General Amnesty Deception Victims: The Taliban Are Torturing Former Soldiers to Death
After ruling for approximately two years, the Taliban group continues to engage in the killing of former soldiers. In recent weeks, a significant number of ex-soldiers have been detained, tortured, or killed in different parts of the country. Two separate incidents in Herat province involved the brutal murder of former soldiers. A former soldier who had recently returned to the country from Iran, trusting the General Amnesty announced by the Taliban, was tortured to death by Taliban intelligence agents. His relatives reported that the Taliban gouged out his eyes and severed his hand. Moreover, a former local police officer in the province was encouraged by some Taliban members to return to the country, only to be detained, killed, and his body handed over to his family by the Taliban. Several others have disappeared in recent months after being detained by the Taliban. Despite the group’s consistent denial of killing former soldiers, an official journal published by the Taliban reveals that Mullah Hibatullah, the supreme leader of the group, has authorized the killing of certain prisoners, provided no filming occurs. However, the families of the victims believe that the Taliban’s General Amnesty plan is a trap for those who previously opposed them.
After gaining complete control over Afghanistan, the Taliban’s supreme leader declared a general amnesty, claiming that all individuals who had previously served in administrative and military roles under the previous government would be pardoned. However, this order has not been enforced and seems to be a part of the Taliban’s strategy to deceive former government employees. During their approximately two-year reign, the Taliban have engaged in the detention, torture, and brutal killings of numerous former soldiers. In the past eight months alone, several ex-soldiers have been detained by the Taliban in Herat province, subjected to torture, and ultimately brutally murdered. The fate of many soldiers remains unknown as time goes by, and the Taliban have not provided any information to their families, leaving them without answers.
In the latest incident, the Taliban arrested and brutally killed a former soldier named Jamshid Mirzai in Herat province. He was subjected to ruthless torture, including the gouging out of his eyes, while he was still alive. The Taliban informed his family, and on Monday, his body was discovered in the Dahan-e Kamarkalagh area of Herat province. When his family found the body, they observed signs of severe torture on his face and body. His close associates were able to identify Jamshid Mirzai’s body solely by the color of his clothing.
Mirzai began his career as a young military member and later joined the police force. Eventually, he became a member of the national security forces in Herat province. In recent years, he got married and had a young daughter. When Herat province fell to the Taliban, Mirzai sought refuge in Iran and worked as a laborer there. During this time, he occasionally voiced his criticism of the Taliban and their responsibility for the deaths of former military personnel, particularly his friends, on social media. According to his relatives, approximately a month ago, upon his return to Herat province from Iran, the Taliban’s intelligence agency detained Mirzai.
According to one of Mirzai’s relatives interviewed by the Hasht-e Subh Daily, it has been over a month since Mirzai’s return to Herat province. Members of the intelligence agency from our district in Herat province were actively pursuing Mirzai. Shortly after he arrived home, he went to the city and was apprehended by the same intelligence agents from our district in the Mustofi area. We were well aware of Mirzai’s detention by the intelligence agency of Herat province. However, every time we went to the agency seeking information, they consistently denied any knowledge of Mirzai’s presence or his detention. They not only rebuffed us but also used offensive language, insisting that we leave the agency.
After a wait of 20 days, the head of Herat province’s intelligence agency finally informed Mirzai’s family about his fate. According to the family, the Taliban had subjected him to torture from May 11 to May 29 while holding him captive. They contacted Mirzai’s family and instructed them to go to the Dahan-e Kamarkalagh area to retrieve his body. One of Mirzai’s close associates reported that his body was in an unrecognizable state, with his eyes gouged out, hands severed, and gunshot wounds on his body. He further described, “While he was alive, the Taliban gouged out his eyes, cut off his hands, and broke his legs. There was no identifiable feature left on his body to recognize him as Mirzai. He was brutally killed.”
Mirzai’s relatives stated that the Taliban issued a warning, instructing them not to publicly announce or share any information about the funeral arrangements. They were explicitly told not to hold funeral prayers for Mirzai. Additionally, the Taliban instructed them not to discuss Mirzai’s death with anyone, including the media.
Jamshid is not the sole former military member who has fallen victim to the Taliban’s violence in Herat province. Another ex-military individual, Mirwais Noorzai, was apprehended and brutally murdered by the province’s intelligence agency. Noorzai, a well-known figure in the Shindand district of Herat province, had previously served in the district’s local police department. The Taliban accused him of being affiliated with the military, subjecting him to torture before carrying out his execution.
One of Mirwais’ relatives, speaking to the Hasht-e Subh Daily, stated, “After the government’s collapse, he traveled to Iran. The head of the Taliban’s intelligence agency in Herat province, Mawlawi Karim, assured him that there was a general amnesty in place, and no harm would come to him. Many people and acquaintances also believed in the possibility of a general amnesty. However, upon his arrival in Herat province, he was eventually apprehended by the intelligence agency and met a tragic end.”
The relative further recounts the events following Mirwais’ arrest and murder, stating, “On February 28, Mullah Karim’s men abducted him. They subjected him to severe torture, using a mattock as a weapon and torturing him, and they also gouged his eyes. They did not return his body to us. People and elders went to recover his body, witnessing the extreme brutality inflicted upon him.”
According to sources mentioned in the Hasht-e Subh Daily report, it is evident that there is a lack of information regarding the whereabouts and fate of several other former military personnel apprehended by the Taliban. Furthermore, the Taliban have captured and made certain former military members disappear. About eight months ago, Sultan Sahim, a former director of National Security in the Farsi district of Herat province, was taken into custody by the Taliban upon his return from Iran. His family members, who spoke to the Hasht-e Subh Daily, still have no knowledge of his fate. Despite their efforts to visit various civil and military institutions controlled by the Taliban in Herat province, they have not received any response.
According to a relative of this former military member, Sultan Ahmad [Sahim], his story unfolded as follows: After the fall of Herat province, Sultan Ahmad went to Iran and found work as a laborer, with no intention of returning. However, individuals from our community who worked in the intelligence agency contacted him and assured him of a general amnesty, urging him to return to Herat without fear of repercussions. Trusting their words, Sultan Ahmad returned to Herat province. However, shortly after his arrival, those very people who facilitated his return detained him. He received a call from one of the intelligence officers, inviting him to a meeting at the Pul-e Pashto area to have a conversation. Along the way, he informed his family that he was going to meet Ramazan, an intelligence employee in Herat province. Unfortunately, after reaching the designated location, all contact with Sultan Ahmad was abruptly severed, leaving his family without any news of his fate until now.
Additionally, they have made several visits to the governor and the head office of the intelligence agency, but their pleas have gone unanswered. The Taliban allegedly provided the family with multiple locations where his body might be found, but their search yielded no results. According to the relatives of this former military member, there is a lack of authority to acknowledge their appeals and address this case.
The number of detained and killed former military personnel is on the rise. Recent statistics indicate that during April and May, the Taliban killed 13 former military personnel and detained 9 others in various provinces across the country. The fate of these 9 detainees remains unknown. It is important to highlight that the absence of judicial institutions, failure to address these cases, and denial of media access to the victims’ families are fueling the escalation of Taliban’s vigilante justice and makeshift courts. The directive from the Taliban’s supreme leader, permitting the execution of specific prisoners, has emboldened the Taliban to ruthlessly eliminate former military personnel without hesitation.