Top British Official: Taliban ‘A Slick PR Operation Masking A Vicious Death Cult’
Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images

Responding to an interview ITV’s Good Morning Britain conducted with Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen, who insisted that allegations of the Taliban conducting mass reprisals against former local aides and translators were untrue, the British chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee blasted that the Taliban is running “a slick PR operation masking a vicious death cult.”

Tom Tugendhat told Susanna Reid, who conducted the interview with Shaheen:

I’m afraid your viewers have just been lied to. It’s absolutely clear that groups who make up the Taliban … have been rounding up people in Lashkar Gah and Kandahar and hunting them down in Kabul and killing them. Universities are being closed … women are being denied access to education, girls are being denied access to education, and civil servants, female civil servants, are being sent home. What we’re seeing is a slick PR operation masking a vicious death cult.

Reid had stated to Shaheen, according to the Daily Mail:

A former government’s spokesperson was killed by the Taliban a few weeks ago as punishment for his deeds. Sources have confirmed Taliban fighters a few weeks ago executed two senior police officials. The former security police officer in the southwestern province of Farah was fatally shot. At least a dozen former provincial officials of the Ghani Government have been detained around the country. How is that not retaliation and revenge for those who worked with the former Government or for those who worked with Western forces?

“There is no retaliation; that is our policy,” Shaheen replied. “We have granted a general amnesty to all those who were working with foreign forces. And there is no hit list that is circulated or appears in the media.”

Al Jazeera reported on August 19:

A threat assessment from the United Nations has warned the Taliban is intensifying a search for people who worked with United States and NATO forces and is going “door to door” to find them. The confidential report – provided by the UN’s threat-assessment consultants and seen by a number of news media – says the group has “priority lists” of individuals it wants to arrest and is threatening to kill or arrest family members if the wanted do not give themselves up.

Reid cited the leaked United Nations report, prompting Shaheen to respond, “Every Afghan student, if he or she is intending to go abroad, to another country, and has the proper documents, they can go. And they can also come to Afghanistan. But we urge them to stay in Afghanistan as we’ve gained our independence. It is time for every Afghan to build their country. Their capacities, their talents are direly needed at this crucial time in Afghanistan. But if they intend to go, to travel abroad, that is their right.”

Former Minister Nusrat Ghani, Tory MP for Wealden, told BBC Radio 4’s Today, “Their ideology is the same. They’re engaged in a never-ending war against unbelievers and apostates, and their one desire, and their one desire only, is to establish a caliphate that has no room for women and girls.”

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