Watchdog seeks immediate measures to protect Shiites in Afghanistan

Bamiyan province. August 2022.

Amnesty International has sought stepped-up measures by the Taliban to protect the Hazara Shiite communities in Afghanistan, saying perpetrators behind attacks on Shiites must be sent to justice.

“In the last year there have been multiple attacks on the minority community with little to no action,” said Zaman Sultani, Amnesty International’s South Asia regional researcher.

He asked the Taliban to carry out “an immediate, impartial and thorough investigation into the attacks, conducted in line with international law and standards.”

“Those suspected of criminal responsibility for these crimes under international law and human rights violations should face justice in fair trials before ordinary civilian courts and without recourse to the death penalty,” he said.

Sultani said that the Taliban are responsible for taking all necessary measures to protect civilians in Afghanistan and “they must immediately step-up measures to ensure protection to all civilians in the country.”

“The systematic attacks on the minority Hazara Shiite community in Afghanistan may amount to crimes against humanity and should be unequivocally condemned,” the Amnesty International official said.

On Friday, August 5, at least eight people were killed and 18 more were wounded in an explosion in the west of Kabul. The next day, on Saturday, August 6, a blast happened on a busy street in the west of Kabul, killing eight people and wounding at least 22 more. But the UN said that at least 120 people were killed and wounded in the two attacks.

After the Taliban takeover, such minority communities have had no effective representation within the group’s security or governance structure, Amnesty International said.