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Taliban shut escape routes to stop fleeing Afghans

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Zakariullah, sitting on a dirt road in the trading town of Spin Boldak only a few hundred metres from Pakistan, says he has been turned back more than half a dozen times, sometimes violently.

“They say only people from the area with papers,” Zakariullah, a 25-year-old farmer and father of three, told AFP on the weekend.

“We want to cross the border to work there because there are no jobs here.”

The new Taliban rulers insist Afghans need to stay and rebuild their conflict-ravaged country. “They tell people ‘It’s your country. You should not leave’,” said 25-year-old Rahmadin Wardak, who was also trying to flee.On the other side, their Pakistani counterparts in Chaman were also stopping those attempting to cross.

“Every day, 8,000 to 9,000 people try to cross the border without having the necessary papers, and are turned back,” one Taliban border guard, Mullah Maulvi Haqyar said.

Maulvi Noor Mohammad Saeed, a Taliban official in Kandahar Province, confirmed the authorities were asking “people and families to not leave the country”.

“Doing that, you lose respect for your Afghan culture,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Taliban on Thursday ordered their fighters to leave private homes they had taken over during last month’s blitz when the group seized control of Afghanistan, an apparent effort to impose order among Taliban ranks.The order by Taliban Prime Minister Hasan Akhund followed recent public statements by Taliban officials hinting at plans to improve organization and marshal fighters. It said Taliban members belonging to the militant group’s defense, interior and intelligence agencies who are living in private homes need to “report back to military bases” across the country.In recent weeks, the Taliban abandoned their traditional, civilian dress and donned military fatigues to project an air of authority. Bilal Karimi, a Taliban security official confirmed.

Meanwhile, In Kabul on Thursday, the Taliban fired shots to disperse a small rally of six women outside a local school, demanding equal rights to education. They confiscated posters held by the women that read: “Do not burn our books!”


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