KABUL, Afghanistan — Amnesty International says Taliban fighters recently tortured and killed members of an ethnic minority in Afghanistan, fueling fears that they will again impose a brutal rule, even as the Taliban urged imams to push a message of unity at the first gathering for Friday prayers since the capital was seized.
Terrified that the new de facto rulers would commit such abuses, thousands have raced to Kabul’s airport in an attempt to flee the country.
Others have taken to the streets to protest the takeover, and Taliban fighters have violently suppressed those demonstrations.
The Taliban have sought to project moderation and have pledged to restore security and forgive those who fought them in the 20 years since a U.S.-led invasion.
Current leaders are making claims that they will offer amnesty to those who worked for the previous government and supported the American occupancy. They're also claiming there will be no violence against women under Islamic law.
However, many Afghans remain skeptical about the Taliban's promises.
"Such promises will need to be honored, and for the time being — again understandably, given past history — these declarations have been greeted with some skepticism," United Nations human rights spokesperson Rupert Colville said in a statement earlier this week. "There have been many hard-won advances in human rights over the past two decades. The rights of all Afghans must be defended."