“To die standing is better than to live on your knees,” were some of the few public words on a Facebook page of an Afghan soldier who the Taliban reportedly murdered. Commentary from the public posts on social media going back to 2016 shows a man who embraced the leadership of the United States and was eager to reform his home country.
“Hello, friends after 7 months of teaching. Effort and effort on Thursday, 1394.12.6, we graduated from the Western Zone Education Center of Ansarharat. My goal is to serve the people to defend the soil and the homeland’s people and to follow the law of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,” posted Sakhi Akbari in 2016, who the Taliban killed after surrendering to them as American troops suddenly pulled out of Kabul this month.
Social media posts confirmed his death:
#Afghan Army commander, Sakhi Akbari, from western #Farah province executed by the #Taliban 2 days after he surrendered & received an amnesty card from the #Taliban The Taliban policy of “All are forgiven, no revenge, come out, don’t fear us”……..
The Taliban policy of "All are forgiven, no revenge, come out, don't fear us"…….. pic.twitter.com/rVnKW1xYzr
— Indo-Pacific News – Watching the CCP-China Threat (@IndoPac_Info) August 30, 2021
Akbari had received an amnesty card.
Sakhi Akbari, a govt official from Farah was targeted & killed in Kabul today. He had received an amnesty card from Taliban and trusted who should have not been trusted. #SaveAfghanLives@hrw @UNAMAnews @amnesty pic.twitter.com/jiAhVpppQ2
— Majeed Qarar (@MajeedQarar) August 24, 2021
Growing reports of detentions and Taliban reprisals against former regime officials. Thousands of top-secret files and payroll lists were acquired amid the chaos of the sudden collapse of the Afghan government.
When Taliban troops seized control of the Afghan capital two weeks ago, the invading units made a beeline for two critical targets: the headquarters of the national security directorate and the ministry of communications.
Their aim – recounted by two Afghan officials who had been briefed separately on the raid – was to secure the files of Afghan intelligence officers and their informers and to obtain the means of tracking the telephone numbers of Afghan citizens.
The speed with which Kabul fell on August 15th, when President Ashraf Ghani fled, was potentially disastrous for hundreds of thousands of Afghans who had been working to counter the Taliban threat, from prominent officials to mid-level government workers, who have since been forced into hiding.
Few officials found the time to shred documents, and thousands of top-secret files and payroll lists fell into the hands of the enemy, the two officials said.
As American troops complete their withdrawal by their Tuesday deadline, much of the nation is cringing in fear in anticipation of coming reprisals.
So far, the Taliban’s political leadership has presented a moderate face, promising amnesty to government security forces who lay down their arms, even writing letters of guarantee that they will not be pursued, although reserving the right to prosecute serious crimes. Spokesmen for the Taliban have also talked of forming an inclusive government.
A Taliban spokesman, Suhail Shaheen, said in a Twitter post in English that there was no settling of scores, nor was there a hit list with which the Taliban were conducting door-to-door searches, as has been rumored.
“General amnesty has been granted,” he wrote, adding that “we are focusing on future.”
Yet there are growing reports of detentions, disappearances, and even executions of officials at the hands of the Taliban, in what some current and former government officials describe as a covert and sometimes deadly pursuit of the Taliban’s enemies.
It’s very much underground,” said one former legislator, who was in hiding elsewhere when the Taliban visited his home in the middle of the night.
“That is intimidation,” he said. “I feel threatened, and my family is in shock.”
The Taliban swept into towns and districts, often without a shot fired, making diplomatic assurances to their opponents and the public. But the first commanders have often been replaced by more heavy-handed enforcers who conduct raids and abductions, officials of the former government said.
The scale of the campaign is unclear since it is being conducted covertly. Nor is it clear what level of the Taliban leadership authorized detentions or executions.
The people who seized the files at the national security directorate and the ministry of communications may not have even been Taliban: The men did not speak Afghan languages, the officials said, and may have been agents of Pakistan’s military intelligence agency working in tandem with Taliban forces. Pakistan’s inter-services intelligence agency has long supported the Taliban in their violent opposition to the Kabul government.
The fear among Afghans is palpable. All but the youngest remember the Taliban’s authoritarian regime of the 1990s, with its draconian punishments, hangings, and public executions.
Many people have gone into hiding, changed their locations and telephone numbers, and broken off communications with friends and colleagues.
“People do not trust the Taliban because of what they did previously,” said an Afghan who worked as a translator for the Nato mission and was among those evacuated.
Human rights organizations, activists and former government officials have also struggled to comprehend exactly what is happening across Afghanistan’s vast and mountainous terrain, but several government officials who remain in their posts said they were receiving increasingly frantic calls from relatives and acquaintances.
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Kari is an ex-Community Organizer who writes about Voter Engagement, Cultural Marxism and Campaigns. She has been a grassroots volunteer with the GOP, on and off for 18 years. She is a Homeschool Mom in North Carolina and loves Photojournalism and Citizen Journalism. @Saorsa1776