‘Mysterious’ killings of former government officials raise concerns

The city of Jalalabad, Nangarhar province.

Former Afghan government employees have raised concerns over the increase in targeted killings of ex-colleagues in Nangarhar, Kunar and Laghman provinces over the past two weeks.

A former national directorate of security (NDS) employee in Laghman, who wished to remain anonymous, told Amu TV that despite the Taliban’s general amnesty, the group is “systematically killing” off former government workers.

He said the Taliban first “defamed” the former government’s employees and then killed them “mysteriously” and that has raised concerns among a number of people.

In a probe, Amu TV found what appeared to be an alarming trend – and in only two weeks, ascertained that in Nangarhar and Laghman alone, at least six former government employees were killed in mysterious circumstances.

String of deaths

On January 19, armed men killed Shokrullah and wounded his young son and daughter. According to the deceased’s relatives, Shokrullah had worked for a security body during the republic’s tenure. The motive for his killing was not clear, the family said.

Next was Sayeed Farooq Pacha, who was abducted from the Chamtali area in Nangarhar on January 20 and killed on the streets of Laghman province. He had been the former director of human rights in the Khogyani district of Nangarhar.

His brother Sayeed Akhtar said that Pacha had survived a number of Taliban attacks during the republic government, but he said he had no idea who had murdered his brother.

Also on January 20, an unidentified young man was found shot dead by unknown armed men in Laghman province.

On January 25, unknown gunmen killed Abdul Malik Malakzai, a brother of former Afghan parliament member Noor Agha Malakzai, in PD4 in Jalalabad city.

On January 26, militants killed the son of Ikramuddin Salar, a former national security employee in Nangarhar. Sources said Salar’s son had been a resident of the Asmar district of Kunar province. According to a friend, Shahid, Salar’s son was killed by armed men in the Behsud district of Nangarhar province on Thursday.

Public concerned

Members of the public have raised concerns over the increase in targeted killings in the country, and have criticized the Taliban for not holding the perpetrators accountable.

They also called on the Taliban to maintain security and prevent summary killings across Afghanistan.

Abdul Raziq, a resident of Jalalabad city who worked in public administration during the former government, said that he was worried about the current situation and that he could be the next victim.

He said that all former employees in Nangarhar are under threat, “every day I look on Facebook someone has been killed, what is going on? The Taliban must stop the assailants, whoever they are. If they (Taliban) are behind the attacks then this situation is concerning; that they are doing this despite the general amnesty.”

A number of experts, meanwhile, raised concerns over the “mysterious” assassinations of former government employees, stating the Taliban must provide them with a secure environment in the country.

Khadim, a law expert, said: “Many young people are still working in institutions. Whoever is behind the attacks has not had a good outcome. The Taliban must stop such attacks.”

Following the Taliban takeover in August 2021, their leader announced a general amnesty for all employees of the former Afghan government. People, however, said that despite the Taliban commitments, former employees are not safe in the country.

Amu TV could not reach provincial officials of Nangarhar and Laghman for their comments regarding recent assassinations.

The director of information and culture of the Taliban for Kunar province Qari Najibullah Hanif, however, said that the public’s concerns are “ baseless.”

He added that the security situation was concerning before the Taliban takeover and now people can travel across the province without any fear.

He stated that the Taliban do not allow anyone to harass people, particularly former Afghan government employees, adding that the culprits would be brought to justice.