Taliban execution of nine Hazara men ‘tiny fraction’ of total death toll, says Amnesty

Taliban execution of nine Hazara men ‘tiny fraction’ of total death toll, says Amnesty
Amnesty International has condemned the violent executions of Hazara men by the Taliban last month, warning that these killings represent a ‘tiny fraction of the total death toll inflicted by the Taliban'.
2 min read
20 August, 2021
The nine men were from the Hazara community, the third largest ethnic group in Afghanistan [source: Getty]

Nine Afghan men were "massacred" by the Taliban after the group took control of Ghazni provenance, southwest of Kabul, last month, according to a report by Amnesty International published on Thursday. 

Six of the men were shot and three were tortured to death between July 4 to 6 when attempting to return to their houses and collect supplies for fellow Hazara villagers hiding in the mountains. 

The three tortured men were aged 40 or older and were beaten severely before being executed. Two were shot and one was strangled with his own scarf. 

Amnesty International condemned the brutal violence and warned that it "likely represent[s] a tiny fraction of the total death toll inflicted by the Taliban to date" following their advance across Afghanistan - capturing rural areas, border posts and then provincial capitals. 

An eyewitness who assisted with the burials told Amnesty that the Taliban said to them: "When it is the time of conflict, everyone dies, it doesn’t matter if you have guns or not. It is the time of war."

Several other executions in Ghazni provenance are also recorded in Amnesty’s report, including the killing of two men with mental health issues who originally refused to flee their village and the killing of one 75-year-old cattle herder. 

After the fall of Kabul on August 15, the insurgents declared an "amnesty" across Afghanistan and called on women to join their new government as part of an effort to portray a change from the group's harsh rule in the 1990s up to 2001.

However, reports are emerging of "door-to-door" searches by the Taliban for individuals who worked with US and NATO forces, according to leaked UN documents. There are also incidents of women being barred from working. 

“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,” said Agnes Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General. 

Amnesty has urged the UN Security Council to adopt an emergency resolution demanding the Taliban respect international human rights law and to ensure the safety of all Afghans regardless of their ethnicity or religious beliefs.