According to Human Rights Watch, Afghanistan Taliban security forces in northern have arbitrarily arrested and tortured residents suspected of ties to an opposition armed group.
Since mid-May, anti-Taliban troops have been attacking Taliban units and checkpoints in Panjshir province, according to Human Rights Watch.
The Taliban have retaliated by sending thousands of militants on search and rescue missions in villages they believe are aiding opposition forces, according to the organisation.
“In Panjshir and elsewhere in Afghanistan, Taliban forces have perpetrated summary executions and enforced disappearances of captured combatants and other detainees, which constitute war crimes,” it stated.
The remaining remnants of Afghanistan’s shattered security forces fought in the rocky Panjshir Valley north of Kabul – a remote region that has defied conquerors before.
It has sworn to fight the Taliban, who took control of Afghanistan in mid-August after overrunning the country and seizing power.
The Panjshir Valley has a single tiny entrance and is nestled in the towering Hindu Kush mountain.
In the 1980s, local forces held off the Soviets, and a decade later, the Taliban, led by Ahmad Shah Massoud, a guerrilla warrior who rose to near-mythic stature before being assassinated in a suicide attack.
Ahmad Massoud, his 33-year-old foreign-educated son, and other key officials from the deposed Western-backed administration have promised to fight the Taliban.
“In reaction to combat against the opposition National Resistance Front, Taliban soldiers in Panjshir province have immediately resorted to beating civilians,” said Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
In the statement, Gossman was reported as saying, “The Taliban’s chronic reluctance to prosecute those guilty for significant crimes in their ranks puts additional people at danger.”
Taliban ‘imposed collective punishment, disregarded rights’
Officials from the Taliban have not responded to HRW’s statement. Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, the Taliban’s nominated defence minister, commands their troops in Panjshir.
According to HRW, Yaqoob stated in May that the province’s new leadership would not allow anyone to “disrupt security.”
Former detainees said in early June that Taliban security forces detained and abused roughly 80 civilians in the province’s Khenj district in order to force them to reveal information about resistance groups.
HRW based its assertions on an anonymous human rights advocate who spoke with many former detainees and a source with intimate knowledge of Taliban detentions.
According to the Human Rights Watch statement, the Taliban freed 70 of the hostages after several days, but kept 10 whose relatives they suspected of being part of the opposition forces.
“In Panjshir, Taliban troops have implemented collective punishment and ignored inmates’ rights to safety,” Gossman added. “This is simply the most recent incident of Taliban atrocities in the region during combat.”