Afghan lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) community members are still not safe in their home country as the Taliban have a "kill list" of gay people, claims a non-governmental organization (NGO).

Same-sex relations have always been taboo in Afghanistan, but since the Taliban took control of the country on Aug. 30 following the US military withdrawal, the situation has worsened. It seems like the militant group is applying a strict interpretation of Sharia law, under which same-sex relations may be punishable by death even though they haven't confirmed how they will deal with the LGBTQ community.

Executive Director Kimahli Powell of Rainbow Railroad, an international LGBTQ organization helping the Afghan LGBTQ community, told FRANCE 24, "This is a really scary time to be in Afghanistan." He added, “We now know for sure the Taliban has a ‘kill list’ circulating, identifying LGBTQ+ persons.”

The militant group most likely benefited from the power vacuum that happened in the days leading up to the US troops' withdrawal deadline to come up with these “kill lists” by focusing on the names of individuals that international rights groups were trying to evacuate, Powell believes. He added that there was a lot of information sharing after the fall of Kabul, Afghanistan, and pointed out that those who didn't make it aboard any of the departing flights were left vulnerable, with their names exposed.

He also said that the Taliban seem to have used data leaks and “entrapment” to complement these lists. He shared that some of the people who have reached out to the NGO have told them about how they’ve received a mystery email from someone claiming to be connected with them asking for their details and passport, so that’s how the NGO knows the "information has been leaked.”

Powell said that for Afghanistan alone, they have got 700 help requests in 2021 and identified about 200 more people “in need of immediate evacuation." He described the current situation in the Asian country as “lawless.”

According to Daily Mail, a gay man, who was lured out of hiding in Kabul by Taliban fighters who pretended to be friends offering safe passage out of Afghanistan. However, he was thrashed and raped by the militant group in August.

Taliban fighters
Taliban fighters patrol the streets on a pick-up in Kabul city, on Nov. 1, 2021. Photo by Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images

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