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21st Aug 2021

Gay men in Afghanistan fear that the Taliban will execute them at any moment

Kieran Galpin

Gay men are at serious risk under Taliban rule

Numerous gay men have spoken out over their fears of living in a Taliban occupied Kabul. Speaking to the Insider, several have said they are now ‘living through a nightmare’.

37-year-old gay man Afghan Rameen spoke to Insider over the phone in tears: “I just hope that somebody comes and wakes me up from this bad dream.”

Rameen works for the United Nations and said that despite homosexuality being illegal, he had once enjoyed the underground gay scene in Kabul.

“It was fantastic and so much fun,” Rameen recalled, saying that the hidden homosexual culture felt relatively safe.

He now lives in constant fear and is too scared to meet up with his boyfriend of three years.

“If the Taliban finds out about us, they’ll sentence us to death,” Rameen said. “I think we will have to stop our relationship.”

These fears were reiterated by Ghulam, who also says he may never see his partner again. “If we get caught, the Taliban will kill us,” he told Insider during a phone call.

Though homosexuality has technically been punishable by death for decades, reports say that this has not been enforced since the Taliban’s rule in the ’90s and early 2000s. However, back in July, a judge from the radical Islamist group vowed to sentence gay men to death by stoning or by being crushed by a nine-foot wall.

“We cannot go out because we are just scared for our lives,” Ghulam continued.

“If I had permission to get a visa to go to another country, I would not stay here for another second.”

“I hope others can get asylum. I have contacted people in Germany and said they have to help LGBTQ people. They need help,” said Najib Faizi, a Youtuber who claimed Asylum in Germany at the age of ten.

36-year-old Sayed spoke via Facebook Messenger from Afghanistan’s Balkh province. “Previously, I could meet face-to-face with a partner without feeling any shame about it,” Sayed said. But now Sayed is frantically seeking asylum.

“It’s clear to me that as soon as the Taliban know that I am a gay man, they will kill me without even thinking about it,” he said.

“It’s not hyperbolic to say that gay people will get weeded out and exterminated by the Taliban, just like the Nazis did,” said Nemat Sadat, the first public figure in Afghanistan to advocate for LGBTQ rights.

Sadat is currently helping men like the ones mentioned above escape the Taliban regime through Asylum seeking programs.