Nearly 400 civilians have died in attacks in Afghanistan since the Taliban regained control of the country in 2021, according to the United Nations (UN), with more than 80% of deaths linked to an Islamic State-affiliated group.
The first major human rights assessment since the Taliban seized Kabul from the US-backed government in August last year reflects the challenge the militant group faces to stabilize the region amid many competing forces.
Covering the period from August 2021 to the end of February, the UN counted 1,153 casualties and 397 civilian deaths in attacks carried out mainly by the Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K) group. During the same period, more than 50 people suspected of having links with the extremist group were killed.
“The human rights situation of many Afghans is very worrying,” said the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, describing the findings of the international body.
ISIS-K was first identified in eastern Afghanistan in late 2014 and is believed to have spread across the country following unrest caused by the country’s rapid takeover by the Taliban, with several suicide attacks in recent months.
In addition to civilian casualties, the UN high representative claimed that the Taliban was limiting the rights and freedoms of certain groups in the country, with the lives of women and girls particularly restricted by the militant group’s rule.
The report comes ahead of a decision by the International Human Rights Council to appoint a special rapporteur on Afghanistan to investigate alleged abuses by the Taliban. US Human Rights Ambassador Michele Taylor called the appointment of a special rapporteur a “important mechanism for documenting abuse.”
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