The Taliban vowed no revenge. One Afghan family tells a different story By Reuters
© Reuters. A view of ruins of destroyed ancestral dwelling of Nangarhar provincial official Ajmal Omar in Kodi Khel, Nangarhar, Afghanistan, September 23, 2021, on this picture obtained by REUTERS.
By Rupam Jain
(Reuters) – When the Taliban received again management of the jap Afghan province of Nangarhar final month, they got down to settle a rating with an outdated foe.
As they looked for outstanding native politician Ajmal Omar – who had helped drive the militants out of a Nangarhar district a yr earlier and tried to dissuade younger Afghans from becoming a member of them – Taliban members detonated explosives at his ancestral dwelling.
In addition they looted gold and automobiles, and detained and whipped a number of of his family members to try to set up his whereabouts.
The occasions had been recounted by two family members who say they had been focused within the reprisals, 10 locals officers and residents who witnessed or had been acquainted with the incidents and a former Afghan intelligence official.
Photos from the sources, which Reuters couldn’t independently confirm, present a badly broken property and relations with accidents they are saying had been from Taliban beatings.
Omar, 37, has gone into hiding. He declined to remark for this story, citing safety issues.
Quickly after the Taliban seized energy on Aug. 15, the Islamist motion sought to reassure https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/evacuation-flights-resume-kabul-airport-biden-defends-us-withdrawal-2021-08-17 the worldwide group and its former opponents by saying there can be no reprisals.
Omar’s household mentioned their expertise contradicted that dedication.
“None of us had imagined we might be focused like this,” mentioned considered one of Omar’s family members, requesting anonymity. “The Taliban mentioned they won’t punish anybody who had labored with the earlier regime however they did the precise reverse in our case.”
Taliban spokespeople didn’t reply to questions on occasions described by Omar’s household and native residents or about his efforts to assist defeat them.
A Taliban cupboard minister instructed Reuters that commanders throughout the nation had raided former authorities officers’ properties and workplaces to grab weapons and armoured autos, however he was not conscious of punishment meted out to Omar’s household.
The group’s defence minister, Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, issued a rebuke https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/afghan-taliban-defence-minister-orders-crackdown-abuses-2021-09-24 final week over the conduct of some fighters following the Taliban’s victory. He didn’t go into specifics.
“Miscreants and infamous former troopers” had joined Taliban ranks and dedicated offences starting from occupying ministries and authorities workplaces to 2 to 3 incidents of reported killings, he mentioned.
“You all are conscious of the overall amnesty introduced in Afghanistan; no mujahid has the fitting to take revenge on somebody.”
The Taliban brutally enforced their model of Islamic legislation throughout their earlier rule from 1996-2001, finishing up public stonings and amputations and banning ladies from work and women from faculty.
They’ve mentioned they might respect individuals’s rights this time round and never go after enemies, but tens of 1000’s of individuals, fearing for his or her security and future, fled the nation in a chaotic evacuation from Kabul. Many extra are in hiding.
A whole bunch of social media posts have been shared that includes grainy cell phone footage purportedly of armed males looking homes, beating individuals within the streets and bundling them into automobiles.
A number of former officers, army personnel and others near the fallen authorities have alleged retributions happened. Reuters has not been in a position to confirm their accounts; some interviewed by Reuters mentioned they had been too afraid to share their experiences publicly.
Omar’s story is among the most detailed accounts to date of Taliban revenge towards those that labored with the Western-backed authorities, and specifically who fought to eradicate the group from Afghanistan.
ON THE RUN
In response to residents, the Taliban have lengthy focused Kodi Khel, a distant village in a valley dotted with apple and lemon orchards within the mountainous east of the nation.
After they had been ousted from energy in 2001, the village and the encompassing Sherzad district had been struck by rockets because the Taliban tried to wrest again management of the strategic route into Pakistan, the residents mentioned.
Omar was a outstanding native landowner whose household had a sprawling 22-room walled villa there.
As deputy head of the provincial council, he spearheaded strategic efforts to drive the Taliban out of the district final yr. A number of militants had been wounded within the combating as had been some Afghan troopers.
Earlier than then, since his election in 2014, Omar had spent a lot of his time going from village to village making an attempt to influence younger adults to hitch U.S.-backed forces combating the insurgents, in accordance with residents.
In a province that has lengthy been a hotbed of Taliban exercise, it might be a harmful job.
Three Nangarhar council members have been killed in numerous assaults up to now 5 years.
Final yr, Omar was on his solution to a rally to have fun the Afghan military’s native victory when a convoy of automobiles he was travelling in was attacked by Taliban fighters, killing two individuals, a former council member mentioned.
On Aug. 13, when the Taliban re-took Kodi Khel in a lightning offensive throughout the nation, residents mentioned they had been ordered to remain indoors because the fighters looked for Omar.
Taliban militants discovered Omar’s residence empty aside from some home workers who had been ordered to go away.
Automobiles and different valuables had been taken, and a number of other explosives detonated, collapsing elements of the encompassing wall and turning rooms to rubble, in accordance with interviews with relations and locals who heard the blasts and noticed the aftermath.
Omar, who was in a disaster assembly of the provincial council in Nangarhar’s capital Jalalabad the place he and others had been discussing the right way to repel the Taliban’s advance, quickly discovered of the search.
He fled to the capital Kabul, then nonetheless beneath management of the earlier administration, and stays in hiding, in accordance with two of his family members.
Nangarhar province fell to the Taliban just a few days later.
On Sept. 3, armed Taliban fighters in military fatigues raided Omar’s official residence in Jalalabad, two relations who had been current mentioned.
They took his three sons, 5 nephews and a brother into custody, and confiscated gold, money, automobiles and an armoured car and a few weapons he used for defense. The family members have all since been launched.
One relative mentioned he and others had been overwhelmed with whips and thrown right into a room with no window. He shared footage of accidents exhibiting limbs closely bandaged and bruised pores and skin.
One other relative mentioned he was locked in a room for 3 days and tortured. Reuters couldn’t independently verify his account. He sees no future for himself and his household in Afghanistan beneath Taliban rule.
Omar’s spouse, youngsters, 4 brothers, 5 sisters and their households all reside in Afghanistan and are sustaining a low profile.
Omar is at present rising his hair and beard, the family members mentioned, transferring from home to accommodate to try to evade the Taliban and hoping to discover a solution to go away the nation.