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The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan has rightly highlighted the threat to the wellbeing of women and girls but little has been said about the danger facing gay men. Sharia Law, strictly interpreted by the Taliban, punishes homosexuality with the death penalty and sentences are often carried out in brutal and sadistic ways.

Tim Shipman, a US Special Forces Afghan veteran, told America’s Fox News that he had personally seen Taliban fighters setting fire to gay men and throwing them off of roofs. And in an anonymous interview with Mail Online, a gay man who is currently in hiding in Kabul explained how members of the Taliban enjoy hunting and killing homosexuals. 

He elaborated, “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.” 

Another gay man, also in hiding, told the BBC, “Even when I see the Taliban from the windows I feel really scared. My body starts shaking from seeing them.” 

Speaking to iNews, Stonewall boss Nancy Kelly commented, “For years LGBTQ+ Afghans have had to endure routine discrimination, abuse and persecution, including by the state. 

With the Taliban in power we expect this situation to deteriorate further.”

Knocking on doors.

According to the Toronto and New York based charity Rainbow Road which works to help LGBTQ+ people escape state-sponsored persecution around the world, the situation is getting worse with the organisation’s Executive Director Kimahli Powell reporting that the Taliban are now knocking on doors asking for LGBTQ+ people by name.

With the imminent cessation of NATO evacuation flights from Kabul Airport, the outlook for LGBTQ+ people – as well as women, girls and anyone who worked for NATO over the past 20 years – is grim, serving to expose the dire consequences of President Biden’s bungled handling of the withdrawal of American troops. Mr Biden is delivering on his election promise to end America’s “forever wars” and “to bring our boys home”, although the casualties from yesterday’s bombing of Kabul Airport resulted in 13 US military deaths, the most deadly day for a decade and the first American deaths in Afghanistan in 18 months.

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Rob Harkavy

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