The Taliban are conducting house-to-house searches of opponents and their families, according to a UN intelligence report that deepened fears on Friday that Afghanistan’s new rulers were breaking their promises of tolerance. Follow the latest Jowharcoverage of the Afghan crisis.
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8:33 am, Paris time
Taliban fighters harass Afghans by displaying national tricolor
A day after Afghanistan’s Independence Day, several videos posted on social media showed Taliban fighters harassing and beating people who defiantly displayed the red, black and green Afghan national flag.
A dozen of these videos are popping up on social media showing the Taliban harassing and beating people. They have entered government and non-government offices with firearms. When will the Taliban turn to a civilian political party we haven’t seen yet? pic.twitter.com/0VIBpDtIE0
– صابر ابراهیمی (@saberibrahimi) August 20, 2021
In Asadabad, the capital of eastern Kunar province, “hundreds of people took to the streets” for an Independence Day rally, according to witness Mohammed Salim.
“At first I was scared and didn’t want to go, but when I saw one of my neighbors join in, I took out the flag that I have at home.”
Salim also told Reuters that “several people were killed and injured” during the demonstration in Asadabad, but it was unclear whether the casualties were the result of gunfire by the Taliban or a stampede it sparked, he said.
August 19 is Afghanistan’s Independence Day, commemorating the 1919 treaty that ended British rule in the Central Asian nation. The Afghan tricolor has been replaced in most public spaces by the black and white flag of the Taliban.
7:09 am Paris time
Taliban kill relative of Afghan journalist working for German media
Taliban fighters in Afghanistan shot and killed a relative of a Deutsche Welle journalist while searching for him, the German public broadcaster said.
The militants were conducting a house-to-house search of the journalist, who now works in Germany, DW said on Thursday.
A second relative was seriously injured, but others were able to escape, he said, without giving details of the incident.
DW CEO Peter Limbourg condemned the killing, which he said showed the danger to media workers and their families in Afghanistan.
“The assassination of a close relative of one of our publishers by the Taliban yesterday is inconceivably tragic and testifies to the grave danger all of our employees and their families are in in Afghanistan,” he said.
“It is clear that the Taliban are already conducting organized searches for journalists, both in Kabul and in the provinces. Time is running out!”
The Taliban had raided the homes of at least three other DW journalists, the broadcaster said.
6:37 am Paris time
US evacuates about 3,000 from Kabul airport on Thursday
The United States said on Friday it had evacuated some 3,000 people from Kabul airport on Thursday.
“The United States evacuated approximately 3,000 people from Hamid Karzai International Airport on 16 C-17 flights,” a White House official said in a media report, adding that nearly 350 were US citizens.
“Additional evacuees include relatives of US citizens, applicants for special immigrant visas and their families, and vulnerable Afghans,” the official said, for a tally of about 9,000 evacuated by the military since Aug. 14.
6:01 am Paris time
Taliban are targeting Afghans who worked with US and NATO forces, says UN report
The Taliban have been conducting “targeted door-to-door visits” by people who worked with US and NATO forces, according to a confidential document from UN threat assessment consultants seen by various media outlets.
The report, written by the Norwegian Center for Global Analysis, said militants were also checking people on the way to Kabul airport.
“They are targeting the families of those who refuse to surrender, and they are prosecuting and punishing their families ‘in accordance with Sharia law,’” Christian Nellemann, the group’s executive director, told AFP.
“We hope that both people who previously worked with NATO / US forces and their allies, along with their families, will be exposed to torture and executions.”
The Taliban have repeatedly denied allegations that their fighters are targeting Afghan civilians and say they have issued orders prohibiting their fighters from entering private homes.