Before August 15, when Taliban attacks began in the provinces, the former army was forced to surrender. The Taliban sent local elders to various districts to persuade the army personnel to leave the checkpoints and end the war. On the contrary, it was said that these people would return to their normal lives and that the Taliban would not harm them. When the Taliban took control of Kabul, they announced a general amnesty, saying that they had nothing to do with anyone. This was done in several steps. Taliban officials have repeatedly said that the former army will have immunity. Finally, the Taliban’s Defense Minister Mullah Yaqub said early Saturday that no Taliban had the right to kill former soldiers.
Now, about three months after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, the situation is not very good. Recently, there have been numerous reports of beatings, arrests, and assassinations of former soldiers. Most of this news has been confirmed by provincial sources. This also happens in the capital. About a week ago, a soldier was assassinated in Kabul, and his family later learned that this was done by elements inside the Taliban who had been hostile to them in the past. However, the family was unable to contact the media due to the consequences of revealing the identity of the killer. There have been many such incidents. Most murders are labeled as “personal animosity.” The Taliban have not yet officially claimed responsibility for the killing.
In the latest case, the Wall Street Journal reported that some former soldiers returned to the Islamic State in Khurasan Province (ISKP) because they had been tracked down and killed by Taliban forces. Although the Taliban have denied the allegations, there is still the possibility that it has been done by the Taliban. The rise of ISKP attacks in Afghanistan is also fueling speculation.
The former military has finally responded to this issue and the existing threats. On Sunday, a number of them sent an open letter to Hasht-e Subh, and some other media outlets, expressing concern about their safety. In addition to the poor economic situation, they said, the Taliban have been persecuted and their homes searched. According to these soldiers, the news of their joining the ISKP is false and they are trying to conspire to kill them.
In part, they called on international entities, especially the UN Security Council, to discuss the issue with the Taliban-led government. The militants said the Taliban would massacre the former soldiers if no action was taken. Although they refused to join the ISKP, they said that if the Taliban and the international community did not pay attention to their demands, they would do anything to survive.
The former army does not currently have immunity, even as a citizen, despite the Taliban claiming amnesty. These people are being persecuted, detained, and assassinated in various places by gunmen, most of whom are members of the Taliban or their affiliates. No one is responsible for these incidents. Most ex-soldiers are now in hiding and cannot resume their normal lives. This has put the former army and their families in serious economic trouble.
Unfortunately, the Taliban-led government has not yet taken a clear approach to the immunity of former military personnel. Despite reports of their assassination, Taliban officials have not responded. This indifference gives the soldiers who have fought in the past the opportunity to take revenge and advance their hostilities.
Targeted assassinations of former military personnel could complicate the country’s security situation. As they said, if the assassination continues, they will be forced to do anything to survive, the consequences of which are unpredictable. This paves the way for various groups, even the ISKP, to seize the opportunity to use vulnerable militias to achieve their goals. It is better to consider the immunity of ex-soldiers as an urgent issue. Indifference in this regard and the continuation of mass killings of these people will be costly for Afghanistan.