Genocide Narrative is a part of VOC NEWS, which deals with the Genocide Narrative of the Hazaras in Afghanistan. According to paragraph 2 and article 2 of the Convention on the Prohibition and Punishment of Genocide which approved in 1948, genocide includes: “murdering the members of a group, severe injury to the physical or mental health of the members of that group, Deliberately placing the group in an inappropriate living situation that causes its physical strength to deteriorate, either in whole or in part, taking measures to prevent the generation of that group’s offspring, and forcibly transferring the children of that group to another group.
The Taliban’s behaviour towards the people for almost two years has been repressive and harsh; So many people who had no military or government background in the past have been arrested by the Taliban. On the other hand, the role of people who spy for the Taliban should not be ignored. Due to being threatened by the Taliban, some people are forced to spy for the Taliban and give the address of people who are a bit famous or active among the people.
Mehran, with a pseudonym, is among the people who were arrested by the Taliban without having a military or government background. Mehran is still inside Afghanistan and cannot disclose his identity due to security threats; Therefore, according to the news agency’s policy; VOC NEWS is committed to protecting the identity of people who are under threat.
VOC NEWS had an interview with Mehran, which you can read below.
VOC NEWS: How did the Taliban arrest you?
Mehran: At two o’clock in the afternoon, December 3rd, 2022, my mobile phone rang, it was an unknown number. I picked up the phone, a man with a growling voice who spoke Pashto and did not speak Farsi correctly, asked: Are you Mehran? I said yes, here you are.
He asked me to get myself to the 13th national security building of Kabul as soon as possible. I asked, is there a problem? He said that someone has made complaint against you. I said what is the matter and I don’t understand. He said, come here and you will understand everything. I walked without delay, when I reached the there, as soon as I entered the building, my face was covered with a black cloth.
I asked, what is the matter, let me first understand what my crime is and who has made complaint against me, and then I will accept whatever punishment you consider.
VOC NEWS: What was the reason for arresting you?
Mehran: I don’t know, but the soldier who was tying my hand said loudly: Don’t talk.
From that moment on, I didn’t understand where I was, why and for what crime I was arrested and what they wanted from my life. Two days and nights were spent in the world of confusion along with all kinds of suffering and torture.
VOC NEWS: What questions did they ask you?
Mehran: The questions were all repetitive, similar and without documents. who are you? what are you doing? what have you read What were you doing before? How did you meet Ahmad Masoud? Why did you go to Iran? Where did you go to Herat? Why do you go to Pakistan every day? where do you live? How many members are there in your family? what do they do Who pays for it? And…
I introduced myself every time. I used to say, I am not an important and I was not an officer or government employee before, I was and still am a normal person in the society. I had gone to Iran to find a job, but I got sick and then I came back. I have a house and land in Herat and our families are there. I am sick, I have brain cancer, I am going to Pakistan to follow up my treatment.
VOC NEWS: Did they have documents against you?
Mehran: They didn’t have nothing about me, the day I went there, I didn’t take my cell phone with me. Therefore, they told me several times; Call your family to bring your phone.
I also said every time, I don’t have a phone, because the doctor ordered me not to use a touch phone and stay away from media and cyberspace.
They didn’t accept my word, every time I denied, they tortured me more until I had to call my family, they brought my phone and delivered it to them, they gave me the phone to unlock it. I opened the phone, they searched the phone and found nothing else to use against me except my Facebook page.
VOC NEWS: How did they torture you??
Mehran: On the first day, they tortured me with electric devices, they put two 150V batteries next to me and gave me an electric shock. When I passed out, they would wake me up with cold water. Later, they took me to a room which its height was 120-130 cm, so that I could neither sit nor stand, they made me stand in that position for hours to confess. But I, who had not committed any crime, had nothing to say.
VOC NEWS: How long were you imprisoned there?
Mehran: They kept me in the 13th security building of Kabul for two nights, then they put me in a Ranger along with some other people and took me to an unknown direction.
After about an hour we reached our destination, I didn’t know where our new place was. When we arrived at our destination, they took me down the stairs of a building and then they took me to separate rooms.
About two or three hours passed, a soldier entered my room and asked me to go with him in Pashto.
We went up to the house with the soldier, the soldier opened the gate of a room at the end of the corridor and told me to go. The first night they took me for research; They repeated the questions of the previous and accused me of opposing their government, inciting people against them, blasphemy and irreligion. The person who interrogated me; He was a middle-aged man with a trimmed beard, and he was experienced and calm. there were two armed soldiers standing by his side with dishevelled heads and long beards. The interrogation did not last long that night, then they took me back to my room. when they brought me food; I said to the soldier, I am sick, I have run out of medicine, let me call my family to bring my medicine. The soldier said in a calm voice: compatriot, till your fate has not been determined here, there is no news of anything about medicine or something else, no one has the right to visit, nor can you ask for medicine, even if you die.
On the second night and day, the investigation became more serious, and they made more extensive accusations, such as communication with the media, having contact with armed fronts opposed to the Taliban regime, taking weapons from different addresses, and delivering them to their “opponents”, communication with high-ranking people of the previous government of Afghanistan and…
The third night and day they talked to me about people which i didn’t know them before. and with some unintelligible questions like, who is that guy? When, where, and why did you meet him? and who arranged the meeting?
Repeating the same question on the fourth night and day and with unveiling a photoshopped photo as a document, they tried to play with my mind to accept the crime and confirm the connection.
After the question and answer, when I said that I have never seen this person up close and I don’t even know his friends, the photo is fake; They poured cold water on my head, and I had a seizure. When I regained consciousness, I saw that I had fallen on the floor, my lips and tongue were bloody, and my clothes were wet.
On the fifth day and night, I was accused of apostasy and blasphemy; Their document and evidence were some of my notes and some of the notes published by my friends of the virtual space about religion.
VOC NEWS: Apart from physical torture, what else did they do to you?
Mehran: all five nights; When they faced with my repeated answers, they would show me clips of the horrible and inhumane tortures of other critics of their government so that I could see and be scared, then they throw ice water on my head to make me convulse, after I regained consciousness, I would see three or four people standing around. and laugh out loud. At night, they wouldn’t let me sleep.
The person in charge of the prison would knock on the door of the room every half hour so that I wouldn’t sleep.
My family and friends are trying to save me from this situation. before my investigation is finished and my charges are known. They had gone to most of the Hazara Taliban who are partners in power or supporters of the ruling group, elders including Mohammad Akbari and…; They even brought several letters and called the security and intelligence officials, but none of them heard anything. They even laughed on them.
VOC NEWS: The person who was investigating you was from which Taliban organization?
Mehran: I don’t know exactly, but it was probably from the security of this group. Days passed until on the sixth night, a man with a beard and red hair, who had turned on the light of his phone, opened the lock of my room and entered my cell with greetings and kindness and sat next to me. Honestly, I was both scared and surprised when he came. I was afraid that tomorrow might be the day of my execution and I was surprised by the kindness of that person. He came and sat next to me, first introduced himself. My name is …, from … province, I have two master’s degrees in computer science and theology from Punjab University. Currently, I am working with the Taliban as a consultant and policymaker, but politically, I am a member of Hizb-e-Islami. That person said that the Taliban is the protector of America’s interests, and they will leave this country soon.
I was more afraid of the fearless and at the same time dangerous words of the red bearded man, I said to myself that maybe he is a spy and has come to deceive me. Therefore, I tried to remain silent until the end and just listen to his words.
The red-bearded man talked with me for a long time and finally said, from the first day you were brought here, I realized that you are innocent, educated, young and these may make accusations against you that will put your life in danger.
Therefore, I checked your files, and I saw that along with other accusations of apostasy, it has been highlighted that this accusation is punishable by death if it is proven or documents of it fall into the hands of the Taliban.
VOC NEWS: Did you meet any of your family members during this time?
Mehran: No, the Taliban didn’t give them permission to meet or contact me, they tried to put me in an information vacuum. When the Taliban realized that I was innocent and not related to anyone, they changed their method and entered from another way. Because that red-bearded man talked about my fate and future in the last minutes of his meeting, gave information in a sympathetic tone and finally ended his words with a seemingly good but high-cost proposal and said, you have time until tomorrow morning to think and save your life. otherwise, the punishment for the accusations against you is death. That person demanded 15,000 dollars in exchange for my release and told me that you have time until tomorrow morning to answer me.
VOC NEWS: What was your response to his offer?
Mehran: I told him that I don’t have this amount money, that person left, and I thought about all the issues and events, especially about that red bearded man talking.
On the morning of the seventh day, maybe around ten o’clock, that person opened the gate of my cell again and came in saying hello. After the greeting, he didn’t hesitate and asked, did you think about what I said last night? you made your decision? I replied, yes, I thought, I decided, but the problem is that I don’t have money and I don’t know how to get it.
He told me that I understand you, the situation is not good, your economic conditions are bad, there is no work, no one trusts you, but I say seriously that there is no other way, your life is in danger, and I can only I will fulfil my promise in one or two days. When I saw the seriousness of him, I was really scared. That’s why I had to prepare money to pay him.
VOC NEWS: How did you pay the money?
Mehran: That red-bearded man brought me my phone and I called my family and told the whole story.
I gave them the phone number of the red-bearded person. Finally, one of my friends contacted that person and they agreed.
VOC NEWS: What was the amount of that money the Taliban took from you in exchange for your freedom?
Mehran: They extorted $11,500 from me while I am under the treatment of doctors and spent all my money on my treatment.