Over the past year, there have been numerous incidents of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in every corner of the country as the Taliban (hereby de facto authorities or DFA) have ruled Afghanistan, with devastating consequences—especially for women and girls. As a result of systematic and purposeful discrimination by the ruling group, women have been deprived of some of their most basic human rights, such as the rights to education and work. Ethnic and religious minorities have been exposed to the discriminatory behavior of the ruling group and have fallen victim to deadly terrorist attacks.
During the last 12 months, structures and institutions based on the constitution have collapsed. The current laws—and, above all, the previous constitution (which established the basic rights and freedoms of citizens)—were abolished. Consequently, the legal guarantees of human rights protections of Afghans were completely lost. In the absence of legal mechanisms to protect human rights, as well due to the lack of an active and effective presence of the international community during the past year (especially in the first six months of the Taliban rule), there has been an increase in human rights violations in the past year.
In the absence of legal mechanisms to protect human rights, there has been an increase in human rights violations in the past year.
During this period, the activities of dozens of civil society institutions, media, and reliable and independent news agencies throughout the country were shut down. As a result, freedom of expression, freedom of press, and access to information—which have been the most important achievements in Afghanistan during the last two decades—have been widely limited. Due to the lack of active presence of the international community and other national and international monitoring institutions, the Taliban have felt immune from any accountability, and there have not been any effective mechanisms obligating them to comply with the accepted principles of human rights.The DFA have dealt with their critics and opponents with more violent means, and according to the findings of Rawadari, hundreds of former government employees, journalists, and human rights defenders have been arrested, tortured, and even killed.
According to what was discussed, the past year has been full of suffering, deprivation, and disaster for the people of Afghanistan. While security events have declined in number during this period, continued armed conflicts (especially deadly terrorist attacks) have nevertheless taken a heavy toll on the people of Afghanistan.
The past year has been full of suffering, deprivation, and disaster for the people of Afghanistan.
Examining the most significant violations of human rights and international humanitarian law that have occurred in Afghanistan between 15 August 2021 and 15 August 2022, this report presents the findings of Rawadari, an independent and non-political entity that has regularly and continuously monitored the human rights situation and international humanitarian law during the one year rule of the Taliban.
Data collection method
Concurrent with the Taliban’s domination of the country, Rawadari has continuously and regularly monitored the human rights situation during the past year, in spite of the existing difficulties and problems. Rawadari has collected information related to human rights violations from reliable and independent local sources, including eyewitnesses, victims, and victims’ relatives. The findings and information contained in this report are locally verified and double-checked against several sources. The information that follows is obtained from local informed sources in the provinces of Kabul, Kandahar, Herat, Nangarhar, Bamyan, Kunar, Uruzgan, Helmand, Badakhshan, Kunduz, Daikundi, Sarpol, Takhar, Ghor, Midanwardag, Ghazni, Panjshir, Parwan, Baghlan, Khost, Paktia, Paktika, Farah, Nimroz, Badghis, Kapisa, Nuristan, Laghman, and Balkh and has been compared, analyzed, and evaluated. In addition, information published by other reliable and related sources are cited, after verification, in this report.
Rawadari emphasizes that documenting and obtaining the required information regarding cases of human rights violations during the past year has been difficult, as the Taliban’s intelligence organization has prevented the publication of any information related to human rights violations and dealt violently with those recording or investigation the information. This report aims to express some (and certainly not all) of the human rights violations documented by Rawadari that have occurred during one year of Taliban’s rule. All events and figures included in this report have been confirmed by at least three reliable sources.
Part one: Human rights situation
Based on the findings of Rawadari, human rights have been widely and systematically violated in Afghanistan over the past year due to the lack of the ruling group’s commitment to compliance with human rights standards and, most importantly, the lack of deterrent mechanisms, leading to frequent and unfortunate human rights violations. In this section of the report, the most important cases of human rights violations and existing problems are explained in detail.
Violation of the right to life
Although fewer security events have occurred in the past year compared to previous years, and there has been a significant reduction in the number of face-to-face conflicts, the continuation of armed conflicts and bloody terrorist attacks over the past year has nevertheless taken countless lives in Afghanistan. According to information and findings of the Rawadari institution, 2,932 individuals have been killed or injured in total during one year of Taliban as a result of deadly terrorist attacks and targeted assassinations.
The evidence obtained shows that 2,722 civilian—including 1,794 men, 110 women, 525 children, and 293 other individuals whom we have not been able to identify—have been killed or wounded across Afghanistan during the last year. Of these, 1,174 people—including 862 men, 48 women, 249 children, and 15 other persons whose identity is unclear—were killed, and 1,548 individuals—including 932 men, 62 women, 276 children, and 278 other persons with unknown identity—were injured. These individuals were victims in a variety of security events, including bloody terrorist attacks.
Targeted and planned murders
210 people—primarily consisting of employees of the security institutions of the previous government, judges, defense lawyers, human rights defenders, prosecutors, individuals affiliated with popular uprisings, former staff of the government and non-government institutions, and civilian citizens accused of collaborating with the ISIS group and the Resistance Front—have been systematically and purposefully killed and wounded during one year of Taliban rule. These individuals were killed in the provinces of Kandahar, Ghor, Jalalabad, Kunar, Helmand, Uruzgan, Daikundi, Herat, Mazar Sharif, Panjshir, Badakhshan, Kabul, Kunduz, Takhar, and Sarpol.
After ruling over Afghanistan, the Taliban group has resorted to retaliatory measures to identify and pursue individuals belonging to governmental and non-governmental institutions. For this purpose, it has raided houses and residential buildings in different parts of the country. The evidence obtained shows that after identifying such individuals, the Taliban have tortured, violently treated, and even killed them. During the first three months of this group’s rule, as many as 121 people—including employees of security institutions of the previous government, people associated with popular uprisings, judges and lawyers, human rights defenders, employees of non-governmental institutions, and local influencers—were killed in a targeted manner. For instance, on 8 September 2021, 4 members of the police forces in Kandahar province were arrested from their homes and shot in a horrific manner. In addition, from 25 August to 2 November 2021, at least 61 people, who were residents of Nangarhar province, were killed, among them 38 people accused of connection and cooperation with Daesh, 10 civilians (including 2 women) for unknown reasons, 3 religious scholars, 4 employees of the previous government, 3 civil activists, and 1 journalist. Local sources have told the Rawadari organization that the names of corpses of 31 victims in Nangarhar Province have been identified and that these individuals were killed on the charge of collaborating with the ISIS group, just as the Taliban was doing previously with government officials. Some of these people were beheaded, and some of their bodies were hung in trees.
The reports received thus far show that the Taliban group in Badakhshan Province have planned to kill their opponents and employees of the previous government. As in the first days of the arrival of the group to Badakhshan province, many individuals have disappeared, with the corpses of many of them later found in rivers, mountains, and valleys. There is no information about the fate of the remaining individuals. According to local residents, the Taliban try to break into people’s houses at night and move them to unknown places, explaining why their corpses are later found in mountains and valleys. For example, in a case in the center of Badakhshan Province, the Taliban group killed a former commander of popular uprisings on 23 June 2022. The Taliban arrested him from his house, and his body was later found in the river. Additionally, during the first three months of Taliban rule, the bodies of seven former government employees were found in the river. Furthermore, on 24 November 2021, the corpse of a national security employee in Kunduz province who was arrested by unknown armed men from his home, according to his family, was found 20 days after being shot. The Taliban group in Takhar province also shot and murdered about 23 employees of institutions of former government from 11 to 15 May 2022.
The aforementioned cases occurred despite the Taliban group’s previous announcement that the former employees of government and non-government institutions will be covered by an amnesty order and that no person would be charged or punished due to cooperation with the previous government or national and international non-governmental institutions. The fact is that the amnesty decree has not been implemented by the Taliban.
Violation of the right to human dignity
The findings and information obtained show that a large number of people belonging to the previous government, especially military personnel and employees of security institutions, have been tortured by the Taliban, and in the past year, numerous cases of field trials and extra-legal punishment have been reported.
Torture and abuse
Information obtained from local sources shows that the Taliban group has committed widespread torture and ill treatment during its one-year rule over Afghanistan. Based on the findings of this report, approximately 440 people were tortured and mistreated during the last year. Torture victims are mainly the employees of the previous government, as well as opponents and critics of the Taliban, journalists, female protesters, and human rights defenders. It should be noted that due to the imposition of extensive restrictions and the application of strict regulations by Taliban, access to detention centers and documentation of additional cases of torture and ill treatment has not been possible for the Rawadari organization.
The Taliban group arrested, harassed, and tortured the former government employees and even arrested the relatives and family members of these individuals
Based on the information obtained from reliable local sources, the Taliban group arrested, harassed, and tortured the former government employees and even arrested the relatives and family members of these individuals as well. In addition, in October 2021, the Taliban tortured and mistreated a man in Nangarhar province because his son was a soldier in the security forces. On 11 September 2021, the Taliban in Parwan province surveilled one of the journalists for hours in a bathroom for organizing demonstrations and tortured him with a cable. The torture victim suffered serious mental and physical injuries as a result. In Herat province, people who managed to escape from Taliban detention centers said that they were severely tortured and cruelly treated. Meanwhile, a human rights defender from Kandahar Province told Rawadari that the Taliban subjected him to beatings, waterboarding, electric shocks, and various physical tortures after his arrest. Moreover, the victims of torture have pointed out that the Taliban warned them that if they talk to the media about the behavior of the Taliban officials, they will also arrest and torture them and their family members. A number of the victims have also received death threats.
Arbitrary and cruel punishments
The Taliban group has also continuously inflicted punishments that are extrajudicial and that violate human dignity in various parts of the country. Based on the information obtained, a total of 109 individuals have been tried arbitrarily and punished by the Taliban in the last 12 months. These individuals have been tried and punished without any investigation or proof of accusation. Examples of such trials by the Taliban in the last year include the execution of four men on 25 September 2021 (and the hanging of their bodies in public places) on charges of kidnapping in the city of Herat, as well as the inhumane punishment of those arrested on charges of theft. A person who was blackened in the face in a large crowd of people in Nangarhar province for theft also later committed suicide. In addition, the deputy governor of the Taliban for Herat Province said on 2 May 2022 that two people who had entered a house with the intention of stealing were killed, and their bodies were displayed and exposed to teach others a lesson. In another case, the Taliban flogged a man in public on the charge of adultery at a crossroads located in Trinkot city of Uruzgan province on 21 February 2022. Local people and civil activists have said that the trial of this man was unfair, and it appears that the main reason for the trial was personal enmity. Additionally, on 20 September 2021, the Taliban arrested two young men and a young woman in Ghor province for “moral” crimes. In the same month, the Taliban whipped and punished two girls and a boy in Faryab province in the presence of hundreds of people; these young adults had run away with the intention of getting married.
In line with the aforementioned acts, an official of the Taliban group announced that the group will resume the implementation of Islamic Hudud punishments, including the implementation of Qasas, execution, and amputation. The implementation of Islamic Hudud on accused and suspected persons in a situation where the laws of punishment have been suspended and there is no effective and accountable mechanism to ensure justice is considered a prominent example of violation of human dignity and human rights.
Arbitrary arrest and detention
The findings of Rawadari show that 916 people have been illegally and arbitrarily detained by the Taliban in the past year. These individuals include the employees of the previous government—especially the employees of the former security and defense institutions and their relatives—journalists and civil and social activists, and other civilians. The findings of this report show that the Taliban have arrested and detained many people simply due to their cooperation with government institutions and international organizations or due to their human rights work. For example, the Taliban group arrested 360 people in Farah and Nimiroz provinces along, including civil and social activists and social media users, and subjected them to violence and mistreatment. Meanwhile, the Taliban have arrested 205 civilians in Panjshir province on charges of cooperation with or membership in the resistance front.
The Taliban arrested 360 people in Farah and Nimiroz provinces along, including civil and social activists and social media users.
In addition, in the first days of their rule, the Taliban arrested a number of national security employees in Nangarhar province and transferred them to an unknown place. In another case, on September 10, 2021 the Taliban group attacked the house of a man who was a civil activist and the head of a charity foundation in Kandahar province and beat him and his family members. On 14 November 2021, Maulvi Fariduddin Mahmood, the head of the Afghanistan Academy of Sciences, stated that “more than 80% of the people in Kabul, especially the youth have mental atheism, because America has done a lot through cultural invasion during the last two decades…” This comment by an influential figure of the Taliban has actually issued a fatwa for other members of this group and has given them more courage to arbitrarily arrest people and violate citizens’ rights to freedom and personal security. Arbitrary and illegal detention of people is one of the acts that is still occurring in certain parts of the country, in clear opposition to international human rights documents. This type of act is an example of the violation of human rights to freedom and security.
Status of access to justice
After the fall of the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the Taliban, the implementation of all internal laws was suspended. The institutions based on the constitution— including judicial and judicial bodies—were also dissolved, and the previous professional and experienced cadres were purged. The information obtained indicates that in the past year, 1,016 professional and administrative employees of various departments of the central and provincial prosecutors as well as 2,000 judges who were in the departments during the republican period, have been dismissed from their duties.
The Taliban have now hired new judges and employees in various departments of judicial institutions, including in the central and provincial courts. These individuals were mainly educated in religious schools and are unfamiliar with the modern judicial system. They typically issue rulings based on their traditional understandings of religion and according to customary methods. Moreover, the exclusive powers of the prosecutor’s office and the courts are not separated in practice; thus, the defendants are tried and punished directly, regardless of the principles and formalities stipulated in the law and without any investigation of them. The prosecutors do not have the right to protest against the verdict of the courts, and the defendants are not considered to have the right to appeal.
The findings of this report show that for months in a number of provinces, an ordinary person belonging to the Taliban group has played both the role of a prosecutor and the role of a judge. For instance, many legal and criminal matters in Daikundi province have been referred to as Maulvi and Mufti and decided by the head of education of this province in the first several months after the fall of the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Additionally, a number of cases in security areas are resolved by determining fines. In certain areas, including in Helmand province, cases are referred to clerics and imams of mosques for resolution. However, in such a situation, access to justice seems difficult or even impossible due to the current lack of legal mechanisms to support victims in obtaining justice in such difficult and unequal conditions. For example, in a traffic incident on 28 September 2021, the Taliban seriously injured a mother and killed her 15-year-old son with a vehicle in the center of Daikundi province, according to the statements of eyewitnesses. The Taliban did not arrest the perpetrator of this incident and announced the settlement of the case simply by paying six bushels of wheat flour from the warehouse of the Department of Agriculture to the victims’ family. In Kandahar province, a 14-year-old child was also arrested in March 2022 on the charge of stealing 100 Afghanis and was detained for more than three months.
Notably, the Taliban are significantly biased against the employees of the previous government in the provinces that have activated the courts. For example, in Herat Province, a person approached the court and claimed that a previous government employee had taken money from him by force; the court immediately ordered the payment of the claimed amount without necessary investigation.
The Taliban are significantly biased against the employees of the previous government in the provinces that have activated the courts.
Meanwhile, according to documented reports, thousands of people are living in detention centers in the center and other parts of the country with various charges. The Taliban keep these individuals in a single place without distinguishing the type of charge, as in Kandahar province, where approximately 2,200 people are kept in one location without the type of charge being specified; individuals in this province have been awaiting trial and determination for months.
Since the Taliban have declared the abolition of the laws governing the administration of prisons, including the law on criminal proceedings, they have removed professional and trained staff from their duties in prisons and do not allow any institutions to monitor these centers. Therefore, access to a fair trial has been limited. Consequently, fundamental rights of the suspect and the accused during and after the trial (such as equality in front of the court, fair and public trial, compliance with the principle of acquittal, the right to have a defense lawyer, and the right to appeal against the conviction) have also been violated.
The right to freedom of speech and freedom of the press
During the past year, the Taliban have imposed extremely strict regulations on the work of the media and the press. As of now, the domestic media are prohibited from publishing independent and impartial reports and are obliged to follow the policy of DFA. A number of journalists have stated that they were ordered that no report should be published against the wishes of the authorities and that media officials should coordinate and consult with the Taliban before publishing any report. Journalists who have disobeyed this order have been subjected to violence. In addition, in a large number of provinces, female journalists have not been allowed to work in the media, and the Taliban group has arrested and tortured a large number of journalists and media officials for impartial reporting, especially due to the news coverage of civil protests. According to the findings Rawadari, a total of 151 journalists were arrested and 46 others were subjected to violence and threats during one year of Taliban rule. According to an evaluation by the International Federation of Journalists and the National Union of Afghan Journalists, the activities of 318 media outlets have been censured and nearly 3,000 journalists (the majority of whom are women) have lost their jobs, after the Taliban took control of the country.
The Taliban group threatened, pursued, and harassed a number of civil activists, journalists, and university professors due to their critical stances on social networks. In one case, the Taliban in Badakhshan province kicked a critic out of his house at night and took him with them; thus far, there is no information about his fate. In addition, some social media users have complained that they have been threatened by the Taliban and have faced security problems due to expressing their opinions and publishing critical posts; these individuals have stated that the Taliban called them to security centers and arrested them. For example, in Farah Province, during the first months of their rule, the Taliban group arrested and tortured 31 people for criticizing the “Islamic Emirate” on social networks. The Taliban has always emphasized that discussing the existing problems and conflicts represents an attempt to harm the prestige and position of the DFA and therefore deserves punishment. On 20 November 2021, two religious scholars who were critics of the Taliban were killed by unknown men in the Kapisa province. At the same time, the Taliban ordered the media not to air serials in which women played roles, as well as satirical and comedy programs, serials and programs in which the role of the companions of the Prophet was portrayed, and serials that are against the culture and religious beliefs of the Afghan people.
Only a small number of media institutions can convey information independently, freely, and impartially to people and influence public opinion.
Due to the prevailing atmosphere of fear and suffocation, citizens are now deprived of the freedom to openly express their opinions, and the number of media outlets that previously played an important role in promoting freedom of expression and free flow of information has decreased significantly. Only a small number of media institutions can convey information independently, freely, and impartially to people and influence public opinion. Due to the aforementioned challenges and problems, the freedom of expression and, as a result, the freedom of the press and access to information, have been limited and subject to difficult conditions after the establishment of the Taliban rule in Afghanistan.
Violation of the right to peaceful assembly
After the return of Taliban to power, arbitrary restrictions on the basic freedoms of citizens (especially the public opposition to the human rights and freedoms of women) were implemented and a number of citizens held protests in different parts of the country. Expressing their civil and legal demands, the protesters asked the Taliban to respect the basic rights and freedoms of Afghan men and women and to give all people the opportunity to participate in public affairs, including women and ethnic and religious minorities; these protests met with violence and were suppressed by the Taliban.
In the first several months of its rule, the Taliban group has violently suppressed 13 civil and peaceful protests, leading to the arrest and torture of a large number of protesters, including journalists who covered the demonstrations. According to the information obtained, two participants of these protest programs were killed, and six others were injured. On 11 September 2021, a number of local elders and influential people in Parwan province held a protest meeting which was stopped and suppressed by military action of the Taliban. Beyond beating the protestors with sticks, whips, and gun butts, the Taliban also arrested some of the participants and reporters and confiscated reporters’ cameras and demonstrators’ cell phones. The Taliban released these individuals after these individuals pledged not to repeat similar actions. Additionally, the Taliban arrested and detained 69 female protestors in Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif provinces for organizing protest programs against the Taliban during the past year. Over the past year, the Taliban have violently repressed their opponents and critics and have shown that they use violence as an effective tool to subdue others. As in May 2022, the Taliban governor of Kabul stated in a video that was released through social networks that “opposition to the Taliban is forbidden, and opponents of this system are subject to death.”
The right to form and join trade unions
During one year of Taliban rule, no unions, civil institutions, or party or trade unions were established, as the Taliban suppressed and prevented the formation of such institutions in a number of provinces. For example, the union of university professors, which was active in Afghanistan (and in Kandahar province in particular), was canceled by an official letter of the Ministry of Higher Education of the Taliban, as its activity was considered by the Taliban to be detrimental to the country. In another case, a number of young people of Parwan province decided to establish an association, which faced a negative response from the Taliban Justice Department during the registration phase. On 20 February 2022, the Chief Justice of Kandahar ordered civil activists and voluntary and social charity organizations to cease their activities. A number of participants of this meeting expressed that the Chief Justice of Kandahar Province claimed that the reason for this order was the lack of a specific policy regarding civil and voluntary activities. The findings of this report show that, across the country, the majority of social and cultural organizations that used to operate regularly has now been dissolved and the activities of these organizations have stopped.
Restrictions imposed on women’s basic freedoms
Since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, they have openly and clearly opposed the basic rights and freedoms of women, including their right to education and participation in public affairs. As a first step, female employees have been prevented from returning to government offices, and women who worked in various departments of the previous government have been dismissed from their duties. In another measure, the Taliban issued a decree whereby girls above the sixth grade do not have the right to go to school; due to this decree, hundreds of thousands of female students across the country have been denied the right to education. During the past year, the Taliban have committed the most possible discrimination and oppression against women, depriving them of their human rights and freedoms.
Detention and forced disappearance
During the last 12 months, a large number of women in different parts of the country have disappeared or been arrested or killed due to their participation in protest programs or for working with previous security and defense institutions. Rawadari’s findings show that in the past year, 17 women have been murdered across the country, 9 of whom have disappeared, and 73 women have been arrested. The Taliban group in Kabul arrested and detained seven protesting women in an armed raid on their house, and 40 protesting women were arrested by the Taliban after participating in a protest march in Mazar-e-Sharif province. In addition, a number of women have been killed due to their work with former security institutions and civil activities. A female resident of Ghor province who was a former prison employee of this province was shot on 4 September 2021 in front of her husband and children. Two other women in Ghazni and Mazar-e-Sharif provinces who were employees of former security institutions were killed by the Taliban, and on 16 September 2021, 8 other women who were involved in organizing protest programs against the Taliban in Mazar-e-Sharif were mysteriously killed.
The violent suppression of women’s protests and petition activities and, after it, the creation of an atmosphere of fear and terror have caused female pioneers in the field of civil activities not to leave the house in large parts of the country; the Taliban’s imposition of extensive restrictions, as well as mandatory requirements regarding the hijab and Mahram for women, have essentially removed the possibility of any kind of female participation in public affairs.
Prohibiting women from participating in public affairs
In the first days of its rule, Taliban announced that women cannot leave the house alone or leave the house without a sharia mahram, and that female students and female journalists are required to wear a black hijab and refrain from wearing colored clothes. Women who have refused this order have faced violent treatment by the Taliban, and in a number of provinces, including Badakhshan and Bamyan, girls have been mistreated and subjected to violence by the Taliban for wearing Chaplak and not wearing stockings. The Taliban’s religious regulators, which are present in the cities each day, abuse women without hijab and Muharram. Recreational places and shrines and support centers have also been blocked for women. In another decree dated 27 May 2022, the Taliban announced in Kandahar province that women without Mahram do not have the right to use urban transportation, including the taxis and rickshaws, and if they ignore this matter they will be reprimanded and punished. Recently, a number of women in this province have received a warning from the Taliban for using public transportation.
The Taliban announced in Kandahar province that women without Mahram do not have the right to use urban transportation.
The obtained information shows that family violence against women has increased in the past year, especially the number of honor killings and mysterious murders. By cancelling all internal laws, including the constitution (which included the basic rights and freedoms of women) and the law of prohibition of violence against women (which criminalized violent behavior against women), the Taliban has virtually eliminated access to justice for victims of violence against women. Currently, there is no legal mechanism that guarantees access to justice for victims of violence against women, and the Taliban’s legal and judicial institutions do not deal with cases of violence against women. As a result, perpetrators of violence against women commit more bad behavior and violence without fearing the legal consequences of such actions.
With the re-establishment of the “Islamic Emirate” of the Taliban in Afghanistan, the greatest damage and losses have been imposed on the lives of women and girls in this country, to the extent that they are deprived of their most basic human rights and freedoms, such as the rights to work and education. The ruling group has prohibited women’s participation in various political, economic, cultural, and social fields through its extremist religious approach.
Status of access to the right to education
While information obtained indicates that access of boys to schools has increased during the last year due to the reduction of areas involved in conflict, Taliban has issued a decree prohibiting girls from attending school above the sixth grade, as mentioned. Following a year of Taliban rule, hundreds of thousands of female students across the country have been deprived of their most basic human right to education.
Furthermore, during the past year, hundreds of professional and experienced staff members of academic and educational centers have fled to countries near and far due to existing security threats, and educational centers—especially universities—have been emptied of scientific personnel. By imposing strict regulations (including separating classes for girls and boys and inspecting the hijab of female students), the Taliban group has practically eliminate opportunities to continued education for thousands of qualified girls. Across Afghanistan and especially in the south-eastern region of the country, the presence of students in universities and educational centers has become very weak. For example, in Kandahar province, the number of participants in the entrance exam of private universities has decreased by 75%. In addition, the Ministry of Higher Education of the Taliban has implemented changes to the curriculum, based on the ideological beliefs of the DFA.
Additionally, during the past year, the DFA has emphasized support for the establishment of religious schools and religious education and have opposed the modern education system. For example, the local government of the Taliban in Ghor province announced that the employees of the civil and military sectors of this province are obliged to allocate one percent of their monthly salary to support religious schools. Such situations, as well as the extensive economic problems facing families in Afghanistan, have caused a large number of eligible boys and girls to lose the opportunity to go to schools and universities.
Status of access to health services
The consequences of and crises caused by the re-establishment of the “Islamic Emirate” of the Taliban in Afghanistan have also severely affected the centers providing health services. A lack of financial resources, personnel, equipment, and required medicine has limited citizens’ access to health services, and the establishment and implementation of strict regulations (especially for women) have created serious challenges and problems.
The Taliban group has declared throughout the country that male doctors should not examine and treat sick women.
The Taliban group has declared throughout the country that male doctors should not examine and treat sick women, and women without hijab and sharia mahram cannot even leave the house to receive health services. The findings of Rawadari indicate that a large number of doctors in hospitals, clinics, and health centers left their duties as the Taliban group came to dominate the country. Additionally, based on the information obtained, the price of medicine in the market has increased. In conjunction with the limited access of citizens to health services more generally, these trends have increased maternal mortality across the country.
Lack of job opportunities, increasing poverty, and economic problems
With return of Taliban to power, a significant number of those who worked with the previous government (especially within the security and defense departments) did not return to their duties out of fear or due to dismissal. Journalists and certain individuals who used to work with non-governmental organizations and institutions have also lost their jobs. The lack of job opportunities has significantly undermined the economic status and livelihoods of families. A large group of university graduates, journalists, and employees of the previous government are now unemployed, and a huge wave of mass migration to countries near and far has begun as individuals attempt to escape the current chaotic situation.
Concurrent with these unemployment challenges, the latest United Nations report indicates that 3.2 million children are suffering from malnutrition, and another 14 million children are at risk of malnutrition. Despite these malnutrition challenges, the Taliban group has forced people to pay tithe and zakat all over the country; in a number of provinces, such as Mazar-e-Sharif, the group has ordered families to prepare three times meal for the Taliban’s soldiers.
Imposing heavy taxes and extortion from the people
The Taliban have so far shown that they have complete freedom in their actions and behavior and are not accountable to any authorities. No laws restrict or bind their behavior to specific principles, and no authorities monitor the group’s behavior. Worse still, there is no administrative hierarchy within the group. Institutions such as Hajj and Endowments, Department of Agriculture, and Municipalities collect tithes from the people. For example, in the center of Daikundi Province, six security zones have been set up by the Taliban, and each zone collects 30,000 to 35,000 Afghanis from the people in addition to tithes and other expenses, including winter fuel. In another case, a businessman in one of the provinces who wanted to transfer his cash to the agency (Da Afghanistan Bank) was taken to the police headquarters by the Taliban. This businessman told Rawadari that the Taliban released him from prison after providing the group with one and a half million Afghanis. There are also reports that the Taliban group extorted money from people on the pretext of carrying weapons in a number of provinces last year, obtaining huge sums of money through this extortion.
The human rights situation of ethnic and religious minorities
In the past year, a wide range of repressive measures and deadly terrorist attacks against ethnic and religious minorities have taken place in a number of provinces. Ethnic and religious groups of Hindu believers, Hazaras, and Uzbeks have experienced different types of discrimination during this period. The Taliban group has persecuted the followers of religious and ethnic minorities in different provinces, including in Badakhshan province. In the first months of the Taliban’s domination of Afghanistan, the people belonging to the Taliban expelled the followers of the Jafari and Salafi religions from their homes and tortured, humiliated, and insulted them. This group officially engaged in inquisition; they harass people first by questioning them and then by using additional harassment tactics if they find that someone believes in a religion other than that of the Taliban.
A large number of Sikhs and Hindus once lived in different parts of Afghanistan. However, due to serious security threats, there are now only a few of these individuals remaining in the country. In September 2021, the Taliban destroyed one of the Hindu temples in Ghazni and stopped the restoration of two other temples. In addition, a Bauran Hindu temple in Kabul was destroyed by unknown individuals. Ultimately, following a deadly terrorist attack on a Sikh and Hindu temple in Kabul that resulted in many victims, these religious minorities were forced to leave the country en masse.
Additionally, based on the information obtained, more than a thousand people belonging to the Uzbek and Turkmen ethnic groups in the Qosh Tepe district of Jawzjan province were forced by the Taliban to move in November 2021, and their land, houses, and property were forcibly seized.
The Taliban group also issued a decree removing 800 families belonging to the Hazara ethnic group from the districts of Pato, Gizab, Naveh Mish, and Khadir without permission to take anything with them
After taking control of Daikundi province, the Taliban group also issued a decree removing 800 families belonging to the Hazara ethnic group from the districts of Pato, Gizab, Naveh Mish, and Khadir without permission to take anything with them. The Taliban forced them to move and subsequently destroyed their houses. The families were only allowed to take 50 kilos of wheat with them when they left their homes, and they have been displaced in neighboring villages and areas. In addition, on 12 November 2021, 15 Hazara families who lived in the Khair Abad and Naw Abad areas of Dasht Barchi in the west of Kabul were forcibly displaced, and their houses were destroyed. The Taliban had warned the residents of Waliasr town in Mazar-e-Sharif to evacuate this place, which belongs to the Hazara and Shia ethnic groups. According to local sources, the Taliban court issued permission to vacate this town in October 2021 and then destroyed part of it. Local residents stated that 4,000 families have been living in this town for over two decades.
During the past year, 13 deadly and targeted terrorist attacks have taken place on positions of Hazaras and Shiites in Afghanistan, resulting in the deaths and injuries of 700 people. As a result of a terrorist attack on the Sikh place of worship in Kabul, at least one worshiper was killed and seven others were injured, and during the last year, two major terrorist attacks took place on Sunni Sufi monasteries in Kunduz and Kabul provinces, which resulted in the death of 93 worshipers and the wounding of 183 others. The Khorasan branch of ISIS has claimed responsibility for six attacks on ethnic and religious minorities. During its year of rule, the Taliban group has failed to take effective measures to provide security to citizens, especially ethnic and religious groups at risk.
Based on the available evidence, the attack on ethnic and religious minorities in Afghanistan (especially the deadly attacks against Hazaras and Shiites) has been carried out in a targeted and systematic manner and can therefore be considered an example of genocide.
Part two: Violation of international humanitarian law
Our monitoring illustrates that during the past year, the international principles and rules governing the armed conflicts have been violated, and civilians have suffered violence and serious losses of lives and finances.
Although the number of armed conflicts and security events has declined in the last 12 months in comparison to previous years, the casualties resulting from security events and terrorist attacks are still significant and worrying. From 15 August 2021 to 15 August 2022, a total of 2,722 civilians (including 1,792 men, 110 women, 525 children and 293 others whose identities have not been determined) were killed and injured. Among them, 1,174 people (862 men, 48 women, 249 children and 15 others whose identity is unknown) have been killed, and 1,548 people (932 men, 62 women, 276 children and 278 other people with unknown identity) have been injured. All of these individuals are victims of various security events, including terrorist attacks.
Property losses during security incidents
Explosions of improvised explosive devices in mosques and civilian areas, bullet heads left over from previous years by the Taliban and the security forces of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and roadside mines planted by the Taliban have killed 289 civilians and injured 728 others in the past year. Children account for the largest number of these casualties. An additional 356 civilians were killed and 626 others were injured as a result of suicide attacks during the past year, most of which were carried out by ISIS.
In addition, 463 people, mostly employees of the previous government, have been assassinated by the Taliban and other unknown agents, and 193 others have been injured. According to the findings of Rawadari, the Taliban have committed these murders in all parts of Afghanistan, especially in the provinces of Kandahar, Daikundi, Nangarhar, Panjshir, Kabul, Paktia, and Ghor and in the Balkhab district.
In the last 12 months, 47 civilians, including 15 children, have been killed by air attacks by Pakistani forces in Khost and Kunar provinces; in one case, aerial bombardment by American forces near the international airport Hamed Karzai resulted in the deaths of 10 civilians, including 7 children. In addition, the Taliban killed 100 civilians in the Balkhab district of Sarpul province and 32 civilians in the Panjshir province. The obtained evidence shows that the victims of these attacks had no role in or contribution towards armed conflicts.
Killing war prisoners
The findings of Rawadari show that during the military attacks on the Balkhab districts of Sarpul province and Panjshir province, the Taliban have also killed people who had laid down their weapons and surrendered. As many as seven people were killed in Panjshir province and four people in the Balkhab district after they surrendered to the Taliban.
Torture and abuse
Torture of civilians and mistreatment of people represent additional atrocities committed by the Taliban during the past year in the armed conflict. After attacking the Balkhab district to suppress a disgruntled commander, Maulvi Mehdi Mujahid, the Taliban subjected civilians (including women and children, who had no role in the conflict) to violence and mistreatment. A local source stated that people have been tortured and mistreated on various pretexts, including for carrying weapons and communicating with Maulvi Mehdi or bringing help from institutions. For example, the Taliban have arrested and tortured four people in the Tarkhoch, Ildar, and Takshar areas on the charge of possessing weapons.
Sexual violence and rape
According to the information obtained, the Taliban group has committed sexual assaults on women and girls after taking control of the Balkhab district.
The Taliban group has committed sexual assaults on women and girls after taking control of the Balkhab district
A local source has quoted a person belonging to the Taliban group, expressing that Taliban armed men raped a woman in the old bazaar of Balkhab district center while her husband was with her. There were also other allegations of sexual assault that have been difficult to verify.
Deliberate destruction of property belonging to civilians
Based on the findings of this report, property belonging to civilians has been intentionally damaged and destroyed in the past year, violating additional rules and principles governing armed conflicts. Local sources have confirmed that after attacking the Balkhab district of Sarpul province, the Taliban destroyed the northeastern part of the bazaar in this district, which was considered the main part of the bazaar. The Taliban deliberately destroyed this market with fire rockets and set fire to an oil tank, resulting in 140 shops being set on fire.
Based on the information obtained, two residential houses in an area called “Khalar” of the Balkhab district were also bombed by the Taliban and completely destroyed. The owner of one of these burned houses Rawadari that they were displaced in the Gandeh Jiu and Marghoch areas and that the Taliban bombed and destroyed his house. In addition, on 15 August 2022, the Taliban set fire to four residential houses in Peryan district of Panjshir province and forced residents to leave.
Looting of public and private properties
There are reliable reports that the Taliban, after taking control of the provinces, have looted people’s personal belongings and properties and forcibly usurped their houses and properties. Across the country, people belonging to the Taliban group have seized the houses and residences of a number of former government officials and are using them as military bases or for personal purposes. In addition, in the first days of their arrival in the provinces, the Taliban looted or misused government properties and facilities.
In Daikundi Province, even a number of government offices, including the Department of Information, Culture and Urban Development, were in the hands of the families of the local officials of this group for a long time following the arrival of the Taliban, and their branches were the places where cows, sheep, chickens, and roosters were kept.
Meanwhile, according to the information obtained from local sources, the Taliban group took more than 70 high-speed vehicles such as Fielder, Corolla, Sarf and Tunis from Balkhab center, 70 motorcycles from the area of Sarakhak Balag, and about 65 other motorcycles from the village of Glorz. According to local sources, Taliban forces have looted people’s houses of valuables, jewelry, and cash.
Our findings show that the Taliban group looted and plundered properties belonging to former government employees and forcibly usurped the personal property of people after the fall of the provincial centers. The occupation of residential houses of former government officials has occurred in all provinces, including Kabul, Mazar-e-Sharif, Kandahar, and Herat provinces. There are also reports that the Taliban looted the property of former employees of the security agencies in Kandahar province.
Part three: Conclusion
The first year of rule by Taliban in Afghanistan has clearly shown that this group not only does not have the necessary understanding and will to behave in accordance with the standards of human rights, but also that violations of fundamental rights of citizens are occurring continuously and repeatedly and with a feeling of immunity from accountability. Now that more than a year has passed since the return of Taliban, thousands of qualified girls have been denied the rights to work and go to school due to the Taliban’s extremely misogynistic approach. Contrary to what is claimed, the citizens of Afghanistan have not had even a minimal amount of security or psychological immunity during this period: the people belonging to the Taliban group—in the absence of the international community and other monitoring authorities—have taken revenge on the employees of the previous government, human rights defenders, and civil activists and have arrested, tortured, harassed, and even killed individuals in these groups. The arbitrary nature of this treatment has spread an atmosphere of fear and panic throughout the country, and for this reason we witnessed a large wave of mass migrations last year, which is still ongoing.
In addition, domestic laws—especially the constitution, which guaranteed the fundamental rights of citizens—have been suspended, and a significant number of civil institutions and human rights organizations have stopped their activities. As a result, access to information on human rights violations is limited. Justice has become difficult and almost impossible to ensure.
Citizens do not currently have the courage to express their thoughts and civil demands.
Moreover, due to the prevailing atmosphere of fear and suffocation in the country and the implementation of extremely strict policies by the Taliban, a large number of media and press and civil society and cultural organizations have ceased their activities. Thus, freedoms of expression and the press, which are considered the most important achievements of the last two decades, have become more limited with each passing day. Citizens do not currently have the courage to express their thoughts and civil demands, nor does the media publish and distribute information independently and impartially.
Ethnic and religious minorities are also not immune from security threats, particularly as the local Taliban rulers in the provinces of Daikundi, Uruzgan, Jawzjan, Mazar-e-Sharif, and Kabul have forced hundreds of families belonging to the Uzbek, Turkmen, and Hazara ethnic groups to move, looted their property. and destroyed their houses.
All of these events show that in the past year, human rights in Afghanistan have been in the worst possible situation and DFA has not shown any practical commitment to international human rights values and standards. The indifference of the international community and the passive role of the United Nations, which only observes the aforementioned incidents and events, have contributed to the further deterioration of the situation and provided the Taliban with more opportunities to violate human rights.
Based on what has been discussed in this report, Rawadari proposes the following as its most important recommendations to the international community, the United Nations, and global and regional human rights organizations to prevent widespread and enduring violations of human rights to the international community.
- The restrictions on the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan has devastating consequences for the country and for generations of Afghans to come. It is a collective and global responsibility to stand in solidarity with the women of Afghanistan and utilize all leverage to reopen girls’ schools, ensure women’s return to work in all sectors and work to lift all current restrictions on women’s rights and freedoms.
- Taliban should be reminded about their duty towards the Afghan public and the importance of creating inclusive mechanisms and procedures of governance at all levels where women, minorities and all marginalized groups are listened to and included.
- The civic space has disappeared due to Taliban’s brutal crackdown of media, independent associations and protests. The right to freedom of assembly and expression must be upheld for Afghans to criticize and influence their government officials.
- We ask the International Criminal Court to investigate and administer justice for cases of human rights violations, especially crimes against humanity and genocide and war crimes, within the framework of the provisions of the Rome Statute, to which the Afghan government has already agreed.
- We ask the international and regional human rights organizations to regularly and continuously monitor the current situation of human rights in Afghanistan and take joint action to prevent the repetition of widespread human rights violations in this country.
- We ask the influential international media and press to pay closer attention and focus on conveying the human rights issues and current problems of this country in the current situation in which the people of Afghanistan need urgent help.
- We ask the international and regional aid agencies to act urgently and effectively to support the people of Afghanistan, considering the chronic and deadly poverty, destitution, and unemployment.
- We ask the United Nations to facilitate an independent investigation by competent authorities into the genocide of Hazaras and Shiites in Afghanistan.
- We ask the international community to adopt and implement the necessary measures to reopen girls’ schools in Afghanistan and ensure access to all eligible girls to the right to education.
- In order to ensure that the Taliban does not interfere with international aid and for the purpose of fair distribution, aid should be monitored and distributed through charitable and non-governmental organizations.
- As the ruling group in Afghanistan, the Taliban must be held accountable for human rights violations, including deadly terrorist attacks on ethnic and religious groups, and take effective measures to ensure the safety of all citizens.