Geopolitics

The Torture in Taliban Prisons
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 07 Jul , 2022

The Torture Methods: From Shooting in the Palm to Needling the Penis

Sarfraz woke up in the middle of the night in February after several hours of anesthesia. He found himself in a cold, bare stone floor room. He was taken out of the prison of the Taliban intelligence department that night and tortured in a garden by the former government officials. He said that after they put the water hose in my mouth and the water entered my stomach, till he passed out. After enduring 45 days of torture, Sarfraz was released from the Taliban prison and was arrested again in late May in Mazar-e-Sharif city.

The Taliban do not follow an exact written order and law regarding the torture and treatment of prisoners. Arrested people are beaten and tortured in most cases before the charges are proven and at the arrest scene. Mansour was the owner of a contracting company that worked with foreign troops and the army of the former Afghan government. He was arrested on September 20 in Mazar-e-Sharif and spent 65 days in the Taliban’s prison in Mazar-e-Sharif city.

During this time, he was subjected to various methods of torture by the Taliban. Mansour said that torture in the prison yard is a common thing that Taliban commanders hold every morning and night. He added that many children under 18 have been arrested and imprisoned for crimes, such as stealing mobile phones and expensive objects from shops and suffering the most severe tortures in Taliban prisons.

Mansour said about the torture of one of the children, who was about 14 years old and was accused of stealing a mobile phone: “One morning in early November, the Taliban took all the prisoners out of their rooms to watch the torture of the 14-year-old child.” Two Taliban soldiers tortured the child accused of robbery with a wire cable and beat him on the head, face, hands, and feet.”  He added: “Einuddin Islamyar, the person in charge of block 3 of the prison, who first tortured and then freed the child accused of theft, was also present at the torture scene. He suddenly got angry and took his Kalashnikov weapon or AK-47 and shot in the child’s palm with a bullet. ” Mansour added: The child was running in the prison yard with a hand full of blood, screaming and asking for help, but no one dared approach him.

The Torture methods in Taliban prisons include electric shocks and hanging a person from the room’s ceiling. The rope is tied to the right leg and left hand, tying the person to a chair while beating the soles of the feet with a cable, tying the hands and feet from behind, which the Taliban call to it. “The King Bird.” They put a water hose into the prisoner’s mouths until their stomach swells from the water, and passes out. Placing a piece of fire on his leg, suffocating him with hands, immersing a person’s head in a water tanker and shooting in the palm, which the interviewees witnessed during their imprisonment.

The Death by Torture

A member of the Taliban was a resident of Kandahar province and had defrauded the Taliban officials in Balkh province. He died in October 2021 in the prison of the Taliban Intelligence Directorate under torture with electric shocks. At that time, Mansour was in the Taliban’s central jail in Mazar-e-Sharif. Said he witnessed the body of a member of the Taliban named “Haji Sahib” being transferred from the prison of the Intelligence Directorate to the central jail and handed over to his family members who came from Kandahar in Mazar-e Sharif.

After being arrested, this Taliban member was kept in the central prison of Mazar-e Sharif for three days and then transferred to the prison of the Intelligence Department. Based on the narrative of the Taliban prison guards, Mansour said “Haji Sahib” had gone to Mazar-e-Sharif with a fake order from the Taliban leader a week after the collapse of the Afghanistan government. Haji Sahib had asked Maulvi Qudratullah Hamza, the Taliban governor, to give him 150 American M4 guns and five armored Hilux vehicles to take to Kandahar.

While collecting these items, Maulvi Qudratullah Hamza contacted the Taliban officials in Kabul and found out that the order was fake. Haji Sahib, a veteran member of the Taliban group, planned to smuggle these guns and vehicles to Pakistan. According to Mansour, the Taliban prison guards said Haji Sahib was about 60 years old, and during the torture with electric shocks, his heart failed, and he died.

Rahimullah, a former police officer in Ghor province, was arrested on October 15 last year and imprisoned in the Taliban’s central prison in that province. He said the Taliban in Ghor operates as a network, and any commander who arrests a person is responsible for torture, confession, and determining the prison term. Rahimullah added: “At night, the Taliban commanders come to the prison and take the arrested people with them. Each of the Taliban commanders tortures the person they want in the special places. After being tortured, the prisoners are taken back to prison.”

Rahimullah added that the Taliban commanders find witnesses to accuse the prisoners, and most of the witnesses are members of the Taliban. The latter’s names are included in the prisoners’ files as witnesses. If one day the Taliban court decides on these people, the basis of the decision will be the testimony of the same people who are witnesses for the Taliban. This police officer of the previous Afghan government was released from the Taliban prison in exchange for payment and a guarantee of ethnic influencers. He said it is common to take videos of forced confessions from prisoners in Taliban prisons.

Nematullah Osmani, from Deh-e-Molla village in Bagrami district of Parwan province, was arrested on Saturday evening, April 9, and the Taliban left his half-lifeless body in front of his house around eight o’clock in the morning on Sunday. While Nematullah was half dead and breathing, the Taliban shot several bullets at his body and left. Moments later, the residents of the village and Nematullah’s relatives came on his lifeless body and chanted “Down with Taliban. ” In the video taken from this scene. It could be seen that Nematullah’s toenails and some teeth were pulled.

One of Nematullah’s relatives said that he was arrested on charges of being a member of the National Resistance Front and during torture to get a confession. The Taliban pulled some of his teeth and two nails from his left and right feet. Therefore, On Thursday, June 2, the people of the Taliban intelligence department left the lifeless body of a man named Abdul Munir Amini in front of his house in the village of Malsapa in Bazaarak of Panjshir province. This man was a cattle farmer and was arrested while taking food to his shepherds in the mountainous areas of Panjshir.

On the condition of anonymity, one of Abdul Munir’s relatives told Independent Farsi that he was arrested on charges of collaborating with the National Resistance Front and died during Taliban torture.

The Mental Torture Along with Physical Torment

Men and women who had the experience of being imprisoned by the Taliban talked about different ways of mental torture in addition to physical torture. Some of these women said the Taliban told them during interrogation that the Taliban court had sentenced them to stoning, execution, or amputation. One of the women said: “They told me to say your words, confess, you are going to be stoned soon.”

Another woman narrated the midnight sermons of a Taliban member and said a member of the Taliban came to the room where I was kept and talked for hours about the divine punishment and hell they said awaited us. The imprisoned men have similar experiences. Some of these people said the Taliban soldiers used to visit their cells in the mid of the night and told them that the final sentence of the Taliban court had been issued against them and this sentence was death or stoning, and they would be executed soon.

In the first months of Taliban rule, several executions were carried out in the prisons of Herat, Helmand, and some other cities of Afghanistan. This news put the prisoners under severe psychological pressure.

The Money Can Protect You in Taliban Prisons

Those like Mullah Abdul Ghafoor, the owner of Kefaiat Company, are targeted and imprisoned for extortion and levy. Many others are also arrested on various charges, including legal disputes and political and criminal charges. They can be released from prisons by paying a considerable amount of money to Taliban officials and commanders. Mullah Abdul Ghafoor was arrested on April 16 for being involved in the mysterious case of kidnapping Abdul Raouf, a child from Balkh province. He was released from prison after paying US $430,000 to the Taliban.

Mansour, the owner of a contracting company in Balkh, was released after 65 days of imprisonment by paying US $11,000. A month later, the Taliban arrested and imprisoned his father on the charge that he still kept weapons in his house. Mansour then paid another three-thousand-dollar bribe to a senior Taliban official in Balkh to release his father.

During the 65 days Mansour was in prison, he paid $10 every night to one of the correctional officers to receive the food his family sent. “Even if you have the most serious crime, money can protect you in Taliban prison,” he said. Mansour added that smoking is prohibited in Taliban prisons. However, he and a group of his friends had a better environment inside prison thanks to paying bribes. He used to buy a pack of cigarettes for $25 from the Taliban prison guards, whereas this pack is sold in the city’s shops for $5. Abdullah Tawakli, the former assistant of Karim Khalili, one of the Hazara political leaders, was arrested on April 14 in Kabul and spent 14 days in the prison of the Taliban intelligence agency; he was released from jail by paying US $6000.

Abdullah said that when he was arrested, he had $400 in cash, and then the prison guards took it from him. Abdullah Tawakli noted: “In addition to the $6,000 I paid for my release, every time my family came to see me in prison, we paid $300 to the prison guards to allow them to enter to visit me.”

Rahmat, a resident of Balkh province, was arrested in November and was in Taliban prison for about two months. He was released after giving his only personal car to the Taliban prison guard. Rahmat was arrested and imprisoned on charges of being a member of anti-Taliban popular armed groups supported by the previous Afghan government.

Most of the people who had the experience of being arrested and imprisoned in Afghanistan in the last ten months have somehow been released from Taliban prisons by paying cash, giving their cars, or agreeing to cooperate with the Taliban to trap other people. People have been released from Taliban prisons to spy for this group under pressure and threats from the Taliban. They have to visit the intelligence office of this group every one or two weeks and declare that they have not gone anywhere. If the person disobeys their commitment, the guarantors will be arrested and tortured by the Taliban.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Asadullah Jafari “Pezhman”

is a Translator, Columnist, Social and Cultural Activist, and a Former Member of the Afghan National Army. He most of the Time, Writing and Translating on Afghanistan and the Middle East issues.

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