The Taliban Not So Good, Evidently Bad And Mostly Ugly, Claim Afghans

As the Taliban tighten the ropes of control over Afghanistan, their rebranded progressive image stands in stark contrast to the ground realties being reported from within Afghanistan.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid claimed that they would protect women’s rights and press freedom, amongst other civil liberties within the confines of what Islam allows. Seminal in Mujahid’s address was the assertion that the Taliban would not be forcing their entry into people’s homes, nor would they revengefully attack against anyone who had previously served foreign officials or were a part of the Afghan National Security Forces.

The Taliban first gained global notoriety for their dictatorial and oppressive ways when they governed Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001. As the country surfaced from the grips of the United States foreign occupation, the world looked on in shock as the Taliban on Sunday reclaimed Kabul, unchallenged.

Agreeing with Mujahid’s assertion, a reporter for the Washington Post in Afghanistan pointed out that life was resuming rather normally, and that the Taliban were kind and gentle with the people. Despite being stopped twice, he was immediately let go after revealing his identity, claimed the user. Groups of Taliban were deployed around Kabul with the intention to protect administrative buildings, he added.

This imagery of a new and improved Taliban out in the streets of the capital city hasn’t resonated with many. Several Afghans have voiced concerns against Taliban’s takeover and have shared accounts of being threatened in their homes. According to them, the Taliban weren’t out to protect, but to harass people within their homes. A recurring point has been that the Taliban fighters roaming the streets spoke a dialect unknown to the locals themselves.

One user, for instance, alleged that she could see hundreds of Taliban roaming outside her door, who demanded that her family serve them dinner and threatened action upon non-compliance.

While some Afghans have been expressing trepidations from within, those outside the country have also been revealing the threats their friends and family are facing. One such user detailed how his family members in Kabul had barred themselves in because of the fighters collecting outside. According to the user, the Taliban openly looted and wreaked havoc in the area.

Despite the Taliban claiming a slight departure from their more conservative ideologies, several government officials and civil servants have reported that they are being threatened by the new leadership.

A user helplessly requested swift evacuation of his sister who is a lawyer in Kabul. Tagging international officials such as US Congresswoman Ilhan Omer and Canadian Member of Parliament Maryam Monsef, the user claimed that the Taliban have threatened to punish his sister.

Another user insisted that Taliban fighters came looking for her friend’s father at his Kabul house because he had served in the now fallen Afghan government.

Journalist Wesley Morgan, who has covers war-torn Afghanistan, alleged that the Taliban stormed through his interpreters’ home, who had seen the search unfold remotely in security camera footage from his phone.

In a rather disturbing tweet, an Afghan pilot alleged that the Taliban stormed the homes of two pilots, raped their women and killed them.

As these account trickle in, a sense of forlorn helplessness prevails for Afghans inside as their friends and families look to refugee friendly countries for support.

The Afghan Taliban leadership meanwhile has distanced itself from these reports. In his press conference on Tuesday, Zabiullah Mujahid had said that those creating trouble were ‘imposters’ and must be brought in front of the Taliban for strict action.

Saniya Rashid is the research editor at Minute Mirror. She holds a Master's in Journalism degree from Ryerson University, Canada and a BA (Hons) in History, South Asian and Contemporary Asian Studies from the University of Toronto. She has a keen interest in connecting the past to the present by conceptualizing current affairs through a theoretical lens from a variety of socio-cultural disciplines. To that end, she is most interested in unearthing subaltern narratives and is committed to shifting the way minorities and marginalized communities are covered and given a voice in the media. She can be reached at