On 15th August 2021, the terrorist group referred to as the Taliban seized control of the capital city Kabul. Within a week the Taliban turned its attention north towards the Panjshir Valley which is currently under military attack by the Taliban.

The Panjshir Valley is the last resistance stronghold in Afghanistan which rejects the radical and barbaric ideologies and activities of the Taliban. Despite this, the people of the Panjshir valley did not initiate violence or war and instead clearly communicated its desire for peaceful negotiation, one which recognized among other things, equal rights for women and an equitable legal recognition and treatment of all ethnic groups within Afghanistan. Unfortunately, despite these attempts at peace, within the last week, the Taliban forces commenced an unprovoked military offensive against the Panjshir valley.

The Taliban’s military offensive in the Panjshir Valley can only be described as abhorrent crimes against humanity resulting in a humanitarian crisis. The actions of the Taliban include but are not limited to the massacre of innocent civilians, torture, imprisonment, use of human shields, and persecution against specific groups of people because of their ethnicity.

Furthermore, the Taliban have placed a blockade on the Panjshir valley and do not allow the provision of basic aid such as food and other supplies to reach the people in Panjshir. It is important to note that the Panjshir valley has become a beacon of hope for Afghan citizens who fled the tyranny of the Taliban and sought refuge within the Panjshir Valley.

The people of Panjshir have shared their supplies with the influx of displaced citizens however, these resources are not endless and there is an existential humanitarian crisis that will result in famine. The above conduct of the Taliban is in direct breach of Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and a myriad of other international conventions. Put simply it is in breach of international humanitarian law and constitutes a war crime.

We urgently seek a response from the Australian Government, but also the broader Australian community to condemn the actions of the Taliban which can only be described as an attempt to commit genocide. Furthermore, we implore the Australian government and whoever else is willing, to provide aid and support to the Panjshir valley who are currently fighting for their existence and for the same freedoms and rights to self-determination that we enjoy in this great country that is Australia. The Australian Government must urge the United Nations to establish a humanitarian corridor to enable basic aid to reach the Panjshir valley.

It is important to recognise that the Taliban are not representing the people of Afghanistan and do not share the ideals of the true Afghan people. It is only with the support of the Australian and international community, that aid can be provided to the people in the Panjshir valley who are currently the victims of an unprovoked military attack from the Taliban.

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