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Members of the Taliban movement patrol Kabul's airport in September. Photo: Valery Sharifulin/TASS via Getty Images

The Taliban have "killed or forcibly disappeared" over 100 former members of Afghanistan's security forces since the group took power in August, a Human Rights Watch report published Tuesday found.

Why it matters: Former military members and officials from the ousted government, activists and other Taliban critics are facing peril amid executions driven by revenge — despite Taliban promises of an "amnesty" with no retributions, notes the New York Times, which first reported the news.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

By the numbers: The report outlines the "summary execution or enforced disappearance" of 47 former members of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), who had surrendered to or were apprehended by Taliban forces from Aug. 15 to Oct. 31.

  • HRW research suggests that the Taliban also killed or disappeared at least 53 others.

The big picture: The report focuses on Ghazni, Helmand, Kandahar, and Kunduz provinces, "but the cases reflect a broader pattern of abuses reported in Khost, Paktiya, Paktika, and other provinces," according to HRW.

  • Taliban leadership directed former security force members to register to receive a letter guaranteeing their safety, but Taliban forces "used these screenings to detain and summarily execute or forcibly disappear individuals within days of their registration," the report states.
  • "The Taliban have also carried out abusive search operations, including night raids, to apprehend and, at times, forcibly disappear suspected former officials," per an HRW statement accompanying the report.
  • Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director at Human Rights Watch, called on the Taliban in a statement to "prevent further killings, hold those responsible to account, and compensate the victims’ families."

Between the lines: The report comes as the Taliban campaigns to access the roughly $8 billion in Afghan foreign reserves that have been frozen by the U.S. amid a worsening humanitarian crisis.

  • The Biden administration has said the reserves are among the "carrots and sticks" the U.S. has to influence the Taliban, and decisions on such issues will be based on the Taliban's conduct.

What to watch: Thomas West, the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan "has raised our concern with Taliban leaders," said a State Department spokesperson in an emailed statement Wednesday condemning the reports of Taliban brutality.

  • "And, he's made clear to the Taliban that they will be held accountable for their success or failure in ensuring their promise of amnesty is upheld throughout their ranks," the spokesperson said.
  • "This includes taking appropriate action against all Taliban members who have engaged in retaliation and to prevent any further acts of retaliation."

What they're saying: Taliban spokesperson Inamullah Samangani told the NYT that the ruling Afghan group was "fully committed to the amnesty" and that such killings and disappearances weren't Taliban policy, blaming rogue fighters for trying to "settle old scores."

  • "We don't have a security system yet in place, and some people are taking advantage of this vacuum, misusing the name of Islamic Emirate, and carrying out such killings," he added.
  • "Revenge killings aren't in the interest of our government. They are harmful to Islamic Emirate’s reputation at this critical time."

Go deeper: Afghan ambassador decries country's "betrayal"

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from the State Department, more details from the report and further context.

Go deeper

Jan 11, 2022 - World

Aid group reports major increase in Afghanistan child malnourishment

Health workers check children for signs of malnourishment at a Doctors Without Borders clinic in Herat. Photo: Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty

Health care workers in the Afghan cities of Khost and Herat recorded major increases of severe acute malnutrition among children — 30-fold and 2-fold respectively — between November and December of 2021, according to the International Rescue Committee (IRC).

State of play: Most foreign aid to Afghanistan has stopped flowing since the Taliban took power in August, sanctions are further hampering the economy, and the U.S. has frozen around $8 billion in Afghan Central Bank assets. That's led to a major cash shortage that comes with winter setting in and food prices rising, the IRC reports.

Why 401(k) rollovers are so annoying

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

If you happened to change jobs recently, you may have tried to transfer your retirement account from your former employer into an Individual Retirement Account or your new employer's 401(k) plan. If so, you probably encountered a bureaucratic gantlet — and you're not alone.

Why it matters: Kludgey processes around retirement account transfers result in people losing track of their funds, giving up important tax advantages, or otherwise disadvantaging themselves and being less prepared for retirement.

The hard math behind America's labor shortage

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Congressional Budget Office; Chart: Axios Visuals

Yes, the pandemic has created unusual temporary labor market dynamics. But in the bigger picture, the 2010s were a golden age for companies seeking cheap labor. The 2020s are not.

The big picture: In the 2010s, the massive millennial generation was entering the workforce, the massive baby bo0m generation was still hard at work, and there was a multi-year hangover from the deep recession caused by the global financial crisis.