Statement on Ongoing Chaos in Afghanistan
Released on 1 September 2021
The Iraq Project for Genocide Prevention warns of serious indicators of genocide present on the ground in Afghanistan amid rapidly deteriorating conditions and violence. These indicators include a heightened deterioration of women’s rights and security, reports of attacks on minorities such as the Hazara and Christians, and activity by a known genocidal organization (ISIS) operating in the area. The changing situation in the region, as well as the role of extremist groups in the country, are suggestive of more turmoil to come for the local population. Of particular concern is the resurgence of ISIS in a country controlled by the Taliban and what that will mean for the communities in other regions where ISIS is active, especially in the Middle East and North Africa.
On the heels of a suicide bombing in Kabul on Thursday, which left thirteen U.S. service members and scores of Afghan citizens dead, the Biden administration promised revenge for the lives lost. In a press conference which was reminiscent of the early days of the War on Terror, the U.S. President vowed to “hunt down” those responsible, appearing to have forgotten the sort of responses which resulted in this never-ending war and the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan.
A U.S. airstrike on Saturday killed one alleged ISIS-K member and allegedly wounded another; on Sunday a US missile attack in a Kabul neighborhood killed an alleged ISIS suicide bomber and, according to early reports, up to nine members of a nearby civilian family.
Such conflict -- taken in combination with the Taliban spokesperson, Zabihullah Mujahid, telling a journalist that until rank-and-file Taliban fighters have been trained not to mistreat women it is best that women stay home – is a sign that what the international community has been witnessing for the past two weeks is merely suggestive of what is to come. Furthermore, it begs the question of just how “reformed” this Taliban could be, as training fighters to respect women would seem to be a rather straightforward way of aligning the group’s actions with their words.
The IPG calls on the Taliban to put the rights of women and minorities in the center of their stabilization agenda, and to act in accord with such commitments. It welcomes the apparent acknowledgement that Taliban soldiers are in need of training in gender-based violence and the rights of women and girls and stresses the importance of translating such acknowledgement into action. The IPG supports reforms to the security sector to pacify and stabilize the country but warns the reforms must be in line with Afghanistan’s human rights obligations.
The IPG further calls on the regional powers of Iran, China, and Russia to step in and guarantee security to minority populations. It is of critical importance that global actors conditionally acknowledge the Taliban’s rule based on its efforts to guarantee human rights as well as the security and protection of women, girls, and minorities in the region. To accept the Taliban’s authority without such conditionality would mark the latest in a series of moral failures inflicted on the Middle East by the West.
(c) 2021 The Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention