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Silenced Voices: Prosecutor’s Revenge Murder After Taliban Step into Jowzjan

Kaihan Naseri's Photos, Source: Exclusively for ITJP

In the aftermath of the complete Taliban takeover of Sheberghan, the capital of Jowzjan’s northern province of Afghanistan, a dark and chilling chain of revenge murders unfolded, leaving Afghan government members, particularly justice personnel, shrouded in terror and despair. The events that transpired after August 7, 2021, involving Kaihan Naseri, paint a harrowing picture of the escalating violence and brutality under Taliban rule.

 

Kaihan Naseri, an Afghan former prosecutor for combating domestic and foreign security crimes under the previous Afghan republic government, met a gruesome fate at the hands of the Taliban. Detained and brutally executed after the Taliban militant group seized control of Sheberghan, Naseri’s close family member, Habibullah Rahimy (pseudonym), bravely came forward to share the heart-wrenching details. Mr. Rahimy disclosed that they found Naseri’s bullet-riddled and torn-apart body on the outskirts of the city on the very day of his arrest, intensifying the tragedy.

 

Mr. Rahimy added that the warden of Shaberghan Prison, now under Taliban control, initially recommended that Naseri escape to Mazar-i-Sharif, which was under government control at the time, in an attempt to save his life. Despite his desperate attempts to evade the Taliban’s retaliation, Naseri was apprehended following the arrest of the prison head, and both were subsequently shot. This horrifying sequence of events underscores the Taliban’s ruthlessness in seeking revenge, leaving a scar on the collective psyche of the region.

 

As I sought images and documents related to Naseri’s life and work, I was met with a haunting but true question: “Can you bear to see the images of his bullet-riddled and tortured body?” This poignant inquiry underscores the stark reality faced by government officials, security forces, and journalists during this period of brutal chain killings—a reality that demands international attention for making the perpetrators accountable.

 

But what motivated the urgent execution of Kaihan Naseri? Family members pointed to his pivotal role in combating domestic and foreign security crimes, particularly against notorious terrorist groups like the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and ISIS. His relentless efforts included direct and indirect involvement in numerous cases that targeted these groups, conducting interviews with detained suspects to further investigations. This unwavering commitment made him a prime target for extremist factions, ultimately leading to his tragic murder.

 

Kaihan Naseri, a 35-year-old prosecutor with a degree in law and political science from a private university in Mazar-i-Sharif, left behind two daughters and a son. Despite the Taliban’s initial promises of amnesty, reports indicate that many former government employees, especially security and defense forces, prosecutors, journalists, and human rights activists, faced a relentless onslaught of murder, detention, torture, harassment, and disappearance.

 

The gravity of the situation was further underscored by UNAMA’s recent report, which meticulously documented 800 cases of extrajudicial killings, torture, mistreatment, arbitrary detention, imprisonment, and disappearance by the Taliban from August 15, 2021, to June 30, 2023.

 

In the wake of this tragedy, Kaihan’s family now faces increasing threats and difficulties in Afghanistan. Living without financial support, uncertain about the future of three young children, and grappling with the pervasive fear of forced marriage, restricted employment, and the challenges of moving without a male supporter, the family’s plight is exacerbated by the Taliban’s severe restrictions on Afghan women.

 

Amidst the severe inhuman restrictions imposed on Afghan women by the Taliban’s rule, the fugitive family members appeals to governments and human rights organizations for support and protection for Kaihan’s spouse and children from the Taliban. In their pursuit of justice, they emphasize the urgent need to address the broader systemic violence and persecution perpetuating by the Taliban regime. Their quest for justice extends beyond accountability for the brutal murder of Kaihan Naseri; it also stands for the countless victims who have suffered under the Taliban’s reign of terror.

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