Taliban 'night letters' warn those who helped West: Surrender or die

Taliban pins terrifying ‘night letters’ on doors of those who helped the West in Afghanistan… warning them to surrender or die

  • The Taliban are pinning letters to the doors of those who worked with West
  • The notes order their victims to attend a Taliban-convened court
  • Failure to do so will result in the death penalty
  • ‘It is a clear message that they want to kill me’ said Naz, whose construction company helped to build roads in Helmand and the runway at Camp Bastion
  • Naz applied for sanctuary in Britain but has been rejected
  •  Often used in rural communities, the letters are now being circulated in cities

The Taliban are pinning chilling ‘night letters’ to the doors of those they accuse of ‘working for the crusaders’.

The notes order their victims to attend a Taliban-convened court. Failure to do so will result in the death penalty.

One of those to receive a warning was Naz, a 34-year-old father-of-six whose construction company helped the UK military build roads in Helmand and the runway at Camp Bastion.

He had applied for sanctuary in Britain under ARAP, the Afghan relocation programme, but had been rejected.

Naz said yesterday: ‘The letter was official and stamped by the Taliban. It is a clear message that they want to kill me. If I attend the court, I will be punished with my life. 

If I don’t, they will kill me – that is why I am in hiding, trying to find a way to escape. But I need help.’

Another victim, a former British military translator, was warned he was a ‘spy of the infidel’ and must give himself up or pay with his life.

A third night letter warned the brother of an interpreter that he had been sentenced to death for sheltering him while a fourth was found in the shoe of an ex-British military translator as he left prayers at a mosque.

The Taliban are pinning chilling ‘night letters’ to the doors of those they accuse of ‘working for the crusaders’. The notes order their victims to attend a Taliban-convened court. Failure to do so will result in the death penalty

The letters are a traditional Afghan method of intimidation. They were used by mujahideen fighters during the Soviet occupation and then by the Taliban as both a propaganda tool and a threat. Often used in rural communities, they are now being widely circulated in cities.

Those received by former British translators are designed to both spread fear and compliance with Taliban directives with threats of violence or death if ‘demands are not met’. 

As in Naz’s case, that usually involves an interpreter surrendering to a Taliban court.

Shir, 47, worked on the front lines in Helmand and qualified for relocation. But he was unable to force his way through the airport to board an evacuation flight.

He said: ‘My daughter found the letter on our door with a nail in it. It instructed me to surrender myself for the judgment of the court of the Islamic Emirate (Taliban) or they would act like hunters to find me. They would then kill me.’

He immediately moved home and is now in hiding.

‘It is a letter of fear, a warning, a threat to you and your family. You must bow to the Taliban orders or make sure you are not caught.

‘I thought I would escape on a British flight and was called three times to the airport but could not make it through the people. 

‘Now I am trapped and people have seen the letter on my door. It is a mark of the Taliban on my family.’

For Naz, the letter was specific. It named his father and their village and was stamped by the Islamic Emirate. 

The warning said he had been a ‘slave’ of Nato forces and had ignored warnings to stop working with them.

He was ordered to ‘present yourself’ to the court otherwise it would be ‘forwarded to the Sharia Court of Appeal where the judgment of death penalty will be passed in your absence. This would be the path you have chosen for yourself’.

Naz said: ‘The message of night letters is clear: you must comply or die. We have moved but we can’t keep moving. We must escape.’

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