War-raised Taliban bring a heavy hand to the security role


Kabul, Afghanistan (AP) — On the way home from the wedding at night, everyone in the car became quiet as we approached the Kabul checkpoint with two Taliban with automatic rifles.

One of the fighters shed light on the car. Fatima Abdullah was in her backseat, her two children sitting on her lap, sandwiched between her sister Zaynab and her co-workers. The fighters swung them around.

After a few seconds, two shots rang. Zaynab bumped into her sister. Abdullah shouted and begged her to wake up. The 25-year-old Zaynab was dead.

“I picked up her face, but she didn’t move. Then I saw blood flowing behind her, and she was shot,” Abdullah said. I told the Associated Press.

Taliban officials said the January 13 shooting was confusing and one guard was unaware that the other guard allowed the car to depart. Both guards were arrested, and the Taliban administration apologized for the killings, went to Zinab’s parents’ home, promised them justice, and gave them 600,000 afghanis ($ 5,825).

But Zaynab’s death highlights one dilemma that new Afghan rulers face as they move from rebellion to rule. The Taliban seeks to maintain discipline against thousands of young fighters who are bringing a brute force method of war to their new role as a security force. These young men only know about war, most are school-educated, and can’t read or write. Their only skill is to fight. Their weapons are as familiar to them as their cell phones.

In the urbanized capital of Kabul, many are afraid of them. Five months after taking his power, the Taliban are crammed behind a pickup truck and you can see his weapons sticking out into the sky and roaming the streets of Kabul. The numbers are less than when they first occupied the city, but they are still very noticeable.

Demobilizing fighters is difficult because there are few options. “Too many fighters lack the education and training to participate in civilian life, and even fighters with skills due to the economic crisis cannot find a job,” said the United States-based. Michael Kugelman, Deputy Director of the Asian Program, said Wilson Center.

At a family home in a Shiite-dominated minority, West Kabul, Zaynab’s mother, Mariam, says she cried most days and noticed that she was staring at the door hoping that Zaynab would return. ..

Zainab was supposed to get married in two months. While the Taliban restricted women’s employment, she continued to work as an auditor for a local charity, where her sister Fatima also worked.

“She is my last child and adorable. They may have killed me, not my Zaynab,” Mariam said, keeping warm with a coal burner in the cold winter of Kabul. “If I were in the car and they fired, she would have covered her so that her bullets would hit me.” Zainab’s father, Nadir Ali, was sitting nearby, wrapped in a woolen blanket. rice field. His legs were weak. Mariam said he couldn’t work anymore and Zaynab provided the only income.

Their leadership deals with dissent, so it’s not just the individual Taliban fighters with heavy hands. The Taliban used pepper spray or aerial firing to disperse female protesters. They beat and arrested journalists. Especially scary in the last few weeks has been a night raid by intelligence officials to arrest protesters’ homes.

Obaidullah Baheer, a social activist and lecturer at the University of Afghanistan in the United States, expressed concern that the Taliban may have adopted the tactics of past Afghan intelligence agencies.

The agency has a history of atrocities dating back to the Communist Party-supporting governments of the 1980s, when hundreds were rounded up and killed, many dumped in mass graves. After the expulsion of the Taliban in 2001, intelligence agencies know that they have detained thousands of alleged Taliban Afghans as a US-backed National Directorate of Security. Hundreds of people disappeared at the so-called black sites where torture took place, according to rights groups.

The Taliban has formed its own General Directorate of Intelligence.

“We often expect victims to sympathize with pain first and prevent it when they are in power, but in many cases they will push it one more notch.” Said Baheer. “The Taliban must be aware that this deep state action will further alienate the population in the long run.”

Skeptical world leaders have watched how the Taliban transition to governance in the face of a collapsing economy and widespread hunger in Afghanistan. So far, the Taliban have done this firmly on their own terms — trying to adapt to the reality that prevents them from controlling, as in the past, but giving others a role of governance. Also refuses.

There are signs that the interim Taliban Cabinet is trying to inject some order into their class.

Many fighters now wear former Afghan defense and security forces camouflage uniforms. The Taliban’s so-called Purification Commission Chairman, Ratfra Hakimi, is tasked with investigating combatant complaints, with thousands of former Taliban committing crimes ranging from corruption to intimidation against the Associated Press. He said he was imprisoned or fired.

The leadership has sought to limit the most severe penalties, such as the public execution of murderers and the amputation of thieves, which were notorious when the Taliban first ruled the country more than 20 years ago.

During the first months of this power, low-level commanders often immediately punished publicly humiliating thieves and other criminal charges. More suspects are now being brought to court where judges make decisions. Judges are Taliban-approved religiously trained persons and have little transparency, but their rulings have some restraint on the vigilance of individual fighters.

The Taliban have not been very successful in persuading former military personnel to return to the army. Few have listened to this call for fear of acknowledging his previous military position in the revenge killing of a former officer.

The Taliban leaders have publicly banned revenge attacks, with a few exceptions: “surprisingly, by the historical standards of most civil wars, not just in Afghanistan, to curb them. It has been relatively successful, “said senior researcher Anatol Lieven. At the Quincy Institute of Responsible State Craft.

“I expected far more revenge killings,” said Leven, who has chased Afghanistan throughout the 40-year war.

For many Afghans, the Taliban remains a terrifying sight in the city. Social media is burning with Taliban overkill videos and photos, threatening people and detaining people from home.

But some have become doctors, as in the video saying that Taliban fighters are enforcing new rules that require all young men to cut their hair and shorten their hair. increase. The original video seen by AP was a Taliban fighter catching a thief in the act, cutting his hair and humiliating him in public to punish him. The Taliban, many of which have shoulder-length hair, have not launched a hair-cutting campaign.

While the world was monitoring the Taliban’s domination arrangements, Leven warned that the West might not have an answer given the records in Afghanistan.

“After the last 20 years of experience in building a west-led state in Afghanistan, is the West in a position to say what is the right direction for Afghanistan?” Leven said.

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