Taliban sends ‘agents’ to borders in search of ex-military personnel: Sources

Taliban soldiers at a gathering in Kapisa province in June 2022.

The Taliban government has sent its so-called agents to at least two main border cities with Iran to “identify” former military personnel and members of the national resistance front (NRF) who either travel to Iran or return to the country, two sources aware of the matter said.

The sources said that the Taliban has sent one person to each district of the central provinces, mostly north of Kabul, including Panjshir, Kapisa and Parwan. Those who have been sent are close and reliable members of the Taliban, the sources said.

The sources said that the individuals are equipped with a mobile phone with the internet and a wanted list of former military personnel which has been prepared by their agents in villages.

Moreover, the so-called agents have been stationed in different groups in Nimroz and Herat provinces that share a border with Iran, the sources said, adding that they have been assigned to review documents of those who travel through the border and will send their photos to their local contacts in districts if they find a person whose name is on the list.

Multiple sources meanwhile reported the arrest of many people in the central provinces with the help of this method. One of the arrests happened in Kapisa province nearly 20 days ago, a source from the province said.

“My cousin was former military personnel and fled to Iran after the fall of the previous government. He was arrested by the Taliban two days after his return to Kapisa. Taliban did not have any convincing reason for his arrest,” a source from Kapisa said.

He added: “Nearly 20 days have passed from his arrest. Anytime that the elders meet the Taliban officials in Kapisa to discuss his release, they are told that he will be freed after an investigation is completed.”

This comes as hundreds of residents of Kapisa, Parwan and Panjshir have been arrested by the group on charges of links with the national resistance front in the last 11 months under Taliban rule. There are also reports about the torture of civilians in the three provinces. The Taliban has rejected such reports, including findings by Amnesty International on the arrest of civilians in Balkhab, Baghlan and Panjshir.

This also comes amidst the Taliban’s efforts by a commission to encourage the return of officials of the previous government. In a recent case, Colonel Jannat Gul Oryakhil, former head of the police training center under the republic government, returned to Kabul last Wednesday. Other key figures who returned recently are former MP Kamal Nasir Osuli and former education minister Farooq Wardak.