Report: Taliban Making ‘Kill List’ of Gay Afghans

In this Monday, Oct. 16, 2016 photo, Rameen, a young gay Afghan, poses with his back to the camera in Kabul, Afghanistan. To be homosexual in Afghanistan is to live in fear. Rameen and Naveed, another young gay man, have lost count of the number of times they've been lured …
Massoud Hossaini

The executive director of an organization dedicated to helping LGBT individuals in dangerous states told France24 in an interview published Tuesday that the Taliban had organized a “kill list” of suspected LGBT people in Afghanistan and is widely distributing it among its jihadis in an attempt to execute all those identified.

The Taliban is a radical Sunni Islamist organization that considers gay identity haram, or an affront to its interpretation of Islam. Jihadists in nearly all terrorist organizations have engaged in brutal killings of people suspected of being gay or lesbian; some jihadists support forcing gay people into gender reassignment surgery, essentially imposing a transgender identity.

While extremely hostile to LGBT people, Afghanistan has been typically permissive of a traditional practice known as bacha bazi, in which tribesman rape young boys. The practice was common enough under the previous Afghan government that Taliban jihadists used small children as bait to attract and then kill Afghan security officers. The Afghan government’s acceptance of bacha bazi did not stop widespread persecution of LGBT individuals, particularly gay and lesbian people.


This photograph, taken on October 31, 2016, shows an Afghan boy, who was held as a child sex slave, sitting at a restaurant in an unidentified location in Afghanistan. (Aref Karimi/AFP via Getty Images)

The Taliban took over Afghanistan following President Joe Biden’s extension of the Afghan War in August and have since established itself as the unchallenged regime controlling the country.

Leading Taliban jihadists have insisted for months that they aspire to run an “inclusive” government and respect the human rights of women, which they rampantly violated while in power prior to America’s 2001 invasion of the country. Spokesmen for the terrorist group have specified that they have no intention, however, of respecting the human rights of people they believe to be homosexual.

“LGBT … That’s against our Sharia law,” Taliban “finance ministry” spokesman Ahmad Wali Haqmal told Reuters last week in an interview in which he mostly demanded Taliban access to Afghan government money and international investment in the jihadist organization.

Kimahli Powell, who runs the Canadian NGO Rainbow Railroad, told France24 that the organization has evidence that suggests the Taliban used requests from foreign organizations asking to evacuate Afghan citizens in the immediate aftermath of the group seizing Kabul to draft lists of suspected gay people.

“We now know for sure the Taliban has a ‘kill list’ circulating, identifying LBTQI+ persons,” Powell asserted. The director appeared to suggest that Rainbow Road was among the organizations whose attempts to help imperiled Afghans escape the Taliban was used to persecute LGBT people. The organization confirmed it had received 700 evacuation requests from Afghanistan this year, most of them, presumably, after the Afghan government fell.


Yahya, an Afghan who identifies as gay and a non-conforming person, speaks during an interview at an undisclosed location on September 28, 2021. (AFP via Getty Images)

“[Some] individuals who have reached out to us have told us about how they’ve received a mystery email from someone claiming to be connected with Rainbow Railroad asking for their information and passport,” Powell explained. “That’s how we know the information has been leaked.”

Taliban jihadists have attacked the homes of some of these individuals. In one instance, Powell detailed, a person seeking aid from Rainbow Road received a visit from individuals suspected to be Taliban jihadists who proceeded to beat the person and burn their passport, making their departure from Afghanistan “infinitely harder.”

Similar reports of attacks and threats to LGBT people in Afghanistan emerged nearly immediately following the Taliban’s return to power. In August, a gay man told the Daily Mail anonymously that the Taliban is “hunting us … they kill us very brutally.”

“Not like the others who they kill with a gun or a bullet. They will use fire, or they will behead or stone us, and they will enjoy it – it’s acceptable to them,” the man detailed, adding that a friend had committed suicide.

Taliban officials and commanders attend an open-air rally in a field on the outskirts of Kabul on October 3, 2021, as the Taliban supporters and senior figures held their first mass rally in a show of strength as they consolidate their rule of Afghanistan. (Photo by Hoshang Hashimi / AFP) (Photo by HOSHANG HASHIMI/AFP via Getty Images)

Taliban officials and commanders attend an open-air rally in a field on the outskirts of Kabul on October 3, 2021, as the Taliban supporters and senior figures held their first mass rally in a show of strength as they consolidated their rule of Afghanistan. (Hoshang Hashimi/AFP via Getty Images)

The same week of that report, ITV reported an incident in which Taliban jihadists tricked a gay man in Afghanistan by contacting him on social media and setting up a meeting.

“Two people raped him, they beat him, and then demanded his father’s number so they could tell him his son was gay,” ITV detailed.

The Advocate reported on a separate gruesome incident in Kabul in which the Taliban killed a 24-year-old gay man. The man’s boyfriend shared the story under a pseudonym.

“I go to my home and he went to his. He said they found him. Two cars came, with Taliban in it. They said, ‘Where is his home?’ and beat him so much,” the man said. “They took him away – nobody knows where – and then they kill him.”

“Afterwards they said they brought the body and cut his body into pieces to show the people that this is what we do with gay people,” he concluded.

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