23 January 2001
AI Index AFA 11/001/2001 – News Service Nr. 013
Afghanistan: summary execution of civilians in Yakaolang
Amnesty International today condemned the summary execution of scores of Afgan civilians by
Taleban forces after their capture of the district of Yakaolang in December 2000. The victims, all
male and as young as 13 years of age, are thought to number between 100 and 300. Most of the
killings reportedly took place in villages around Nayak, and were accompanied by mass arrests.
“This brutal treatment of civilians simply has to end,” the human rights organization said.
“These deeply disturbing reports once again underline the need for action by the international
community to ensure protection of the civilian population in Afghanistan.”
The executions followed the recapture of Yakaolang from the anti-Taleban Hezb-e Wahdat
party in fierce fighting in December 2000. It is thought that the latest reported executions are in
retaliation for Taleban losses in the course of their conquest of the district. A Taleban commander is
alleged to have ordered his forces to kill all men between the ages of 13 and 70 whom they
consider to be anti-Taleban.
Hezb-e Wahdat claims support from the Hazara ethnic group in Afganistan. On a number of
occasions the Taleban are reported to have carried out massacres of the Hazara population – as
well as burning their homes, arresting men and boys and confiscating their land and other
belongings. Control of the region has passed back and forth between the two factions in the course
of the fighting.
Whilst in control of the district Hezb-e Wahdat fighters are reported to have treated with
brutality those they considered to have collaborated with the Taleban.
Scores of Hazara civilians are reported to have been the targets of systematic killings by
Taleban guards arriving in Yakaoland following a previous conquest in May 1999. In addition,
hundreds of men, and in a few instances women and children, were reportedly separated from their
families by the Taleban forces and to date there has been no news of their whereabouts.
Amnesty International condemns human rights abuses by all warring factions in Afghanistan
and 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 all reports of massacres
with a view to establishing the facts, identifying the perpetrators and recommending means of
bringing them to justice.
With regard to these latest human rights abuses, Amnesty International:
Urges the Taleban to abide by the principles of international humanitarian law which forbid the
killing of, and other human rights abuses against, the civilian population.
Urges the Taleban to 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
For more information please call Amnesty International’s press office in London, UK, on +44 20
Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW web : http://www.amnesty.org