Taliban torture and execute Hazaras in targeted attack

Six people killed during a night raid on a family home in Ghor province, including a 12-year-old girl

Ongoing Taliban killings indicate a pattern of attacks on ethnic minorities and members of the former security forces

15 September 2022 | Amnesty International Report

Taliban fighters killed six Hazara people in a deliberate attack on the ethnic minority group in Afghanistan’s Ghor province, Amnesty International said today following a new investigation.

On 26 June 2022, the Taliban detained and unlawfully executed four men during a night raid operation in search of a former security official. The body of at least one of those executed showed signs of torture. A woman and a 12-year-old girl were also killed during the raid.

The attack is part of a wider pattern of unlawful targeted killings of people whom the Taliban perceives as adversaries, in this case being both members of the Hazara community and those who were associated with the former Afghan government.

“The Taliban must immediately end this cruel pattern of targeted killings and, as the de facto authorities, ensure the protection of all Afghans,” said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

“The Taliban must investigate these killings and ensure that those responsible are prosecuted in accordance with international human rights obligations and standards. If the de facto authorities cannot provide justice, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court should immediately open full investigations into all cases of extrajudicial executions. In addition, along with the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation in Afghanistan, Amnesty International calls for an independent accountability mechanism in and for Afghanistan.”

Amnesty International documented similar extrajudicial executions of Hazara people in Ghazni province in July 2021, and Daykundi province in August 2021. Despite publicly promising not to target former government officials, the Taliban have still not investigated or prosecuted anyone for the killings.

Amnesty International conducted eight remote interviews, including with witnesses to the June 2022 attack, analyzed 38 photos and three videos that were taken in the aftermath of the attack, consulted a forensic pathologist to review the images of the bodies, and reviewed satellite imagery of the area to confirm the location of one of the killings. Several of the photos analyzed were published online by Taliban media, including the Ghor Province Governor Media Office, which deleted the post soon after publication.

Locations of killings documented by Amnesty International

Lal wa Sarjangal District, Ghor Province

Approximate center of map: 34.617, 66.122

Source: Amnesty International

Family members killed

On the night of 26 June 2022, Taliban forces raided the home of Mohamad Muradi, a Hazara man and security official under the former government who had also previously led a People’s Uprising Program force – a local militia – against the Taliban in 2020 and 2021.

Muradi had recently returned to his home in Chahar Asyab, in the Lal wa Sarjangal district in Ghor province, after failing in an attempt to flee to Iran, and then hiding in other cities around the country. Like many who had been involved in Taliban opposition, Muradi had not taken up the offer of a personalized ‘amnesty letter’ – often issued to former security and government officials, offering permission to return home in exchange for a promise to lay down arms – due to the fear of reprisal attacks by the Taliban.

Witnesses told Amnesty International that, on the night of the attack, Taliban forces fired rifles and rocket-propelled grenades at Muradi’s home, killing Taj Gul Muradi, his 22-year-old daughter, who had studied medicine and had been providing health care in the community. The attack wounded Muradi and two of Muradi’s other children, a son and his 12-year-old daughter. The girl suffered severe stomach injuries and died the next day.

Muradi’s left leg was injured, and he surrendered to Taliban forces through the intervention of local elders. However, the Taliban then dragged him outside of the house and shot him dead. An analysis of photos of Muradi’s body shows damage to the front of his shirt, indicating a likely chest wound, and an exit wound in his forehead.

Amnesty International reviewed photos and videos that show damage to Muradi’s home consistent with witness testimony. The images were also geolocated by analyzing visible features – including vegetation, nearby pavements and the buildings’ layout – and satellite imagery.