AMAC Exclusive – by Ben Solis
After the departure of U.S. and allied military forces from Afghanistan, the wanton killing of the innocent has returned under Taliban rule. This assessment is based on a series of interviews conducted by phone with contacts in Afghanistan and the surrounding region as well as a review of the public reporting in the non-English press.
In one tragic instance, it was just after midnight when the forces of the Taliban set their sights on their doomed victim. The targeted house did not stand out in the village. Four plain clothed armed men slipped inside. Two others guarded the door. One stood at the back of the house. One waited in the car. Two discreetly observed the street.
They killed the man first and then shot his wife in the head. One of them then shot their teenage son through the knees to make sure he would never be able to join the armed resistance. They took the man’s corpse and abducted his five-year-old daughter.
The murdered man, called Jalal by his friends who feared revenge if they used his real name, was a former policeman in the Balkh province.
The house targeted by the Taliban is about an hour’s drive from the border with Tajikistan.
The neighboring country has become an oasis for persecuted Afghans. There, Mr. Omar Khamosh, who escaped Afghanistan before the last American aircraft left Kabul, has established an exile organization or club of sorts for artists targeted by the Taliban in the town of Vahdat, about nineteen miles from Tajikistan’s capital, Dushanbe.
“At night I would not stay at home. I would hide because my friends told me that they were looking for me,” explained Mr. Khamosh. “Then they came to our house and killed my father,” he added. One month later, with a passport and documents, he crossed the border.
Khamosh’s friends are unemployed drawers, painters, sculptures, and musicians who live in fear of the Taliban, which closed the border and has forced artists into hiding.
“In Kabul, they threatened us. Therefore, we came here,” stated Ms. Sapan Nazari. “Nobody wants to leave their home, but we are in Tajikistan now,” Ms. Nazari commented while finishing a pencil portrait of Shah Ahmad Massoud.
Ms. Nazari fled from western Kabul, where at least eight children have died of starvation according to a recent statement by Mr. Mohamad Mohaqeq, former adviser to the President of Afghanistan. “The world should be appalled, but since these children were Shiites from the Hazara community, nobody is interested,” stated Mohaqeq on his social media page. One photo showed a child’s corpse with a heavily swollen stomach, a sign of excessive hunger and malnutrition.
The Taliban has further targeted the Hazara community with beatings, torture, crop confiscation, and eviction.
In video footage shot by a former government official, a man in his eighties states that the Taliban is giving people four days to remove their belongings and leave. “Do not Shiites have a share in this land?” asks the man. The Taliban forcibly evicted hundreds of families from the southern Helmand and Kandahar provinces, the Uruzgan province in the country’s center, and the Balkh province in the north.
But the Taliban’s orders to empty houses are not limited to the Hazara minority.
The tortures, abduction, extra-judicial killings, and violation of the fundamental rights of individuals and whole communities characterize the terrorist group’s governance of the entire country.
Plain clothed agents of the Taliban police have beaten and evicted families in Golzangar, a village in the Panjshir Valley during the night, according to the former deputy governor of Panjshir, Mr. Kabir Wasiq.
In the famed valley, the battle against the Taliban has never ended. It is there, even amidst the terror of today, that Afghans keep the hope alive that they can plot a path to a better future.
In the 1980s, the Panjshir Valley was the heart of the successful resistance to the Soviet occupation. In the 1990s, the opposition movement against the Taliban started. The anti-Taliban opposition leader, Shah Ahmad Massoud, had no doubts that decentralized government is the only viable long-term solution for Afghanistan.
Today, his son, Mr. Ahmad Massoud, Jr., builds on that vision, leading the newly formed National Resistance Front (NRF). No official statistics exist, but it is estimated that at least 10,000 fighters have joined the NRF.
The NRF has a justice and a realism-based political vision for rebuilding the country. “We believe that a decentralized political and administrative system is the best way forward,” stated Massoud at an international forum on the life and legacy of his father hosted last month by the University of Cambridge. Based on this model, local Afghan communities would be able to elect local leaders and hold them accountable, Massoud emphasized. He explained that under his vision, Afghans will have an opportunity to participate in politics.
“We believe that a solution similar to the Swiss system will stabilize the country and allow peace to reign,” stated the NRF Head of Foreign Relations, Mr. Ali Maisam Nazary, in a recent interview with the prestigious French magazine Conflits.
The organization believes that Switzerland could be a successful model given how it has integrated three official and ten unofficial languages and a population made up of at least seven national groups into a vibrant and modern democracy.
A Swiss-style direct-democracy federal republic, they say, would allow full and meaningful participation in political and social life for the Hazaras, Tajiks, Uzbeks, Pashto, Turkmens, and the various other ethnic groups in Afghanistan, like the Balochs, or Brahuis.
With its contempt of history and tradition, the Soviet Union devalued but did not destroy the culture and spirituality of Afghanistan.
The NRF fights to restore local self-government with a respect for the dignity of human life. During the winter, the NRF fighters will reinforce and reorganize.
Asked when the battle for the country’s future will end, one NRF military commander replied that “our war for the liberation of Afghanistan is not over, but it is only the beginning.”
Ben Solis is the pen name of an international affairs journalist, historian and researcher.
We hope you've enjoyed this article. While you're here, we have a small favor to ask...
As we prepare for what promises to be a pivotal year for America, we're asking you to consider a gift to help fund our journalism and advocacy.
The need for fact-based reporting that offers real solutions and stops the spread of misinformation has never been greater. Now more than ever, journalism and our first amendment rights are under fire. That's why AMAC is passionately working to increase the number of real news articles we deliver WEEKLY, while continuing to strengthen our presence on Capitol Hill.
AMAC Action, a 501 (C)(4), advocates to protect American values, free speech, the exercise of religion, equality of opportunity, sanctity of life, the rule of law, and love of family.
Thank you for putting your faith in AMAC!Donate Now