The Taliban have strengthened their grip on Afghanistan’s capital city by setting up checkpoints around Kabul, where residents’ smartphones are being searched for any signs of communications in English, according to a Wall Street Journal report on Tuesday.
Taliban forces have also searched Afghans’ phones for any sign of illicit material, the report added.
Meanwhile, Taliban fighters are searching the offices and homes of Afghans who have affiliations with Western governments or organizations, The Journal said. Many Afghans are racing to erase past online lives, scrubbing their phones for evidence of a more secular lifestyle over the past 20 years, Wired reported.
The Taliban have also set up checkpoints at entrances to Kabul’s airport, where they have whipped and beat Afghans trying cross to make an escape, The Journal reported.
The Journal said that some evacuation flights were leaving nearly empty as a result of the new checkpoints. A German military A400M Airbus – which has a capacity of over 100 passengers – took off with just seven on board Tuesday.
The airport reopened Tuesday for military and civilian flights. It was closed amid chaos as people tried to flee the country.
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Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesperson, on Tuesday talked at the group’s first press conference since taking control of the country, saying the Taliban was “committed to the rights of women under the system of Shariah law.” He added that women could work and study “within our frameworks.”
Many are skeptical, says Business Insider.
No one knows what the Taliban’s rule will look like, but before the US-led invasion in 2001 ousted the group from power, it enforced strict rules – especially for women, who, during the Taliban’s 1996 to 2001 rule, were barred from attending school and work.
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Taliban militants have attacked civilians in other parts of the nation since their takeover, including a woman who was beaten to death after she refused to cook meals for the fighters, CNN reported.