(MENAFN - Daily Outlook Afghanistan) KABUL - Afghan captives held by the Taliban have been subjected to abuse,ill-treatment and actions that may amount to torture, the U.N. said Sunday — astatement that comes as the U.S. is trying to find a negotiated solution to thecountry's protracted war.
The U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said it interviewed 13 detaineesfrom a group of 53 recently rescued from the Taliban, mainly members of Afghanforces but also civilians and government officials captured by the insurgents.
The group was freed on April 25 when Afghan troops raided a Taliban-rundetention facility in the Khas Uruzgan district in southern Uruzgan province.
Most of the captives were held since 2018, with three since 2016, the UNAMAstatement said, adding they were kept in poor conditions and subjected toforced labor. It cites the detainees as saying that the Taliban killed some oftheir captives."I am gravely concerned about these serious allegations ofill-treatment, torture and unlawful killing of civilians and securitypersonnel, as well as the deplorable conditions of detention," saidTadamichi Yamamoto, the head of UNAMA.
The detainees were shackled while in captivity and almost all said theywere beaten. The Taliban told them it was punishment for supporting thegovernment, working with the Americans or fighting the insurgents.
The U.N. statement comes as Washington's peace envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad ispressing ahead with talks with the Taliban, who refuse to negotiate directlywith the Kabul government.
The talks so far have focused on a timetable for U.S. troop withdrawal aswell as Taliban guarantees that they won't harbor terrorist groups or allowAfghanistan to be used as a staging ground for global terrorist attacks.
The conflict in Afghanistan has cost more than 2,300 American lives andhundreds of billions in taxpayer dollars. As the war approaches its 18th year,14,000 U.S. troops are still in Afghanistan, and senior intelligence officialshave repeatedly warned that the country remains fragile and could once againbecome a terrorist haven.
"The United Nations reminds the Taliban that internationalhumanitarian law applicable to international and non-international armedconflicts provides that all persons who do not take direct part in hostilities,or who have ceased to do so, must always be treated humanely," saidRichard Bennett, UNAMA's chief for human rights.
Since 2011, UNAMA has monitored and reported on the treatment ofconflict-related detainees. (PR)