A man claiming himself an Australian national alleged he was kidnapped and beaten by the Taliban in a video recording showing his head streaming with blood from injuries.
“They hit me. I am an Australian citizen. They hit me,” the man said in the video, whose name has been secured for safety reasons.
The scene conveyed a Taliban fighter boasting his AK47s, with another man trying to tell the Australian man to turn the camera off.
The man quickly asserted his Australian roots, claiming he was not Afghan and the fighters should not hit him in Dari.
Then as he turned around from the fighters, he said in English as sounds of a gunshot echoed in the background: “This happened to me when I was crossing [to the] airport.”
The Twitter post revealed that he received the head injuries at a Taliban checkpoint when attempting to reach Kabul airport for evacuation flights.
“He was kidnapped by Taliban militants for several hours before being released, but cannot reach the airport to escape the country,” the post reads.
According to the Guardian, the man belongs to the Hazara community, a Persian-speaking minority group native to, and primarily residing in, the mountainous region of Hazarajat, in central Afghanistan.
Hazaras had been targets of violence and persecution by the Taliban for decades.
The man’s family friend in Sydney confirmed the Taliban kidnap story and beatings.
“The Taliban has taken him and a few members of his family and they do not know their whereabouts. Female family members were beaten too by Taliban,” the person, also a Hazara, told the outlet.
The Taliban later freed the captured man and his family, but they forbade him from going to Kabul airport. The man has now gone into hiding after the attack for fear of his own safety.
“This man is too scared to take the risk, without some sort of security, some protection,” his family friend said. “I am aware soldiers from the US and Europe are going out of the airport to locations in Kabul to escort people. Why does Australia not do this, especially for children and women who can’t go through the crowd?”
While the evacuation period is becoming narrow, with countries starting to wrap up their missions before the U.S. troops leave, the situation at Kabul airport has begun to escalate, to the point that foreign officials have advised people to stay away from the airfield for their own surviva— including Australians.
“There’s an ongoing and very high threat of terrorist attack,” said Australia’s travel advice on Thursday, August 26. “Do not travel to Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport. If you’re in the area of the airport, move to a safe location and await further advice.”
Similar advice has also been repeated by British and U.S. officials, with the later government telling evacuees not to attempt any journey to the airport unless given direct instructions for them to do so.
Evacuation flights will proceed for those who can get past the Taliban checkpoints that surround the airfield, as foreign forces still have control of it. More than 70,000 people have been evacuated in the last 12 days.
The U.S. has stated that it will not stay past the 31 August deadline set by the Taliban.