As US forces completed their withdrawal from Afghanistan by President Joe Biden’s deadline on Tuesday, many Afghans fear reprisals from the country’s new rulers will soon follow, the New York Times reports, amid growing reports of Secret operations from arrest and disappearance to execution.
When the Taliban took control of Kabul two weeks ago, the militants went directly to two important targets: the headquarters of the National Security Directorate and the Ministry of Communications.
From a street in Kabul, pictures and a banner of the Taliban
So far, the Taliban’s political leadership has given a moderate face, promising amnesty to government security forces that laid down their weapons. They even wrote letters guaranteeing that they would not be prosecuted, although they reserve the right to prosecute anyone who committed serious crimes, according to Taliban spokesmen.
Their goal, according to Afghan officials, was to secure the files of intelligence officers and their informants, and to obtain the means to trace the phone numbers of Afghan citizens. This means that it would be disastrous for the hundreds of thousands of people who were working to confront the Taliban threat.
Taliban spokesman Sohail Shaheen said in an English-language tweet on Twitter that no accounts had been settled. He also denied that there was a list of assassinations that the Taliban were carrying out and conducting house-to-house searches, as rumors circulated.
“A general amnesty has been granted,” he wrote, adding, “We are focused on the future.”
But the scale of the campaign is uncertain because it is taking place in secret, and it is unclear what level of Taliban officials authorized the arrests or executions.
However, there are increasing reports of arrests, disappearances and even executions by Taliban militants, in what some current and former government officials describe as a “secret hunt” for the movement’s enemies, according to the New York Times.
“It’s going underground,” said one former lawmaker who was hiding elsewhere when the Taliban visited his house in the middle of the night, referring to the Taliban’s clandestine campaigns.