21 nations, EU express concern over reported killings, disappearances of former Afghan security force members

KARIM SAHIB/AFP via Getty Images
A Taliban fighter is pictured against the backdrop of Taliban flags installed at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Sept. 11, 2021.

The governments of more than 20 nations and the European Union issued a joint statement on Saturday saying they were “deeply concerned” over alleged killings and “enforced disappearances” of former members of Afghan security forces. 

“We underline that the alleged actions constitute serious human rights abuses and contradict the Taliban’s announced amnesty. We call on the Taliban to effectively enforce the amnesty for former members of the Afghan security forces and former Government officials to ensure that it is upheld across the country and throughout their ranks,” the 21 nations and European Union said in their joint statement.

The governments said that any reports of killings or enforced disappearances “must be investigated promptly and in a transparent manner” and urged that perpetrators be held accountable. 

They also said that “these steps must be clearly publicized as an immediate deterrent to further killings and disappearances.”

“We will continue to measure the Taliban by their actions,” the joint statement added.

Human Rights Watch, which the joint statement cited as one of the organizations to document the issue, released a report earlier this week, saying that over 100 former Afghan security force members had been killed or missing since mid-August.

The organization alleged that the Taliban had carried out the disappearances and killings despite promising amnesty.

“The burden is on the Taliban to prevent further killings, hold those responsible to account, and compensate the victims’ families,” Human Rights Watch Associate Asia Director Patricia Gossman said in a statement on Monday.

The joint statement and report from the countries and the EU come just months after U.S. forces fully exited Afghanistan in August. The landscape of the country changed dramatically as a result, with the Taliban taking over Kabul and former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fleeing from the country in the middle of the same month the forces completed their withdrawal.

Afghanistan has since grappled with poverty, food insecurity and a wave of October attacks by ISIS-K.

The Taliban said after seizing control of the country in August that it would grant all Afghans amnesty and has repeatedly stated that it would respect human rights, and particularly women’s rights. But international organizations have detailed a number of abuses by the new government and accused the group of breaking its promises.

Tags Afghan security forces Afghanistan Australia Belgium Bulgaria Canada Denmark enforced disappearances European Union Finland France Germany Japan New Zealand North Macedonia Poland Portugal Romania Spain State Department summary killings Sweden Switzerland Taliban the Netherlands Ukraine United Kingdom

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