Taliban chief orders fighters not to ‘punish’ ex-officials

Published December 31, 2021
A Taliban fighter stands at a checkpoint near Bamiyan, Afghanistan. — Reuters
A Taliban fighter stands at a checkpoint near Bamiyan, Afghanistan. — Reuters

KABUL: The Taliban’s supreme leader has ordered fighters not to punish members of Afghanistan’s former regime for past “crimes”, days after a video of an army commander being beaten went viral on social media.

The order, tweeted on Thursday by group spokesman Mohammad Naeem, also urged Taliban authorities to discourage Afghans from leaving the country as they would not be respected abroad.

“Don’t punish employees of the previous regime for their past crimes,” Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada was quoted as telling followers in Kandahar, the birthplace of the hardline Islamist movement.

The Taliban chief — who has not been filmed or photographed in public for years — said a general amnesty announced after the Islamists took power in August should be honoured.

The Taliban are accused by the United Nations, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch of dozens of extrajudicial killings of members of the former security forces and administration.

On Wednesday, the group said the fighter seen repeatedly slapping an ex-army commander in a widely shared video would be disciplined.

It was a rare official reaction to dozens of similar — and more grisly — videos and images on social media showing apparent Taliban brutality.

On Tuesday, a small group of women protested in the capital Kabul against the violence.

Thousands of Afghans — particularly those linked to the former regime — are desperate to leave the country, but Akhundzada said Taliban officials should encourage them to stay.

“Afghans don’t have respect in other countries, so no Afghan should leave,” Naeem quoted him as saying.

The exodus has been exacerbated by a collapsed economy and a humanitarian crisis that the UN warns has caused “an avalanche of hunger”.

Published in Dawn, December 31st, 2021

Opinion

Editorial

Population calamity
Updated 22 Jul, 2024

Population calamity

Pakistan can also control its growth rate by following the examples of its peers and implementing functional family planning programmes and campaigns.
Blow to occupation
22 Jul, 2024

Blow to occupation

THE International Court of Justice has delivered a legal blow to the decades-old Israeli occupation of Palestinian...
Seeking Priya Kumari
22 Jul, 2024

Seeking Priya Kumari

PRIYA Kumari — the minor girl who vanished on Ashura in 2021 while serving water at a sabeel in Sukkur district ...
Olympics contingent
21 Jul, 2024

Olympics contingent

FROM 10 in Tokyo the last time, it is now down to seven in Paris, and split across just three disciplines. When...
Grave concerns
21 Jul, 2024

Grave concerns

PUNJAB Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz’s open assault on the Supreme Court for ruling in favour of the PTI in the...
Civil unrest
Updated 21 Jul, 2024

Civil unrest

The government must start putting out fires instead of fanning more flames.