Kabul: 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 way of its empty halls and cell blocks, exhibiting 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, U.S.-backed authorities it had fought for 20 years.
The Taliban now run Pul-e-Charkhi Jail, a sprawling advanced on Kabul’s japanese outskirts. After capturing 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 present his identify, was on a private go to to the advanced with a gaggle of his mates. He instructed The Related Press he had been arrested round a decade in the past in japanese Kunar province and was delivered to Pul-e-Charkhi, sure and blindfolded.
“I feel so terrible when I remember those days,” he mentioned. He mentioned prisoners suffered abuses and torture. He was imprisoned for round 14 months earlier than he was launched. “Those days are the darkest days of my life, and now this the happiest moment for me that I am free and come here without fear.”
Many Afghans in addition to governments world wide 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 Nineteen Nineties. However for the Taliban fighters, it’s a second to savor a victory after years of grueling preventing — and to see a metropolis few of them have entered because the battle started.
For a few of the Taliban guards accompanying the AP, it was the primary time they’d entered the deserted cell blocks. They regarded with curiosity by way of the cells, nonetheless affected by issues the final inmates left behind — materials handing 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 had been uncovered relationship from the Soviet-backed governments of the late Seventies and Nineteen Eighties. Underneath the U.S.-backed authorities, it was extra identified for poor circumstances and overcrowding — its 11 cell blocks had been constructed to deal with 5,000 inmates, however had been usually full of greater than 10,000, together with Taliban and criminals.
Taliban prisoners usually complained of abuses and beatings, and there have been common riots. Nonetheless, they saved up their group behind bars, profitable concessions like entry to cell telephones and longer time exterior their cells.
A number of the Taliban now guarding the location had 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 folks imprisoned previously few weeks, who the guards mentioned had been principally accused criminals and drug addicts.