Taliban soldiers ‘shot Afghans dead when they got bored’

Taliban soldiers ‘shot Afghans dead when they got bored’


When Taliban fighters got tired of waiting for evacuations to be processed, they would kill and beat Afghan civilians, a British soldier has claimed.

The 22-year-old private, from London, was deployed to Kabul with his parachute regiment on August 17 after the Taliban took over Afghanistan and nations rushed to get their people and their allies out of the country.

The soldier, given the false name John for his own safety, told Metro.co.uk how he and his colleagues worked on ‘crowd control’ for most of their time there.

In the panic that ensued after the Taliban takeover thousands of people tried to flee the country.

Huge masses of people ended up gathering outside the airport gates, begging soldiers and officials to help them.

As per the Taliban’s agreement, militants were cooperating with British and American soldiers, helping them to filter passport and visa holders through the airport gates.

But the radical fighters ‘got frustrated with the speed everything was moving at’ and ‘would just start taking it out on the crowd’.

‘When they got frustrated, they would start beating the crowd and they were killing people, they’d be firing their rifles in the air,’ John said.

At one point people broke out into some type of chaos which the corporal compared to riots. But while British troops used shields to keep people from flooding into the airport, Taliban fighters were apparently ‘riling them up on the other side’.

John chose to speak out about what he saw in Kabul because he feels ‘everyone has forgotten’ about what happened there.

He believes this is in part because of the way the Taliban has been trying to repaint itself as more liberal than it was when the group last ruled the country – from 1996 to 2001.

Indeed, even the British Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter said last week that the Taliban could make Afghanistan ‘more inclusive’.

While there have been reports of changes in Taliban attitudes, not least to the education and working rights of girls and women, many stories have come out about the militants’ supposed return to their brutal ways.

This includes the alleged brutal beating of two Afghan journalists and the alleged beheading of a young girl who was part of Afghanistan’s female volleyball team.

‘People need to be reminded who is in power of this country,’ John said.

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On top of the Taliban’s violence, Afghans have been plunged into extreme food poverty as much of the country depends on foreign aid – which has been pulled by governments grappling with how to interact with the hardline Islamists.

A staggering one million children are at risk of starving to death, with some desperate parents resorting to selling their own kids – usually young girls to older men – to feed the rest of their families.

John insisted the Taliban’s rebranding is an ‘untrue farce’. He said: ‘I’ve never come across more evil people in my life. I’ve never looked in someone’s eyes and just seen pure evil.’

Speaking about the Afghans trying to flee the militants, John said: ‘I’ve never looked in someone else’s eyes and seen such fear.’

John, who comes from a military family, said the evacuation in Kabul changed his opinion on refugees coming into this country.

He told of how one dad put his son at the feet of British soldiers while they were using shields to control the crowd outside the airport.

The little boy started to get crushed so troops pulled him through their shields and brought his dad over too.

‘Families were just putting their children in really difficult situations because it was giving them a chance of getting free,’ John said.

British and American troops often helped people who were in danger out of the crowd, only for them to be turned away by border force as most of them did not have a British passport or some type of accepted visa.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) told Metro.co.uk: ‘We have always been clear that we must have a pragmatic dialogue with the Taliban and we have done so for some years.

‘As the prime minister has said, we will judge the Taliban by their actions, not their words, and will use every economic, political and diplomatic lever to protect our own countries from harm and to help the Afghan people.’

The UK’s evacuation effort, Operation Pitting, successfully carried 15,000 people to safety.

John said: ‘Despite what happened it’s sort of the first time in my military career where I can say I’ve actually done my job and made a difference.’

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