Victims of the Taliban, former Afghan judges disguise themselves and go underground. One said, ‘I still have a lot of enemies.

A Taliban fighter guards a checkpoint in the Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, August 18, 2021. Rehmat Gul / Associated Press

  • In Afghanistan, Taliban fighters are preying on judges of the previous government who sentenced them to prison.

  • The militants said they would not retaliate, but sources said they had not kept their promise.

  • Insiders spoke to former judges hiding in Afghanistan, who said they were fleeing and living in harsh conditions.

  • See more stories on the Insider Business page.


When the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in a major offensive last month, they promised a “general amnesty” for all Afghans, including those who had worked with the previous government or foreign forces.

Despite their promises, several sources told insiders that Taliban fighters were going from house to house hunting for revenge killings of former government officials.

Judges are particularly targeted because they previously played a role in detaining militants.

“I feel hopeless, helpless and lonely,” Abdul, a former judge hiding in Afghanistan, told Insider.

“I am in hiding. I change my location every 24 hours. Even my wife and children do not know where I am.

Abdul, 42, was previously a judge in the Public Security and Anti-Corruption Department in Kabul.

He told the insider that Taliban fighters went to his home in search of him and searched the homes of his family, friends and comrades.

They found his contact information through paperwork in government buildings and called and threatened him.

“Yesterday, the Taliban called me twice, and they told me we would tie your leg to the car and drive, and we would kill you,” he said.

Trial in July 2017 at the Anti-Corruption Judicial Center in Kabul, Afghanistan.

A trial is underway at the Anti-Corruption Judicial Center in Kabul, Afghanistan, in July 2017. Christine Phyllis Rohrs

After the Taliban took over the country, the world watched in horror as thousands of Afghans gathered at Kabul airport, with many killed in a desperate stampede to secure a seat on the evacuation flight.

Abdul could not secure a seat on the evacuated flight. Despite several attempts to obtain a visa from any country, the one who would take him could not escape from Afghanistan.

“I never thought I would leave my country,” Abdul said. “I have served this country, and I wanted my children to serve this country. But now, if I live here, my life and my family’s life are in danger. If they catch us. If they do, they will kill us.

But he has no hope of ever leaving. The UK government is facing legal action after it rejected the visa applications of 35 most female judges.

Afghan fighters are determined to take revenge.

Abdul said that if he felt that the Taliban were closing down, he intended to refuel and set himself on fire instead of avoiding danger.

A former member of the National Directorate of Security was beheaded in Nangarhar last week and his body was dumped in a river, Abdullah said.

According to Abdul, after finding the body, the Taliban claimed that their fighters were not responsible.

“It includes three groups, the Doha team, the Taliban in Kandahar, and the Haqqani network. The leadership does not have control over all the networks and some of them want revenge.

Since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, there have been reports of rival factions.

One branch is headed by Taliban co-founder and interim Deputy Prime Minister Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who signed the Doha Accords on the withdrawal of US troops from the Taliban.

Other Taliban leaders, including the group’s insidious leader Mullah Hebatullah Akhundzada, are based in Kandahar City, the so-called real capital of the Taliban.

Another offshore group is the semi-autonomous Haqqani Network, which has an alliance with the Taliban.

Earlier this month, Taliban leaders reportedly quarreled over who did the most to drive the United States out of the country.

I haven’t been home since the Taliban came to power

The plaintiffs are being tried in May 2015 in a primary court in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The plaintiffs are being tried in the main court of Kabul, Afghanistan in May 2015. Aaron Sabawoon / Getty Images

Another judge, Mohammad, 47, told Andaruni that he went into hiding as soon as the Taliban took over the country.

I have served as Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal in various provinces for almost 12 years. I have imprisoned thousands of them. I have many enemies at the moment.

Mohammad said Taliban fighters have also freed criminals from prisons, including drug dealers and arms smugglers whom they have previously imprisoned, who can also take revenge.

In addition to personal enmities, Taliban fighters also deal with former judges because they enforced a Western legal system, which is against Sharia law, Mohammad said.

Since taking over the country, the Taliban have said the new legal system will operate on the basis of a strict interpretation of Islamic law.

During his previous rule, it manifested itself in harsh punishments for minor violations and persecution of vulnerable groups, including women and the LGBTQ.

The group has already said it intends to bring back the death penalty and amputation, and the hanging bodies of alleged kidnappers were shown in Herat last week.

Muhammad said his life changed overnight after the Taliban took over Afghanistan.

“I am unemployed now. I have no source of income. I have not gone home since the Taliban came to power.

“The places I’m hiding are not places for humans to live. These are very bad places. We don’t have access to basic things.

Muhammad said he doesn’t go out until he changes places, which he sometimes does several times a day.

He said he is well-known in the community and easily recognizable, and that’s why he wears dirty clothes and changes shape before moving.

He said Taliban fighters searched his home and took away his cars and the weapons of his security guards.

Muhammad said his main priority now is to get his children out of the country. She said her two sons suffer from mental health problems, fear for their future, and are unsure when they will see their father again.

“I just want the international community to help us, to help our children get out of here. Because their future, everything is ruined.

* Insiders have given judges nicknames to protect their identities.

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