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The Taliban is searching homes for people who worked for foreign troops or for the former Afghan government, a “terrified” interpreter has told Sky News.

The man, who worked for the UK government but is still in Kabul, said that the group is going “from house to house” as they look for people like translators, interpreters or women.

He said many people, like himself, are trying “to take care of themselves as much as they can” and are trying to stay inside their homes.

Taliban forces rally to celebrate the withdrawal of US forces in Kandahar, Afghanistan, 01 September 202
PIC: EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Image:
Taliban fighters have been showing off their military hardware. Pic: EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Speaking about the Taliban’s complete control of Kabul, the interpreter said: “They’ve been searching houses. They’ve been targeting people and their locations.”

“They are searching house to house,” he continued, adding that the group is looking “for those who work either as translators and interpreters” or other people like women who worked in the Afghan government before it fell.

The interpreter also expressed fear that the Taliban is tracking phones after taking control of the cellular network.

“I cannot find peace in my mind,” he said. “I’m terrified. I’ve been feeling horrible. I just feel like I don’t know what will happen by tomorrow or in the next minute or who would harm you because there are lots of people who are working as spies for the Taliban. You cannot even trust anybody.”

Other recent developments in the country include:

• The Taliban has been focussing on keeping banks, hospitals and government machinery running following the US withdrawal.

• Thousands of people are flocking to the landlock nation’s borders after the airlift ended.

• The Taliban has showcased captured military hardware during parade in Kandahar.

• Pictures showed long queues of people in Kabul outside banks as they tried to withdraw savings.

• Witnesses reported Taliban violence with one saying she saw fighters beating women with sticks outside a Kabul bank.

• Pakistan’s foreign minister said he expected the country to have a new “consensus government” within days.

• The Taliban reported it has surrounded the only remaining province resisting its rule in Panjshir province and called on the local militia and resistant fighters to negotiate a settlement.

• The UN has warned that food stocks in the country could run out this month.

• Russian President Vladimir Putin has criticised the US, saying it achieved “zero” during its 20-year military presence in Afghanistan.

• The EU said the collapse of Afghanistan’s government and the evacuation highlighted the bloc’s need for its own rapid-reaction military force.

Taliban forces rally to celebrate the withdrawal of US forces in Kandahar, Afghanistan, 01 September 2021
Pic: EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Image:
Taliban forces have regained control of the country. Pic: EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Supporters of Taliban gather to listen to Haji Mohammad Yousaf, the Taliban's governor for Kandahar province. pic: EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Image:
Supporters of the Taliban gathered to listen to Haji Mohammad Yousaf, the Taliban’s governor for Kandahar province. Pic: EPA-EFE/Shutterstock


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On Wednesday, footage showed Taliban fighters sitting on top of pickup trucks, flying the militant group’s white and black flag and driving a convoy of armoured vehicles through the streets.

Celebrations have erupted across Afghanistan after the US troops and its NATO allies withdrew from the country.

Taliban supporters also paraded coffins draped with American and NATO flags in the Kandahar city of Khost on Tuesday.

Taliban forces rally to celebrate the withdrawal of US forces in Kandahar, Afghanistan, 01 September 2021
PIC: EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Image:
Taliban forces in Kandahar rally to celebrate the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan. Pic: EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

The mock funeral included the carrying of coffins covered in French and British flags along the street through a large crowd.

It follows the final US troops leaving on flights from Kabul airport before Tuesday’s deadline which President Joe Biden set ahead of the Taliban taking power in mid-August.

Since taking power, the Taliban has yet to name a new government or reveal how it intends to govern.

It is currently focussing on keeping essential services like banks, hospitals and government machinery running.

But Shah Mehmood Qureshi, the foreign minister of neighbouring Pakistan, which has close ties to the Taliban, said he expected Afghanistan to have a new “consensus government” within days.

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Destroyed military planes and vehicles left by US

Taliban leaders have meanwhile called on Afghans to return home, promising to protect human rights in an apparent bid to present a more moderate stance than their first government in the 1990s, which enforced radical Islamic law.

But reports of violence from the Taliban continue with one woman saying she saw its fighters beating women with sticks outside a bank in the Afghan capital on Tuesday.

“It’s the first time I’ve seen something like that and it really frightened me,” the 22-year-old said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

It came as long queues formed at banks in Kabul on Wednesday as people tried to withdraw savings.

More than 123,000 people were evacuated from Kabul in the US-led airlift but tens of thousands of Afghans at risk are still in the country.

With Kabul’s airport now inoperable, private efforts to help people leave the country have shifted focus to seeking safe passages across the landlock nation’s borders with Iran, Pakistan and central Asian states.

At Torkham, a border crossing with Pakistan just east of the Khyber Pass, a Pakistani official said: “A large number of people are waiting on the Afghanistan side for the opening of the gate.”

Afghans line up outside a bank to take out their money after Taliban takeover in Kabul
Image:
Afghans in Kabul line up outside a bank to take out their money after the Taliban takeover

Thousands also gathered at the Islam Qala post on the border with Iran, witnesses said.

The Taliban also said on Wednesday that it had surrounded the only remaining province resisting its rule.

Several thousand members of local militias and remnants of army units have been holding up in the mountainous Panjshir under the leadership of Ahmad Massoud.

The Taliban have called on these resistance fighters to negotiate a settlement.

Taliban forces rally to celebrate the withdrawal of US forces in Kandahar, Afghanistan, 01 September 2021
PIC: EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Image:
The Taliban is back in charge of Afghanistan 20 years after being ousted in a US-led invasion. Pic: EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Elsewhere on Wednesday, Ramiz Alakbarov, the local UN humanitarian coordinator, warned that food stocks in Afghanistan could run out this month, threatening to add a hunger crisis to the challenges facing the new rulers.

About one third of the country’s population of 38 million is facing “emergency” or “crisis” levels of food insecurity, he said.

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Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has criticised the United States’ involvement in Afghanistan, claiming its 20-year military presence in the country has achieved “zero”.

Senior EU officials have also said that the collapse of Afghanistan’s government, the Taliban’s takeover of the country and the rush to evacuate European citizens and Afghan employees have highlighted the bloc’s need for its own rapid-reaction military force.

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