Afghanistan

Taliban hunting down Afghans on blacklist: report

Published : August 20, 2021 19:24 IST

The Taliban have been reportedly hunting for people on a blacklist of former government workers. Photo: Rahmat Gul/AP/picture alliance

The Taliban have been conducting "targeted door-to-door visits" to find people on the list, according to an intelligence report. It contradicts the less extreme image that the group has been trying to portray.

The Taliban have begun rounding up Afghans on a blacklist of people with suspected links to the previous Afghan administration, according to a report by a Norwegian intelligence group. The report comes as the Taliban attempt to present a more moderate image of the group since seizing Afghanistan's capital on August 15. They have pledged full amnesty for all who worked with the Western-backed, elected Afghan government.

Despite this, the U.S. and allies have been carrying out evacuations of workers who are desperate to leave the country, fearing retribution.

Key points from the report:

The RHIPTO Norwegian Center for Global Analyses report said the Taliban is "intensifying the hunt-down of all individuals and collaborators with the former regime." It said if they are not successful, the group is targeting and arresting family members and punishing them according to Shariah law.

According to the report, people in central positions in the Afghan military, police and investigative units were particularly at risk. The Taliban have been conducting "targeted door-to-door visits" to find people.

The report included a four-page letter written to one person alleged to have worked for the now ousted Afghan government. He was taken from his Kabul apartment this week and detained for questioning over his role as a counter-terrorism official in the previous government. A letter telling the addressee to report to the commission threatened the arrest of family members who would be treated "according to Sharia law."

Christian Nellemann, the intelligence group's executive director, told news agency AFP that he expects those on the Taliban blacklist to face torture and execution if found.

Who was the report for?

The non-profit group, which makes independent intelligence assessments, said the Afghanistan report was shared with agencies and individuals working within the United Nations. But a U.N. official told news agency Reuters: "This is not a report produced by the United Nations, but rather by the Norwegian Center for Global Analyses."

Evidence mounting against Taliban

Separately, a senior member of the security forces of the ousted Afghan administration told journalists that the Taliban were using secret national security documents to arrest former intelligence and security staff. U.S. lawmaker Jason Crow also said that the Taliban were using intelligence documents and that members of the militant group are "methodically ramping up efforts to round those folks up."

"I've had people send me pictures of Taliban outside their apartment complexes, searching for them," Crow added. Crow has been leading efforts in the U.S. Congress to accelerate the evacuation of American-affiliated Afghans.

In the past five days, the U.S. has evacuated about 7,000 people out of Kabul by cargo aircraft, according to the Pentagon. This includes American citizens, U.S. Embassy staff, citizens of NATO countries, at-risk Afghan nationals as well as Afghan nationals who have qualified for special immigrant visas.

Crow said he was concerned that the U.S. government may end the evacuation operation on August 31. This would leave more than 100,000 at-risk Afghans and family members in danger of Taliban reprisals. U.S. President Joe Biden said this week that US troops could remain in Afghanistan to help with evacuations past the end of August.

kmm/rs (AFP, Reuters)

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