The Taliban are beating young Afghans for wearing Western clothes, according to reports — as US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin acknowledged there have been some “tough encounters” between insurgents and those trying to flee Kabul.
A group of young Afghan men claim Taliban fighters beat, whipped and threatened them at gunpoint for wearing jeans and other Western-style clothes in Kabul, the Telegraph reports.
The young men said the insurgents accused them of disrespecting Islam with their clothing choices.
A reporter with Afghan newspaper Etilaatroz also said he was beaten over the weekend for not wearing “Afghan clothes.”
Similar reports have emerged on social media of young Afghan men being targeted for wearing T-shirts.
A Taliban official said the group was still determining a dress code for men — a week after seizing control of Afghanistan again.
Meanwhile, the price of burqas has doubled in Kabul as demand surged in the wake of the Taliban takeover. Taliban fighters have vowed to respect “women’s rights” despite their horrid track record of allowing women and girls basic freedoms.
Despite alleged promises from the Taliban in the last week that no one would be harmed amid the withdrawal of US troops, Austin admitted there had been situations between insurgents and those trying to flee Afghanistan.
“There have been incidents of people, you know, having some tough encounters with Taliban,” Austin told ABC News.
Austin’s admission came after he was reminded the Taliban haven’t been letting all Americans — or Afghans with credentials — through airport checkpoints safely.
“There’s no such thing as an absolute,” Austin said.
The admission came just days after Austin told lawmakers that some Americans were being beaten by the Taliban while trying to get through to the airport — despite President Biden saying US citizens were being let through without incident.
Two lawmakers told The Post that Austin called the abuse of Americans at the hands of the Taliban “unacceptable” during a conference call Friday.
Biden said Sunday the process to get Americans and tens of thousands of others out of Afghanistan was accelerating, but he continued to defend his decision to withdraw despite the botched evacuations.
“The evacuation of thousands of people from Kabul is going to be hard and painful, no matter when it started, when we began,” the commander-in-chief said.
“It would have been true if we’d started a month ago, or a month from now. There is no way to evacuate this many people without pain and loss of heartbreaking images you see on television.”
Over the 24 hours that ended early Monday, 28 US military flights evacuated approximately 10,400 people from Kabul, according to a White House official.
“We see no reason why this tempo will not be kept up,” Biden said.
The US is aiming to fly 5,000 to 9,000 people out of Kabul each day.
Without going into detail, the president said US troops had improved access to the airport for Americans and others seeking to evacuate.
He suggested that the perimeter around the airport had been extended.