Kabul [Afghanistan], September 7 (ANI): As the Taliban exert control over Afghanistan, Uyghurs living in the countries fear that they could be sent back to China by the outfit to appease the Chinese regime.
In the last few years, Uyghurs are worried that they could be deported to China, which in recent times have escalated religious crackdown in Xinjiang, CNN reported.
Up to 2 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities are believed to have passed through a sprawling network of detention centers across the region, according to the US State Department.
Memet, an Uyghur jewelry merchant from Kabul and the father of five, told VOA he was more frightened than he'd ever been before. He said he thought the Taliban, who are in dire need of economic support, would not hesitate to exchange people like him and his family for Chinese financial aid.
"I'm most fearful that the Taliban will eventually give us back to China, and China will just shoot us," said Memet, who asked that only his first name be used. He said he was born in Afghanistan, the son of exiled Uyghur parents who came to Afghanistan in 1961 from China's autonomous region of Xinjiang.
Speaking with CNN, Tuhan, who is using a pseudonym to protect her identity from the Taliban, is caught between a homeland where Uyghurs are facing increasing repression, and an adopted country where they are considered outsiders.
Former detainees allege they were subjected to intense political indoctrination, forced labor, torture, and even sexual abuse. China vehemently denies allegations of human rights abuses, insisting the camps are voluntary "vocational training centers" designed to stamp out religious extremism and terrorism.
Tuhan said she fears what will happen to her and her family if they're forced to return.
"All these past years, life was difficult ... But what is happening now is the worst," she said, referring to the Taliban takeover. "It is just a matter of time before (the Taliban) find out that we are Uyghurs. Our lives are in danger."
Tuhan is one of up to 3,000 Uyghurs in Afghanistan, according to Sean Roberts, a professor at George Washington University and author of "The War on the Uyghurs," making them a tiny minority in the country of more than 37 million.
Many of them fled China after the Communist Party took control of Xinjiang in 1949. Some -- like Tuhan -- migrated in the mid-1970s, during the chaos of the last years of the Cultural Revolution, crossing mountain passes in the south of Xinjiang to seek refuge, Roberts said. (ANI)