The Taliban and the Wahhabi Daesh [Arabic acronym for "ISISL / "ISIL"] terror group jointly massacred dozens of civilians, mostly Shia Hazaras, in "a brutal, inhumane way" after attacking a village in a remote area of Afghanistan's northern province of Sar-e Pul, officials and locals said.
The militants killed more than 50 men, women and children in the remote Sayad district of northern Sar-e Pul province on Saturday after overrunning the Afghan Local Police [ALP] in a 48-hour battle, according to local officials.
"It was a joint operation by Daesh [‘ISIS'] and Taliban fighters. They had recruited forces from other provinces of the country and attacked irzawalang village," Zabihullah Amani, a spokesman for the provincial governor, told AFP.
The spokesman said that dozens of Taliban and Daesh group militants under the command of Sher Mohammad Ghazanfar, a local Taliban commander who Amani claims pledged allegiance to Daesh, launched a coordinated attack on the area on Thursday.
"The fighters overran the area and it led to the massacre of innocent and defenseless civilians," he said.
Most of those killed were shot but some were beheaded, Amani said.During the raid, the militants set fire to several mosques, torched at least 30 houses, beheaded a number of villagers and shot dozens of others dead, other officials said.
The carnage occurred "in the province's predominately Shia village of Mirzawalang after insurgents captured it on Saturday," said Sar-e Pul Governor Mohammad Zaher Wahdat.
He added that "as many as 30 to 40 innocent people... were brutally shot and killed" in the raid; however, local elders in the village put the number of civilian victims at around 50.
Mohammad Noor Rahmani, head of Sar-e-Pul's provincial council said,
"This is not the final toll. It might change because the area is inaccessible and no telephone networks are working to get an update."
Up to seven Afghan security forces were also killed and dozens of civilians were taken hostage by the militants.
The Taliban and Daesh militants had regularly clashed since the latter gained a foothold in eastern Afghanistan in 2015, as the two vie for supremacy in the war-torn country.
An Afghan security source told AFP there had been around three incidents in the past where militants from both groups had teamed up to deal a blow to Afghan forces in certain areas.Following the civilian deaths, Taliban said in a statement that they had gained control of the Mirzawalang village, but dismissed reports of the massacre, calling it "hollow propaganda by the enemy."
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team