After the Taliban seized Afghanistan last month, the militant group made a point of issuing conciliatory words.
On 17 August, spokesman Suhail Shaheen spoke of a “new chapter” in the country, and a desire to provide its people with “prosperous lives”.
Later that day, another Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, claimed at a press conference that anyone who “fought against us” – as well as the interpreters and contractors who supported Allied efforts over the past 20 years – would be pardoned.
He promised the Taliban is “committed to the rights of women within the framework of Sharia” law, and even committed to a “free and independent media”.
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Two weeks on, worrying reports are already emerging about the Taliban's brutal rule in Afghanistan.
A former Afghan special forces soldier claimed to the BBC on Tuesday that 15 of his colleagues have already been killed, forcing him and his family into hiding.
“Since the Taliban have come to power they haven't stopped killing," he was quoted as saying.
The BBC also reported that two senior police officials have been executed by the Taliban.
The outlook appears similarly grim for Western allies such as interpreters who were left behind in Kabul as troops evacuated the country.
The Daily Mail has reported that armed Taliban soldiers are going door-to-door in search of the “traitors” who helped the British.
One translator, Kaleem, told the paper: “No one believes the Taliban’s words of forgiveness… we provided the intelligence to fight against them.”
The West’s departure from Afghanistan, confirmed last week when US president Joe Biden refused to extend his 31 August evacuation deadline, was put into stark perspective on Tuesday when Fox News reported a US official as saying the Taliban was carrying out door-to-door executions within hours of Biden's withdrawal.
On Saturday, ITV reported another example of the Taliban's brutal rule: telling the story of a man who was raped and beaten because he was gay.
All these reports should come as no surprise, despite the Taliban's promises after seizing power.
It was only on 30 July, a couple of weeks before the Taliban's promises of peace, that Human Rights Watch reported it was attacking known critics despite claiming fighters had been ordered to act with restraint.
Khasha Zwan was among those executed after "poking fun" at Taliban leaders, the organisation said.
“His murder and other recent abuses demonstrate the willingness of Taliban commanders to violently crush even the tamest criticism or objection,” it said.
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