As the Taliban asserted control over Afghanistan earlier this year, its leaders attempted to portray a reformed version of the extremist militant group.
According to Amnesty International, however, the Taliban “unlawfully” killed 13 members of an ethnic minority group in Afghanistan in a recent attack.
The alleged incident took place on Aug. 30 in the Daykundi province, specifically in the Khidir district village of Kahor.
Taliban members are accused of killing 13 ethnic Hazaras. The minority group accounts for about 9% of the nation’s population and has been targeted by the Taliban because of their adherence to Shia, rather than Sunni, Islamic rules.
Eleven of those killed were reportedly members of the Afghan National Defense Security Forces, which provided security for the former Afghanistan government. The other two victims were identified as civilians.
According to reports, the 11 security personnel were killed even after surrendering. The two civilians — one of whom was a 17-year-old girl — were killed when Taliban militants opened fire into a group of people attempting to flee the area.
Those who managed to escape are apparently still in danger, as evidenced in a statement by the Taliban instructing their relatives to tell them that they must surrender within three days.
Assuming the emerging reports are true, the circumstances suggest that the Taliban committed a war crime. Of course, this development has sparked further skepticism of the group’s claims that its current version is a kindler, gentler Taliban.
For its part, the Taliban has claimed that it is not directly targeting members and allies of the former government. This latest incident appears to contradict those assurances.
It has also claimed to have undergone reforms in an apparent bid to gain some level of acceptance by the global community. As anecdotes like the Kahor executions demonstrate, however, the group seems anything but reformed.
Amnesty International Secretary-General Agnes Callamard decried the extrajudicial killings, writing: “These cold-blooded executions are further proof that the Taliban are committing the same horrific abuses they were notorious for during their previous rule of Afghanistan.”
Meanwhile, the United Nations has determined that millions of Afghans remain at risk of another threat: malnutrition caused by widespread food insecurity.