Afghan Taliban slams ISIS execution video
The video describes the prisoners as 'apostates' aligned with the Taliban or the Afghan government
The Taliban have condemned a “horrific” video that appears to show fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group blowing up bound and blindfolded Afghan prisoners with explosives.
The video spotlights the growing rivalry between the two groups as ISIS makes gradual inroads into Afghanistan, challenging the Taliban on their home turf.
The video, apparently shot in Afghanistan's restive east against the backdrop of hilly grasslands enveloped with fog, describes the prisoners as “apostates” aligned with the Taliban or the Afghan government.
But the Taliban described them as civilians.
“A horrific video... [shows] kidnappers who associate themselves with Daesh (ISIS) brutally martyring several white-bearded tribal elders and villagers with explosives,” the Taliban said in a statement Tuesday.
“This offence and other such brutal actions by a few irresponsible ignorant individuals under the guise of Islam and Muslims are intolerable.”
The Taliban are themselves often accused of brutality during their 14-year insurgency against the US-backed Afghan government that has sent civilian casualties soaring.
The group has suffered a string of recent defections to IS, with some insurgents voicing disaffection with their longtime leader Mullah Omar, whose death was recently announced by the Taliban.
The video, more than four minutes long, appeared on jihadi social media forums on Sunday and contained commentary in Arabic and Pashto.
Experts say the gravitational pull of ISIS, renowned among jihadists for establishing an Islamic “caliphate” across a swathe of Syria and Iraq, is only likely to grow amid a bitter power struggle within the Taliban.
Some top leaders of the Taliban Islamist insurgency, including Omar's son and brother, have refused to pledge allegiance to new leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour, saying the process to select him was rushed and even biased.
Tayeb Agha, the head of the Qatar political office set up in 2013 to ease talks with Kabul, resigned last week in protest at Mansour's appointment and two more members of the office followed suit.
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