They promised they wouldn’t but they did. Sohail Pardis, a 32-year-old who had worked for 16 months as a translator for US troops, was traveling from Kabul to the nearby Khost province to pick up his sister and celebrate the Feast of Sacrifice together. The boy had received serious threats and accusations of “traitor” for his past work. So the moment he came across a makeshift Taliban-flagged checkpoint in the middle of the desert, he knew he couldn’t stop. He stepped on the accelerator.
Witnesses tell the Red Cross that those were the last moments of Pardis. The combatants opened fire on the vehicle, leaving the interpreter badly wounded. They took him out of the car, took a knife and cut his throat. That assassination has sowed unease among the hundreds of Afghans who worked for the retreating international troops. Many have received threats similar to those of Pardis and fear for their lives and those of their families.
About 18,000 former employees of the US forces have applied for a special visa to travel to the US together with their own. But not everyone can benefit from Operation Allied Shelter, announced by President Joe Biden on July 14, and whose goal is to remove thousands of former workers in danger from Afghanistan and settle in their country. People like Pardis had no option to such a route because they had lost their job after a polygraph test, done for security.
According to the CNN chain, these routine tests were carried out by a subcontractor, in order to authorize or not access to the US military installations in Afghanistan, and the reasons for the rejection were not published. Hundreds of former employees fired for the polygraph, and now without the option of a visa in the US, denounce having been treated unfairly and left at the mercy of the Taliban whose spokesmen, despite the evidence, assure that they do not plan to retaliate against those who cooperated with him. enemy’.
The news of the beheading of Sohail Pardis coincides with that of the murder of Nazar Mohammad. He was known as Khasha Zwan and he was a locally known comedian. According to his relatives, Mohammad was arrested by Taliban militants at his home in Kandahar and then riddled with gunfire. His murder is reminiscent of those previously suffered by female journalists, health workers and activists. The Taliban ignore any accusation of being behind such crimes.
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Instead, a spokesman and member of the Taliban negotiating team, Suhail Shaheen, accuses the government of blaming him for crimes committed by themselves to tarnish the image of the extremists. This is what he assures in an interview for the AP agency, in which he recognizes, however, that its own military court is rendering accounts with the commanders on the ground who ignore the orders of the leadership. It is his way of highlighting his institutional claims.
With the withdrawal of international forces 95% complete, the Taliban have continued to advance, taking over half the country’s districts. The pro-government forces, very uncoordinated and with low morale, are barely being able to successfully launch counter-offensives. The US has launched six airstrikes in recent weeks in support of the Afghans, primarily with the aim of neutralizing advanced military equipment that the Taliban have seized from the Afghan army. The Ashraf Ghani government has shown signs of wanting to entrust the defense of the territory to local warlords, which increases the chances of a fragmentation of the country in the medium term.
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US military sources believe that the Taliban strategy involves controlling both the border posts with neighboring countries, a source of dividends from tariff rates, and the roads that connect the main population centers, which would allow them to be subjected to a certain level of siege. But Western strategists continue to believe that the Afghan army has some leeway to react. On the other hand, there is the Doha negotiating table, which continues without achieving results.
The last meeting between delegates of the Taliban and the Government ended without any agreement, although with promises of wanting to continue talking to reach a peaceful understanding. “I want to make it clear that we do not believe in the monopoly of power, because no government that tried to monopolize power in Afghanistan in the past had a successful government,” Shaheen emphasizes. During the Taliban government, the country suffered rampant poverty, multiple human rights violations, and the war persisted in rural areas.
Now, the Taliban imply that they are willing to share power and even promise to offer rights to women, although the draconian rules reimposed in the areas taken these weeks suggest otherwise. Their only condition, they emphasize, is that Ghani leave power. The Taliban brand their Executive as a “puppet of the West” and do not recognize him. “They don’t want reconciliation, but surrender,” he says of this Shaheen.
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Originally published at https://zaviews.blogspot.com.