Echoes of Taliban search operation resent US tactics in Afghanistan

Credit…defense department

Reaction to the search operation in Kabul was broadly divided along ethnic lines. Some residents – mostly Pashtuns – are grateful the Taliban is taking a tough stance on crime, a policy the Taliban have long been known for.

But members of ethnic minorities have accused the Taliban of targeting them because of their ethnicity, adding to their resentment of an interim government which, like the Taliban themselves, is made up mainly of Pashtuns from the south.

Taliban officials have denied the allegations.

“Our operations are not against a specific ethnic group,” Taliban spokesman Mujahid said on Sunday. “Our operations are a reason for people to support us, not a reason to oppose us.”

Taliban officials have also played down complaints about the invasion of privacy, citing their cooperation with neighborhood elders as a sign of respect, and the use of female officers to search women. But that approach has been uneven in Kabul, with some residents interviewed by The New York Times noting that no women or local elders were present when the Taliban arrived and forced their way inside.

Hamid, 31, woke up Friday morning in northern Kabul to see his mother shouting that the Taliban were at the door. A dozen Taliban entered his house soon after, handcuffed him before releasing him a few hours later.

That night, during dinner, Hamid’s younger brother announced that he would join the resistance.

“In my neighborhood I think there are two types of people,” said Hamid, who asked to be identified only by his first name for fear of reprisals. “Some will want to join because they don’t want to live like this. The others are educated, like me, and they don’t want war anymore. Even if the resistance comes to Kabul, there will be nothing. There will be war and we will lose everything.

Brandon D. James