Amnesty slams Taliban ‘reign of terror’ in Kunduz
Amnesty International Thursday condemned the Taliban’s “reign of terror” in the embattled Afghan city of Kunduz, citing civilian testimonies of mass murder, gang rapes and house-to-house searches by militant death squads.
The Taliban’s stunning capture of the northern city on Monday exposed Afghan civilians to grave risk, with President Ashraf Ghani accusing the insurgents of using them as human shields.
In a new statement, Amnesty catalogued a number of other atrocities including rape, abduction and murder of numerous civilians.
The militants have a “hit list” and use young boys to help conduct house-to-house searches to track down their targets, especially women, the group said cit- ing rights defenders.
It accused fighters of raping female relatives and killing family members, including children, of police commanders and soldiers.
“The harrowing accounts we’ve received paint a picture of a reign of terror during the Taliban’s brutal capture of Kunduz this week,” said Amnesty’s Afghanistan researcher Horia Mosadiq.
“The multiple credible reports of killings, rapes and other horrors meted out against the city’s residents must prompt the Afghan authorities to do more now to protect civilians.”
Civilians have paid a heavy price with the capture of Kunduz, the first provincial capital to fall to the militants since they were toppled from power in a 2001 U. S.- led invasion of Afghanistan.
Precise losses in the fighting are not known but so far 49 bodies and more than 370 wounded people have been brought to the city hospitals, according to health officials.
The wounded included 64 children, medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said, adding that its trauma center in Kunduz has been operating “beyond capacity.”
The Taliban released all male prisoners held in Kunduz prison and gave them arms to fight against government forces, Amnesty said, adding that female prisoners were raped and beaten.
A local midwife was gangraped and then killed along with another colleague as fighters accused them of providing reproductive health services to women, the statement quoted a relative as saying.
“When the Taliban asserted their control over Kunduz, they claimed to be bringing law and order and (Islamic) sharia to the city,” a female rights defender told Amnesty.
“But everything they’ve done has violated both. I don’t know who can rescue us from this situation.”