Distressing images show the barbaric reality in Afghanistan after the Taliban seized control of the country, with women and children covered in blood from random attacks by militant thugs — despite the Taliban’s promise of a more peaceful regime.
In one image taken by the Los Angeles Times, a woman is seen apparently unconscious on the ground near Kabul Airport with blood over her head and hands, while a young boy is carried with his hair completely soaked in blood.
The child was completely limp, with his eyes rolling back in his head, the paper’s photojournalist, Marcus Yam, recalled.
Another shows a seemingly limp woman being picked up by two men outside the airport that has been the scene of desperate — and often fatal — attempts to flee the troubled nation.
They were among at least a dozen people injured Tuesday as “amped-up Taliban fighters” corralled hundreds of unarmed Afghans who were trying to reach the airport to flee the new regime, Yam wrote.
This is despite the Taliban vowing “safe passage” for everyone trying to leave the country.
In reality, the brutal enforcers indiscriminately fired automatic weapons, both into the air and at times even toward the crowd of helpless Afghans, the photojournalist said.
They also used sticks, lengths of rubber hose, knotted rope and their rifle butts to beat the crowds, including some who were simply squatting on the ground trying to avoid the militants, Yam said.
Meanwhile, video footage shot elsewhere shows Taliban soldiers trawling streets in military vehicles with machines guns attached.
One militant was also captured whipping people as they cross a street.
The distressing images came on the same day as the Taliban’s spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, promised that the regime would be “positively different” from the savagery it was known for before the US invasion after Sept. 11.
“If the question is based on ideology, and beliefs, there is no difference… but if we calculate it based on experience, maturity, and insight, no doubt there are many differences,” Mujahid told reporters.
He also promised an amnesty for Afghans who had helped the US, insisting, “We will not seek revenge.”
However, the scenes at Kabul airport appeared to be already contradicting many of the promises.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan confirmed at the White House Tuesday that the Taliban had pledged “safe passage of civilians to the airport.”
“We intend to hold them to that commitment,” he insisted, despite noting multiple reports of people “being turned away or pushed back or even beaten.”
As well as an increase in violence, the Taliban has also “continued to maintain its relationship with al-Qaeda, providing safe haven for the terrorist group in Afghanistan,” according to a Department of Defense report cited by Business Standard.
The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, also said he is “most concerned by recent reports of escalating violence in the country.”
He noted allegations of “extrajudicial executions in the form of revenge killings of detainees and individuals who surrendered, persecution of women and girls, crimes against children and other crimes affecting the civilian population at large.”
With Post wires