Taliban “executed 900 people” as Islamists invaded Kandahar
Taliban executed some 900 people in six weeks in one province as its fighters invaded government troops, police chief said
The targets included police officers, tribal leaders, civilian activists and even a popular comedian who were dragged out of their homes and killed in southern Kandahar province, the area’s former police chief said. , Tadin Khan.
Islamist fighters have now retaken much of the province and have besieged the regional capital – also known as Kandahar – as they attempt to regain control of the country after the withdrawal of US troops.
Taliban fighters executed 900 people in Kandahar province in just six weeks as the Islamist group invaded government troops, said a former police captain (pictured, government troops in Kandahar city)
Those executed include police officers, tribal elders, religious scholars, government supporters and even a popular comedian, the leader said (pictured, government troops in Kandahar City)
Many deaths have occurred in the town of Spin Boldak, on the border with Pakistan, Khan told Afghan media TOLO.
“The people have suffered tremendously,” he said. “The brutality that has taken place in Boldak is unforgivable.”
Among them was comedian Nazar Mohammad, who previously served in the Afghan police, who had his throat cut before images of his body were posted online.
Other targets of the Islamists have been the hidden Afghan soldiers – some of whom may have surrendered to the Taliban rather than fighting on the promise that they would be allowed to return home safely.
Religious scholars, government employees and anyone considered to be a supporter of the government have also been targeted, Khan said.
Taliban leaders have been keen to present the modern group as a moderate version of the one with which the United States went to war in 2001, in an attempt to forge alliances with their neighbors and prevent the kind of intervention that is looming large. ‘saw the overthrow of power.
But those on the ground say it was the same brutal regime as before that imposed its strict interpretation of Sharia law on the provinces it captured.
In addition to the executions, the women say they have been prohibited from leaving their homes without a permit and going to school in areas controlled by the Taliban.
The Taliban have denied allegations of executions.
The Taliban have taken over parts of the Afghan countryside and are now vying for control of the provincial capitals of Herat, Kandahar and Lashkar Gah
Images of executions posted online have sparked a refugee crisis as people fearful of being targeted by the terror group flee their homes (pictured)
Kandahar is just one of three provincial capitals to be attacked by the Taliban, who have spent months reclaiming rural areas behind the backs of retreating US and NATO troops.
After conquering the countryside, the militants are now focused on reclaiming the towns whose control is the key to controlling the country.
The hardest hit was Lashkar Gah, capital of Helmand province which is the traditional heart of the Taliban.
Most of the city has now fallen into Islamist hands, with American warplanes hitting Taliban positions in an attempt to hold back the assault and buy from the government troops who still hold a few areas in a handful of areas. respite.
But residents report the strikes are having little impact – forcing the Taliban to take a brief pause while they are being carried out, before resuming their attack once the shelling has stopped.
Government forces are more successful in the northern city of Herat, however, after repelling a Taliban assault far from its outer suburbs.
President Ashraf Ghani hopes that by concentrating his forces in the cities and holding them, the Taliban can be weakened enough to feel the need to resume the peace talks which are currently at daggers drawn.
The most optimistic outcome is that the government and the Taliban can craft some sort of power-sharing arrangement that keeps Ghani in power.
The Taliban are now fighting to take control of Kandahar city (pictured), one of the three provincial capitals under attack
A woman who fled her home in the Kandahar countryside waits for help after traveling to the provincial capital, where government forces still control
However, if the Taliban emerge victorious, they are likely to attempt to retake the capital Kabul – giving it back control of Afghanistan and deriding two decades of Western intervention.
The nightmarish scenario is that neither side can deliver a fatal blow and the conflict escalates into a protracted and bloody civil war of the kind seen in the 1990s that spawned the Taliban in the first place.
This risks creating a serious refugee crisis and providing a safe haven for other terrorist groups – such as ISIS – to settle in.
As recently as yesterday, the chief of the British armed forces, General Sir Nick Carter, warned that the country risked becoming a failed state even if the Taliban regained power.
General Carter also warned BBC Radio 4 Today that there is a “real risk” that “we are giving too much legitimacy to the Taliban movement.”
“There is a huge disparity between what Mullah Baradar says publicly and what he does publicly while traveling to countries like Russia and China etc., and a disparity between what is actually happening on the ground.
“And the international community needs to do a lot more to denounce the way people on the ground are ransacking government buildings, they are threatening the population, there are reports of people being forced into marriage.”
He said there had been “gruesome war crimes videos” and “we must not let them get away – we must call them”.