Taliban, ISIL ‘jointly killed 50 civilians’
KABUL – Agence France-PresseThe Taliban and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) jointly massacred dozens of civilians in an Afghan village, officials said on Aug. 7, highlighting rare co-operation between the insurgents that could increase the strain on Afghanistan’s beleaguered security forces.
The fighters killed more than 50 men, women and children in the remote Sayad district of northern Sar-e Pul province on Aug. 5 after overrunning the Afghan Local Police (ALP) - a government-backed militia - in a 48-hour battle, according to local officials.
“It was a joint operation by Daesh [ISIL] and Taliban fighters. They had recruited forces from other provinces of the country and attacked Mirzawalang village,” Zabihullah Amani, a spokesman for the provincial governor, told Agence France-Presse.
The spokesman alleged that dozens of Taliban and ISIL group miiltants under the command of Sher Mohammad Ghazanfar, a local Taliban commander who Amani claims pledged allegiance to ISIL, launched a co-ordinated attack on the area on Aug. 3.
“The fighters overran the area and it led to the massacre of innocent and defenceless civilians,” he said.
Most of those killed were shot but some were beheaded, Amani said.
Mohammad Noor Rahmani, head of Sar-e-Pul’s provincial council, said 44 of the 50 victims were believed to be civilians, with the ALP militia also suffering casualties.
“This is not the final toll. It might change because the area is inaccessible and no telephone networks are working to get an update,” he told AFP.
The Taliban and ISIL militants have regularly clashed since the latter gained a foothold in eastern Afghanistan in 2015, as the two vie for supremacy in the war-torn country.