The Taliban have begun rounding up Afghans on a blacklist of people they believe have worked in key roles with the previous Afghan administration or with U.S.-led forces that supported it, according to a report by a Norwegian intelligence group.
The report, compiled by the RHIPTO Norwegian Center for Global Analyses and seen by Reuters, said the Taliban were hunting individuals linked to the previous administration, which fell on Sunday when the Islamist militant movement took Kabul.
“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 the report, dated Wednesday.
“Particularly at risk are individuals in central positions in military, police and investigative units.”
The non-profit RHIPTO Norwegian Center for Global Analyses, which makes independent intelligence assessments, said the Afghanistan report was shared with agencies and individuals working within the United Nations.
“This is not a report produced by the United Nations, but rather by the Norwegian Center for Global Analyses,” said a U.N. official, when asked for comment.
A Taliban spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report. 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, and you are responsible for this. You and your family members will be treated based on Sharia law,” the letter said, according to a translation given in the report.
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.
Relative of Deutsche Welle reporter was killed by Taliban, German broadcaster says
Taliban fighters hunting a journalist with Deutsche Welle have shot dead one member of his family and severely injured another, the German public broadcaster said late on Thursday.
The Islamist militant movement had promised it would allow free media and jobs for women – banned when it was last in power from 1996 to 2001 – when it gave its first news conference on Tuesday since capturing the capital Kabul.
But some Afghan journalists have complained of having been beaten and their homes raided since the Taliban seized the capital Kabul on Sunday.
Deutsche Welle (DW) said the Taliban had been doing a house-to-house search to find the journalist who was now working in Germany.
Other relatives were able to flee and are on the run now, according to the broadcaster.
“The killing of a close relative of one of our editors by the Taliban … is inconceivably tragic, and testifies to the acute danger in which all our employees and their families in Afghanistan find themselves,” DW Director General Peter Limbourg said, calling on the government in Berlin to take action.
“It is evident that the Taliban are already carrying out organized searches for journalists, both in Kabul and in the provinces. We are running out of time!”, he added, referring to desperate attempts by many Afghans to leave the country.
Deutsche Welle said the Taliban have raided the homes of at least three of its journalists.
Photo: Taliban patrol in Kandahar, Afghanistan. EPA-EFE/STRINGER