Press Release

ADL’s Task Force on Middle East Minorities Expresses Grave Concern About Taliban Takeover of Afghanistan

New York, NY, August 18, 2021 … ADL’s (Anti-Defamation League) Task Force on Middle East Minorities today expressed deep concern about the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban, an Islamist extremist group known for its horrific brutality against women, children, and religious and other minorities.

The Task Force issued the following statement:

We have no doubt that Taliban rule will prove to be devastating for Afghanistan’s minority communities.

We call on the international community to ensure that members of religious minority faiths and the women of Afghanistan are not targeted by the Taliban and should make any diplomatic engagement with the Taliban contingent on their safety and well-being.

We further strongly urge the United States and other countries to ensure the safety of those from minority communities who are escaping Taliban persecution.    

When the Taliban were last in power, they imposed their version of intolerant Sharia law, did not allow women to work or girls to attend schools, forced women to keep their faces covered in public and to be accompanied by a male guardian, and demanded that religious minorities convert or be killed. 

The Taliban labeled Muslim Afghans whose beliefs differed from the Taliban’s interpretation of Islam as unbelievers. This created special hardship for Shia Muslims, especially the Hazara community, some of whom were massacred by the Taliban for being “heretics.”

Over the last year, as the Taliban took control of provinces, we have witnessed dangerous signs that bode ill for Afghanistan’s small and varied religious faiths. This includes Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, and Shia Muslims.  

The Taliban’s brutality against those who violated their stringent rules included public beatings, stonings and executions. 

In addition, as one of its first acts, the Taliban released leaders and fighters from various terrorist groups, including those who had claimed credit for several bombings and attacks on places of worship belonging to religious minorities.

ADL’s Task Force on Middle East Minorities strives to bring international attention to the human rights offenses committed against minority communities in the Middle East. The Task Force consists of regional and topical experts who serve as an advisory body to augment ADL’s work in protecting vulnerable minorities by identifying, elevating, and educating on emerging human rights issues in the Middle East.