Taliban defends house raid operation in Kabul, bans residents from leaving Afghanistan

The Taliban on Sunday (27/2) defended a house-to-house search operation in and around the Kabul area. They claim the efforts are aimed at arresting criminals and confiscating weapons in the Afghan capital region.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban government, also announced they would not allow Afghans to leave the country until the living conditions of those who had fled abroad improved.

The security operation, which took effect on Friday (25/2), is focused on residential areas of the city and several nearby provinces. The activity caused panic and anger among residents in these locations.

Some residents suspect the Taliban are targeting security officials of the former Afghan government under the pretext of fighting crime.

Others have complained of “violations” by security forces and considered the operation an invasion of their privacy.

On Sunday (27/2), Mujahid rejected accusations of propaganda directed by parties opposing the new Afghan government. He told reporters in Kabul that security forces were “acting with extreme caution” and their mission was to ensure public safety.

Mujahid said the operation was “successful” and would be completed soon. During the operation, officers seized hundreds of light and heavy weapons, including rocket and grenade launchers, 13 armed vehicles and explosives, he added. The spokesman said dozens of criminals, including several members of the Islamic State terrorist group, were also captured in the operation.

Mujahid also said on Sunday (27/7) that families wishing to leave Afghanistan must now have “legitimate reasons” for doing so. He said the Taliban had received numerous reports of tens of thousands of Afghans “living in poor conditions” in Qatar and Turkey.

“It is the government’s responsibility to protect its people, so this (evacuation) will be stopped until we get assurances that their lives will not be threatened,” Mujahid said.

More than 120,000 Afghans and dual nationals have been evacuated since US-led foreign forces withdrew from the country in late August 2021. [vm/jm]