Gay Afghan man flees after Taliban kills friend fears he will be next

A collage of a Taliban soldier and a couple holding hands side by side behind an LGBTQ+ pride flag.

Ahmadi suffered torture and gang rape when the Taliban imprisoned him (Image: Getty)

Hamed Sabouri started crying in a restaurant in Kabul, Afghanistan – his friend, with whom he was two years old, had put chili peppers in his soup.

Sabouri, 22, hated chili peppers. Couldn’t stand her, remembers Ahmadi (name changed).

Ahmadi, 29, says the 2020 dinner is a “memory of Hamed that will never be forgotten”.

He even recalls the kaftan he wore, how tired he was that day, and how Sabouri was a “very kind boy.” The two date from 2018 to 2022.

Taliban forces kidnapped Sabouri in August – almost a year to the day since militants regained control – dragged him to an undisclosed location and shot him dead.

“I found out after 5 a.m. that Hamed was killed by the Taliban because before they killed him, he called me and said I was being threatened,” says Ahmadi.

TOPSHOT - Taliban fighters patrol along a street during a demonstration of people to condemn the recent protest by Afghan women's rights activists January 21, 2022 in Kabul. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN/AFP) (Photo by MOHD RASFAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Taliban arrival in Kabul shattered fears among LGBTQ+ Afghans (Image: AFP)

Ahmadi desperately tried to call him back, but Sabouri’s phone was off.

“The Taliban sent me a video of his death,” Ahmadi says of the four-second clip, seen by Metro.co.uk, adding, “They tell me you’re going to be Hamed.”

“His memory will never be forgotten,” says Ahmadi.

Sabouri from Kabul was a regular stargazer. He hoped to be a doctor one day, loved romance novels and listened to Michael Jackson and Justin Bieber.

Gay man machine gun raped by six men in prison by Taliban

A single year of Taliban rule turned Ahmadi’s life upside down.

“Before the Taliban came, my life was great, I was free,” says Ahmadi. “I was never offended anywhere, I had a love life everywhere. I’ve had sex with boys.

“Now I live like a prisoner. I am insulted and tortured everywhere.’

“My older brother was a [Afghan Uniform Police] Officer, he was shot dead by Taliban terrorists before my eyes,” he adds.

-- AFP IMAGES OF THE YEAR 2021 -- Afghans sit on a U.S. military plane at Kabul military airport on August 19, 2021 following the military takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban to leave Afghanistan. (Photo by Shakib RAHMANI / AFP) / AFP IMAGES OF THE YEAR 2021 (Photo by SHAKIB RAHMANI/AFP via Getty Images) 10413107 Months before the withdrawal, Watchdog warned the Biden administration that the Afghan Air Force would collapse without crucial American help, as a newly released report reveals

Thousands of people fled the country after the bloody retake of Kabul from the Taliban. But LGBTQ+ will remain (Image: Getty Images/AFP)

A few days after the Taliban seized power, Ahmadi was arrested for homosexuality. He only escaped after bribing a guard before changing his name entirely.

But the Taliban keep chasing him.

He received several threatening letters from the Ministry of Virtue Propagation and Vice Prevention, the state police for religious customs.

A letter seen by Metro.co.uk said “local residents” had complained that Ahmadi was a “gay supporter” who committed “indecent acts”.

Ministry officials called for his arrest “as soon as possible”.

“To prevent moral corruption in society, there should be legal penalties,” the letter concludes.

“Life is very difficult for me, I face serious threats and I have nowhere to go because I fear the Taliban are looking for me,” says Ahmadi.

A Taliban militant mans his weapon during celebrations one year after the Taliban took over the Afghan capital Kabul in front of the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, August 15, 2022. The Taliban were celebrating the first anniversary of their takeover after the dated the country's Western-backed government had fled and the Afghan military had collapsed in the face of the insurgents' advance. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

The Taliban government promised a more modern Islamic rule. It never happened (Image: AP)

He says that last year the Taliban took his friend’s phone at a checkpoint that was full of gay sex videos.

Ahmadi had no choice but to run away from home, adding he was arrested a second time in July for being gay.

“The Taliban wanted to execute me,” he says. “I was severely tortured until the end of my life. Six people anally raped me with a machine gun for three days.

“I experienced electric and cable torture day and night in prison.”

Ahmadi shared a photo of himself after one of the two beatings with Metro.co.uk, showing his back with lashes and lacerations.

He remembers his time in prison. He also literally had it etched: his back and buttocks are still covered in bruises, his wrists are scarred from the handcuffs he wore for months.

“When the Taliban invited the prisoners to prayer at 5 a.m., I hid in the prison garbage truck,” he explains.

Ahmadi remained in prison for about three hours before escaping from prison and “walking 24 hours to Jalalabad,” the capital of eastern Nangarhar province.

LGBTQ+ Afghans are at risk of ‘hidden genocide’, says a local activist

Nemat Sadat, executive director of Afghan LGBTQ+ nonprofit Roshaniya, says Sabouri was someone who had his whole life ahead of him.

Now he is a “victim” of the Tablian regime.

“In the 20 years of the democratic era, homosexuality was criminalized and LGBT+ people had no rights, but today they can’t even breathe and face covert genocide at the hands of the Taliban,” Sadat warns.

“Hamed faced discrimination all his life for being gay and his life ended abruptly with no one there to help him before his life was taken.”

Nafar Jan of LGBTQ+ campaign group Rainbow Afghanistan says things are only getting worse for people like Sabouri and Ahmadi.

“The Taliban are becoming more powerful by the day, and anyone can imagine how difficult it can be to breathe under the rule of a terror regime,” he says.

“LGBTIQ members need to act normal so they don’t kill us. Many of us can’t even go outside.

KABUL ECONOMY UNDER TALIBAN RULE

Activists say dozens of LGBTQ+ Afghans are being arrested every day (Image: Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

“No one really knows how many LGBTIQ members are killed, abused, brainwashed, tortured, bullied or rejected by their families and society on a daily basis.”

According to Jan, dozens of LGBTQ+ Afghans are arrested and interrogated every day in Kabul and provincial safe zones. Some are kidnapped and killed.

“All LGBTIQ supportive governments and organizations have halted their relief, relief and evacuation plans for us. We will be forgotten and silently left to die,” he adds.

ANKARA, TURKEY - 2021/08/25: Protesters hold LGBTI+ flags during the demonstration. The Ankara Women's Platform organized a protest for the women still under Taliban rule in Afghanistan. (Photo by Tunahan Turhan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

LGBTQ+ Afghans who have not been evacuated by Western governments now feel abandoned (Image: SOPA Images_

Behesht Collective, which provides mental health support and shelter to LGBTQ+ youth, says the Taliban have “buried the aspirations of 1,250 LGBTQ+ Afghans” who are members of the network – “hundreds and thousands” remain stuck.

“LGBTQ+ people will never accept Sharia law because Sharia law is designed to eliminate us,” says Behesht Collective.

Sadat from Roshaniya believes that helping them escape is now or never.

“If the world doesn’t intervene now to grant asylum protection now, then I fear that the entire LGBT+ community in Afghanistan will perish within a few years,” Sadat said.

“We can not permit that.”

After Sabouri’s assassination, Ahmadi left home again, as he has done so many times before. He is homeless and unable to work because of the threats.

Ahmadi once asked a man to give him money. The 60-year-old man raped him before giving him 1,000 afghanis (10 pounds).

He’s safe now, he feels. But he cannot say for sure whether he will be there tomorrow.

Ahmadi found out last month that Sabouri’s family fled Afghanistan. He longs for the day when he can do the same.

“I know I will be killed,” he says, “if I am arrested again, I will be executed.”

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, Visit our news page.

https://metro.co.uk/2022/10/16/gay-afghan-on-the-run-after-taliban-kills-boyfriend-fears-hes-next-17557785/ Gay Afghan man flees after Taliban kills friend fears he will be next

Justin Scacco

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