Mass graves found after Afghanistan forces recapture Shia village from ISIS, Taliban
Mass graves containing the bodies of more than 40 civilians allegedly massacred by Taliban and Islamic State insurgents were found on Tuesday after Afghan forces recaptured the village where they died, officials said.
In a rare joint operation by the rival militants, fighters killed dozens of men, women and children in Mirzawalang, a mainly Shia village in Sayad district of northern Sar-e Pul province, on August 5 after overrunning a government-backed militia, according to officials and residents.
“We have so far discovered three mass graves in the village, containing the remains of a total of 42 people, including three children, some of them beheaded,” Zabihullah Amani, a spokesman for the provincial governor, told AFP.
He said that 23 bodies had been found in one grave, 11 in another and eight in a third.
“The majority have been identified as civilians, while there might be a small number of uprising forces too among them. Search operations will continue tomorrow,” Amani added.
The discovery came after a spokesman for the Afghan National Army’s northern military corps said troops had retaken the village following several days of intense fighting that left at least 50 insurgents dead.
“Our forces are in full control of the village and are searching for Taliban mines and booby traps,” Nasratullah Jamshidi told AFP.
Militants suffer heavy casualities
Dawlat Waziri, a spokesman for the Afghan defence ministry, said forces had “pushed the Taliban out of the village” on Monday afternoon.
He told AFP that militants had suffered “heavy casualties”. There has been no word on any casualties to Afghan forces.
Survivors fleeing the violence described nightmarish scenes of militants going from house to house, gunning down local people.
The insurgents also took a number of residents captive, but later released 235 hostages after elders and provincial officials struck a deal with the group.
The ISIS group claimed responsibility for killing 54 Shias in Sar-e Pul in a statement released by its propaganda outlet Amaq late Monday.
The Taliban earlier claimed capturing the village but said it did so alone. It also denied allegations it had killed civilians.
Taliban and ISIS fighters have regularly clashed since the latter gained a foothold in the country in 2015 but security sources say they have teamed up to attack Afghan forces on a few occasions.
ISIS has carried out a number of deadly attacks on Shiites in the past year, providing a sectarian twist to the Afghan conflict.
This month two suicide bombers killed more than 33 worshippers at a mosque in Afghanistan’s western city of Herat, in an attack claimed by the group.
A resurgent Taliban, whose ranks are mostly made up of Sunni Muslim ethnic Pashtuns, is at the height of its summer fighting season.
ISIS claims attack on state-run TV station in AfghanistanThe militant group, ISIS, on Wednesday claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a television station in Afghanistan’s eastern province of ... World News
US military confirms death of ISIS Afghanistan leaderUS and Afghan troops killed the leader of the ISIS’ Afghanistan affiliate in an April raid, US military officials confirmed on Sunday. The ... World News
ISIS death toll hits 90 from huge US bomb in AfghanistanThe death toll from the American military's largest non-nuclear bomb nearly tripled Saturday, with Afghan officials saying at least 90 ISIS fighters ... World News
US drone strike killed ISIS leader in AfghanistanA spokesman for the US military coalition in Kabul said he could not confirm the reports but officials were investigating News