About 600 Taliban killed in Afghanistan's Panjshir, claim resistance forces amid reports of minority murders

Meanwhile, the Taliban offensive against Panjshir resistance forces has slowed down due to the presence of land mines in the area.

Published: 05th September 2021 09:47 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th September 2021 09:47 AM   |  A+A-

Militiamen loyal to Ahmad Massoud, son of the late Ahmad Shah Massoud, take part in a training exercise, in Panjshir province. (Photo | AP)


KABUL: About 600 Taliban have been killed in Afghanistan's northeastern province of Panjshir, Sputnik reported citing the Afghan resistance forces as saying on Saturday.

"About 600 Taliban have been liquidated in various districts of Panjshir since morning. More than 1,000 Taliban have been captured or surrendered themselves," the resistance forces' spokesperson Fahim Dashti tweeted.

The spokesperson further added that the Taliban had problems with getting supplies from other Afghan provinces, Sputnik reported.

Meanwhile, the Taliban offensive against Panjshir resistance forces has slowed down due to the presence of land mines in the area.

A Taliban source said fighting was continuing in Panjshir but the advance had been slowed by landmines placed on the road to the capital Bazarak and the provincial governor's compound, reported Al Jazeera.

Panjshir is the stronghold of the National Resistance Front, led by Ahmad Massoud, the son of late ex-Afghan guerrilla commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, and ex-Vice President Amrullah Saleh, who had declared himself caretaker president.

In Panjshir, former Vice-President Amrullah Saleh holed out alongside Ahmad Massoud - the son of anti-Taliban commander Ahmad Shah Massoud - admitted the perilous position of the NRF.

"The situation is difficult, we have been under invasion," Saleh said earlier in a video message. "The resistance is continuing and will continue." 

As the Taliban takeover the war-torn country, the Shia Hazara minority in Afghanistan are regularly subjected to targeted killings, violence, and discrimination based on their religious and ethnic identity, said a Canada-based think tank.

In its report, International Forum For Right And Security (IFFRAS) said: "The Shia Hazara minority in Afghanistan are regularly subjected to targeted killings, violence, and discrimination based on their religious and ethnic identity. Increasingly, Hazaras are facing kidnappings from highways, indiscriminate attacks as civilians, and the bombing of their cultural centers. Furthermore, in recent times, their religious centers were also changed to become the frontline of terrorist attacks by the Taliban and Islamic State (IS)."

According to a Canada-based think tank, over the years, the targeted attacks have increased exponentially and the Hazara minority has been subject to daily violence by the Taliban and the Islamic State (IS), targeting Hazara villages, schools, places of worship, gyms, weddings, and markets to maximize civilian casualties.

Soon after the Taliban seized much of Afghanistan in a matter of days, the group destroyed and blew up slain Hazara leader Abdul Ali Mazari's statue in Bamiyan, a grim reminder of the destruction of Bamiyan Buddhas during its previous tenure, IFFRAS noted.

Citing a few attacks on the Hazara community, a Canada-based think tank reported that on November 21, 2015, Taliban gunmen kidnapped Hazaras who were travelling to a major Afghan highway in Zabul province.

"On August 3, 2017, in another incident, Mirzaulang, a village in Sayyad district of Sar-e Pol province was the target of a massive attack organised jointly by the Taliban and IS. The attacks continued for almost three days which resulted in at least 50 deaths and several people getting injured," the report said.

It further stated that on November 20, 2017, in one of the deadliest attacks, a mosque called Imam-e Zaman in Kabul was targeted. According to media reports, the attack resulted in 111 civilian casualties (56 deaths and 55 injured).

In the year 2018 Taliban attacked in Uruzgan Province, leaving dozens of Hazara civilians killed and 500 Hazara families being forced to leave their homes, the report said, adding on November 2018, in another Taliban attack in Jaghori and Malistan districts in Ghanzi Province, 67 Hazaras were killed.

Moreover, on March 12, 2020, the outfit "attacked a maternity hospital in Dasht-e Barchi, a Hazara locality, that killed 24 people including 2 newborn babies, mothers, and members of the hospital staff and on May 8, 2021, nearly 100 people were killed in a triple bombing at the Syed Al-Shahada School, where mostly Hazara girls went to school," the report said.

In desperation, Hazaras have been migrating to neighbouring countries such as Pakistan and Iran. Over the years, they have also migrated to other countries like Australia and the United Kingdom in search of a peaceful, secure and better life.

"With the takeover of the Taliban, once again, the fate of this minority group is "uncertain" and under a constant shadow of tragedy. As the Taliban announces the imposition of "Sharia", one can only wait in despair, hoping this persecuted community would someday be able to live a life of dignity as equal citizens within their own nation," the report added.

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Sunday termed the Afghanistan situation a "humanitarian emergency of internal displacement" as more than half a million Afghan civilians have been displaced from the war-ravaged country.

"More than half a million Afghan civilians have already been displaced. The full impact of the evolving political situation isn't clear. What is clear is that we are witnessing large scale displacement amid what is now a humanitarian emergency of internal displacement," UNHRC tweeted.

Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that he will convene a high-level humanitarian conference for Afghanistan on September 13.

Taking to Twitter, Guterres said that Afghan children, women and men need support and solidarity from the international community.

"Now more than ever, Afghan children, women & men need support & solidarity from the international community. I will convene a high-level humanitarian conference for Afghanistan on 13 September to advocate for a swift scale-up in funding & full, unimpeded access to those in need," Guterres tweeted.

Secretary-General Guterres, in a statement on Tuesday, expressed his deep concern about the humanitarian and economic crisis in Afghanistan and the threat of a total collapse in basic services.

The situation in Afghanistan has been deteriorating after the Taliban seized control of the war-ravaged country. On August 15, the Afghan government fell soon after President Ashraf Ghani left the country.

The US completed the withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan, ending one of its longest wars. In a matter of few weeks, US and Coalition forces evacuated more than 123,000 civilians out of Afghanistan and slightly more than 6,000 of them were US citizens.

General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said the "collapse" of the Afghan army, in the face of Taliban offensive, happened at a much faster rate.

The United States' role in Afghanistan has come under scanner after the Taliban's swift takeover of Kabul, following an offensive that saw the quick fall of the US-trained Afghan army.

"The collapse of the Afghan army happened at a much faster rate and [was] very unexpected by pretty much everybody," General Mark Milley told Fox in an interview. "And then with that is the collapse of the Afghan government."

As the US completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan, General Milley earlier had said that he has "pain and anger" seeing what has happened in the war-torn country over the last 20 years.

He told Fox News that one of the "lessons learned" from the US withdrawal from the war-ravaged country was the pitfalls realised in the Afghan security forces.

"The Army itself - the army and the police forces were a mirror image in many ways - and we created and developed forces that looked like Western forces," Milley said. "I think one of the big lessons learned here is maybe those forces were not designed appropriately for the type of mission."

More than 25,000 Afghan refugees evacuated from Afghanistan are being housed in US military bases around the world. Milley informed that the Ramstein base in Germany has already processed about 30,000 individuals.

About 200 of the 30,000 Afghan refugees processed at the Ramstein base are now under further background checks, Gen Milley said. "I think they've had a couple of hundred ... who popped 'red'," Milley said.

During his interview with Fox News, Milley also recognised the 13 US service members who were killed during a suicide bombing in Kabul. Besides this, the top US general also predicted a civil war in Afghanistan in near future. "My military estimate is...that the conditions are likely to develop of a civil war."


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