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US and European allies condemn Taliban over 'summary killings'

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By Euronews
FILE: Taliban fighters inspect a house after an 8-hour gunbattle erupted between Taliban and IS group fighters near Jalalabad, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021.
FILE: Taliban fighters inspect a house after an 8-hour gunbattle erupted between Taliban and IS group fighters near Jalalabad, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021.   -   Copyright  Shir Shah Hamdard/AP

The United States and their European allies condemned the Taliban on Sunday following reports that former members of the Afghan security forces were executed or forcibly disappeared.

"We are deeply concerned by reports of summary killings and enforced disappearances of former members of the Afghan security forces as documented by Human Rights Watch and others," a statement released by the US State Department said.

The text was also signed by Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, the European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Ukraine.

"We underline that the alleged actions constitute serious human rights abuses and contradict the Taliban’s announced amnesty," the statement read.

The Taliban seized power on August 15 when they swept into the capital Kabul as the internationally-backed government collapsed.

The Taliban leadership has repeatedly announced that workers of the former government, including members of the armed forces, have nothing to fear from them. Former army officers have said they were ordered to give up their weapons, and in return they received a document confirming their surrender and ensuring their safety.

But in a report released on Tuesday, Human Rights Watch said Taliban fighters had summarily killed or forcibly disappeared more than 100 former police and intelligence officers since taking power.

"The pattern of killings has sown terror throughout Afghanistan, as no one associated with the former government can feel secure they have escaped the threat of reprisal," Human Rights Watch said in the report.

Taliban deny claims

"These reports and claims are not based on evidence," said Interior Ministry spokesman Qari Sayed Khosti in a video statement on Sunday.

"We have some cases where some former ANDSF [Afghan security forces] members were killed but they have been killed for personal rivalries and enmities. We have captured the people involved in these cases and they have been handed over to the judiciary," he added.

West calls for investigations

Washington and its allies called on the Taliban to uphold their commitments and investigate the human rights abuses.

"We call on the Taliban to effectively enforce the amnesty for former members of the Afghan security forces and former Government officials to ensure that it is upheld across the country and throughout their ranks," their statement read.

"Reported cases must be investigated promptly and in a transparent manner, those responsible must be held accountable, and these steps must be clearly publicised as an immediate deterrent to further killings and disappearances."

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Additional sources • AP, AFP