Ex-military personnel seek inclusion in UN coordinator’s report on Afghanistan

A number of former members of Afghanistan’s security and defense forces appealed to the United Nations Special Coordinator for Afghanistan, Feridun Sinirlioglu, to include the issue of “detention, torture, harassment, and killings” of former government forces by the Taliban in his forthcoming report.

These former servicemen assert that the Taliban’s retribution against ex-government military personnel remains relentless, with a disturbing pattern of harassment, torture, unlawful detentions, and fatalities. They are now pressing the United Nations to exert additional pressure on the Taliban to halt their campaign of revenge against those who served in the previous government.

One such individual, Shir Agha, who dedicated 15 years of his life to a commando unit and fought against the Taliban, emphasized the gravity of the situation. Fearing reprisals from the Taliban, he was compelled to depart Afghanistan in August 2021 and seek refuge in Iran.

“The United Nations and Human rights organizations have been indifferent to the crime the Taliban committed over the past two years,” he said.

Shir Agha pleaded, “I urge the United Nations Special Coordinator for Afghanistan to address the issue of detention, torture, harassment, and killings of former government forces by the Taliban in his report.”

Many former government forces, who prefer to remain anonymous, have expressed deep concerns about their precarious living conditions.

“All those who worked for security agencies are faced with Taliban atrocities. There is no general amnesty,” a former commando troop said on condition of anonymity.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has also voiced apprehensions regarding the ongoing detention, torture, mistreatment, and killing of former Afghan military personnel by the Taliban.

“Some of them (former security force members) have been attacked or killed. Those who are outside Afghanistan are not in good condition. Those countries that committed to relocating them have not addressed their commitment,” said Asadullah Nadim, a military affairs analyst.

Feridun Sinirlioglu is slated to present his report to Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, on November 17, 2023. The United Nations had previously issued a report documenting over 144 cases of torture and mistreatment among former government and security officials. Furthermore, the report documented more than 424 instances of arbitrary arrests and detentions, in addition to at least 14 cases of enforced disappearances involving Afghan citizens.

However, the Taliban has rebuffed the UN report, dismissing it as far removed from the actual situation on the ground.