Amnesty International reports that Taliban officials issued an order to its forces to kill all men between the ages of 13 and 70 living in the Yakawlang area. “These deeply disturbing reports once again underline the need for action by the international community to ensure protection of the civilian population in Afghanistan,” says Amnesty International. Numerous reports have emerged regarding the Taliban’s latest acts of atrocities committed against the predominately Hazara population in central Afghanistan. Non-governmental organizations calculate that approximately 600 Afghans were killed and dozens more injured by Taliban forces, including humanitarian aid workers and even patients in medical facilities. According to the Afghan Islamic Press, opposition forces in Afghanistan have discovered three mass graves, containing at least 70 bodies including those of “many women and children”, found 28 miles north of Taloqan.
The discovery of mass executions of civilians by the Taliban comes at a time when the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that at least 120,000 Afghan refugees have fled to Pakistan within the past five months. In addition, both UNHCR and the World Food Program (WFP) have issued emergency appeals for more aid to assist with the Afghan refugee crisis. On January 24 the WFP office in Pakistan announced that they were likely to run out of food for Afghan refugees in the next three months unless the agency receives urgent aid. Yusuf Hassan Abdi, spokesman for UNHCR said last week “unless more funds are available we will simply no be able to cope with this refugee crisis.” UNHCR estimates that everyday between 200 to 600 Afghan families arrive in Pakistan seeking safety.
The Feminist Majority’s Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan joins UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Amnesty International in strongly condemning the latest wave of Taliban atrocities. “As each day passes, thousands of Afghan women and children are suffering and dying along the borders of Afghanistan as they seek safe refuge in neighboring countries,” says Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority. “The new US administration must increase humanitarian aid to Afghanistan and continue to refuse official recognition of the Taliban’s brutal gender apartheid regime,” adds Smeal.