Afghanistan dispatch: Taliban house-to-house searches raise privacy concerns, fear in those still trying to leave
Afghanistan dispatch: Taliban house-to-house searches raise privacy concerns, fear in those still trying to leave

Law students and lawyers in Afghanistan are filing reports with JURIST on the situation there after the Taliban takeover. Here, a Staff Correspondent for JURIST in Kabul reports on house to house searches being conducted by Taliban authorities in Kabul and several provinces in Afghanistan. For privacy and security reasons, we are withholding our Correspondent’s name. The text has only been lightly edited to respect the author’s voice.

Taliban are conducting house-to-house searches in Kabul, Kapisa, Parwan, Panjshir and different province in Afghanistan. The house-to-house searches were started last week on Thursday and continue until now in major areas of Kabul and other provinces. The Taliban have confirmed the searches and say they are looking for illegal military equipment and criminals such kidnappers and thieves. In particular, they called it a “clean-up operation” with no further details on how and which locations are going to be searched and/or investigated. They have not provided any details on how the house-to-house searches are not violating privacy. They have indicated that the operation is being conducted by the Ministries of Interior, Defense, and the Intelligence Department of the Taliban-led government.

The Taliban earlier issued an order stating that no government authority have the right to violate people’s privacy especially entering into places where families live. However, it seems that none of the above is taken into consideration by them at the moment. Additionally, some families have complained that the Taliban had no woman in the group coming to search their houses, but the Taliban have rejected that.

Some local media also reported that the Taliban are searching people’s phones, laptops and any other thing they see during the door-to-door search.

People are worried, especially many who worked for the US or NATO contractors. The Taliban have promised that there will be no revenge for anyone including for those who worked for foreign forces in the country, but the reality states otherwise.

Recently a letter from the Ministry of Interior Affairs to the Airports and Border Police Departments states that they must prevent exit from the country of anyone who worked for the foreign forces in Afghanistan. In particular, the letter states that based on the instructions of the Security Deputy Ministry the exit of those Afghans who worked for the NATO as well as the US forces shall be prevented and no exit shall be given to anyone of the above people.

The Letter is issued to the Border Police which includes a ban for the people to exit the country from air and land. No one is reported to be either evacuated and/or prevented from exiting Afghanistan due to the above letter by the Taliban but the letter has significantly spread fear amongst those who are wishing to leave the country.