Women, Children Brutally Killed As Government Dissolves Electoral Commission

Taliban Dissolves Afghanistan’s Election Commission, Saying ‘There Is No Need’

The Taliban has dissolved Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission (IEC), a panel that supervised polls during the previous Western-backed administration.

A spokesman for the Taliban-led government in Kabul announced on December 25 that the IEC has been scrapped along with the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission and two ministries.

“There is no need for these commissions to exist and operate,” spokesman Bilal Karimi said, adding that the Taliban “will revive these commissions, if we feel a need.”

The Taliban also dissolved the Ministry for Peace and the Ministry for Parliamentary Affairs, Karimi said.

The four institutions employed more than 1,000 people in total, including 582 people that held full-time jobs with the IEC’s central and local bodies across the country.

Established in 2006, the IEC was assigned to administer and supervise all types of elections in the country, according to the commission’s website.

During its insurgency, the Taliban was accused of using violence to disrupt elections, calling them un-Islamic. Several election workers were killed, political rallies were targeted, and even ordinary people were attacked by militants just for casting their ballots.

The hard-line Islamist group, which took over Afghanistan in mid-August, had already shut down the former administration’s ministry for Women’s Affairs.

Instead, it set up a ministry for the “propagation of virtue and the prevention of vice” in the building that once housed the Women’s Affairs Ministry.

The ministry for the promotion of virtue earned notoriety during the Taliban’s first stint in power in the 1990s for harshly enforcing religious doctrine.

Women, children and elderly brutally killed in Myanmar’s Kayah state

More than 30 people, including women and children, have been killed and their bodies burnt in Myanmar’s conflict-torn Kayah state.

Karenni Human Rights Group said they found the burnt bodies of internally displaced people, including elders, women and children killed by the military that rules Myanmar, near Mo So village of Hpruso town on Saturday.

“We strongly denounce the inhumane and brutal killing which violates human rights,” the group said in a Facebook post.

The Myanmar military said it had shot and killed an unspecified number of “terrorists with weapons” from the opposition armed forces in the village, state media said.

The people were in seven vehicles and did not stop for the military, it said.

Photos shared by the human rights group and local media showed the charred remains of bodies on burnt-out truckbeds.

The Karenni National Defence Force, one of the largest of several civilian militias opposing the junta that led a Feb. 1 coup, said the dead were not their members but civilians seeking refuge from the conflict.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military overthrew the elected government of Nobel Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi almost 11 months ago, claiming fraud in a November election that her party had won.

International observers have said the ballot was fair.

Civilians enraged by the coup and subsequent crackdown on protesters have been taking up arms.

Many local resistance forces have sprung up across the country.