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Taliban looted, torched Afghan homes after evicting residents: Watchdog

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(Last Updated On: July 8, 2021)

Taliban fighters in northern Afghanistan last month evicted families and looted and torched their homes in apparent retaliation for cooperating with the Kabul government, Human Rights Watch said on Wednesday.

Reuters reported the “retaliatory attacks” were committed by insurgents participating in a Taliban offensive that has overrun scores of districts around Afghanistan, including an estimated 150 districts in Kunduz and other northern provinces, the group said.

“The Taliban leadership has the power to stop these abuses by their forces, but haven’t shown that they are willing to do so,” Patricia Grossman, the organization’s associate Asia director said in a statement.

A Taliban spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Last month, the Taliban published on Twitter an order to “military officials” to safeguard public property and “behave well with the general public.”

The Taliban launched their offensive, with a focus on the north, as U.S.-led foreign forces withdrew after two decades of war. U.S. troops abandoned their main base, Bagram Airfield, earlier this week.

Human Rights Watch said it conducted telephone interviews early this month with displaced residents of Bagh-e Sherkat, a town in Kunduz province from which some 600 families fled, some to Taloquan and others to Faizabad.

Displaced residents were quoted as saying that from June 21 to 25, Taliban fighters gave them two hours to leave their homes and threatened those who the insurgents accused of providing support to the Afghan government, Reuters reported.

Taliban fighters then looted and burned abandoned homes, and shot dead two civilians, displaced residents said.

“We helped the government and they left us to the Taliban,” an unidentified 24-year-old woman was quoted as saying. “The Taliban have burned our houses. We are so scared. Both sides force us to help them. We are poor people, we don’t have any choice.”

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UN’s special rapporteur in Afghanistan to assess human rights situation

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(Last Updated On: May 18, 2022)

Richard Bennett, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights in Afghanistan is currently in the country and has already met with the IEA’s foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi.

Bennett who is in Afghanistan on a 10-day visit, is expected to engage with Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) officials, international and national representatives of NGOs and other organizations, members of civil society and other stakeholders to discuss the human rights situation in Afghanistan.

The IEA meanwhile said Bennett provided information on the purpose of his visit to Muttaqi at their meeting and outlined his mission.

Muttaqi briefed Bennett on the religious and cultural values and cultural characteristics of the Afghan people so that he could take this into consideration while assessing the situation.

In a recent statement, ahead of his arrival in Afghanistan, Bennett said he would engage with the authorities and a broad range of stakeholders to assess the situation of human rights, including with regard to the implementation of obligations under international human rights instruments ratified by Afghanistan, and to offer assistance to address and prevent violations and abuses.

The Special Rapporteur is an independent expert appointed by the Human Rights Council. Bennett, who was appointed on April 1, official resumed duties on May 1.

Bennett will also conduct field visits while in Afghanistan and will deliver his findings in a report to the Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly later in the year.

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IEA approves working process to bring exiled Afghan politicians home

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(Last Updated On: May 17, 2022)

Organization procedures for the commission tasked with getting Afghan politicians and former government officials living abroad to return home have been approved by the leadership of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and the commission is expected to start work soon.

It was decided at a recent meeting that the commission’s operational procedures will be announced at a special ceremony in the near future.

“In this commission, all faces, whether women or men, will be contacted, and everyone’s return plan is ready for the patriotic figures to be returned,” said Hassan Haqyar, a close allie of the IEA.

But some political activists have raised questions about the future of any returning exiled Afghans.

The have asked if the politicians for instance will be allowed to carry on with work as previously or whether they will have to give up politics and find another occupation.

The same goes for former government employees.

“We call on the Emirate, in order to implement the plan of this commission, to facilitate the work and activity of these figures again, and there must be a guarantee for everyone who returns, because everyone must see themselves in the mirror of the government,” said Sayed Jawad Hussaine, political analyst.

However, Iran, which hosts a number of former politicians has once again called for the establishment of an inclusive government in Afghanistan.

Recently, Anas Haqqani, a member of the commission, said that about 50 former government officials have so far returned to Afghanistan and that efforts are underway to bring back other political figures.

The meeting of the Commission for the Return of Politicians and Former Government Officials was meanwhile convened shortly after former President Hamid Karzai was ordered to not leave the country.

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India mulls reopening embassy in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: May 17, 2022)

India is exploring the possibility of reopening its embassy in Afghanistan, but without high-level diplomatic representation, an Indian newspaper reported on Tuesday.

A team of Indian security officials visited Kabul in February to assess the situation, the Indian Express reported.

The paper said that the embassy will likely function only with personnel for liaison purposes that may extend to consular services.

India, like many other countries, closed its embassy in Kabul after the Islamic Emirate took over Afghanistan on August 15 last year.

Pakistan, China, Russia and Iran were the only countries that did not close their embassies in Kabul during the takeover.

Some 16 countries have now reopened their embassies in Kabul.

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