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In the first weeks following the takeover of Mazar, persons trying to leave the city were routinely stopped at checkpoints and searched the vehicles Taliban officials specifically looked for Hazaras. Hazara men who were found in the cars or trucks were detained. The officials also looked for weapons and for pictures, as the Taliban has prohibited these. At one checkpoint outside of Mazar, Taliban soldiers reportedly questioned persons fleeing, “How many Taliban did you kill in Mazar?” apparently referring to the 1997 killings. Those who could convince the authorities that they were not Hazara or who had identity cards from other cities managed to pass.

Other checkpoints where refugees were questioned included Zabul and Qandahar. One witness reported that at Zabul, three men in the family were detained overnight until the family could convince the authorities that they had come from Ghazni. At Qandahar the Taliban told the family that they could not permit Hazaras from Mazar or Bamiyan to pass.The witness’s brother, who was twenty-six, was detained for a week along with ten to twelve other Hazaras. They were given little food and water, beaten with cables repeatedly, and told to confess to being fighters. The witness knew other families whose relatives were arrested in Qandahar and had not yet arrived in Pakistan some weeks later.

Several witnesses described detentions in Jalalabad. One witness stated that his father and brother-in-law were arrested in Jalalabad and held for three days without food. Several witnesses described crowded conditions in the jail, with thirty to forty men kept in one room.

Refugees passing through Spin Boldak on the Pakistan border almost invariably were harassed by Taliban authorities. The men in the car were frequently beaten and detained until the family paid the authorities to secure their release. One witness stated that the Taliban asked, “Are you Hazaras?” and then beat them. He said, “We were like footballs.”

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