From the president on down, U.S. officials have staked the success of their Afghanistan withdrawal strategy on the premise that they can convince the Taliban to live up to commitments they have made in public and private on letting people leave the country, human rights, and other thorny issues.
The Biden administration’s approach has long sounded credulous to just about anyone without a vested interest in spinning President Biden’s chaotic withdrawal effort as a strategic triumph, and a new BBC report suggests that the worst is yet to come, with reprisal killings against Afghan government officials and U.S. allies accelerating:
Several sources confirmed that Taliban fighters last week executed two senior police officials – Haji Mullah Achakzai, the security director of Badghis province, and Ghulam Sakhi Akbari, security director of Farah province. Video footage showed Mr Achakzai was kneeling, blindfolded, with his hands tied behind his back before he was shot . . .
The BBC was not able to independently confirm the killings, and the Taliban have repeatedly denied committing any revenge killings. But the group was widely thought to be behind a spate of assassinations after signing a peace deal with the US in 2020, and there are mounting reports they have been searching for targets since taking power two weeks ago.
Amnesty International reported earlier this month that Taliban fighters massacred nine ethnic Hazara men after taking control of Afghanistan’s Ghazni province in July. And Human Rights Watch reported that Taliban fighters were conducting searches in Kandahar province as they swept the country and detaining anyone suspected of working with the government, reportedly killing some detainees.