Religious scholars, tribal elders among 33 assassinated in Taliban-held areas in Afghanistan's Kandahar: Report
Thiry-three people, including religious scholars, tribal elders and journalists, have been assassinated in Afghanistan's Kandahar province over the last two weeks, a report said citing a rights group.
“Religious scholars, tribal elders, civil society activists, journalists and human rights defenders and female journalists are being sacrificed in targeted attacks,” said Zabihullah Farhang, spokesperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), was quoted as saying by Tolo News.
On Thursday, Tolo News reported citing people familiar with the development that "over 100 civilians" were killed by unidentified gunmen in the Spin Boldak district of Kandahar. The Afghan government blamed the Taliban for the murder of civilians.
Hundreds of people in the districts captured by the Taliban in Kandahar have been detained and some have been killed by the group over their alleged association with the Afghan government and security institutions, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said in a report. The Taliban has also reportedly killed some detainees, including relatives of provincial government officials and members of Afghanistan’s National Police (ANP) and the Afghan National Army (ANA), the rights organisation added.
The Human Rights Watch said citing reports that after the Taliban forces took control of Spin Boldak, they conducted searches to identify residents who have worked for the local government or security forces.
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“Taliban forces that control areas around Kandahar city have carried out similar searches and have evicted some residents. Local media have reported that the Taliban have taken more than 300 people into custody and have detained them in unidentified locations,” HRW said.
However, the Taliban has denied any involvement in human rights violations in areas under their control.
“Taliban leaders have denied responsibility for any abuses, but growing evidence of expulsions, arbitrary detentions, and killings in areas under their control is raising fears among the population,” Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director at Human Rights Watch, was quoted as saying by Tolo News.
Taliban insurgents have captured key border crossings, dozens of districts and encircle several provincial capitals since early May as the US-led foreign forces began their final withdrawal from Afghanistan. The Pentagon estimated on Wednesday that the Taliban control now extends to over half of half Afghanistan's district centres.