House-to-House Searches ‘Breach Privacy Law’

An operation launched by Taliban forces in parts of Kabul, Parwan, and Kapisa has provoked strong reactions among civil activists and residents. Civil activists describe the move as a violation of citizens’ privacy and an effort focused on harassing a certain ethnic group. According to them, in the house-to-house search, even the doors’ locks were broken.

Authorities, meanwhile, have said they are looking for “thieves, kidnappers and criminals.” Residents of Kapisa province criticized the way the campaign was launched, saying that the military had raided people’s homes in search of weapons and had even collected their “hunting” rifles.

Qudus Khan (pseudonym), a resident of Kapisa, whose house was searched by Taliban militants on Friday, has a bitter to tell. He told Hasht-e Subh that the military had raided his home without a female agent and had even searched women’s belongings. “On Friday, Taliban forces raided our house and searched our belongings – even women’s bags,” the Kapisa resident added. “There was no female force among them, they disgraced us and now my family members are in a bad mood. This is persecution.”

Residents of Parwan province, meanwhile, have accused Taliban militants of committing atrocities in launching military operations, saying they have harassed local residents as they searches houses. Samir (pseudonym) is a resident of Golbahar village in Jabal-al Saraj district of Parwan province. He said the military had gone to people’s homes in search of weapons and had even collected their shotguns.

Meanwhile, some civil activists in Parwan province consider the campaign without to be contrary to all legal and Islamic principles. Shafi Mushfaq, head of the Civil Society Board in Parwan, told Hasht-e Subh that the aim of the military campaign in Kabul and two other northern provinces was complicit and revengeful against a particular ethnic group. He stated that if this operation continues, the people will be pessimistic about this “political system”. “If you are seeking national and international legitimacy, be committed to the general amnesty and treat the people kindly,” Mushfaq called on officials.

Residents of Kabul also say that since Friday, the military, heavily armed, has been raiding civilians’ properties in local clothes – without a license. Meanwhile, Mohammad Amin Ahmadi, a prominent legal expert and professor, wrote on his Facebook page that invading privacy would not take place without a court order for certain individuals, whom the Taliban are somewhat suspicious of. Ahmadi added that respect for privacy is one of the most important rights of citizens and by observing these rights, peace and security can better be achieved.

On the other hand, videos and images obtained on social media show that even women’s items have been searched and the locks on the gates have been broken. The military’s house-to-house effort has met with widespread reactions from social media users and former government officials. Meanwhile, Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed in a newsletter that forces from three security organs in Kabul and some provinces had launched a clean-up operation. Mujahid have warned that those, whom the Taliban are looking for, will be killed if they resist the military. He said that the operation does not harm civilians and that precautionary measures had taken. Zabihullah Mujahid stressed that the operation was to ensure the security of the country.