Taliban intensify searches

The Taliban are intensifying their search for people linked to the ousted government in Afghanistan, despite the conciliatory tone of their leaders since taking power.

Senior members of the Islamic group have stressed that they will not seek retribution against those who worked for the former administration or foreign forces.

But Taliban fighters are screening people at checkpoints and going door-to-door in an apparent sign of their tightening control.

A resident of the capital, Kabul, told NHK that a fighter inspected him while he was in a taxi on Thursday.

He said the fighter took his smartphone to check photos and social media posts, and grilled him about his possible ties to the collapsed administration.

The man said he was asked why he had shaved his beard, and was threatened with punishment if he didn't grow one in a month. He said he was shocked, and that he wants to leave the country, but cannot.

Fears Afghanistan will be forced under harsh Islamic rule are growing. In Kabul on Friday, people including women who worked for the government staged a rally to defend their rights.