UNAMA sends teams to Panjshir to probe alleged rights abuses

Portraits of former mujahedeen commanders along Panjshir province’s main road. September 2021.

The United Nations office in Afghanistan, UNAMA, said on Tuesday that it has sent its political and human rights teams to Panjshir to underscore grave concerns regarding insecurity and “alleged serious rights abuses.”

UNAMA said the teams met with Taliban governor Mohammad Nasim Noori, adding that “accountability and safeguarding rights of all Afghans are key to peace.”

UNAMA added that it will continue monitoring the situation in Panjshir, but it did not provide details on the matter.

Since its takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021, the Taliban has been accused of many instances of human rights violations in various provinces, especially Panjshir, but the group has rejected reports by the UN and other relevant organizations.

Last month, a video on social media showed Taliban armed members killing at least eight resistance front members detained by them during the Panjshir clashes. The incident happened in the Dara district. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said after the incident that at least 40 members of the resistance front, including Commander Malik, were arrested in Panjshir.

The video showed the hands of the captives tightened and they were shot dead later. Two days after the video was released, the Taliban defense ministry said the perpetrators will be punished if it is proved that the video is new and that those detained were killed.

Taliban did not comment on the UN teams’ visit to Panjshir.

Alleged human rights violations in Panjshir

A number of Panjshir residents in phone calls with Amu accused the Taliban of killing, arresting, torturing and forced evacuations of civilians in the province.

Hadia Omari, a Panjshir resident, claimed that at least 9,000 Panjshir residents are under custody in Taliban prisons.

“My brother had no links with any sides. He was arrested from our house on an evening. We had no news about him. We found him in a Taliban intelligence detention center and when we met him, we saw his hands were burnt by the Taliban,” said Omari.

Sediqa, a resident of Panjshir, said the Taliban has arrested civilians anytime it has been defeated by the resistance front.

Haroon, a schoolteacher in Panjshir, said he was arrested by the Taliban, was beaten up and was released.

Dunya, a resident of Shutul district in Panjshir, said that Mohammad Ibrahim, a farmer in Shutul district, was shot dead by the Taliban in front of his family.

Taliban is also accused of killing and torture of civilians in Andarab valley in Baghlan and Balkhab district in Sar-e-Pul in northern Afghanistan. The group has rejected the killing and torture of civilians by its members.