We have liberated Afghanistan from the Taliban, they told us. But the reality is very different. Like this press release by Amnesty International explains, the Taliban have increased their attacks against civilians, killing them, burning schools and abducting workers.
I was against the war in Afghanistan in the first place, but if you are going to fight a war, then you have to do it with all you have – and the United States has basically abandoned Afghanistan to its fate – the Taliban – once it got tired of it. And people die.

Source: Amnesty International (AI)
Date: 18 Apr 2007
Afghanistan: Taleban attacks against civilians increasing and systematic
As the Taleban’s spring offensive intensifies, civilians are
increasingly facing suicide attacks, abductions and beheadings. The
attacks on civilians by the Taleban are widespread and systematic and
are used to instil fear and exert control over the local population,
according to an Amnesty International report released today.
“Afghan civilians are bearing the brunt of this conflict. They are
caught in the fighting between the Taleban, Afghan government forces, US
forces and forces from other NATO countries,” said Claudio Cordone,
Senior Director for Research at Amnesty International.
“But it is the Taleban who have a deliberate policy of targeting
civilians — they are killing teachers, abducting aid workers and
burning school buildings.”
The Taleban’s military rulebook, or Laheya, explicitly sanctions
targeting and killing civilians. Rule 25 states that a teacher who
continues to teach after warnings from the Taleban must be beaten, and
if they still continue to teach “contrary to the principles of Islam”
they must be killed. Similarly, a Taleban fatwa, or religious edict,
orders the death of anyone who supports the US-led intervention.
Scores of civilians have been deliberately killed by Taleban insurgents
in the past two years, apparently because they were branded “spies”.
Targets have included women’s rights activists, clerics, government and
health workers, and teachers. At least 183 schools were burned in arson
attacks across the country between 2005-2006.
In one brutal incident last week, an Afghan journalist was killed by the
Taleban, reportedly by having his throat slit. Ajmal Naqshbandi, 25, had
been taken hostage in March along with an Italian reporter, Daniele
Mastrogiacomo, and their Afghan driver, Sayed Agha. While Daniele
Mastrogiacomo was released in a prisoner exchange, Sayed Agha was
As well as deliberately attacking civilians, the Taleban have also
killed or injured hundreds of people in indiscriminate attacks. At least
756 civilians were killed in 2006 in attacks using improvised explosive
devices such as roadside bombs and in suicide attacks, according to UN
and NATO figures.
“By using indiscriminate attacks such as suicide bombings in public
places and by deliberately targeting civilian workers, the Taleban are
committing war crimes,” said Claudio Cordone. “The fact that such
attacks are widespread and carried out as part of Taleban policy makes
them also crimes against humanity.”
The Taleban’s stance towards civilians is far removed from its
obligations under international law. A Taleban spokesperson interviewed
by Amnesty International claimed that attacking “unarmed” civilians who
were not considered a threat was “forbidden”. He then went on to say
that “there is no difference between the armed people who are fighting
against us and civilians who are co-operating with foreigners”. The
Taleban rulebook forbids seizing civilians’ money or possessions, but
sanctions killing teachers.
“All parties to the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan must ensure that
civilians are protected and all prisoners treated humanely, as required
by international law. A first step for the Taleban is to stop
deliberately targeting civilians and end all indiscriminate attacks,”
said Claudio Cordone.