Taliban Search Operation Echoes Resented U.S. Tactics in Afghanistan

Taliban Search Operation Echoes Resented U.S. Tactics in Afghanistan

Credit…Department of Defense

Reaction to the search operation in Kabul has broken largely along ethnic lines. Some residents — mostly Pashtuns — are thankful that the Taliban are taking a hard stance against criminality, a policy the Taliban has long been known for.

But members of ethnic minorities have accused the Taliban of targeting them for their ethnicity, adding to their resentment of an interim government that, like the Taliban itself, is composed mostly of southern Pashtuns.

Taliban officials have denied those claims.

“Our operations are not against a specific ethnic group,” Mr. Mujahid, the Taliban spokesman, said on Sunday. “Our operations are a reason for people to support us, not a reason to stand against us.”

Taliban officials also downplayed complaints about the invasion of privacy, citing their cooperation with neighborhood elders, a sign of respect, and using female officers to search women. But this approach has played out unevenly across Kabul, with some residents interviewed by The New York Times noting that no women or local elders were present when the Taliban arrived and forced their way inside.

Hamid, 31, woke up Friday morning in northern Kabul to his mother yelling that the Taliban were at the door. Fifteen Talibs entered his home soon after, placing him in handcuffs before releasing him several hours later.

That night, over dinner, Hamid’s younger brother announced that he would join the resistance.

“In my neighborhood I think there are two types of people,” said Hamid, who asked to be identified by only his first name out of fear of retribution. “Some will want to join because they don’t want to live like this. The others are educated, like me, and they don’t want war anymore. Even if the resistance comes to Kabul, there will be nothing. There will be war and we will lose everything.”

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