This profile includes members of the ANSF as well as civilian profiles affiliated with the government, such as civil servants and members of the judiciary.
ANSF personnel on duty or off-duty alike have been a priority target for the Taliban. After the Doha Agreement in February 2020, the Taliban increased their attacks on government forces, mainly in rural areas. Such attacks occurred in places where ANSF personnel gathered, for example, at army bases, police stations and checkpoints. ANSF members were reportedly singled out and targeted while travelling on the road, for example at mobile checkpoints. Deliberate killings and abductions were also reported, and explicitly legitimised by the Taliban Layeha (code of conduct). According to the Layeha, the Taliban were instructed to make ANSF members surrender and/or join the group. The Layeha also delegated Ta’ziri (punishment) authority to the Imam, the deputy Imam, the provincial judge or, in their absence, to the provincial governor to order the execution of an allegedly guilty ANSF detainee or any other employee/official of the government arrested by the group. Torture against detainees, including ANSF personnel, was also reported [Anti-government elements, 1.2.1, 2.5, 2.6.1; State structure, 2.1; Security 2020, 1.1.1, 1.3, 1.5.2].
Available sources indicated that officers of NDS, members of PGMs and police chiefs were most frequently targeted by the Taliban [Security 2020, 1.2.1, 1.3.3, 1.3.4, 2; Anti-government elements, 2.6; Conflict targeting, 1.2.1]. It was also reported that the Taliban often threatened and targeted female security officers [Anti-government elements, 18.104.22.168].
Family members of security forces have also been targeted by insurgents. Moreover, family members were often pressured to convince their relative to give up his or her position in the security forces. There were also reports of former members of the ANSF who have been targeted after having left the ANSF [Anti-government elements, 2.6.1; Conflict targeting, 1.3.1, 1.4.1].
Employees of ministries which were at the forefront of the fight against insurgents, for example the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Interior Affairs, and the Ministry of Justice, have regularly been targeted by the Taliban. To a lesser degree, employees of other ministries not involved directly in the fight against insurgents have also been targeted; personal enmity or open statements against the Taliban could be seen as relevant circumstances in this regard [Anti-government elements, 2.6.2; Conflict targeting, 1.2.2; Security 2020, 1.3.3, 1.3.4].
Judges, prosecutors, and other judicial staff have been important targets for the Taliban. Targeted killings, abductions and threats have been reported. Judges also frequently received threats from local leaders or armed groups [State structure, 3.3; Conflict targeting, 1.2.2; Security 2020, 1.3.3, 1.3.4, 1.4.2].
There have been reports of civilians being threatened and/or killed for being employees or (perceived) supporters or spies for the government. Important targets included tribal or community elders and heads of villages suspected of cooperating with the government, as well as local or provincial council members or government officials [Anti-government elements, 2.6.2; Security 2020, 1.3.3, 1.3.4, 2; Conflict targeting, 1.2.2, 22.214.171.124].
Threats, targeted killings and parallel justice punishment of individuals accused of criticising the Taliban or supporting the government were also documented [Anti-government elements, 2.6.2; Criminal law and customary justice, 1.8].
Individuals under this profile were also seen as a legitimate target by other insurgent groups, for example the ISKP and foreign armed groups [Security 2020, 1.2.2, 1.5.2, Anti-government elements, 3.5, 3.6, 4.3].
During their first press conference after the takeover of control, which took place on 17 August 2021, the Taliban announced a general amnesty, saying that they have pardoned ‘all of those who had fought against us’. There have also been meetings between the Taliban and key political figures in Kabul such as former prime minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, former president Hamid Karzai, and Abdullah Abdullah, head of High Council for National Reconciliation. However, on 26 August 2021 there were also reports that Karzai and Abdullah were under house arrest by the Taliban [Security September 2021, 1.1.2].
The importance of forming an ‘inclusive government’ had been repeatedly stressed by the Taliban, and both by politicians supportive and critical of the Doha talks [Security September 2021, 1.1.2]. However, the interim government announced on 7 September 2021 was widely criticised for its lack of inclusivity. It did not include any members of the former government or noted minority leaders. The announced cabinet included several figures from the Taliban regime in the 1990s and Sirajuddin Haqqani, the leader of the Haqqani network, was appointed interior minister.
A source reported that the Taliban rounded up Afghans on a blacklist and targeted people with suspected links to the previous administration or US-led forces, noting that those ‘particularly at risk are individuals in central positions in military, police and investigative units.’ House-to-house searches to find blacklisted individuals were also reported in at least four provincial cities. The Taliban are also said to visit local mosques and police offices to receive information on certain individuals [Security September 2021, 1.1.4].
In a speech to the Human Rights Council on 24 August, UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said that her office had received credible reports of serious violations of international law, inter alia, summary executions by the Taliban against civilians and Afghan soldiers. Bachelet did not provide details on the reported violations and did not indicate when they had taken place except for being received ‘in recent weeks’. According to sources, the Taliban had executed 14 surrenderers. Among the executed was Mosa Amiri, former deputy police chief for Khidir district in Daykundi. It was also reported that the Taliban have beaten a brother in-law to the former deputy head of intelligence for military affairs in Takhar [Security September 2021, 1.1.4].
There have been reports of several demonstrations in Afghanistan after the Taliban’s takeover. On the Afghan National Independence Day, 19 August 2021, demonstrations were held in Kabul and other cities where protesters carried the Afghan national flag. At least two persons were reportedly killed in Asadabad in Kunar Province. According to witnesses, the Taliban opened fire at a crowd after a member of the crowd had stabbed a Taliban fighter. It was also reported that, in Jalalabad, shots were fired at protesters carrying the Afghan national flag, injuring two persons. Other sources reported that three persons were killed in Jalalabad and a dozen injured after Taliban opened fire. It remained unclear whether the deaths were caused by shooting or a stampede [Security September 2021, 1.1.3].
The acts to which individuals under this profile could be exposed are of such severe nature that they would amount to persecution (e.g. abduction, torture, execution).
Conflicting and limited information concerning the policies and strategy the Taliban intend to pursue renders an assessment of the future risk for individuals under this profile difficult based on current information. However, the individual assessment whether there is a reasonable degree of likelihood for the applicant to face persecution should take into account the increased presence and capacity of the Taliban to target individuals following their takeover of the country. Based on previous persecution and indications of continuing targeting, individuals seen as priority target of the Taliban, including those in central positions in military, police and investigative units, would be likely to have a well-founded fear of persecution.
Family members of some individuals under this profile could also be at risk of treatment that would amount to persecution.
Nexus to a reason for persecution
Available information indicates that persecution of this profile is highly likely to be for reasons of (imputed) political opinion.
|Exclusion considerations could be relevant to this profile (see the chapter 6. Exclusion).|