Taliban arrests family members of former Bamiyan governor

The Taliban intelligence agency has arrested eight people – including four family members of Bamiyan’s former governor Tahir Zuhair, in Kutu, his village, in Dara-e-Soof district of Samangan province.

Zuhair’s relatives told Amu TV that the Taliban arrested two of his brothers, Arif and Yasin; two of his cousins and four local people, on charges of having ties to Tahir Zuhair.

A relative of Zuhair, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “It has been about 10 days since the Taliban detained Mohammad governor Tahir Zuhair’s relatives to investigate them, and there is no information about their whereabouts.”

Another of Zuhair’s relatives told Amu TV that in addition to these eight people, the Taliban arrested Mustafa Rajabi, another relative of Zuhair, in Kabul and demanded $20,000 for his release.

Sources from the Dara-e-Soof district of Samangan said that the relatives of Zuhair were arrested in connection with the investigation into Zuhair himself.

Former Bamiyan governor Tahir Zuhair

When Bamiyan’s neighboring provinces fell to the Taliban in 2021, without skirmishes, Zuhair was not able to flee his province. Instead he joined up with Mawlawi Mahdi, the only Hazara commander of the Taliban, and created a front to fight the Taliban after a rift developed between Mahdi and the group. 

Zuhair fought the Taliban alongside Mahdi in the Balkhab district of Sar-e-Pul province in 2022.

The Taliban cracked down on Mahdi however, in Balkhab several months ago. The group claimed that Mahdi was arrested and killed in western Herat province by its fighters while attempting to flee the country. Zuhair and a number of his men then settled between Sar-e-Pul and Bamiyan provinces.

Amu TV tried to get Zuhair’s comments on the recent arrests but were unable to reach him, despite numerous calls. 

The Taliban intelligence directorate in Bamiyan neither denied nor confirmed the arrest of Zuhair’s family members.