The Taliban government are reportedly keeping a ‘kill list’ of gay people in Afghanistan, forcing many to go into hiding.
The Islamist government’s extremist interpretation of Sharia law means homosexuality is strictly prohibited and prohibited by death – often in particularly brutal ways.
And now, the director of a LGBT+ human rights group has claimed that the Taliban have created a list of gay people who they want to kill.
‘This is a really scary time to be in Afghanistan,’ Kimahliu Powell, executive director of the Rainbow Railroad, the only international LGBT+ organisation on the ground in Afghanistan, told France 24.
‘We now know for sure the Taliban has a ‘kill list’ circulating, identifying LBTQI+ persons,’ he said.
The future for the LGBTQ+ community in Afghanistan became particularly bleak when the Taliban seized power in August
Powell said the Taliban is likely to have paid close attention to the names of people that foreign rights groups tried to evacuate in the weeks leading up to the withdrawal of U.S. and allied troops from Afghanistan.
‘After the fall of Kabul, there was a lot of information sharing,’ Powell said, adding that those who were unable to be evacuated are likely to have been added to the Taliban’s ‘kill list’ as their identities were exposed.
Powell claimed the Taliban have added to the ‘kill list’ though ‘entrapment’ schemes and data leaks.
Kimahliu Powell (right), executive director of the Rainbow Railroad, said that his organisation had seen evidence that the Taliban had put together a ‘kill list’ of known LGBT Afghans
‘Some individuals who have reached out to us have told us about how they’ve received a mystery email from someone claiming to be connected with Rainbow Railroad asking for their information and passport,’ Powell said. ‘That’s how we know the information has been leaked.’
Under Taliban rule, LGBT people are among the most vulnerable in Afghanistan, with many facing increased levels of persecution.
The Rainbow Railroad, founded in 2006, is helping threatened members of the LGBT+ community find refuge in safe houses before taking them ‘by land or by air’ to permanent safety in a foreign country.
‘I can guarantee you already right now, that the number of requests we will receive this year will spike’.
In 2017, the group shot to worldwide fame after helping more than a hundred people escape persecution during the deadly anti-gay purge in Chechnya.
The future for the LGBTQ+ community in Afghanistan became particularly bleak when the Taliban rose to power in August.
The Taliban interpretation of Sharia law is extreme and strictly prohibits homosexuality on punishment of death (pictured, an alleged murderer is executed in Kabul in 1998)
The Rainbow Railroad says it has recieved over 700 requests for help from LGBT+ Afghans this year after the Taliban seizing power put them in danger
Powell said the group has already received 700 requests for help this year and knows of around 200 more ‘in need of immediate evacuation’.
Afghan laws already prohibited homosexuality, as people who engaged in same-sex sexual behaviour received prison terms and were widely persecuted.
But under the Taliban’s extremist interpretation of Sharia Law, homosexuality is strictly prohibited and punishable by death – often in particularly brutal ways.
Taliban ‘justice’ recalls the worst atrocities under ISIS, who routinely executed gay men by throwing them off buildings and posted the footage online (pictured)
A man accused of harassment in beaten by members of the Taliban as punishment for his crime in neighbouring Pakistan
In an interview with Fox News in the aftermath of the West’s withdrawal, US Special Forces sniper Tim Kennedy, who served in both Afghanistan and Iraq, said he had personally seen Taliban fighters burning homosexuals alive and throwing them off of roofs.
Nancy Kelley, chief executive of LGBT rights charity Stonewall said: ‘For years LGBTQ+ Afghans have had to endure routine discrimination, abuse and persecution, including by the state.
‘With the Taliban in power we expect this situation to deteriorate further,’ she told i News.
In July, a Taliban judge Gul Rahim, 38, spoke matter-of-factly about toppling walls on gay men as a form of execution in in central Afghanistan.
Judge Gul Rahim spoke matter-of-factly about executing gays and kidnappers while cutting hands and legs off thieves (pictured, a Taliban prisoner is executed in 2007)
A gay man was raped and beaten by the Taliban in August as the country returned to Islamist rule.
The man 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.