A former soldier who worked with the translator confirmed his service and his brother’s fate.
“You have been accused of helping the Americans,” the Taliban wrote in the first of three letters to the Afghan, adding: “You are also accused of ensuring the safety of your brother, who was an interpreter.”
The first hand-written letter from the Taliban orders the man to appear for a hearing.
The second handwritten letter is a notice of his absence from the hearing.
In the third letter, which is typed, the Taliban inform the man that because he rejected previous warnings to stop “your bondage to the invading crusaders” and ignored a subpoena for a hearing, he was “guilty. in absentia ”and will be sentenced to death.
The Taliban have delivered the letters over the past three months to the interpreter’s brother, according to the former serviceman who worked with the interpreter.
CNN does not identify the Afghan, or his family member, to protect their identity in the face of the threats they face. The letters, which were written in Pashto and translated into English for CNN, have seals that match those on the Taliban’s archival letters.
“These court decisions are final and you will not have the right to oppose them”, we read in the third letter. “You chose this path for yourself and your death is eminent [sic], God willing.”
The letters contradict assurances that Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid made at a press conference last week as the group tries to project a more moderate image to the world.
“No one will be injured in Afghanistan,” Mujahid said. “Of course there is a huge difference between us today and 20 years ago.”
U.S. Afghan allies doubt it, and these letters and numerous reports of the Taliban seeking revenge explain why many Afghans fear the Taliban will resume its brutal and oppressive rule.
The Biden administration has come under intense pressure to evacuate not only Afghan special immigrant visa applicants, but also other vulnerable Afghans who fear for their lives. The administration struggled to deal with the massive crush of people trying to flee the country on evacuation flights from Kabul, as chaotic scenes unfolded for days outside the airport international Hamid Karzai.
CNN’s Jennifer Hansler contributed to this report.
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