The latest: Dissent is not welcome by the Taliban and this has been further proved after a former spokesperson of the Taliban’s interior minister Sirajuddin Haqqani issued death threats to the group’s opponents, on public social media platforms.
- Saeed Khosty went ahead on Twitter and wrote, “Kill the fugitives one by one with knives. If anyone preaches against the country, go and kill them.”
- Khosty further wrote that such opponents who spread propaganda against the group are “ruthless and scary animals”.
- He also warned those opponents of the Taliban who are staying outside Afghanistan that even they are not safe as “the group has hundreds of volunteers in Europe and America and are only waiting to be integrated and lead”.
- He even went on to question the Taliban and asked if the “intelligence of every country targets its enemies outside the country, then why couldn’t the group do it as well?”
Why it matters? These words of threats comes from someone who is themselves mired in controversy.
- Khosty has been accused of raping and forcibly marrying a student at the Kabul Medical School.
- After this girl revealed these accusations, she had been targeted by the group and kept in prison and tortured for over five months.
- Hence, the question of suppressing dissent seems sceptical as the Taliban and its officials only do so to hide their corruption, failure and extremist ideologies and erase the existence of their opponents.
Zoom out: Afghanistan has been struggling under the Taliban regime due to the hardline policies of the group on women and girls and media and even other social spheres of life. There have been many against such policies of the group including human rights activists, women, journalists and even former members of security forces. All of them have been targeted by the group despite the general amnesty announced by the Taliban when they came to power.
- Over the past 18 months, there have been credible reports by national and international organisations and rights groups that the Taliban have suppressed their critics and opponents inside Afghanistan with various brutal tactics, including imprisonment and torture.
- The Taliban have imposed severe restrictions on the media and have widely surveyed and trolled Afghan citizens on social media.