Ex-ANDSF members face ‘uncertainty’ in Pakistan

Former ANDSF members. Photo: Former ministry of defense.

Dozens of members of the former Afghanistan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), including female members of the former Afghan army, face an uncertain future in Pakistan where they wait to move on to a third country.

Many have now been there for over a year and face many hardships.

Tens of thousands of Afghans at risk, including ex-ANDSF members, fled to Pakistan and other countries over the past year in fear of being targeted by the Taliban.

Afghanistan had at least 350,000 security force members in its ranks in early 2021, including army, police and intelligence service members. A large number of them have sought refuge in the US and Europe.

Latifa Shujaee, a senior police officer under the republic government, said that “some” of her colleagues were “killed by the Taliban” over the past year, which left her with no option but to at least flee to Pakistan for now.

When they entered Kabul on Aug. 15, 2021, the Taliban leader announced a general amnesty for all, including ANDSF members, but there have been many reports about the killing of ex-ANDSF members as an act of retaliation. Many of these killings have reportedly happened in Kandahar in the south and Panjshir, Kapisa and Parwan in central Afghanistan.

“When the head of the Interior Ministry’s officers were killed by the Taliban, I also felt at risk because the Taliban was searching for me,” she said. “I had to come to Pakistan. We are in a miserable situation here.”

She claimed that they live in a tent with other female members of the ANDSF and their families who are searched and investigated by Pakistani forces “every night.”

Lieutenant Colonel Mohammad Sarwar, who is from Panjshir, said he served in the army for two decades, but had to leave over the fear of being killed by the Taliban.

“The Taliban raided my house. They tried to arrest and kill me; therefore, I had to come to Pakistan but we are facing an uncertain future here,” he said.

“They (Taliban) were searching for me and my colleagues on the third day of the fall of Kabul,” another ANDSF member, Major Huma, said. “I had to leave… but I am not aware of my colleagues’ fate.”

Taliban is accused of extrajudicial killings and arbitrary arrests of hundreds of former ANDSF members after it took power in the country, but the group has rejected UN findings on the matter as baseless.