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Afghanistan: Taliban threaten revenge killings of former govt officials, activists

ANI | Updated: Mar 23, 2022 08:31 IST

New York [US], March 23 (ANI): Taliban authorities in Afghanistan's Helmand province have threatened to retaliate against activists and former government officials in response to recent killings of Taliban commanders, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Tuesday.
The Taliban in Helmand have heightened surveillance and said that they would take retaliatory action in response to further attacks on Taliban officials. International law prohibits reprisal attacks - otherwise unlawful attacks taken as an enforcement measure - against civilians.
"Taliban leaders in Helmand should not be responding to attacks with threats of unlawful punishments," said Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director at HRW. "Taliban authorities need to prevent retaliatory attacks and ensure that crimes are dealt with through a proper legal process," added Gossman.

A Taliban police official in Gereshk, Helmand, told residents that district-level authorities were calling for retaliation and targeting former government officials. According to the rights group, residents have reported an increase in patrols and night raids, along with warnings from local Taliban officials that mass arrests will ensue if attacks continue.
Afghan activists told HRW that the Taliban in Helmand have increased their surveillance of individuals and groups they accuse of being "opposed to the Islamic Emirate."
The threats follow a spate of attacks in which Taliban members have been abducted or killed. The Taliban have previously carried out revenge killings of former government officials and have been responsible for forcibly disappearances or summarily executing former members of the security forces and others they accuse of being their enemies.
The statements heighten concerns that Taliban fighters in the province could use recent attacks as a pretext to commit abuses against perceived critics, including journalists and activists. (ANI)