Photo sent to KabulNow

Taliban Arrests Two Former Soldiers at Nimruz Border

Taliban intelligence agents have arrested two soldiers of the previous government at the Nimruz border after they were deported from Iran. This comes after a surge in violence and detentions of former soldiers and officials in recent months.

According to local sources, the soldiers, identified as Ghulam Mohammad Nazari and Asifullah Azimi, originally from northeastern Takhar province were arrested on Friday, November 17, and taken to an unknown location.

Our sources further said that these two soldiers had sought refuge in Iran after the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan and had been working in the country without legal documentation. They were recently deported from Iran and were arrested by the Taliban intelligence after they crossed the border.

The reason for their arrest remains unclear, and the Taliban has not yet commented on the matter. However, this incident is the latest in a series of targeted arrests, detentions, and killings of former soldiers, employees of the previous government, and rights activists that have taken place in Afghanistan. The situation has raised serious concerns about the safety and security of citizens across the country.

Tens of thousands of former members of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) which included the former government’s army, special forces, national police, and intelligence service fled to neighboring countries as the Taliban seized power in August 2021. By some accounts, some 30,000 soldiers fled to Iran to escape the risk of being hunted down by the Taliban.

Despite the Taliban’s declaration of amnesty for former members of ANDSF and employees of the previous government, international human rights organizations and the United Nations have documented numerous instances of retaliation, including extrajudicial killings and torture, against those who collaborated with the former government.

In a recent report, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) documented at least 800 cases of human rights abuses including extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests and detentions, and torture and ill-treatment against the former army, police, and intelligence forces between August 15, 2021, and June 2023. Of these, 218 cases involved extrajudicial killings of former security forces and ex-officials, more than 424 cases of arbitrary arrests and detentions, and the remaining were reported as instances of torture, enforced disappearances, and other abuse. The report noted that 24% of the victims were journalists or civil society members, 21% were former government members and 44% were individuals with no particular affiliation. The rest included those affiliated with arms groups and people detained in order to extract information.

Additionally, the Taliban has been detaining those who oppose the regime’s repressive policies and seek justice through peaceful demonstrations. On November 14, the Taliban arrested Parisa Azada, a women’s rights activist, and protester, from Kabul’s Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood. In recent months, the group has also arrested several other women’s rights activists, including Neda Parwani, Zholia Parsi, and Manizha Sediqi. The detention of the rights activists has been widely condemned by human rights organizations. Amnesty International has called for the immediate and unconditional release of the activists and the establishment of an independent international accountability mechanism to investigate and document crimes committed under international law.

Human rights organizations have been calling on the Taliban to respect the rights and freedoms of all citizens, including former government soldiers and rights activists. However, the Taliban has consistently denied these allegations, stating that they adhere to the orders of their leader’s “general amnesty.”