A former government worker says he has burned his certificates and documents connected to his previous roles.
Naeemi has worked with the former Afghan government, as well as human rights organisations.
Naeemi, not his real name, has had an impressive career so far. Before the Taliban seized the country, he worked as a journalist for more than five years, and started an organisation providing support for local NGOs. He had also worked with human rights organisations in Afghanistan, and had the opportunity to work with the former Afghan government.
He tells Afghan Witness (AW) that some of his work involved sensitive cases of intelligence and security, and that he was part of a team that prevented several terrorist attacks in Kabul.
With the Taliban now back in power, Naeemi feels his past employment has made him a target. “It has become a huge deal for me right now. I am paying the price at the moment," he says.
“They [the Taliban] are looking for people who worked in the government, media, civil society and human rights commissioners – I was involved in them. I have not left my home, and my wife goes to buy the groceries and does the outdoor work.”
The UN has raised the alarm over mounting evidence of reprisals against activists, journalists, former government officials and security forces.
In late February 2022, the Taliban began house searches starting in northern parts of Kabul. The Taliban claimed ‘criminals’ were being targeted in the operation and have denied targeted reprisals, insisting reports of violence and disappearances were being investigated.
“My mother burned all of the documents that belonged to me - my certificates, my diplomas, my contracts, DVD recordings of my speeches over the past two decades, my pictures with foreign and Afghan government officials, and everything that was associated with me,” Naeemi tells AW.
Many others in Afghanistan have similar stories of burning evidence of the life they lived before the Taliban's takeover.
Naeemi claims that his home was searched by the Taliban, but that his family swapped houses with his uncle before the search.
“It was tough, unbearable, and we had no other choice but to just give up after watching everything in our house be torn apart."
He tells AW that he believes the house searches are not for finding weapons, but for seeking vengeance.
Some residents whose homes were searched claimed doors were broken and their belongings left in a mess.
At the end of the interview, Naeemi stresses the need for Islamic countries to take a “firm stand against the Taliban”, adding that the group has “no place in our world".
“I know the global attention turned away from Afghanistan and focused on Ukraine. But, please, pass on my message and tell the world not to forget Afghanistan and its people."
Interview with Afghan Witness