Kabul: As many as 33 people were assassinated in Afghanistan’s southern Kandahar province over the past two weeks, TOLO News reported on Saturday citing a rights commission.
“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 to Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC). “Any group that resorts on harming civilians is conducting a war crime under the rules of war,” said Laal Gul Laal, the head of Human Rights Organization.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Friday said Taliban forces that have taken control of districts in Kandahar have detained hundreds of residents whom they accuse of association with the government. The Taliban have reportedly killed some detainees, including relatives of provincial government officials and members of the police and army.
According to HRW, Taliban forces took control of Kandahar’s Spin Boldak border crossing with Pakistan on 8 July, and the Spin Boldak district center on 16 July, they conducted searches to identify residents who have worked for the local government or security forces.
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.
“There are grave concerns that Taliban forces in Kandahar may commit further atrocities to retaliate against the government and security forces,” said Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director at HRW. “Taliban leaders have denied responsibility for any abuses, but growing evidence of expulsions, arbitrary detentions, and killings in areas under their control are raising fears among the population.”
A group of gunmen reportedly killed “over 100 civilians” in Spin Boldak district of Kandahar province, TOLO News reported on Thursday citing sources. The Afghan Interior Ministry confirmed the report, blaming the Taliban for the “murder of civilians.”
“The brutal terrorists on the order of their Punjabi bosses (Pakistan) ambushed the homes of the innocent Afghans in certain areas of Spin Boldak, looted the homes and martyred 100 innocent people,” said Mirwais Stanekzai, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior.