Thousands of people forced from their homes by Taliban officials

WION Web Team
New DelhiUpdated: Oct 23, 2021, 04:37 PM IST

File photo: In this picture taken on September 23, 2021, Taliban members enjoy a traditional dance on the banks of a river in Kandahar. Photograph:(AFP)

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Many of these evictions targeted members of the Shia Hazara community, while others were of people connected to the former Afghan government

Thousands of people have been forced from their homes by Taliban officials in the north and south of Afghanistan. Human Rights Watch has warned that this has amounted to collective punishment.

Many of these evictions targeted members of the Shia Hazara community, while others were of people connected to the former Afghan government. These evictions took place across five provinces, including Kandahar, Helmand and Uruzgan in the south, Daikundi in the centre, and the northern province of Balkh. 

As per a report, many people were ordered to leave homes and farms after a few days' notice. Also, they were not allowed to prove their legal ownership.

Some were reportedly told that if they did not comply with orders to leave, they “had no right to complain about the consequences."

Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director at Human Rights Watch, was quoted by The Guardian as saying, "The Taliban are forcibly evicting Hazaras and others on the basis of ethnicity or political opinion to reward Taliban supporters."

“These evictions, carried out with threats of force and without any legal process, are serious abuses that amount to collective punishment.”

Ever since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, it has been linked to a string of human rights abuses including killings and attacks on journalists. They have also stripped many women of the right to work and barred girls from studying at the secondary level. On Thursday, several journalists covering the women’s rights protest were allegedly attacked by the Taliban.

According to news agency AFP, during the protest one foreign journalist was struck with the butt of a rifle by one Taliban fighter, who swore and kicked the photographer in the back as another punched him.

At least two more journalists were hit as they scattered, pursued by Taliban fighters swinging fists and launching kicks.

This year alone, over 665,000 Afghans have been displaced, bringing the total nationwide to about 4 million.

“It’s particularly cruel to displace families during harvest and just before winter sets in,” Gossman said. “The Taliban should cease forcible evicting of Hazaras and others and adjudicate land disputes according to the law and a fair process.”

In Kandahar the evictions targeted members of a government-owned apartment block, HRW said. In Helmand, at least 400 families were driven out of the Naw Mish district in the middle of the harvesting season.

The largest displacements recorded are in Daikundi and Uruzgan provinces as at least 2,800 Hazara residents were driven from their homes in September.