ISLAMABAD — Taliban security forces in northern Afghanistan have unlawfully detained and tortured residents accused of collaborating with an armed opposition group, Human Rights Watch in New York said in a statement Friday.
Since mid-May 2022, fighting in Panjshir province has escalated as National Resistance Front (NRF) troops attacked Taliban units and checkpoints, HRW said.
The Taliban have responded by sending thousands of fighters into the province, who have conducted searches against communities they claim support the NRF, the group added.
“Taliban forces have carried out summary executions and enforced disappearances of captured fighters and other detainees, which are war crimes,” including in other provinces.
In a mountainous valley north of Kabul, the last remnants of Afghanistan’s shattered security forces have vowed to oppose the Taliban in a remote area that has defied previous conquerors.
Nestled in the towering Hindu Kush, the Panjshir Valley has a single narrow entrance. Local fighters there held back the Soviets in the 1980s, and the Taliban a decade later led by Ahmad Shah Massoud, a guerrilla fighter who attained near-mythical status before being killed in a suicide bombing.
His 33-year-old foreign-educated son, Ahmad Massoud, and several top officials of the deposed Western-backed government have vowed to oppose the Taliban.
“Taliban forces in Panjshir province have quickly resorted to beating civilians in response to the fight against the opposition National Resistance Front,” said Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The Taliban’s long-standing failure to punish those responsible for serious abuses in their ranks puts more civilians at risk.” Gossman was quoted in the statement.