In a new report, the United Nations has confirmed that the Taliban has committed more than 1,600 cases of human rights violations during the detention of individuals in 19 months.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) reported that the Taliban subjected the detainees to “severe pain and suffering through physical beatings, electric shocks, asphyxiation, stress positions and forced ingestion of water, as well as blind-folding and threats”, in order to get a confession or other information.
This report has been published on Wednesday. UNAMA said that it has recorded cases of human rights violations by the Taliban from January 1, 2022, to July 31, 2023, in 29 provinces.
The UN agency emphasised that nearly 50% of these violations include torture and other "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatments".
According to the report, cases of torture and inhumane behaviour mainly took place during arrests and in detention centres under the group’s Ministry of Interior Affairs and Taliban’s Intelligence agency.
UNAMA said that the violation of procedural safeguard, including the lack of access to lawyers, has become a common practice in Afghanistan under the control of the Taliban.
UNAMA has documented violations despite the issuance of directives by Taliban leadership aimed at enhancing the protection of prisoners' human rights and regulating the conduct of security personnel.
Volker Türk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in this report said, “The personal accounts of beatings, electric shocks, water torture, and numerous other forms of cruel and degrading treatment, along with threats made against individuals and their families, are harrowing. Torture is forbidden in all circumstances.”
He stressed that torture is being used as a tool instead of effective investigation. Türk called on Taliban officials to take concrete measures to stop these bad behaviours and make the perpetrators accountable.
UNAMA asked the Taliban authorities to take steps to create a stronger legal framework and address the high volume of arbitrary arrests “with no effective judicial oversight".
The report also highlighted that the arbitrary and prolonged detention of individuals awaiting the completion of investigations exposes them to an elevated risk of abuse.
Roza Otunbayeva, the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan, acknowledged that while there have been some positive indications, such as leadership directives and a willingness among many Taliban officials to cooperate with UNAMA and permit prison visits, the documented evidence underscores the imperative need for immediate and urgent action by all parties involved.