As soon as, Kabul’s important jail was crowded with 1000’s of Taliban captured and arrested by the federal government. On Monday, a Taliban commander strolled by means of its empty halls and cell blocks, displaying his mates the place he had as soon as been imprisoned.
It was an indication of the sudden and startling new order in Afghanistan after the militant group swept into the capital almost a month in the past and threw out the crumbling, US-backed authorities it had fought for 20 years.
The Taliban now run Pul-e-Charkhi Jail, a sprawling complicated on Kabul’s jap outskirts. After capturing the town, the fighters freed all of the inmates there, the federal government guards fled, and now dozens of Taliban fighters are working the ability.
The commander, who refused to offer his title, was on a private go to to the complicated with a bunch of his mates. He advised The Related Press he had been arrested round a decade in the past in jap Kunar province and was delivered to Pul-e-Charkhi, sure and blindfolded.
“I really feel so horrible after I keep in mind these days,” he stated. He stated prisoners suffered abuses and torture. He was imprisoned for round 14 months earlier than he was launched. “These days are the darkest days of my life, and now this the happiest second for me that I’m free and are available right here with out worry.”
Many Afghans in addition to governments around the globe have been alarmed by the swift Taliban seizure of energy, fearing the motion will impose an analogous, harsh rule as they did throughout their first time ruling within the Nineties. However for the Taliban fighters, it’s a second to savour a victory after years of gruelling combating — and to see a metropolis few of them have entered because the battle started.
For a number of the Taliban guards accompanying the AP, it was the primary time they’d entered the deserted cell blocks. They seemed with curiosity by means of the cells, nonetheless suffering from issues the final inmates left behind — materials hanging from the partitions and home windows, small rugs, water bottles.
One fighter exchanged his sandals for a greater pair he present in a cell. Then he discovered but a greater pair and exchanged once more. Others performed with the previous prisoners’ makeshift weight bars.
Pul-e-Charkhi had a protracted, disturbing historical past of violence, mass executions and torture. Mass graves and torture cells have been uncovered courting from the Soviet-backed governments of the late Nineteen Seventies and Nineteen Eighties. Underneath the US-backed authorities, it was extra identified for poor situations and overcrowding its 11 cell blocks have been constructed to deal with 5,000 inmates, however have been typically full of greater than 10,000, together with Taliban prisoners and criminals.
Taliban prisoners typically complained of abuses and beatings, and there have been common riots. Nonetheless, they saved up their organisation behind bars, successful concessions like entry to cell telephones and longer time exterior their cells.
A few of the Taliban now guarding the positioning have been former inmates. The federal government guards have fled and don’t dare return, fearing reprisals. Although the ability stays largely empty, one part holds round 60 individuals imprisoned previously few weeks, who the guards stated have been principally accused criminals and drug addicts.