Taliban step up reprisals after promising amnesty

Published on Aug 21, 2021 02:36 AM IST

Fighters from the fundamentalist group are searching for journalists in Kabul and other provinces, German media organization Deutsche Welle said on Friday as it reported the killing of a close relative of one of its staffers.

Amnesty International said it received witness accounts of nine ethnic minority members being executed in July and warned of the likelihood of more killings as Taliban establish control.
Amnesty International said it received witness accounts of nine ethnic minority members being executed in July and warned of the likelihood of more killings as Taliban establish control.
Agencies | , Kabul

There’s mounting evidence the Taliban are cracking down on dissent in Afghanistan and carrying out reprisals, even after its leadership promised an amnesty, adding urgency to global efforts to evacuate those most at risk.

Fighters from the fundamentalist group are searching for journalists in Kabul and other provinces, German media organization Deutsche Welle said on Friday as it reported the killing of a close relative of one of its staffers.

A Norway-based private intelligence group that provides information to the UN said it has evidence the Taliban have rounded up Afghans on a blacklist of people they believe worked with the previous Afghan administration or with US-led forces, and that there could be mass executions.

And Amnesty International said it received witness accounts of nine ethnic minority members being executed in July and warned of the likelihood of more killings as Taliban establish control.

These reports came even as thousands of people, desperate to flee the country, were still thronging the airport, according to an official who spoke to Reuters, even though the Taliban have urged people without legal travel documents to go home and appeared to have begun blocking access to the airport.

“Taliban are intensifying the hunt-down of all individuals and collaborators with the former regime, and if unsuccessful, target and arrest the families and punish them according to their own interpretation of Sharia law,” said a report, dated Wednesday, by RHIPTO Norwegian Center for Global Analyses.

“Particularly at risk are individuals in central positions in military, police and investigative units,” it added.

Tens of thousands of people remain to be evacuated ahead of the United States’ August 31 deadline for troop withdrawal. The desperation has been captured in images and videos from the airport, where people clung onto a taxing American military plane as it took off, leaving several – including an Afghan national sportsperson – to plunge to their deaths.

On Thursday, officials in the UK told Sky News that people were passing their children, including infants, over barb wire airport fences in an attempt to get them to safety outside of the country.

A US defense official said about 5,700 people, including about 250 Americans, were flown out of Kabul aboard 16 C-17 transport planes. In all, more than 18,000 people have been flown out of Kabul since the Taliban took over Afghanistan’s capital, a NATO official told Reuters.

A Taliban spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment, Reuters reported. Since seizing Kabul, the Taliban have sought to present a more moderate face to the world, saying they wanted peace and would not take revenge against old enemies.

The four-page report reproduced a letter it said had been written to one alleged collaborator who was taken from his Kabul apartment this week and detained for questioning over his role as a counter-terrorism official in the previous government.

Reuters could not independently verify its authenticity.

The letter, dated Monday, from the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s Military Commission, noted that the detainee had travelled to the UK as part of his role “which indicates you have had excellent relations with the American and British”.

“If you do not report to the commission, your family members will be arrested instead. You and your family members will be treated based on Sharia law,” the letter said.

The detainee’s name was redacted.

Separately, a senior member of the security forces of the ousted administration sent a message to journalists saying that the Taliban had obtained secret national security documents and Taliban were arresting former intelligence and security staff.

Get Latest World Newsalong with Latest Newsfrom Indiaat Hindustan Times.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
My Offers
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Friday, February 03, 2023
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Register Free and get Exciting Deals