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Western countries express concern over alleged reprisal killings after Taliban takeover.

The US and a group of other western countries including Germany, France and the UK have expressed concern over reported killings and disappearances of former members of the Afghan security forces after the Taliban took power in Afghanistan in August.

In a joint statement issued over the weekend, 21 countries plus the EU referred to reports of such abuses documented by Human Rights Watch and others.

“We underline that the alleged actions constitute serious human rights abuses and contradict the Taliban’s announced amnesty,” said the statement, issued by the German foreign ministry.

“Reported cases must be investigated promptly and in a transparent manner, those responsible must be held accountable, and these steps must be clearly publicised as an immediate deterrent to further killings and disappearances,” it said.

Afghan interior ministry spokesman Sayed Khosti rejected the accusation of reprisal killings, saying no evidence had been presented.

“If there is any evidence, it should be shared with us,” he said in a video statement, pointing to the general amnesty announced by the Taliban government as it took power.

“We have had some individual cases of killings of ex-government members but these were due to private enmity and we’ve arrested those involved.

“This is slander against the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, not justice.”

Human Rights Watch said in a report on November 30th that Taliban forces in Afghanistan have executed or forcibly disappeared more than 100 former police and intelligence officers since taking over the country on August 15th, despite the proclaimed amnesty for those associated with the previous government.

Facing a deep economic crisis following the abrupt withdrawal of foreign aid when western countries pulled out of Afghanistan, the Taliban have been appealing for international support to stave off a humanitarian disaster, with more than half the population facing hunger over the winter.

The joint statement at the weekend said: “We will continue to measure the Taliban by their actions.”

The statement was issued by Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, the EU, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, Ukraine and the US. – Reuters

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