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Genocide Emergency Alert: Afghanistan February 2022

Taliban fighters patrol in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 19, 2021. © 2021 AP Photo/Rahmat Gul

Six months after the Taliban takeover, attacks against former Afghan military and minority groups have continued. Despite announcing an amnesty, the Taliban’s consolidation of power has been characterized by revenge attacks and murders. Taliban militiamen have killed over 100 members of the former Afghan government security services since August.

On August 20, 2021, Taliban forces murdered 13 Hazaras in the village of Kahor, Daykundi province. In September and October, officials carried out forced evictions against thousands of Hazara residents and redistributed their land to Taliban supporters. These measures mirror 1990s mass killings and forced displacements of Hazaras under the Taliban. Hazaras face a high risk of genocide under Taliban rule.

Women’s rights have been curtailed since the Taliban takeover. On August 24, 2021, the Taliban ordered working women to stay at home. They introduced a strict dress code. They have prevented many women from returning to their jobs. Most women may not leave their homes without male accompaniment. Girls’ secondary schools remain closed. It is Taliban policy to confine women to their homes.

On January 16, 2022, women’s rights protests in Kabul were met with brutal crackdowns, and several protesters have since been reported missing. This demonstrates a wider policy of arbitrary arrests and enforced disappearances against civil rights activists and journalists.

LGBTQ+ rights have deteriorated significantly under the Taliban. In line with their openly anti-LGBTQ+ stance, the Taliban have targeted LGBTQ+ individuals in a string of attacks.

ISIS (ISKP) is a major threat in Afghanistan. It has targeted the Shi’a Hazara in widespread genocidal massacres and crimes against humanity. Suicide bombings by ISKP killed 72 people at a Hazara mosque in Kunduz on October 8, 2021, and 63 people at a Hazara mosque in Kandahar on October 15th. An ISKP suicide bombing at Kabul airport on August 26, 2021 killed 183 people trying to flee the country.

Afghanistan’s economy has declined rapidly since the Taliban takeover. International aid was withdrawn in August 2021, sanctions were imposed, and Afghanistan’s overseas funds were frozen. These measures have created a catastrophic humanitarian crisis. The economy is on the verge of collapse. The country faces a severe food crisis, with 8.7 million people at risk of starvation.

The UN Secretary-General has urged donor countries to finance massive emergency aid operations. On February 2, the US announced sanctions exemptions for humanitarian initiatives.

Taliban suppression of women’s rights constitutes Stage 3: Discrimination. Taliban and ISKP attacks on minorities represent Stage 5: Organisation. Murders and forced displacement of Hazaras, former government employees, and attacks on LGBTQ+ people demonstrate Stage 8: Persecution.

Genocide Watch recommends:

  • The US should release funds from Afghan assets to support UN World Food Program relief.

  • The Taliban government should be recognized only when it stops murdering Hazaras and former government employees and when women are allowed to return to their jobs.

  • The UN Assistance Mission (UNAMA) mandate renewal in March 2022 should require resumption of human rights monitoring and monthly reports to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

  • Hazaras should be accorded preferential asylum status in the US and Canada.

Afghanistan Genocide Watch Emergency
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