Images show barbaric Afghanistan reality after Taliban seized control
Distressing images show the barbaric reality in Afghanistan after the Taliban seized control of the country, with women and children covered in blood and militants patrolling streets with rocket launchers — all despite the Taliban’s promise of a more peaceful regime.
Shocking scenes captured across Afghanistan Tuesday — the day the Taliban’s longtime spokesman promised peace and an “inclusive, Islamic government” — showed militant mobs instead firing high-powered weapons in the air and randomly beating passersby.
Video footage shared on social media also shows groups of people being corralled by armed groups, some carrying what appear to be rocket launchers while others patrol on rooftops.
In one image taken by the Los Angeles Times, a woman is seen apparently unconscious on the ground near Kabul Airport with blood over her head and hands, while a young boy is carried with his hair completely soaked in blood.
The child was completely limp, with his eyes rolling back in his head, the paper’s photojournalist, Marcus Yam, recalled.
Another shows a seemingly limp woman being picked up by two men outside the airport that has been the scene of desperate — and often fatal — attempts to flee the troubled nation.
They were among at least a dozen people injured Tuesday as “amped-up Taliban fighters” corralled hundreds of unarmed Afghans who were trying to reach the airport to flee the new regime, Yam wrote.
This is despite the Taliban vowing “safe passage” for everyone trying to leave the country.
In reality, the brutal enforcers indiscriminately fired automatic weapons, both into the air and at times even toward the crowd of helpless Afghans, the photojournalist said.
They also used sticks, lengths of rubber hose, knotted rope and their rifle butts to beat the crowds, including some who were simply squatting on the ground trying to avoid the militants, Yam said.
Meanwhile, video footage shot elsewhere shows Taliban soldiers trawling streets in military vehicles with machines guns attached.
One militant was also captured whipping people as they cross a street.
Elsewhere, a man with a tarred face was pictured tied to the back of a truck, similar to scenes last week of two men with blackened faces being pulled through the streets with nooses around their necks — scenes decried as medieval and barbaric.
Other reports also claim that Taliban fighters are trolling Afghan villages looking for girls as young as 15 to marry, as well as going door to door looking for Afghans who had worked with the Americans.
These distressing reports even came on the same day as the Taliban’s spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, promised that the regime would be “positively different” from the savagery it was known for before the US invasion after Sept. 11.
“If the question is based on ideology, and beliefs, there is no difference… but if we calculate it based on experience, maturity, and insight, no doubt there are many differences,” Mujahid told reporters.
He also promised an amnesty for Afghans who had helped the US, insisting, “We will not seek revenge.”
However, the disturbing scenes emerging from out of the country appear to be already contradicting many
of the promises.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan confirmed at the White House Tuesday that the Taliban had pledged “safe passage of civilians to the airport.”
“We intend to hold them to that commitment,” he insisted, despite noting multiple reports of people “being turned away or pushed back or even beaten.”
The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, said he is “most concerned by recent reports of escalating violence in the country.”
He noted allegations of “extrajudicial executions in the form of revenge killings of detainees and individuals who surrendered, persecution of women and girls, crimes against children and other crimes affecting the civilian population at large.”
As well as an increase in violence, the Taliban has also “continued to maintain its relationship with al-Qaeda, providing safe haven for the terrorist group in Afghanistan,” according to a Department of Defense report cited by Business Standard.
When the Taliban were last in power they sheltered Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida group, which carried out the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Other terror groups, including Somalia’s al-Shabaab and Palestinian groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad, have all sent congratulatory messages to the Taliban, Reuters said.
“Jihadists writ large are jubilant and electrified by the Taliban’s return,” Asfandyar Mir, a South Asia security scholar affiliated with Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation, told the wire service.
“Major jihadist constituencies across South Asia, Middle East and Africa have taken note … (and) al Qaeda’s eco-system sees the Taliban’s return as its own victory.”