Watchdog seeks release of activists in Taliban custody

The independent human rights commission in a statement on Saturday called for the immediate release of seven people, including three activists, a journalist, two lecturers and an artist from Taliban’s custody.

The commission said it is concerned about the situation of those arrested, including Zakaria Osuli, Rasul Parsi, Nargis Sadat, Musa Shaheen, Murtaza Behbudi, Sayed Mohammad Husaini, the founder of a cultural foundation, and Pen Path founder and education activist Matiullah Wesa.

The commission said the Taliban should not delay the release of these individuals.

The commission appreciated Amnesty International’s report and said that the international community should address the demands of the watchdog.

Amnesty International in an annual report last week said restrictions on women’s rights, freedom of the media and freedom of expression increased exponentially.

Institutions designed to support human rights were severely limited or shut down completely, the watchdog said, adding that peaceful protesters faced arbitrary arrests, torture and enforced disappearance.

Under the Taliban, extrajudicial executions of people associated with the former government, members of armed groups such as the National Resistance Front (NRF), Islamic State of Khorasan Province (IS-KP) and those allegedly not following the Taliban’s rules appeared to be widespread and systematic, the report said.

Education activist Matiullah Wesa.

This included Afghans associated with the former government or former security forces, the report added.

According to the report, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) recorded at least 237 extrajudicial executions between the Taliban takeover on 15 August 2021 and 15 June 2022.

In December, the UN reported at least another 69 extrajudicial killings primarily of NRF members, 48 of which had occurred between 12 and 14 September in Panjshir province.