Afghanistan: “Your sons are in the mountains”: The collective punishment of civilians in Panjshir by the Taliban

Since the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan in August 2021, they have directed collective punishment upon the residents of Panjshir province, particularly in communities where the Taliban have established and deployed their forces. In an effort to combat the National Resistance Front, the Taliban have retaliated against captured fighters, and targeted the civilian population to force submission and compliance. The list of war crimes and violations of international humanitarian law committed by the Taliban in Panjshir is long: torture and other ill-treatment, extrajudicial executions, hostage-taking, the intentional burning of civilian homes, and arbitrary deprivation of liberty. But beyond each individual act designed to instil fear, this conduct in sum constitutes collective punishment, which in itself is a war crime.

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