A gay man has been raped and beaten by the Taliban in just the latest example of the new life facing Afghans as their country returns to Islamist rule.
The man, who has not been identified, was lured out of hiding in the capital Kabul by two Taliban fighters who posed as a friend offering safe passage out of the country.
Instead, they beat and raped the man when he arrived to meet them – then took his father’s number so they could tell him that his son is gay.
It comes after the Taliban was accused of forcibly marrying girls as young as 12 to its fighters as sex slaves, and of carrying out summary executions against anyone suspected of helping western forces during the 20-year war.
Taliban fighters who tricked a gay man into coming out of hiding then beat and raped him, according to activists (file image)
The man’s fate was revealed by Artemis Akbary, an Afghan rights activist now living in Turkey, who told ITV News that he had been in touch with the man.
He said the attack is just an early example of what life will be like for gay people under Taliban rule, as the final US troops left the country.
‘They are trying to tell the world “we are changed and we don’t have problems with women’s rights or human rights”,’ Akbary said.
‘They are lying. The Taliban hasn’t changed, because their ideology hasn’t changed.’
‘My friends in Afghanistan are scared, they don’t know what will happen to them in the future so they’re just trying to hide.’
With the American withdrawal from Afghanistan now complete, there are fears the Taliban will quickly reimpose their brutal interpretation of Islam on the country.
Zabihullah Mujahid, the group’s spokesman, insisted today that security forces will be ‘gentle and nice’ to those under their rule.
But his words contrast sharply with warnings from the UN of widespread human rights abuses and suppression of women’s rights.
And a little over a week ago, Najla Ayoubi – a former Afghan judge who now lives in the US – said that Taliban fighters had set a woman alight because they didn’t like the food they forced her to cook for them.
Other women are being packed into coffins and shipped abroad so they can be used as sex slaves, she claimed.
Afghans who assisted western forces during the 20-year conflict said today that the Taliban have pinned terrifying ‘night letters’ to their front doors – warning them to report to court or else face execution.
It is just the latest example of life under Taliban rule, which has also seen women return to wearing modest coverings (pictured) while their rights are eroded
One of those to receive a warning was Naz, a 34-year-old father-of-six whose construction company helped the UK military build roads in Helmand and the runway at Camp Bastion.
He had applied for sanctuary in Britain under ARAP, the Afghan relocation programme, but had been rejected.
Naz said yesterday: ‘The letter was official and stamped by the Taliban. It is a clear message that they want to kill me.
‘If I attend the court, I will be punished with my life. If I don’t, they will kill me – that is why I am in hiding, trying to find a way to escape. But I need help.’
Another victim, a former British military translator, was warned he was a ‘spy of the infidel’ and must give himself up or pay with his life.
A third night letter warned the brother of an interpreter that he had been sentenced to death for sheltering him while a fourth was found in the shoe of an ex-British military translator as he left prayers at a mosque.
The Taliban is now in almost-complete control of Afghanistan following the withdrawal of the last American troops from Kabul, which was completed overnight.
Just one pocket of resistance remains in the Panjshir Valley – some 100 miles north of Kabul – where resistance forces are holed up.
The Taliban may struggle to take the valley, but resistance forces have almost no hope of reconquering the country from their current position – leaving the Islamists in charge.
Taliban leaders have already reached out to China, Russia and other regional neighbours in the hopes of getting the country back on its feet after their quicker-than-expected conquest.
Among the many challenges facing Afghanistan is a lack of cash which is threatening economic collapse, amid warnings that food could start running out within weeks.