Reuters got their hands on some “internal U.N. security” documents that raise a whole lot more questions than they provide answers for. Questions like why are the Taliban singling out United Nations staff members and trying to detain them?
Explosive internal documents
As ISIS-K terrorists are massing in front of the airport gates, the Taliban “stopped an Afghan United Nations staff member as he tried to reach Kabul airport.” The incident happened on Sunday, August 22. According to the U.N. documents, the insurgents “searched his vehicle and found his U.N. identification. Then they beat him.”
The next day, “three unknown men visited the home of another U.N. staff member who was at work at the time. They asked his son where his father was, and accused him of lying: ‘We know his location and what he does.'”
The U.N. documents make it crystal clear that there were “dozens” of similar incidents. Reuters notes that the ones they examined describe “veiled threats, the looting of U.N. offices and physical abuse of staff since Aug. 10, shortly before the Taliban swept to power.”
There are two main factions in the Islamist militant movement. While the Taliban have shown restraint and a limited willingness to cooperate with the retreating forces, ISIS-K is having none of that. The Khorasan faction is just as violent and narrow minded as ever.
The U.N. said they weren’t going to comment on the “leaked security documents” but U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric did note that the “authorities that are in charge in Kabul are responsible for the safety and security of U.N. staff and premises. We remain in touch with them in that regard.”
They already managed to rescue some United Nations staff. They further relate that around 100 of the 300 “foreign staff it had in Afghanistan” has been moved into Kazakhstan. “It has also stressed that it wanted to maintain a presence to help the Afghan people.” Good luck with that.
Around 3,000 still there
The U.N. is worried about the “3,000 Afghan U.N. staff still in the country.” They’re scrambling to work “with other countries to urge them to provide visas or support temporary relocation of some of them.” Ever since the Taliban took Kabul on August 15, refugees have been fleeing by the thousands.
The documents reveal a “fear” that there will be a “return to the Taliban’s brutal enforcement of strict Islamic law.” The last time they were in charge, “they banned women from work and girls from school.”
As spelled out in the U.N. documents, others “including those who work in advocacy and human rights,” are terrified that they’re also “the target of reprisals.” Just in the last year, “scores of people were killed in suspected targeted Taliban attacks.”
One “Afghan woman, who has worked for the United Nations for several years, told Reuters she felt abandoned.” She’s not alone. “Every woman I know has the same fear as I do. What will now happen to our children if we are punished for our work? What will happen to our families? What will they do to us as women?”
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is desperately trying to act like he has some sort of control over what’s happening. He put out a “video message to staff in Afghanistan” telling them “he was distressed by reports that some had experienced harassment and intimidation.” Sorry you’re in fear for your life but there isn’t a lot we can do, he weaseled.
“We are doing everything in our power, namely through the permanent engagement with all relevant actors, and will continue to do so to ensure your safety and well-being, and to find external solutions where they are needed.” Just don’t get blown up on the way to the airport. There are even more documents floating around that say there is “no coherent command and control.” They add “U.N. national staff who are under serious direct threat of the Taliban must be evacuated.”