The Taliban are conducting ‘targeted door-to-door visits’ to find people who worked with US and NATO forces, according to an intelligence report prepared for the UN, and have killed the relative of a Deutsche Welle journalist while searching for him, the German public broadcaster said Thursday. The reports deepened fears that Afghanistan’s new rulers would renege on their pledges of tolerance. Follow FRANCE 24’s latest coverage of the Afghan crisis.
- Germany says it has flown more than 1,600 people out of Kabul this week
The German military has carried out 11 evacuation flights since the Taliban takeover of Kabul on Sunday, with more flights planned in the days to come, Germany’s defence ministry said Friday.
The German government has pledged to help evacuate all its citizens and local Afghan staff who worked for the German military, aid groups or news organisations.
Senior German officials have also said efforts will be made to help Afghans who are particularly vulnerable to likely Taliban reprisals, such as human rights defenders.
But Germany’s commanding officer in Kabul, General Jens Arlt, said the evacuation has been hampered by the large number of people outside Hamid Karzai International Airport hoping to get onto flights out of Afghanistan.
- ‘One in three’ Afghans face food insecurity, says World Food Programme
One in three people are food insecure in Afghanistan due to the combined effects of war and the consequences of global warming, said Mary-Ellen McGroarty, Afghanistan representative for the World Food Programme (WFP).
A severe drought, along with the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, had already put Afghanistan in a precarious state before the country’s fall to Taliban control.
“The country is facing a second severe drought in three years. People have barely recovered from the 2017/2018 drought,” McGroarty said in a phone interview with AFP from Kabul.
“There was a 40-percent reduction in the wheat crop, the result of one of the driest winters in 30 years. We have had very little snow in Kabul this year,” resulting in very little water input at melt time, she added, which had a “devastating impact on livestock”.
The situation has been aggravated by the recent conflict that has ravaged the country, with the fighting displacing rural communities. Farmers have been unable to harvest crops and orchards have been destroyed in the fighting, said McGroarty.
The destruction of infrastructure such as bridges, roads and dams have also compromised access to food, she added.
- Taliban fighters harass Afghans displaying national tricolour
A day after Afghan Independence Day, several videos posted on social media showed Taliban fighters harassing and beating people defiantly displaying the red, black and green Afghan national flag.
A dozen of these videos are surfacing on social media showing the Taliban harassing and beating people. They have entered gov & non-gov offices with guns. When will the Taliban turn to a civilian political party we are yet to see? pic.twitter.com/0VIBpDtIE0
— صابر ابراهیمی (@saberibrahimi) August 20, 2021
In the Asadabad, the capital of the eastern province of Kunar, “hundreds of people came out on the streets” for an Independence Day rally, according to witness Mohammed Salim.
“At first I was scared and didn’t want to go but when I saw one of my neighbours joined in, I took out the flag I have at home.”
Salim also told Reuters that “several people were killed and injured” during the rally in Asadabad, but it was not clear if the casualties resulted from Taliban firing or from a stampede that it triggered, he said.
August 19 is Afghan Independence Day, commemorating the 1919 treaty that ended British rule in the central Asian nation. The Afghan tricolour has been replaced in most public spaces by the Taliban’s black-on-white flag.
- Taliban kill relative of Afghan journalist working for German media
Taliban fighters in Afghanistan have shot and killed a relative of a Deutsche Welle journalist while hunting for him, the German public broadcaster said.
The militants were conducting a house-to-house search for the journalist, who now works in Germany, DW said Thursday.
A second relative was seriously wounded but others were able to escape, it said, without giving details of the incident.
DW director general Peter Limbourg condemned the killing, which he said showed the danger to media workers and their families in Afghanistan.
“The killing of a close relative of one of our editors by the Taliban yesterday is inconceivably tragic, and testifies to the acute danger in which all our employees and their families in Afghanistan find themselves,” he said.
“It is evident that the Taliban are already carrying out organised searches for journalists, both in Kabul and in the provinces. We are running out of time!”
The Taliban had raided the homes of at least three other DW journalists, the broadcaster said.
- US evacuates about 3,000 from Kabul airport Thursday
The US on Friday said it had evacuated about 3,000 people from the Kabul airport on Thursday.
“The United States evacuated approximately 3,000 people from Hamid Karzai International Airport on 16 C-17 flights,” said a White House official in a media pool report, adding that nearly 350 were US citizens.
“Additional evacuees include family members of US citizens, Special Immigrant Visa applicants and their families, and vulnerable Afghans,” the official said, for a tally of about 9,000 evacuated by the military since August 14.
- Taliban are targeting Afghans who worked with US and NATO forces, UN report says
The Taliban have been conducting “targeted door-to-door visits” of people who worked with US and NATO forces, according to a confidential document by the UN’s threat assessment consultants seen by several media organisations.
The report, written by the Norwegian Center for Global Analyses, said militants were also screening people on the way to Kabul airport.
“They are targeting the families of those who refuse to give themselves up, and prosecuting and punishing their families ‘according to Sharia law’,” Christian Nellemann, the group’s executive director, told AFP.
“We expect both individuals previously working with NATO/US forces and their allies, alongside with their family members to be exposed to torture and executions.”
The Taliban have repeatedly denied accusations that their fighters are targeting Afghan civilians and say they have issued orders barring their fighters from entering private homes.