taliban: Out-of-control foot soldiers run amok, embarrass Taliban – Times of India

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ISLAMABAD: Despite announcing a general amnesty after taking control of Afghanistan, the Taliban foot soldiers have made life hell for the residents of Kabul and other cities with their acts of aggression against their political opponents and officials of the previous US-backed government.
Abdul Haq Omari, a correspondent for Afghan Tolo news, has been waiting for his turn to leave the country. Since August 15, he has not spent a night at his home in Kabul. Since taking control of the country, the Taliban have carried out a series of assassinations of political foes. A number of people, including civil and military officials of the past government, were killed and tortured.
Their top leadership had immediately announced general amnesty after they entered Kabul. But these incidents of vengeance by the Taliban foot soldiers have become a headache for the group’s top leadership, who have been trying to convince the world that they have changed. Mullah Muhamad Yaqoob, the country’s new defence minister and son of the group’s slain founder Mullah Omar, has been compelled to warn his fighters that their abuses would not be tolerated.
In an audio message, the Taliban minister said that some “miscreants and notorious former soldiers” had been allowed to join Taliban units where they had committed a range of sometimes violent abuses. “We direct you keep them out of your ranks, otherwise strict action will be taken against you,” he warned. “Under the general amnesty announced, no mujahid has the right to take revenge on anyone.”
According to Afghan journalists, majority of the Taliban fighter have not taken seriously the amnesty issue. “They just know how to fight because this is the only thing they have seen… They are not so organised and disciplined to follow a decree,” Omari, who had lived in the country during the past Taliban regime, told TOI. He said that any statement or order by Mullah Omar, who had ruled the country from Kandahar from 1996 to 2001, was taken in letter and spirit. “No one could dare go against it. The current leadership lacks the command and control over the group that its founder had. This is the reason that Mullah Yaqoob had to release a third audio message for his forces to improve their conduct,” Omari said.
Majority of the Taliban fighters stationed in Kabul are from the country’s rural Pashtun speaking areas. Many of them, according to observers, had never seen Kabul and life in other big cities before. Locals said that they act in a weird manner, like driving bumper cars in Kabul’s amusement park. Sporting long beards and wearing turbans, they enjoy taking selfies on swings, slides, merry-go-rounds, etc. In his message, Mullah Yaqoob instructed them to stop taking selfies. “You are damaging our status, which has been created with the blood of our martyrs.”





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