“The killings of detainees is a war crime and prohibited under international law. The Taliban must stop the summary execution of detainees. These killings must be thoroughly investigated and those responsible are brought to justice through an independent court of law.” Amnesty International
With the release of new films depicting the Taliban’s extrajudicial executions, severe fights between the National Resistance Front and the Taliban in Panjshir were uncovered. The Taliban were always attempting to conceal these conflicts until the order of Mullah Hebatullah, the Taliban’s leader, made it plain that the fight in Panjshir and Andrabs of Baghlan is not as simple as the Taliban claimed.
In a decree issued on August 21, Mullah Hebatullah named Abdul Qaim Zakir, the former leader of the Taliban military commission, in charge of the Taliban’s armed operations in Panjshir and Andarab.
After that, the fighting in Panjshir heated up again, and videos of the Taliban’s unlawful executions were made public. In these videos, the Taliban can be seen shooting multiple National Resistance Front detainees, which sparked worries and reactions.
The Taliban Ministry of Defense just said that it will investigate these recordings. Bakhtar News Agency, now considered the Taliban’s state media, quoted Taliban Ministry of Defense officials and wrote: “According to the tapes that have been circulating in the media and social networks for a few days, the Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate in Panjshir province appear to have murdered prisoners of war. These will be looked into.”
In response to recent events, Ahmad Masoud, the leader of the Resistance Front, and several of its commanders have stated that the assassination of the Resistance Front commanders has boosted their spirit in their struggle against the Taliban. “The killing of the Resistance Front’s commanders will never weaken the morale of this group’s troops, and the National Resistance Front will continue their battle against the Taliban.” The National Resistance Front’s leader, Ahmad Masoud, stated on an audio tape on September 15
Furthermore, some leading Resistance Front commanders have stated that such moves of Taliban fighters may aggravate tensions with this group. On 17 September, one of the National Resistance Front’s commanders, who did not want to be identified in this report, told Baang, “We will take revenge for the blood of every one of our martyrs, the Taliban should realize that such violent and barbaric activities exacerbate tensions. Previously, we used to pity the captive Taliban fighters.”
Sibghatullah Ahmadi, the spokesman of the National Resistance Front, wrote on his Twitter account on September 17 that “international institutions limited themselves to only a statement, tweet or a Facebook post.” He further wrote that international organizations should send their investigative teams to Panjshir and Andarab to document these incidents. “We ask all the relevant organizations and institutions to fulfill their moral and humanitarian obligations and appoint fact-finding teams to Panjshir, Andarab ha, and Khost districts of Baghlan and Takhar, to investigate the war crimes and crimes against humanity and bring the perpetrators to justice,” Ahmadi wrote on his Twitter.
Before this, the United Nations Special Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and Richard Bennett, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Afghanistan, and several other international organizations condemned the Taliban field courts in Panjshir.
Amnesty International also wrote on its Twitter page on September 15 that their initial investigations show that the videos released are fresh. “The killings of detainees is a war crime and prohibited under international law. The Taliban must stop the summary execution of detainees. These killings must be thoroughly investigated and those responsible are brought to justice through an independent court of law.” Amnesty International wrote on its Twitter.
According to the videos that have been circulating on social media in recent days, the Taliban arrested and then shot several opposition front fighters.
In another video, Mullah Shirin Kandahari, Abdul Qayyum Zakir’s deputy, is shown ordering the execution of the National Front of Resistance captives. The Taliban commander’s death was later reported, but it has yet to be confirmed by reliable sources.
At the same time, unsubstantiated sources claim that Abdul Qayyum Zakir, the Taliban’s top commander for the fights in Panjshir and Andrabs, has been gravely injured in the aftermath of these conflicts and is currently hospitalized in Kabul’s four hundred-bed military hospital.