Taliban’s civilian death toll revealed by UN
Nearly 400 civilians have died in attacks in Afghanistan since the Taliban retook control of the country in 2021, according to the United Nations (UN), with more than 80% of fatalities linked to an ISIS-affiliated group.
The first major human rights assessment of the situation since the Taliban seized Kabul from the US-backed government in August last year reflects the challenge the militant group has in stabilizing the region amid numerous competing forces.
Covering the period from August 2021 to the end of February, the UN found 1,153 casualties and 397 civilian deaths from attacks conducted mostly by the Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K) group. Over the same period, more than 50 people with suspected ties to the extremist group have been killed.
“The human rights situation for many Afghans is of profound concern,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said, as she outlined the international body’s findings.
ISIS-K was first identified in the eastern part of Afghanistan in late 2014 and is believed to have spread across the country following the disorder caused by the Taliban’s rapid retaking of the country, with several suicide bombings taking place in recent months.
Alongside the civilian casualties, the senior UN representative claimed that the Taliban was limiting the rights and freedoms of certain groups in the country, with women and girls’ lives particularly restricted by the militant group’s regime.
The report comes ahead of a move by the International Human Rights Council to appoint a special rapporteur on Afghanistan to investigate allegations of violations by the Taliban. US Human Rights Ambassador Michele Taylor has called the appointment of a special rapporteur an “important mechanism for documenting abuses."