US ‘Deeply Concerned’ Over Reports Taliban ‘Disappearing’ Ex-Afghan Officials

By Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Reporter
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.
December 2, 2021 Updated: December 2, 2021

The chief U.S. envoy to the Taliban on Dec. 1 expressed concern over emerging reports that the Taliban terrorist group has summarily killed or forcibly “disappeared” more than 100 former police and intelligence officers since seizing control of Kabul in August.

Thomas West, who formerly served as the deputy special representative, wrote on Twitter that the Taliban “are aware that the U.S. is deeply concerned about reports of retaliatory killings & forced disappearances of former ANSF [Afghan National Security Forces] members.”

“We have urged the Taliban to ensure their promise of amnesty is upheld throughout their ranks and hold those responsible to account,” West said.

His remarks come after Human Rights Watch released its report titled “‘No Forgiveness for People Like You,’ Executions and Enforced Disappearances in Afghanistan under the Taliban,” on Nov. 30, pointing to continuing retaliation against the armed forces of the ousted government despite an announced amnesty.

The 25-page report, which focuses on Ghazni, Helmand, Kandahar, and Kunduz provinces, states that former officers have been hunted by Taliban forces using government employment records. In some cases, the terrorist group compiled lists of targets, saying they committed “unforgivable” acts.

“The Taliban have also carried out abusive search operations, including night raids, to apprehend and, at times, forcibly disappear suspected former officials,” Human Rights Watch stated.

“The Taliban leadership’s promised amnesty has not stopped local commanders from summarily executing or disappearing former Afghan security force members,” Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement. “The burden is on the Taliban to prevent further killings, hold those responsible to account, and compensate the victims’ families.”

The report comes as the Taliban continues its push to be recognized internationally. A United Nations committee on Dec. 1 deferred on a decision on who will represent Afghanistan at the world body.

On Oct. 30, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told reporters at a press briefing that failure to recognize its government could have global consequences.

The Nov. 30 report comes after a leaked report from the nonprofit RHIPTO Norwegian Center for Global Analyses, which provides intelligence to the United Nations, which found that the Taliban terrorist group was carrying out highly organized door-to-door manhunts for people on their wanted list, threatening to kill or harm their relatives if they don’t surrender.

Targets include people who have worked for or collaborated with American or other NATO forces, and former government employees, particularly those in intelligence services and special forces units, according to the report, which warns of mass executions of those on the Taliban’s blacklist.

The State Department didn’t respond to a request for additional comment by press time.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.