After the swift takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban amid a US and NATO troop withdrawal, the government in Kabul collapsed, with president Ashraf Ghani fleeing the country.
Western countries have rushed to evacuate citizens and diplomatic staff, with questions lingering over the fate of Afghans who aided foreign forces over the last two decades.
There are growing accounts of the Taliban searching for people they believe worked or fought alongside US and NATO forces, which are currently wrapping up their withdrawal from Afghanistan, reports The New York Times.
Thousands of members of the Afghan security force that the United States and its allies spent billions of dollars to arm and train to withstand a Taliban onslaught for two decades have rushed to other countries, such as Iran or Uzbekistan, over the past few weeks as the Taliban rapidly swept across the country.
While some Afghan forces surrendered, those who opted to put up a resistance are now hunted by the Islamist group, which has taken control of the country.
The militants are reportedly going from door to door, threatening family members with arrest if they cannot find the people they seek, according to former Afghan officials cited in a confidential report prepared for the United Nations.
Taliban militants have purportedly drawn up lists of individuals after studying records at the ministry of defense and interior and the headquarters of Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security.
Once they took control of Kabul, the Taliban visited the houses of senior intelligence officials and arresting and/or threatening to kill or arrest family members of target individuals unless they surrender themselves to the Taliban.
As the Taliban’s main targets are believed to be members of the Afghan military and the police, according to the report, Pentagon officials were cited as saying they would be evacuated if they were able to reach the airport.
Unlike former Afghan interpreters, members of the Afghan security forces are not included in special visa programs established by the US government.
As the US forces rush to evacuate American citizens and Afghan allies from Kabul’s airport, Taliban checkpoints are said to be preventing many people from reaching the airport.
Sputnik / ABC Flash-Point News 2021.