- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 19, 2021

A confidential United Nations document warns the Taliban is intensifying efforts to hunt down Afghans who worked with American and NATO forces over the past two decades, and that the militants have threatened to kill or arrest their family members if the people being sought cannot be found.

The document, produced by a Norwegian threat analysis firm, was circulated among U.N. officials Wednesday and sharply contrasts a publicity blitz by Taliban leaders. They have tried to lure the international community into believing they will give “amnesty” to Afghans who worked against the hardline Islamist group.

The document cites reports of Taliban fighters going door to door and “arresting and/or threatening to kill or arrest family members of target individuals unless they surrender themselves to the Taliban,” according to The New York Times, which was first to report on the U.N. document Thursday.

It’s a sobering analysis reflecting widespread concern in the international community that the Taliban, which sacked Kabul with almost no resistance from Washington or from U.S. and NATO-trained Afghan security forces on Aug. 26, is preparing to re-impose harsh Islamist rule over Afghanistan.

Fears that the group also will ruthlessly target anyone who worked with U.S. and NATO officials have triggered mayhem this week at Kabul’s main international airport, where U.S. military forces have returned in recent days to impose order and oversee a massive evacuation of thousands of Afghans and Americans fleeing the Taliban.

The scene outside the airport has remained chaotic throughout the week, with Taliban fighters setting up security checkpoints on the streets surrounding the airport’s entrance, while throngs of Afghans attempt to gain access to U.S. evacuation flights.

The U.N. document circulated Wednesday cited multiple reports that the Taliban had a list of people they wanted to question and punish — and their locations — and that the militant group’s search has included targeting crowds of Afghans outside the airport.

The New York Times reported that it had seen the document from the Norwegian Center for Global Analyses, a group that provides intelligence information to U.N. agencies.

Members of the Afghan military and the police, as well as people who worked for investigative units of the toppled government, were particularly at risk, The Times cited the document as saying.

The document reportedly also contains a reproduced letter dated Aug. 16 from the Taliban to an unnamed counterterrorism official in Afghanistan who had worked with U.S. and British officials and then gone into hiding before the insurgents came to the official’s apartment. 

The letter, according to The Times, instructed the official to report to the Military and Intelligence Commission of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in Kabul. If not, it warned, the official’s family members “will be treated based on Shariah law.”

• Guy Taylor can be reached at gtaylor@washingtontimes.com.

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