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Monday, April 15, 2024

Taliban’s violent crackdown on protests kills four, UN

As UN human rights official reports that Taliban's violent crackdown on protests had killed four on Friday, many wonder whether Taliban rule would be any different this time. With looming humanitarian crisis and raging protests by the Afghan people against the new interim government, is violence the only solution?

The Taliban’s violent crackdown on protests kills four, documented a UN human rights official. The protests from the Afghan people started from the time Taliban declared their government on Tuesday who deemed the hardliner group trampling on women rights and not remaining true to their words.

Yesterday, the Taliban had badly beaten two Afghan journalist with belts and whips as they were covering protests by woman. On Friday, the UN human Rights official who stated four deaths at the hands of Taliban as they violently tried to suppress dissent claimed that the group had used live ammunition, whips and batons to break up demonstrations.

Taliban’s violent crackdown on protests and intimidation

Ravina Shamdasani, the UN’s rights spokesperson, told a briefing in Geneva that it had also received reports of house-to-house searches for those who participated in the protests.

The protests against the Taliban’s return to power, many of which have been led by women fearful of their status under the Islamist group, have been the target of violence in a number of locations and were formally banned this week without prior authorization by the Taliban’s new interior ministry.

Describing the crackdown on dissent as “severe”, Shamdasani also delineated how journalists covering the demonstrations had faced intimidation, including in one case the threat of “beheading”, apparently a reference to an incident in which two Afghan journalists were detained and tortured in the police station with their bodies and faces bruised.

Read more: Taliban beat Afghan journalists painfully for protests coverage

“We have seen a reaction from the Taliban, which has unfortunately been severe,” Shamdasani said. “In one case, one journalist was reported to have been told, as he was being kicked in the head, ‘You are lucky you haven’t been beheaded’. Really there has been lots of intimidation of journalists simply trying to do their job.

“We call on the Taliban to immediately cease the use of force towards, and the arbitrary detention of, those exercising their right to peaceful assembly and the journalists covering the protests,” Shamdasani said.

Taliban’s violent crackdown and UN concerns for human rights violations

The UN’s comments highlight the deteriorating human rights environment in Afghanistan and the concerns that Taliban’s pledges to be moderate and soft this time were all empty words. Since the Taliban swept to power last month in the midst of the US-led withdrawal of foreign forces, violence and fear has remained at its place.

Despite public assurances on media freedom, women’s rights and freedom of expression, the Taliban have rapidly moved to crack down on burgeoning opposition to their return, not least demonstrations that have sprung up in a number of cities.

Read more: Taliban admit killing Afghan comedian beaten in viral video

Taliban interim government face a looming humanitarian crisis to deal

With Afghanistan facing a looming humanitarian crisis, the US also reiterated on Thursday the message that help from Washington is contingent on the Taliban’s caretaker government living up to its previously voiced commitments to stability for Afghanistan and the region, and demonstrating widespread inclusion.

On Friday, the World Food Programme reported that about 93% of households in Afghanistan were not consuming sufficient food after the increase in prices that followed the Taliban’s return to power. A UN development programme appraisal on Thursday suggested the country could sink into almost universal poverty by next year without international help.

Read more: Can Taliban win the ‘hearts and minds’ of the people?

Taliban need to earn international legitimacy through their actions, UNSC

The US deputy ambassador, Jeffrey DeLaurentis, speaking at the UN security council on Thursday, stressed the US position once again that “any legitimacy and support will have to be earned”. And the Taliban violent crackdown on protests have created difficulty for the group as they came to power to get credible support as the world watches them with scrutiny.

He said the standards the international community had set were clear and included facilitating safe passage for Afghans and foreign nationals who wanted to leave Afghanistan and respecting the country’s obligations under international humanitarian law “including those related to the protection of civilians”.

“We’re watching closely to see that those standards are met,” he said.

DeLaurentis added: “The United States remains committed to the people of Afghanistan,” and said that, as the country’s largest humanitarian donor, it was helping partners on the ground provide assistance, “but the needs are vast”.

The thousands of at-risk Afghans who had helped the US were still stranded in their homeland with the US embassy shuttered, all American diplomats and troops gone and the Taliban in charge, fear for their lives and the episodes of Taliban’s violent crackdown on protestors and demonstrations have only added to their misery and helplessness.

Read more: Taliban govt to start practicing policies