The Taliban’s new defence minister has issued a rebuke over misconduct by some commanders and fighters following the movement’s victory over the Western-backed government in Afghanistan last month, saying abuses would not be tolerated.
Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob said in an audio message that some “miscreants and notorious former soldiers” had been allowed to join Taliban units where they had committed a range of sometimes violent abuses.
“We direct you keep them out of your ranks, otherwise strict action will be taken against you,” he stated. “We don’t want such people in our ranks.”
The message from one of the Taliban’s most senior ministers underlines the problems Afghanistan’s new rulers have sometimes had in controlling fighting forces as they transition from an insurgency to a peacetime administration.
Some Kabul residents have complained of abusive treatment at the hands of Taliban fighters who have appeared on the streets of the capital, often from other regions and unused to big cities.
There have also been reports of reprisals against members of the former government and military or civil society activists, despite promises of an amnesty by the Taliban.
Yaqoob said there had been isolated reports of unauthorized executions, and he repeated that such actions would not be tolerated.
“As you all are aware, under the general amnesty announced in Afghanistan, no mujahid has the right to take revenge on anyone,” he said.
It was not clear precisely which incidents he was referring to, nor what prompted the message, which was published on Taliban Twitter accounts and widely shared on social media.
There have been reports of tensions within the movement between hardline battlefield commanders and political leaders more willing to seek compromise with governments outside Afghanistan.`