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UN: ‘Credible’ claims of Taliban reprisal killings in Afghanistan

There are credible reports that the Taliban have been carrying out reprisal killings of former member of the Afghan security forces, the UN human rights chief has said.

Michelle Bachelet said there had also been cases where ex-government officials and their relatives had been arbitrarily detained and were later found dead.

Speaking to the Human Rights Council, she warned of a “new and perilous phase”, citing “multiple” allegations that the Taliban had been conducting house-to-house searches seeking out people who had worked for the previous government or who had cooperated with US security forces and companies.

There was a disconnect between the words and the actions of Afghanistan’s new rulers, Bachelet told the 47-member council as it opened its autumn session.

“My office has received credible allegations of reprisal killings of a number of former ANSF (Afghan National Security Forces) personnel, and reports of officials, who worked for previous administrations and their family members being arbitrarily detained,” she said, adding that searches had taken place in at least half-a-dozen cities.

“In some cases, the officials were released, and in others, they were found dead.”

There was also “deeply troubling information” about Taliban raids on offices of some advocacy groups, Bachelet said.

The UN human rights chief also raised doubts over the Taliban’s statements on women’s rights.

“In contradiction to assurances that the Taliban would uphold women’s rights, over the past three weeks women have instead been progressively excluded from the public sphere,” she said. In some parts of the country girls aged over 12 had been barred from attending school, and “Women’s Affairs” departments had been at times dismantled.

On Sunday the Taliban’s higher education minister said that women would be allowed to study at university, but that mixed-sex classes would no longer be permitted.

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