Amnesty International has now obtained detailed information which corroborates earlier reports
of the massacre of civilians in Yakaolang in the central province of Bamiyan. According to
eyewitness reports, Taleban forces began to arrest people and summarily execute them when
they recaptured Yakaolang on 7 January this year. They had lost Yakaolang to Hezb-e Wahdat
– an anti Taleban party claiming support from the Hazara minority – in late December 2000.
Eyewitnesses also told Amnesty International that Hezb-e Wahdat forces carried out at least
four summary executions during the several days they were in control of Yakaolang in late
For several days Taleban forces massacred over 300 unarmed men and a number of
civilian women and children. The victims were either summarily executed or deliberately killed.
Eyewitnesses told Amnesty International: “Some people in Kata Khana ran to the
mosque for shelter thinking the Taleban would respect the sanctity of the mosque, but they were
wrong!” They said they saw Taleban guards deliberately firing two rockets at the mosque where
some 73 women, children and elderly men had taken shelter. The building collapsed on them but
the Taleban guards would not allow anyone to go to their rescue for three days, by which time
all those in the mosque had died except for two small children.
In publishing this report, Amnesty International is adding its voice to concerns raised by
the UN and human rights organizations about the massacres in Yakaolang (see below).
Amnesty International is reiterating its call to the international community to set up an
international body with a clearly demonstrated independent, impartial and competent structure
to investigate reports of these massacres with a view to establishing the facts, identifying the
perpetrators and recommending means of bringing them to justice.
Amnesty International is urging all warring factions including the Taleban to abide by
the principles of international humanitarian law which forbid the killing of civilians and other
human rights abuses. As a first step, the Taleban leadership should ensure that their forces do
not carry out such abuses. As a second step they should remove from active service any of their
members who are implicated in human rights abuses, and facilitate an investigation of their
conduct by an independent, impartial and competent body with a view to holding them to account
for such abuses.