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Taliban threaten, kill ex-members who choose peace
Maulvi Arsala Rahmani, HPC leader and former Taliban minister, is latest victim
KABUL – A number of former Taliban militants who laid down their arms – either to simply stop fighting, or to join the peace and reconciliation process – are now receiving threats from current members of the Taliban. Some have even been killed.
As a result, these former Taliban members who have joined the peace process are calling for more attention to their safety.
The May 13 killing of Maulvi Arsala Rahmani, a key member of the High Peace Council (HPC), is the latest high-profile example.
Rahmani, once the minister of higher education under the Taliban regime, is the third member of the HPC to be killed.
Last September, Prof. Burhanuddin Rabbani, then the HPC chairman and a president of Afghanistan before the Taliban came to power, was killed in his Kabul residence by a Taliban turban bomber. Maulavi Mohammad Hashem Munib, who represented Kunar Province on the HPC, was killed April 6 by a suicide bomber.
Former militants threatened, killed
Other former militants are also concerned for their safety.
A former Taliban commander in Kunduz Province who stopped fighting and joined the peace process told Central Asia Online that he was worried about his security. He requested anonymity for security reasons.
Ever since he disassociated himself from the Taliban and joined the peace process, he has received numerous threats, he said.
Another one of his fellow commanders who joined the peace process was recently killed by the Taliban, the former Kunduz Taliban commander added.
Golestan, another former Taliban commander, and a bodyguard were killed by the Taliban last year in Kunduz Province.
Mula Nabi, another former Taliban commander from the same province, also was killed with his four bodyguards by militants last year.
In some cases, those threatened seek sanctuary abroad. Mullah Abdul Salam Zahef, the former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, who called for an Afghan unity government, reportedly escaped to Dubai or the United Arab Emirates in April. According to a Taliban source who requested anonymity for security reasons, Zahef fled after being threatened by the Taliban for supporting the peace process.
Taliban kill, imprison some
Many Taliban leaders who wanted to participate in the peace process with the Afghan government have either been killed or are imprisoned by the Taliban, said Afghan presidential spokesman Aimal Faizi.
“Some Taliban commanders or leaders who previously participated in peace talks with the Afghan government face some serious problems,” Mohammad Ismail Qasimyar, the HPC’s international affairs advisor, said in agreement.
The Afghan Interior Ministry is responsible for the safety of every member of the country’s population, ministry spokesman Gholam Sediq Sediqqi told Central Asia Online. This also applies to those Taliban leaders and commanders who have joined the peace process and whose security is now under threat from other Taliban members, Sediqqi added.
While adequate security measures are in place to protect former Taliban members, according to Sediqqi, other analysts said the security failures are keeping some militants from laying down their arms out of fear for their lives and those of their families.