Reports Taliban executed nine men raises fears of return to repressive rule

20 August 2021, 16:00 | Updated: 20 August 2021, 16:07

The Taliban have taken over Afghanistan
The Taliban have taken over Afghanistan. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Fears the Taliban will return to repression that characterised their previous rule of Afghanistan have been fuelled by reports of targeted killings.

Amnesty International said that despite the group's claims that it has changed, the regime's fighters killed nine Hazara men in Mundarakht between July 4 and 6.

Six were shot and three tortured to death, the report said. The Hazara are Shiite Muslims who were previously persecuted by the Taliban.

Amnesty's head, Agnes Callamard, said the killings were a "reminder of the Taliban’s past record, and a horrifying indicator of what Taliban rule may bring".

Many more killings may have gone unreported because mobile phone services have been cut in the areas they have seized, preventing images getting published.

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Reporters without Borders expressed alarm at the news that Taliban fighters killed the family member of an Afghan journalist working for German broadcaster Deutsche Welle on Wednesday.

Deutsche Welle said fighters were going house to house looking for their reporter, who had moved to Germany, and raided the homes of at least three of its journalists.

"Sadly, this confirms our worst fears," said Katja Gloger of the press freedom group's German section.

"The brutal action of the Taliban show that the lives of independent media workers in Afghanistan are in acute danger."

A Norway-based private intelligence group, which provides information to the UN, said it had evidence the Taliban has rounded up Afghans on a blacklist.

RHIPTO Norwegian Centre for Global Analyses said the list contains the names of people the Taliban believes worked in key roles by the last Afghan government or US-led forces.

Kabul airport is heaving with people trying to flee the Taliban's rule. Previously, they would largely keep women in their homes, TV and music were banned and public executions were a regular feature.

But amid reports planes are leaving empty, there are worries the situation on the ground is out of control, despite the presence of thousands of foreign troops – mostly American.

The Taliban's leaders are meeting with officials from past Afghan administrations. The group has agreed to "do nothing" until the planned US withdrawal on August 31.