Dozens of civilians, including teachers, arrested in Panjshir

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

At least 40 civilians were arrested by the Taliban in Abshar district in Panjshir province on Friday, multiple sources from the area said.

The civilians were arrested after a Taliban fighter was injured on Thursday night in an ambush by the resistance front forces in “Cheher Ali” village in Abshar district, sources said.

Some residents of the area told Amu that the detainees include the elderly, teenagers and teachers.

All those arrested have been imprisoned in a house belonging to Wida Saeedi, a former member of the Panjshir provincial council.

Fawad Fayez and Agha Sherin Afzali, two teachers from Panjshir Teacher Training, are also among those arrested, two sources said.

Another source said that Rafiullah and Masjidi, two teachers from Cheher Ali school were arrested by the Taliban when returning from school to their homes.

Another source said that Ewaz Ali, a Chehar Ali resident, was arrested while farming on his land. The source added that Ali had no connections with any party to the conflict.

Taliban spokesmen, including Nusratullah Malikzadah, head of the information and culture department of the group in Panjshir, did not comment on the matter.

Meanwhile, sources from Rokha district in Panjshir said the Taliban arrested at least 20 civilians in the district on Monday.

Local sources said the arrests happened in Bahadur Khel, Bakhshi Khel and Qabizan villages in the Rokha district and were taken to an unknown place.

Last month, the Taliban arrested 43 residents of Abdullah Khil valley in Panjshir. They are still under the custody of the Taliban, their relatives told Amu on Oct. 6.

On Oct. 5, the United Nations office in Afghanistan, UNAMA, announced 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 would be punished if it is proved the video is new.

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