Taleban must immediately stop targeting civilians in Afghanistan

Amnesty International has condemned the Taleban’s attack on a guesthouse hosting staff from the United Nations in Kabul on Wednesday, that killed at least six civilian UN staff.

The Taleban took responsibility for the incident and threatened more such attacks in the run up to the second round of the highly contested presidential elections, scheduled for 7 November.

The attack is the worst on the UN in Afghanistan since the United States and its allies helped oust the Taleban in 2001.

In a public statement on Wednesday, Amnesty International reminded the Taleban that attacks targeting civilians constitute war crimes. The organization said that if, as the Taleban suggest, this attack is part of a strategy of widespread or systematic attacks on the civilian population, carried out in pursuit of the Taleban’s policy of disrupting the upcoming elections, this attack could also constitute a crime against humanity.

War crimes and crimes against humanity are among the most serious crimes under international law. Amnesty International said that the Taleban must immediately end such attacks. Those suspected of carrying the attacks out or ordering them must be brought to justice.

Millions of Afghans remain dependent on international assistance for basic needs such as food, water, healthcare and education. The attack on the UN significantly harms the already constrained ability of aid workers to assist Afghans, particularly those in conflict-affected areas in the country’s south and east.