The UN Special Rapporteur on Afghanistan acknowledges that the Taliban’s escalating human rights violations have posed significant human rights challenges to Afghanistan at the conclusion of his 11-day visit to the country.

Richard Bennett, after an 11-day visit to Afghanistan, expressed concern about the governing authorities’ policies and objectives, claiming that the Taliban officials’ goal for absolute control has resulted in a country ruled by terror.

Women’s marginalization from the social and civic spheres, according to Richard Bennett, is a matter of concern. Its ultimate goal is for women to be completely eliminated or rendered invisible in society.

“I expressed serious concern about the deterioration of human rights across the country, and the erasure of women from public life is especially concerning,” he said.

 Bennett called on the Taliban authorities to reverse policies and rules that have resulted in women being completely isolated, and to respect women’s citizen rights to education, training, and employment.

“I urge the authorities to acknowledge human rights challenges that they are facing and to close the gap between their words and the deeds,” he said.

He did, however, ask for a thorough investigation of recent attacks on community spaces, particularly mosques, schools, and colleges in Kabul, Balkh, and Kunduz provinces.

Bennett asked for a probe into bombs that targeted Hazaras, other Shia, and Sufis, a mystical branch of Sunni and Shia Islam that jihadists despise.

Such attacks are becoming “increasingly systematic in nature and reflect elements of an organisational policy,” he said.

The allegations against the Taliban of killing and detaining former government soldiers, random searches, field killings, torture, forced displacement of people from Panjshir, and the killings of civilians in Panjshir, according to Richard Bennett, are alarming.

He also stated that he witnessed several reports of intimidation, attacks, harassment, murder, arrest and disappearance of journalists, prosecutors, and judges, as well as arrests and detention, during his 11-day visit.

Bennett said the Taliban’s creation of a commission for the return of political figures was “promising” and would potentially strengthen the dialogue.

Bennett’s assertions have elicited no response from Taliban authorities, and some political and international relations experts now believe that the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights could draw the attention of the UN and member states to Afghanistan.

Bennett’s visit comes as the Taliban, who assumed power in mid-August when they overran Kabul, are enforcing a stricter stance on girls’ education, women’s attire, and public appearances. It also comes after a UN Security Council statement calling on  the Taliban to “swiftly reverse” edicts impeding Afghan girls and women’s human rights and freedoms.

Author

  • Saqalain Eqbal is an Online Editor for Khaama Press. He is a Law graduate from The American University of Afghanistan (AUAF).