Taliban ‘collecting’ detailed information on households

A number of Afghan residents in northern Balkh province have raised concerns over the distribution of forms by the Taliban, demanding detailed information about all families in the provincial capital Mazar-e-Sharif city.

The form contains two tables in which families have been asked to enter the total number of family members, and the number of sons and daughters along with their names, ages, ID numbers, contact numbers, marital status, education level, and current and former jobs.

In addition, the form also asks about the nature of their house – rented, owned or mortgaged – and states a photo and fingerprint of the head of household needs to be included.

Residents of Balkh province raised their concerns about the issue, stating that the Taliban have made an excuse that they were collecting personal information for security reasons.

According to them, the Taliban launched the campaign to arrange a list of young boys and girls, which, residents claim, might be used to force their sons to join the group and their daughters to forcibly marry their fighters.

Mohammad Allah, a resident of Karte Ishani of Mazar-e-Sharif, said the Taliban had distributed forms four months ago as well, in which he was asked to share the number of family members and details of his car. Now, he is worried about the latest demand, stating that he cannot give details of his daughters.

Roshan, a resident of Gozer Chaghdak and a student at Balkh University, stated that she had also filled out the form several months ago, however, the Taliban demanded more details that has sparked concerns. According to Roshan, the group is collecting information about the former Afghan government and civil activists.

Bamiyan is another province where forms have been distributed by the Taliban, asking for personal information of each person in a households and of shopkeepers.

Zainab, a resident of Bamiyan province, stated that the form was given to her father in his shopamd was told to include his details and those of his family. 

“We have not filled out the form so far, because we don’t want our identity to be revealed to this group,” she said.

Most Bamiyan residents stated that filling out the forms is mandatory and those who refuse to share their details would be penalized.

The Taliban has not yet specified the nature of this penalty.

The group, however, stated that the forms are distributed by police commands and the Taliban intelligence agency for maintaining security.

Asif Waziri, the spokesman of the Balkh police command, said: “People should not worry, this information will help us maintain better security and there will be no danger to the people, and this information is kept by the intelligence.”

A number of civil activists have raised their concerns about the Taliban move, stating the request for the ages of young boys and girls would have a negative impact on people and would fuel distrust between people and the Taliban government.

The Taliban have distributed forms in Balkh, Ghazni, Nangarhar, Herat, and Kandahar provinces, demanding general information with personal details.