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The beginnings of Taliban police in Kabul


clock 2 min read

Taliban policemen stand guard at a checkpoint in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, October 3, 2021.
AFPTaliban policemen stand guard at a checkpoint in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, October 3, 2021.

Taliban police now number 4,000 men in the city of Kabul

The Taliban movement is experiencing a hesitant transition from the daily life of violence, war, and insurgency to challenges of the civil administration of a country. 

Those who spent years in the ranks of Taliban fighters stand today as police roaming the streets of Kabul to catch "thieves, murderers, those who drink wine," as Rahimullah, a Taliban police officer, illustrates.

In its "Talibanized" version, the police outfit no longer includes pants and jackets, but a traditional Afghan tunic, the shalwar kameez. This suit is printed in blue military fabric, the color of the uniform of their predecessors.

Little else remains of the former Afghan police, put in place and trained by international forces. When the Taliban overthrew the government and the city of Kabul several weeks ago, most of the police left their posts.

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Fearing revenge and atrocities, many former senior officials went into hiding or fled the country, especially the few female police officers. 

But Qari Sayed Khosti, the spokesman for the Interior Ministry, now invites them to return to their posts, because, he says, "They know their work." 

On the wall of the Kabul police station, you can still see the police emblem of the former government and, next to it, the Taliban flag.

"Under the previous government, there were 300 or 400 crimes reported per day," explains Afez Sirajuddin Omeri, spokesman for the Kabul police. "Today, I receive about 15 (crime reports)."

"We used to serve by doing jihad, now we are building our country," says Yahya Mansoor (25), in charge of a checkpoint in western Kabul. Mansoor acknowledges that while he does not regret the fighting, he misses the spirit of "holy struggle."