A scathing report from Human Rights Watch (HRW) has charged the Taliban with the killing or forced disappearance of about 100 ex-Afghan troops or intelligence officers. 

The summary executions of former members of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) include military personnel, police, intelligence servicemembers, and paramilitary militia, who either had surrendered to or were captured by Taliban forces during the government’s collapse or shortly afterward between August 15 and October 31, 2021. The report specifically points to incidents in Ghazni, Helmand, Kandahar, and Kunduz provinces, but there are many more cases of Taliban killings and abductions being reported in Khost, Paktiya, Paktika provinces.

HRW conducted numerous interviews and gathered crucial evidence of about 100 extrajudicial or revenge killings by Taliban troops. The killings were carried out despite assurances made by the Taliban leadership, after the group seized power in August in lightning fashion, that a general amnesty would be given to former members of the ANSF.

Afghan soldier surrendering to Taliban
Afghan soldiers surrendering to Taliban fighters during the collapse of the government. Many of those soldiers didn’t get the promised amnesty and were killed. (AP)

The report highlights that either the Taliban leadership giving their blessing to the killings while hiding behind plausible deniability or that they have little to no control over their small unit commanders and ordinary fighters. Neither is good for a government whose economy is in shambles and is looking for recognition and foreign aid.