Fam­i­lies re­count hor­ri­fy­ing, bloody Tale­ban, IS mas­sacre

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

MAZAR-I-SHARIF:

Tale­ban and Is­lamic State fight­ers un­leashed a killing spree tar­get­ing civil­ians af­ter cap­tur­ing a re­mote vil­lage in north­ern Afghanistan, trau­ma­tized fam­i­lies said yes­ter­day af­ter be­ing re­leased by the in­sur­gents. The mil­i­tants killed about 50 vil­lagers, in­clud­ing women and chil­dren in Mirza­walang-a mainly Shi­ite vil­lage in Sayad district of north­ern Sar-e Pul prov­ince-on Satur­day af­ter over­run­ning a gov­ern­ment­backed mili­tia, said of­fi­cials.

The in­sur­gents also took a num­ber of res­i­dents cap­tive, but re­leased 235 hostages late Tues­day af­ter el­ders and provin­cial of­fi­cials struck a deal with the group. Sur­vivors flee­ing the vi­o­lence de­scribed night­mar­ish scenes, de­tail­ing how the mil­i­tants went from house to house, shoot­ing vil­lagers. “When the fight­ing be­gan, the vil­lagers tried to flee, but they were stopped by IS fight­ers. They took a group of men, women and chil­dren be­hind a hill and shot them,” said Ali Dad Za­fari, a Mirza­walang res­i­dent.

‘I buried 10 bod­ies in one grave’

“Since my mother was too old to walk, she was left be­hind, I don’t even know what has hap­pened to her,” he added. Vil­lager Yasin Abuzar said IS and Tale­ban fight­ers cut off the main roads to the area be­fore launch­ing a killing spree. “I could only res­cue my kids. When they en­tered our vil­lage they opened fire at ev­ery­one in­dis­crim­i­nately, they didn’t even spare women and chil­dren,” he said, adding that hun­dreds were still miss­ing. “I buried 10 bod­ies in one grave. We don’t want the gov­ern­ment to give us coffins, we want them to pro­vide us se­cu­rity,” he said.

Lo­cal of­fi­cials called for more aid as hun­dreds of dis­placed ar­rived in the provin­cial cap­i­tal. “The fam­i­lies who have come to Sar-e Pul city need shel­ters and food. They are liv­ing in the mosques, schools, with their rel­a­tives and some even on the streets,” Zabi­ul­lah Amani, a provin­cial spokesman, told AFP. “If aid agen­cies don’t help we will face a hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis,” he added. The vil­lagers said most of those killed were Shi­ites and Hazaras who were either shot or be­headed.

IS has given a sec­tar­ian twist to the Afghan con­flict, with a num­ber of deadly at­tacks on Shi­ites in the past year. Last week two sui­cide bombers killed more than 33 wor­ship­pers at a mosque in Afghanistan’s western city of Herat, in an at­tack claimed by group. A resur­gent Tale­ban, whose ranks are mostly made up of Sunni Mus­lim eth­nic Pash­tuns, is at the peak of its sum­mer fight­ing sea­son. The Tale­ban con­firmed cap­tur­ing Mirza­walang but said it did so alone. It has also de­nied al­le­ga­tions it had killed civil­ians. Army spokesman Nas­rat­ul­lah Jamshidi said Afghan forces launched an oper­a­tion yes­ter­day to re­take the district. “We will avenge the blood of our in­no­cent peo­ple,” Mo­ham­mad Zahir Wah­dat, the provin­cial gov­er­nor, told re­porters. —AFP

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