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Friday, September 29, 2023

The horror is just beginning in Afghanistan

By Edith Krisztina Dócza
The Taliban have begun reprisals throughout Afghanistan, claiming victims not only of Afghans but also of foreigners already in the country. Dubai’s al-Arabiya news agency reported that a German civilian on his way to Kabul was shot dead, but Berlin said his injuries were not life-threatening and he would soon be sent back to Germany. However, the Reuters news agency reported that a journalist from the German news portal Deutsche Welle was also hunted by gunmen. One of the man’s family members was shot, another was seriously injured, and three other journalists were searched in their homes. Afghan journalists have reported similar attacks.

“It has become clear that there is a huge gap between what they say and what they do”

– wrote Sahar Nasari of Afghan State Television (RTA) on his social media page. He added that a colleague of his recently tried to shoot a video in the capital, but the Taliban beat the reporter and took the camera from him.

Taliban fighters patrol Kabul on August 19, 2021 · Photo: MTI/Rahmat Gul

Although the Taliban leadership had promised a full amnesty a few days earlier for those who worked with the government of former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, a report to the United Nations by the Norwegian organization RHIPTO shows that the fighters have a blacklist of Afghan individuals whom they suspect of collaborating with or linking to the previous government. If those affected are not found, their family members will be targeted, arrested and punished under Sharia law, the document says. “Individuals in key positions in the Afghan army, police and investigative agencies are particularly at risk,” the RHIPTO report said, which also suggests that the Taliban are already visiting Afghans’ homes.

Christian Nellemann, the head of the organization, does not rule out that there could be mass executions in Afghanistan in the near future.

According to press reports, a senior officer of the former Afghan government forces has reported that the Taliban are using secret national security documents to arrest former intelligence and security forces. “People have sent me photos of the Taliban looking for them in their homes,” said Democratic U.S. Congressman Jason Crow, who has already introduced a bill in Congress to speed up the evacuation of Afghan aid workers from U.S. troops.

“I woke up this morning and my country was gone. This is not the Afghanistan I once knew.”

– Yalda Hakim, an Afghan-born journalist for the British BBC news portal, was quoted as saying at a BBC Monitoring roundtable.

After the Taliban seized power, politicians and experts around the world are asking themselves: What will become of the rights of the Afghan people, especially the rights of girls and women? Although the Taliban had previously stated that they would not impose restrictions on women, there are now numerous reports in the press that the armed men do not let female journalists work. Sodaba Haidare of the BBC pointed out that Afghans are in an extreme situation where they have neither a government nor officials to turn to for help. Mina Al-Lami, a British expert on jihadist groups, believes this is just the beginning and that the Taliban are waiting for international recognition. However, she added that it is possible that Sharia, the Islamic legal system, will be introduced throughout the country and the smile offensive will soon end. There is also speculation among academics about what this will mean in practice, although there are signs that the future does not look bright for Afghans, especially women: according to press reports, the Taliban paint pink signs on the homes of women’s rights activists to tell them where they can return later and against whom they will retaliate.

– “At the moment, women can still go to school, they can take to the streets, but how long will they be allowed to do so? Can they be athletes, politicians or active in business? Are they allowed to wear colorful clothes and leave their faces uncovered?”

– Haidare asked the questions that most concern the women trapped in Afghanistan. Under the former Taliban rule, which ended with the arrival of U.S. troops after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, women were not allowed to study and had to wear full-body veils. Hakim added that the current Taliban leadership has guaranteed that women’s rights will be respected and that Afghanistan will not become a terrorist stronghold.

Evacuations to be accelerated

Foreign governments are making every effort to evacuate their citizens from Afghanistan as quickly as possible. A NATO official said on Friday that more than 18,000 people had been evacuated from Kabul airport in the past five days and about 6,000 Afghans, including former interpreters for foreign troops, were on standby in the capital to board planes as soon as possible. The official added that they plan to speed up rescue efforts over the weekend. In Kabul, the situation remains chaotic as the Taliban try to restrain the fleeing Afghans. The Spanish government reported that one of its military transport planes has left the capital almost empty as chaos at the airport continues to hamper operations. “An Afghan couple was forced to leave one of their daughters behind because they lost her at the airport,” Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles said on Friday. The United States had previously pledged not to leave the airport until the last Afghan to be evacuated boarded a plane.

Source: Magyar Nemzet


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