National Resistance Front, Kabul: On July 19, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) published its report on the human rights situation during the ten months of Taliban rule.
UNAMA said that the report summarises the findings concerning the killing, torture, ill-treatment, arbitrary arrests of civilians and the violation of women's and girls' rights.
In the report, UNAMA indicates that from mid-August 2021 to mid-June 2022, 700 civilians were killed, and 1,406 were injured.
What is dubious about the report is that the UNAMA has put the responsibility for most of the civilian killings on the shoulders of the Khorasan branch of ISIS.
The report and the number of casualties come at a time when earlier reports published by international organisations, including the Human Rights Commission and Richard Bennett, the UN Special Rapporteur for Afghanistan, had reported widespread human rights violations and war crimes committed in Panjshir, Andaraab, Takhar, Balkhab, Nangarhar and Kandahar.
The numbers in the recent report show contempt for the innocent people who were killed under the oppression of the Taliban on daily bases. Plausibly, there are more victims in contested areas than in other
areas, and in places where the Taliban have committed war crimes, there is no indication of the ISIS presence. ISIS, Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups operate under the facade of the Taliban in different regions, and signs of the affiliations between these groups have always been evident.
On May 28, the Taliban shot three farmers in Takhar.
The next day, members of the Taliban group shot two people in Herat and publicly displayed their bodies at a crossroads.
On the same day, in two separate incidents, a tribal elder and another civilian were shot by the Taliban dead in Samangan.
On May 16, the Taliban killed two people in the Anjuman village of Kiraan wa Monjaan district of Badakhshan.
The same day, the Taliban shot a young boy named Abdullah in Panjshir.
A day before, a young man named Juma Naseri was killed by the Taliban in Ghazni Province.
On May 15, the Taliban shot a person in Takhar province dead and threw his body to the dogs. On the same day, members of the Taliban group shot two brothers in Panjshir and killed three others in Deh Salah village of Andaraab. (1)
These cases have happened in a short period and have been verified and made available by reliable media sources.
However, there are other cases of killings by the Taliban that are not reported by the media, including dozens of people whose bodies were discovered in a canal in Nangarhar.
The Human Rights Watch published a report on July 7 and said that the Taliban killed these people under the name of being "ISIS" and threw their bodies in the canal. (2)
In a part of the UN report, UNAMA talked about the violation of the general amnesty announced by the Taliban and said that they had recorded at least 160 cases of killing of government officials and security officials of the previous government killed by the Taliban.
Antonio Guterres, the former Secretary General of the UN, said seven months ago, on January 31 of this year: "Since the establishment of the new government in Afghanistan, the organisation has received "reliable claims" that more than 100 former members of the government, former security forces and people who cooperated with international forces have been killed".
The Secretary General of the United Nations stated this figure after publishing a report by the Associated Press about the Taliban's catastrophic killing of former soldiers of the previous government.
The report provided an estimated number, and the actual number of killings of former soldiers in the first five months of Taliban rule was much higher.
However, now the United Nations puts the 10-month figure at 160, clearly showing the "concealment of the truth".
The New York Times, in an investigative report published on April 12 of this year, reported the killings and kidnappings of at least 500 former security forces and government officials in the six months of the Taliban rule.
The New York Times, explaining its methodology for preparing this report, said that it used various verification methods, including analysing videos, forensics, corroborating local news reports, collaborating with human rights organisations, and interviewing survivors and family members of the victims.
According to the report, the revenge killing was widespread and affected all regions of the country, which has caused many families to fall apart.
In this report, the Taliban's promises of "tolerance and moderation" with the opposition were described as "false".
As noted earlier, the report concerning the Taliban's killings in the first six months of their invasion of Afghanistan is 500 people in six months!
So how can the UN report be considered factual? The UN figures with the total numbers of 178 arbitrary arrests and 23 cases of incommunicado arrests during ten months are 361 cases; a figure less than the figure revealed by the New York Times in six months!
Interestingly, the United Nations expects the Taliban to respond and asked the group to investigate human rights violations in Afghanistan.
The request to investigate human rights violation cases from a terrorist group stimulates the mind to question the very nature request.
A section of this report says that the organisation has recorded 18 cases of murder, 54 cases of torture and ill-treatment, and 113 cases of arbitrary arrest of members of the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan.
The report states that the Taliban carried out 217 cases of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment after August 15.
This part of the UNAMA report is the most questionable.
Hundreds of people were arrested, tortured and shot daily all over Afghanistan on the charges of being associated with the National Resistance Front.
18 cases of murder, which the UN has mentioned, happen in just one week and one area.
The number of people the Taliban have killed on suspicion of being associated with the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan reaches more than 250 people.
In another part of the report, UNAMA has expressed its concerns about the activities of the Taliban's Department of Ordering Good and Prohibition of Evil but said that the instructions of the Taliban are "advisory" in nature; however, sometimes, members of the Taliban take a harsh position on the implementation of these recommendations.
Such a statement from an organisation like the United Nations seems improbable.
In an age where humans increasingly realise their nature daily, an institution of such magnitude with such a radical approach insults society and its people.
This institution has said that after the Taliban took over, women and girls were "gradually" deprived of their rights to education, work and other aspects of life. However, soon after the group invaded the country, women were removed from all levels, and the process was not gradual at all.
Women and girls were completely deprived of education since the first days of Taliban aggression, and the doors of government offices have been closed to them since that day.
In another part, the United Nations has said that 173 cases of human rights violations against journalists and media workers have been registered, 163 of which are done by the Taliban.
This organisation added that six journalists have been killed in Afghanistan over the past ten months, and the perpetrators of six cases have been identified as "the Khorasan branch of the ISIS group."
However, Afghanistan's media fell apart after the occupation of the Taliban, various programs were published at the request of the Taliban, and the media were not allowed to publish any program or report without coordination with the Taliban.
Censorship has cast a shadow over Afghanistan media, and repression in its true sense is practised on media and journalists.
Journalists who cover civil activities face torture, beatings, insults, and humiliation from the Taliban. (3)
On March 28 this year, the Taliban arrested three journalists in Kandahar province.
Two journalists were also arrested on the same day in Herat province. Reporters without Borders published a report on June 11 and announced that the Taliban arrested 12 journalists in Afghanistan in May alone.
Apart from these cases, one could find out the truth of the reporting of the United Nations by reading the publications of the Afghanistan media and comparing them with the media before the group's hostility. (4)
UNAMA considered the main cause of the killing of journalists to be the ISIS group.
After August last year, ISIS further strengthened its root in the country and grew under the shadow of the Taliban as a group with common roots, resources, views, and thoughts and actions.
There is no doubt that ISIS, like the Taliban, is the enemy of the people of Afghanistan, but how can a group that is responsible for the deaths of thousands of people claim that another terrorist group is responsible for the killing of journalists? The answer to this question brings us to the truth of the matter: the concealment of crimes committed by the Taliban.
In the report, UNAMA mentioned the lack of food, medical care and sanitary supplies for prisoners and the suspension of vocational training programs. Although some parts of the report mention the punishment of prisoners, in this part, we should mention the investigative report of Independent Farsi, published on July 3 of this year.
In the first lines of this investigative report, which revealed the brutal punishment of prisoners by the Taliban, it was pointed out that no institution and organisation, including the United Nations, managed to visit these prisons in the last ten months. (5)
A part of the Independent Farsi report states: "No organisation and institution, including the United Nations special rapporteur on human rights, was allowed to visit the prisons controlled by the Taliban in the last ten months to monitor the conditions of the prisoners."
This difference brings us closer to the inconsistency in the UN report and other documented reports.
A copy of the original UN report that was not published
In July of this year, Foreign Policy obtained a copy of a UN report that revealed the Taliban's "abuse of women and children, silencing of media, targeting of civil society activists, closure of human rights organisations, and replacement of public education with religious extremist indoctrination centre."
Foreign Policy said in this report that this version of the UNAMA report confirms the details of "gross" violations and abuses by the Taliban.
In the Foreign Policy report written by Lynn O'Donnell, it is pointed out that the UNAMA report reveals that the United Nations' nearly one-year engagement with the Taliban has made a big difference in the group's disregard for basic human rights, including the rights to access to food and education. (6)
In this report, Lynn O'Donnell revealed other things. The Australian journalist, the head of the AFP and Associated Press bureau in Afghanistan between 2009 and 2017, was recently arrested in Afghanistan.
On Wednesday, she wrote in an article: "Afghanistan has become a prey of terrorists who could not and cannot change from a fighting force to a responsible regime."
O'Donnell continued that in Kabul, "she got to know the true face of the Taliban: violent, arrogant and lacking in humanity."
According to her, fear can be seen on the faces of the city's people, who have no work, money and hope for the future. Also, she wrote in a tweet yesterday that she was arrested by "Taliban intelligence" and "under pressure"; she was forced to apologise for writing his three or four previous reports." (7)
This Foreign Policy writer has explained that the Taliban intelligence threatened him to publish an apology text on his Twitter account; otherwise, she would be imprisoned.
According to her, the Taliban rewrote and published the text she had written under pressure and, at the same time, recorded a video of her in which she admitted that she was not under pressure. She says that after being freed, she asked them to let her go to Panjshir, but the Taliban rejected her request.
What is questionable is not the Taliban's approach to this senior foreign policy reporter but the difference between the leaked version of the UN in Foreign Policy and this organisation's recent human rights report.
As mentioned earlier, the report of international organisations about the Afghanistan situation under the Taliban's rule is very different from the UNAMA report.
International organisations should adopt policies to communicate and help people, but these policies should not come at the cost of hiding the truth and acquitting a terrorist group.
6 / Foreign Policy
7 / Foreign Policy