Taliban Searches Houses in Badakhshan, Arresting 12 Following Protests

VANCOUVER, CANADA – Local sources in Badakhshan report that following recent protests in the province, the Taliban have launched a house-to-house search operation to identify the protesters. So far, at least 12 people have been arrested.

According to sources, Taliban intelligence forces began the search in the village early this morning, May 16, and are searching for protesters based on a list they have. Sources say that the search operation is carried out by the group’s intelligence unit and the 219 Omar the Third Division in Badakhshan.

Based on local sources, several young people have left Barlas village out of fear of being arrested by the Taliban.

Residents of Barlas village in Argo district protested against the Taliban earlier this week after three people were killed and five others injured by Taliban gunfire in efforts to destroy the poppy fields.      

In a video recording of the protest by the villagers, obtained by KabulNow,  the Taliban can be seen firing at the protesters.

On the evening of May 14, local sources told KabulNow that Taliban forces had entered Barlas village by helicopter and taken 50 residents to Faizabad, the capital city of Badakhshan.

The 219th Taliban Division in Badakhshan also confirmed the arrest of some residents but did not mention the number of those arrested. In a statement, the authorities said that some residents of Barlas, incited by “opportunists,” protested and intended to prevent the destruction of poppy fields. Mahbubullah Hamed, the division’s chief of personnel, said that “several” of these individuals have been arrested and that the destruction of poppy fields in Argo district continues.

There is still no information available about the fate of those detained by the regime.           

In efforts to contain the protests and quell the unrest, the Taliban had shut down telecommunication networks in the province.

Last week, during the destruction of poppy fields in  Argo and Darayem districts, Taliban forces clashed with local residents and fired at them. Local sources had told KabulNow that one person was killed in Darayem and one person was killed in Argo with five others injured. Following the protests, the Taliban sent a delegation led by Fasihuddin Fitrat, their army’s chief of personnel, to Badakhshan and announced that an agreement had been reached with the protesters to resolve the issue.