A gay man has been raped and beaten by the Taliban, just the latest example of the new life Afghans will face as their country returns to Islamist rule.
The man, who has not been identified, was lured from hiding in the capital, Kabul, by two Taliban fighters posing as a friend offering safe passage out of the country.
Instead, they beat and raped the man when he arrived to meet them – leaving him alive but terrified and suffering psychological torment.
It comes after the Taliban were accused of marrying girls 12 and under as sex slaves to their fighters, and carrying out summary executions against anyone suspected of aiding Western troops during the 20-year war.
Taliban fighters who seduced a gay man to come out of hiding then beat and raped him, activists say (file image)
The man’s fate was revealed by Artemis Akbary, an Afghan human rights activist now living in Turkey. ITV News that he had been in contact with the man.
He said the attack is just an early example of what life will be like for gays under Taliban rule once the last of US troops leave the country.
“They’re trying to tell the world that we’ve changed and we don’t have a problem with women’s rights or human rights,” Akbary said.
‘They lie. The Taliban have not changed because their ideology has not changed.’
“My friends in Afghanistan are scared, they don’t know what’s going to happen to them in the future, so they’re just trying to hide.”
Now that the US withdrawal from Afghanistan is complete, there are fears that the Taliban will soon re-impress their brutal interpretation of Islam on the country.
Zabihullah Mujahid, the group’s spokesman, today urged the security forces to be “gentle and kind” to those under their rule.
But his words stand in stark contrast to UN warnings about widespread human rights violations and suppression of women’s rights.
And just over a week ago, Najla Ayoubi — a former Afghan judge now living in the US — said Taliban fighters had set a woman on fire because they didn’t like the food they forced her to cook for them.
Other women are packed in coffins and shipped abroad to be used as sex slaves, she claimed.
Afghans who assisted Western troops during the 20-year conflict said today that the Taliban have pinned terrifying “night letters” to their front doors – warning them to report to court or risk execution.
It is just the latest example of life under Taliban rule, where women have also returned to wearing modest coverings (pictured) while their rights have been eroded
One of those who received a warning was Naz, a 34-year-old father of six whose construction company helped the British Army build roads in Helmand and the airstrip at Camp Bastion.
He had applied for asylum in Britain under ARAP, the Afghan relocation programme, but was rejected.
Naz said yesterday: ‘The letter was official and stamped by the Taliban. It’s a clear message that they want to kill me.
“If I go to court, I will be punished with my life. If I don’t, they’ll kill me – that’s why I’m in hiding and trying to find a way to escape. But I need help.’
Another victim, a former British military translator, was warned that he was a ‘spy of the infidel’ and would have to give himself up or pay with his life.
A third overnight letter warned an interpreter’s brother that he had been sentenced to death for giving him shelter, while a fourth was found in the shoe of an ex-British military translator while leaving prayers in a mosque.
The Taliban now have almost complete control of Afghanistan after the withdrawal of the last US troops from Kabul, which was completed overnight.
There is only one resistance area left in the Panjshir Valley – some 160 kilometers north of Kabul – where resistance forces are entrenched.
The Taliban may struggle to take the valley, but resistance fighters have almost no hope of retaking the country from their current position – with the Islamists in charge.
Taliban leaders have already reached out to China, Russia and other regional neighbors in hopes of getting the country back on its feet after their faster-than-expected conquest.
Among the many challenges facing Afghanistan is a lack of cash that threatens economic collapse, amid warnings that food could run out in weeks.