Taliban Spox Denies Hunting U.S. Afghan Allies, Says Criminals May Be 'Posing as Taliban'

A Taliban spokesperson speaking on MSNBC Monday denied reports that its fighters have been moving through newly captured cities in Afghanistan, hunting down people who may have cooperated with Americans, and sometimes taking women and children hostage.

MSNBC anchor Ayman Mohyeldin questioned Suhail Shaheen: "You say your forces are providing security. And we're getting calls, we have been hearing messages from people who are saying that the Taliban and their fighters have gone house to house, looking for people who worked alongside the Americans who worked as translators, and in some cases, taking young women and children as brides for their fighters. Are you denying those allegations?"

"Yes, I totally deny that someone goes, go from door to door, and they are posing as Taliban. They are not Taliban," Shaheen answered.

"They may be from the former NBS or some spoilers and posing in order to create a bad name for us to malign us, but they are not Taliban, because we have a clear policy. The policy is that no one can enter anyone's house. Property, honor, and life of the people are protected," he added.

Kabul
A spokesperson for the Taliban appeared on MSNBC Monday to deny reports that the Taliban is targeting people who have previously cooperated with Americans. Above, Afghans attempt to leave the Kabul airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 16, 2021. WAKIL KOHSAR/Getty

Shaheen also denied accusations coming from the Afghan embassy and MSNBC reporters of mass executions of military personnel and targeted killings of civilians who have worked with Americans, saying those allegations were "totally baseless, totally wrong."

"They are the propaganda spread by our opponents, in order to mislead the opinion of the world against us," Shaheen claimed.

Earlier on Monday, Afghanistan's United Nations representative, Ghulam M. Isaczai, spoke to an emergency meeting held by the U.N. Security Council, warning that the Taliban was locating citizens on a "target list" by conducting "house-to-house" searches throughout Kabul.

Isaczai also warned the U.N. Council that he feared the Taliban was not and would not be adhering to the peace agreement signed in Doha, Qatar, on February 29, 2020. Shaheen seemed to be referencing this agreement when asked about the safety of U.S. soldiers.

"Did they give the Americans any guarantees that they would be allowed that the Americans would be allowed to leave Kabul without any attacks or threats against the American military or American personnel that they are trying to evacuate?" Mohyeldin questioned.

"Yeah, we have a commitment that there would be no attack on the Americans," Shaheen said, appearing to reference the peace agreement. "...not only now, it was for the last 14 months, what was mentioned in the agreement, and we didn't attack them. Not a single American soldier was killed in that time."

When Mohyeldin further pressed him to clarify the Taliban's position on Afghans who have worked with Americans, asking, "Will you go after and punish those that worked with the Americans while they were there if they don't leave the country?" the Taliban spokesperson insisted they would not.

"We want them not to leave the country, to lead a normal life, our country needs them. We have a commitment...We will not punish them, and we will not pose an arrest to them, to their property, and to their life. It is our policy, we have issued an actual statement in this regard."

Newsweek reached out to U.N. representatives for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.