opposition in the Panjshir Valley.
The news that Saleh’s brother Rohullah Azizi has been killed came days after Taliban forces took control of the provincial center of Panjshir, the last province to hold out against them after taking control of the rest of Afghanistan last month.
The Taliban have pledged to protect women’s rights and prevent retaliatory killings, but there are already dozens of reports of atrocities being committed (file image)
“They executed my uncle,” Ebadullah Saleh told Reuters in a text message. “They killed him yesterday and we weren’t allowed to bury him. They kept saying his body must rot.’
According to the Urdu account of Taliban information service Alemarah, Rohullah Saleh is reported to have been killed in fighting in Panjshir.
Saleh, a former head of the National Directorate of Security, the intelligence agency of the Western-backed government that collapsed last month, is free, although his exact location remains unclear.
Afghanistan’s National Resistance Front, which groups opposition forces loyal to local leader Ahmad Massoud, has pledged to continue opposing the Taliban even after the fall of Panjshir’s provincial capital, Bazarak.
The news of Rohullah Saleh’s execution comes after the UN warned that the Taliban have begun carrying out ‘retaliatory killings’.
UN envoy to Afghanistan Deborah Lyons said there were “credible allegations” of targeted killings “despite numerous declarations of general amnesty.”
She added that Afghan security officials and people who worked for the previous government were at risk.