Taliban Ban Smartphones in Panjshir

Taliban Ban Usage of Smartphones in Panjshir

The Taliban have banned usage of any smartphone capable of shooting video or photo in Panjshir as Richard Bennet, the UN’s Special Rapporteur, traveled to the province. Bennett’s travel was reportedly aimed at investigating alleged war crimes committed by the Taliban there.

Sources told Kabul Now that the Taliban have started confiscating smartphones of the group’s forces, government employees, and those of civilians since yesterday morning, October 19. The Taliban confiscated the smartphones of three employees of the DABS – Afghanistan’s main electricity supply company – and those of five other civil servants on Wednesday, October 19, a source said.

The source added that the DABS employees and the civil servants were body-checked when they went to a bank to collect their monthly salaries.

Taliban’s governor for Panjshir, Mawlawi Mohammad Mohsen Hashimi, has also ordered the local employees and civil servants not to use mobile phones capable of photography.

Kabul Now has obtained an audio clip of the Taliban governor in which he says that the Taliban leader, Haibatullah Akhundzadah, has prohibited the usage of smartphones in Panjshir valley. Whoever is caught with a smartphone at security checkpoints will face consequences, he is heard warning the people in the audio clip.

The Taliban launched a large-scale military offensive in Panshir a month earlier to suppress members of the National Resistance Front (NRF) in the province. Days after the launch of this operation, many video footages surfaced on social media showing the Taliban fighters summarily executing the NRF captives in different parts of the valley.

These video footage which revealed the Taliban’s wide violation of human rights and war crimes were apparently shot by the Taliban themselves.

It drew strong national and international reactions.