"I wake up and scream": Secret Taliban prisons terrorize thousands

One of the Taliban’s most fearsome tools for doing so is a loose network of prisons, an improvised archipelago of mistreatment and suffering, in which the insurgents inflict harsh summary judgment on their fellow Afghans, arbitrarily stopping them on the highway. Mostly, they are looking for soldiers and government workers. The government too has been accused of mistreatment in its prisons, with the United Nations recently finding that nearly a third of the Afghan army’s prisoners have been tortured.

In the Taliban’s case, the detained are locked up in hidden makeshift prisons, a universe of incarceration in which the hapless charges are often moved, day after day, from ruined house to isolated mosque, and back again — without any sense of how long their detention will last. The approach is anything but discriminating…

In Faizabad, the Taliban’s technique is to incarcerate and punish first and ask questions later. There is no judge and no court. Local villagers are forced to provide food. While thousands of Afghans have been detained in this way, there are no statistics. Afghan special forces said they recently freed more than 40 detainees from a Taliban prison in Baghlan Province, a not uncommon incident in local news broadcasts. On Monday, 23 more were freed in Kunduz Province, after being “extensively tortured” by the Taliban, said the Afghan Ministry of Defense.