The Taliban’s killing of civilians through a continuous spate of bombings demonstrates the armed group’s chilling disregard for human lives, Amnesty International said today.
The human rights organization said the 7 July 2019 bombing in a crowded area of Ghazni city that killed at least 14 people, including one child, and injured more than 180, included 60 children, shows a chilling disregard for human life.
“These bombings demonstrate a chilling disregard for human life. At the same time that the Taliban is engaged in supposed peace talks with other Afghans, the armed group continues to claim the lives of civilians, including children,” said Samira Hamidi, South Asia campaigner at Amnesty International.
The Taliban said they had targeted the National Directorate of Security, the Afghan intelligence agency, in Ghazni, which is located near public places including schools. Under international humanitarian law, all precautions must be taken to avoid civilian casualties.
The Ghazni bombing comes less than a week after the Taliban claimed responsibility for a large bombing near the Ministry of Defence, killing three people and wounding more than 90 others, including 50 children from nearby schools.
Last year saw the number of civilian deaths recorded since 2009, including the highest number of children killed. According to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, 3,804 civilians – including more than 900 children – were killed in the country in 2018, and a further 7,000 people were injured.
In recent weeks, the Taliban has also threatened to target Afghan journalists and media groups. In a statement issued on 24 June 2019, the Taliban’s “military commission” issued an ultimatum to journalists, warning them against issuing statements and running advertisements that are critical of the armed group.
The Taliban said it would consider these journalists “not as media organizations but as nests of the enemy’s intelligence apparatus” and targeted as such. Journalists and employees of media organizations, the Taliban said, “will not be safe.”
“There is no justification for targeting journalists and media outlets and this would amount to war crimes. Afghanistan’s journalists are among the bravest in the world, working under extremely difficult conditions in a country that has saw more journalists killed last year than anywhere else. They deserve protection, and the people who are threatening them must be brought to justice through fair trials without recourse to the death penalty,” said Samira Hamidi.