This article contains references to graphic video content.
The Afghan embassy in Canberra says videos it has obtained show “extreme violence, heartbreaking atrocities” committed by the Taliban against civilians and government officials.
“The videos show the extreme violence, heartbreaking atrocities, and the horrible war crimes committed by the Taliban in the areas where they have recently entered,” the embassy said in a statement.
The graphic material also includes footage of what the embassy said are two Afghan government officials who were detained and then shot dead by the Taliban.
The embassy said the videos were obtained in recent weeks as the Taliban claimed to have gained control of 85 percent of the country, including the key Spin Boldak border crossing with Pakistan.
Officials reported heavy clashes on Friday with an Afghan commander, saying that Reuters photojournalist Danish Siddiqui was killed while covering the fighting near the border crossing. “Most of the serious crimes committed by the Taliban in the areas which they have recently seized are not reflected in the media since the Taliban have not allowed the media or compelled those in the region to evacuate,” the embassy said.
‘Violated human rights law.’
The series of videos have been seen by SBS News, although their location and authenticity cannot be cross-verified. Afghan soldiers, elderly men, women, and children are shown being subjected to violence in public, including whipping, the removal of hands, beheading, and fatal gunshots. The Afghan embassy in Canberra says it is concerned about the Taliban’s use of violence in newly seized territories, including reports of the arbitrary killing of civilians.
“The Taliban’s behavior in areas under their control has shown that basic human rights are not a matter of concern to them,” the embassy said. “(The) Taliban’s distorted interpretation of Islamic Sharia is persistent and has not changed since establishment. They have imposed their version of so-called Islamic law, which has violated human rights law and principles. “The Taliban’s behavior clearly indicates their vision and ambition for the return of an Emirate with no difference whatsoever from the 90s.”
William Maley, emeritus professor at The Australian National University, said the decision by the Afghan embassy in Canberra to come forward with the graphic videos shows the situation in Afghanistan is increasingly precarious. “What the Afghan government is seeking to do by this is to alert the wider world to the scale of the horror is likely to continue to emerge in Afghanistan as the Taliban run rampant,” he told SBS News.
“It usually is something an embassy doesn’t have to do because it usually doesn’t confront such kind of problems within its own territory. “But there is no doubt that in sending out such warnings, the Afghan embassy is working squarely within the provisions of the Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations 1961.” A delegation of Afghan political leaders is in Qatar this weekend for stalled peace talks with Taliban negotiators. 8 July: Full interview: John Howard’s reflects on the war in Afghanistan