The United States mission in Kabul has demanded that Taliban fighters who “massacred dozens of civilians” in Spin Boldak, a major district in southern Afghanistan, must be held accountable for their ‘war crimes’.
“In Spin Boldak, Kandahar, the Taliban massacred dozens of civilians in revenge killings. These murders could constitute war crimes; they must be investigated & those Taliban fighters or commanders responsible held accountable,” US Embassy in Kabul said in a tweet on Monday.
(1/2) In Spin Boldak, Kandahar, the Taliban massacred dozens of civilians in revenge killings. These murders could constitute war crimes; they must be investigated & those Taliban fighters or commanders responsible held accountable. 🇬🇧 + 🇺🇸 urge #CeasefireNow. pic.twitter.com/gkIzeMgQ32— U.S. Embassy Kabul (@USEmbassyKabul) August 2, 2021
In a follow-up tweet, the embassy while quoting an Afghan human rights group report said the Taliban's leadership must be held responsible for the crimes of their fighters.
“If you cannot control your fighters now, you have no business in governance later,” it added.
(2/2) The Taliban's leadership must be held responsible for the crimes of their fighters. If you cannot control your fighters now, you have no business in governance later. Read more here: https://t.co/jKiovuozJK— U.S. Embassy Kabul (@USEmbassyKabul) August 2, 2021
Last month, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) had said that at least 33 people were assassinated in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar after Taliban insurgents overtook a crossing point there with Pakistan.
Confirming recent reports from media outlets citing officials that the Taliban rejected, findings by the commission suggested that religious scholars, tribal elders, civil society activists, journalists, and human rights defenders were being sacrificed in targeted attacks in the province.
The grim situation in the Taliban-controlled area also caught the attention of international rights groups with Human Rights Watch (HRW) saying the Taliban have been targeting government officials and pro-government figures, as well as their families.
#UPDATE Afghan forces battled to stop a first major city from falling to the #Taliban on Monday as the US and Britain accused the insurgents of "massacring civilians" in #SpinBoldak, a town they recently captured near the Pakistan border https://t.co/jvMBX2tsU4 pic.twitter.com/rSZGkD7Omh— AFP News Agency (@AFP) August 2, 2021
"There are grave concerns that Taliban forces in Kandahar may commit further atrocities to retaliate against the government and security forces," said Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director HRW. "Taliban leaders have denied responsibility for any abuses, but growing evidence of expulsions, arbitrary detentions, and killings in areas under their control are raising fears among the population."
The HRW has demanded that the UN, as well as the US and other countries engaged in the peace talks, should urgently call on the Taliban leadership to stop these killings and other abuses.
(With input from AFP and Anadolu Agency)
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