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Friday, July 19, 2024

The mental torture along with physical torment in the Taliban jails

Sarfraz woke up in the middle of the night in February after several hours of anesthesia. He found himself in a cold, stoned room and noticed his cock was painful and swollen. He was taken out of the prison of the Taliban intelligence department that night and tortured in a garden left by the former government officials. He is now the headquarters of the Taliban military forces. He said that after they put the water hose in my mouth and the water entered my stomach, I passed out. The next day, when Sarfraz was allowed to go to the toilet, he told another prisoner about pain in his penis, and when he found out that the Taliban had inserted a needle into his penis while he was unconscious.

Sarfraz said: “I don’t know why they did this to me, but some prisoners said the Taliban do this so that no one can feign anesthesia and escape from the torture.” Sarfraz said I also discovered that similar action was taken on many other prisoners in the following days. After enduring 45 days of torture, Sarfraz was released from the Taliban prison and arrested again in late May in Mazar-e-Sharif city.

The Taliban do not follow an exact written order and law regarding the torture and treatment of prisoners. Arrested people are beaten and tortured in most cases before the charges are proven and at the arrest scene. Mansour was the owner of a contracting company that worked with foreign troops and the army of the former Afghan government. He was arrested on September 20 in Mazar-e-Sharif and spent 65 days in the Taliban’s prison in Mazar-e-Sharif city. During this time, he witnessed various methods of torture by the Taliban. Mansour said the holding of torture shown in the prison yard is a common thing that Taliban commanders hold every morning and night. He added that many children under 18 have been arrested and imprisoned for crimes, such as stealing mobile phones and expensive objects from shops and suffering the most severe tortures in Taliban prisons.

Mansour said about the torture of one of the children, who was about 14 years old and was accused of stealing a mobile phone: “One morning in early November, the Taliban took all the prisoners out of their rooms to watch the torture of the 14-year-old child. “Two Taliban soldiers tortured the child accused of robbery with a wire cable and beat him on the head, face, hands, and feet.” He added: “Einuddin Islamyar, the person in charge of block 3 of the prison, who first tortured and then freed the child accused of theft, was also present at the torture scene. He suddenly got angry and took his Kalashnikov weapon or AK-47 and shot in the child’s palm with a bullet.” Mansour added: The child was running in the prison yard with a hand full of blood, screaming and asking for help, but no one dared approach him.

The Torture methods in Taliban prisons include electric shocks and hanging a person from the room’s ceiling. The rope tied to the right leg and left hand, tying the person to a chair while beating the soles of the feet with a cable, tying the hands and feet from behind, which the Taliban call to it “The King Bird.” They put a water hose into the prisoner’s mouths until their stomach swells from the water, and passes out. Placing a piece of fire on his leg, suffocating him with hands, pricking his penis, and hanging a stone or a heavy object from the Penile is immersing a person’s head in a water tanker and shooting in the palm, which the interviewees witnessed during their imprisonment.

The death by torture

A member of the Taliban was a resident of Kandahar province and had defrauded the Taliban officials in Balkh province. He died in October 2021 in the prison of the Taliban Intelligence Directorate under torture with electric shocks. At that time, Mansour was in the Taliban’s central jail in Mazar-e-Sharif. He said he witnessed the body of a member of the Taliban named “Haji Sahib” being transferred from the prison of the Intelligence Directorate to the central jail and handed over to his family members who came from Kandahar in Mazar-e Sharif. After being arrested, this Taliban member was kept in the central prison of Mazar-e Sharif for three days and then transferred to the prison of the Intelligence Department.

Based on the narrative of the Taliban prison guards, Mansour said “Haji Sahib” had gone to Mazar-e-Sharif with a fake order from the Taliban leader a week after the collapse of the Afghanistan government. Haji Sahib had asked Maulvi Qudratullah Hamza, the Taliban governor, to give him 150 American M4 guns and five armored Hilux vehicles to take to Kandahar. While collecting these items, Maulvi Qudratullah Hamza contacted the Taliban officials in Kabul and found out that the order was fake. Haji Sahib, a veteran member of the Taliban group, planned to smuggle these guns and vehicles to Pakistan. According to Mansour, the Taliban prison guards said Haji Sahib was about 60 years old, and during the torture with electric shocks, his heart failed, and he died.

Rahimullah, a former police officer in Ghor province, was arrested on October 15 last year and imprisoned in the Taliban’s central prison in that province. He said the Taliban in Ghor operates as a network, and any commander who arrests a person is responsible for torture, confession, and determining the prison term. Rahimullah added: “At night, the Taliban commanders come to the prison and take the arrested people with them. Each of the Taliban commanders tortures the person they want in the special places.

After being tortured, the prisoners are taken back to prison.” Rahimullah added that the Taliban commanders find witnesses to accuse the prisoners, and most of the witnesses are members of the Taliban. The latter’s names are included in the prisoners’ files as witnesses. If one day, the Taliban court decides on these people, the basis of the decision will be the testimony of the same people who are witnesses for the Taliban. This police officer of the previous Afghan government was released from the Taliban prison in exchange for payment and a guarantee of ethnic influencers. He said it is common to take videos of forced confessions from prisoners in Taliban prisons.

On November 10, a girl named Arzoo Kohistani said in a video that Maulavi Nasir Ahmad Ahmadi, the commander of the 11th security district of the Taliban in Kabul, attacked her, intending to assault her sexually. A day after this video’s release, Arzoo and her friend Wasimah Kohistani was arrested. On November 13, the Taliban released a video of the forced confession of two young girls and a young boy. In a statement, they said Arzoo Kohistani, due to a conspiracy, started propaganda against the Taliban and now regrets what she did.

The first video, which aired Arzoo Kohistan’s words, discussed the rape of a Taliban commander, she was wearing a black mask, and only his eyes could be seen. But in the confessional video, she had no veil or mask, and there were no signs of beating in her body. Several knowledgeable sources told Independent Farsi that the young girl who introduced herself as Arzoo in the confession video is Arzoo’s sister. The man sitting next to her, as her husband, is a citizen of Kabul not related to Arzoo.

A well-informed source who was closely familiar with Arzoo Kohistani and witnessed her imprisonment told Independent Farsi on the condition that her name not be disclosed. Arzoo Kohistani died under Taliban torture on the morning of November 12, and the girl whose name appeared as Arzoo in the forced confession video is Arzoo’s sister. The girl in this video says her friend encouraged her to accuse a commander of the Taliban and broadcast it in the media to “Discredit the Islamic Emirate.” She adds that she thought it would help her escape Afghanistan. An informed source said Arzoo Kohistani was in a room in the Ministry of Interior of the Taliban building after her arrest and being tortured by the Taliban. The Taliban tortured her in different ways and put her head in a tanker full of cold water, and she passed out after several repetitions of this torture.

The informed source also added that Mrs. Arzoo’s family was threatened because the Taliban had photographed Arzoo naked while standing next to a young boy [Taliban member]. This staging has been done for the eternal silence of the family and friends of Arzoo Kohistani. This well-informed source added that the Taliban told Arzoo Kohistan’s family that what happened to their daughter and themselves was “Divine Punishment” because they had become corrupt under the shadow of the republican government. Now the time has come to implement Sharia law and reform the society of Afghanistan.

According to a knowledgeable source, Arzoo Kohistani died in Taliban prison due to bleeding and the severity of her injuries during torture. However, there is no address or contact number of Mrs. Arzoo’s family, who lived in Qala-e- Najarha area in the Khairkhaneh region of Kabul city. The Independent Farsi reporters contacted relatives of Abdul Qadir, Arzoo Kohistan’s father, but they could not find his address. Some relatives of Arzoo Kohistan’s family said they fled to Iran after the incident happened to their daughter. A security official of the former Afghan government in the 11th security area of ​​Kabul, who knows Arzoo Kohistani and her family closely, said with anonymity that Arzoo Kohistani is alive. However, he does not know where she lives.

Nematullah Osmani, from Deh-e Molla village in the Bagrami district of Parwan province, was arrested on Saturday evening, April 9, and the Taliban left his half-lifeless body in front of his house around eight o’clock in the morning on Sunday. While Nematullah was half dead and breathing, the Taliban shot several bullets at his body and left. Moments later, the residents of the village and Nematullah’s relatives came to his lifeless body and chanted, “Down with the Taliban.” In the video taken from this scene, it could be seen that Nematullah’s toenails and some teeth were pulled. One of Nematullah’s relatives said that he was arrested on charges of being a member of the National Resistance Front and during torture to get a confession.

The Taliban pulled some of his teeth and two nails from his left and right feet. Therefore, On Thursday, June 2, the people of the Taliban intelligence department left the lifeless body of a man named Abdul Munir Amini in front of his house in the village of Malsapa in Bazaarak of Panjshir province. This man was a cattle farmer and was arrested while taking food to his shepherds in the mountainous areas of Panjshir. On the condition of anonymity, one of Abdul Munir’s relatives told Independent Farsi that he was arrested on charges of collaborating with the National Resistance Front and died during Taliban torture.

The mental torture along with physical torment in the Taliban jails

Men and women who had the experience of being imprisoned by the Taliban talked about different ways of mental torture in addition to physical torture. Some of these women said the Taliban told them during interrogation that the Taliban court had sentenced them to stone, execution, or amputation. One of the women said: “They told me to say your words, confess, you are going to be stoned soon.” Another woman narrated the midnight sermons of a Taliban member and said a member of the Taliban came to the room where I was kept and talked for hours about the divine punishment and hell they said awaited us.

The imprisoned men have similar experiences. Some of these people said the Taliban soldiers used to visit their cells in the mid of the night and told them that the final sentence of the Taliban court had been issued against them, and this sentence was death or stoning, and they would be executed soon. In the first months of Taliban rule, several executions were carried out in the prisons of Herat, Helmand, and some other cities in Afghanistan. This news put the prisoners under severe psychological pressure.

The money can protect you in Taliban prisons

Those like Mullah Abdul Ghafoor, the owner of Kefaiat Company, are targeted and imprisoned for extortion and levy. Many others are also arrested on various charges, including legal disputes and political and criminal charges. They can be released from prisons by paying a considerable amount of money to Taliban officials and commanders. Mullah Abdul Ghafoor was arrested on April 16 for being involved in the mysterious case of kidnapping Abdul Raouf, a child from Balkh province. He was released from prison after paying 430,000$ US dollars to the Taliban. Mansour, the owner of a contracting company in Balkh, was released after 65 days of imprisonment by paying $11,000. A month later, the Taliban arrested and imprisoned his father on the charge that he still kept weapons in his house. Mansour then paid another three-thousand-dollar bribe to a senior Taliban official in Balkh to release his father.

During the 65 days Mansour was in prison, he paid $10 every night to one of the correctional officers to receive the food his family sent. “Even if you have the most serious crime, money can protect you in Taliban prison,” he said. Mansour added that smoking is prohibited in Taliban prisons. However, he and a group of his friends had a better environment inside prison thanks to paying bribes. He used to buy a pack of cigarettes for $25 from the Taliban prison guards, whereas this pack is sold in the city’s shops for $5.

Abdullah Tawakli, the former assistant of Karim Khalili, one of the Hazara political leaders, was arrested on April 14 in Kabul and spent 14 days in the prison of the Taliban intelligence agency; he was released from jail by paying six thousand US dollars. Abdullah said he had $400 in cash when he was arrested, and then the prison guards took it from him. Abdullah Tawakli noted: “In addition to the $6,000 I paid for my release, every time my family came to see me in prison, we paid $300 to the prison guards to allow them to enter to visit me.”

Rahmat, a resident of Balkh province, was arrested in November and was in Taliban prison for about two months. He was released after giving his only personal car to the Taliban prison guard. Rahmat was arrested and imprisoned on charges of being a member of anti-Taliban popular armed groups supported by the previous Afghan government. Most of the people who had experienced being arrested and detained in Afghanistan in the last ten months have somehow been released from Taliban prisons by paying cash, giving their cars, or agreeing to cooperate with the Taliban to trap other people. People have been released from Taliban prisons to spy for this group under pressure and threats from the Taliban. They have to visit the intelligence office of this group every one or two weeks and declare that they have not gone anywhere. If the person disobeys their commitment, the guarantors will be arrested and tortured by the Taliban.

In a phone call, the journalists of Independent Farsi presented the stories of people who experienced imprisonment, torture, and paying bribes in exchange for their release from Taliban prisons with Abdul Nafee Takour, the spokesperson of the Taliban Ministry of Interior. Abdul Nafee Takour denied all the allegations of torture, bribing, and extortion of prisoners. Then, he said: “The Islamic Emirate has implemented a (general amnesty), and we do not have a single political prisoner in the whole of Afghanistan. People have been arrested on charges of theft and crimes, and they are being treated with compassion and kindness.” Mr. Takour also said that the Ministry of Interior manages all prisons in Afghanistan. The Taliban Intelligence Department may have temporary monitoring houses, but it does not have a jail.

-By Mukhtar Vafaei and Nilofar Langar

(The Persian version of this article is available in Independent Farsi:



(Translated by Asadullah Jafari “Pezhman”)

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Asadullah Jafari “Pezhman”
Asadullah Jafari “Pezhman”
Asadullah Jafari “Pezhman” is a Translator, Columnist, and a Former Member of the Afghan National Army. He Mostly Writing and Translating on Afghanistan and the Middle East Issues.


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