Yazidi takfiri nasbi terrorists of notorious Taliban shot martyred 15 civilians belonging to the Shiite Muslim community in central Afghanistan.
Shortly after 12 a.m. Friday last, notorious Yazidi takfiri nasbi Taliban terrorists stopped 3 minibuses carrying civilians through Ghor province and ordered all 32 passengers off the vehicles, Afghan officials said.
After checking their identification cards, the assailants separated the Shia Hazaras from the group and killed them on the side of the road.
“The (Shia) Hazaras were killed and the rest were released,” said Anwar Rahmati, the governor of Ghor. “This is a crime against humanity and it’s horrific.”
Shia Hazaras, Afghanistan’s third-largest ethnic group, are overwhelmingly Shiite Muslim and have long faced discrimination in Afghanistan. But ethnic and religious divisions, while deep, have rarely turned violent in Afghanistan, unlike in neighboring Pakistan, according to the Wall Street Journal report.
There are exceptions: In 2011, a suicide bomber in Kabul targeted Shiite worshipers on the holy day of Ashura, killing 56 people in the worst sectarian incident of the Afghan war. A Pakistan-based extremist group said it was behind the attack.
Although Afghan officials blame the Taliban, who are active in the area where the buses were halted, the insurgent group said it played no part. “We deny our involvement in such killings,” said Qari Yousaf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman, who said the group’s fighters “would never take up arms against the people.” Despite such statements, Taliban have always victimized the Shia Muslims and during their invasions of Bamiyan and Mazar Sharif, they had slaughtered Shiites.
The buses were approaching Ghor’s provincial capital from different directions: one of them from Kabul and two from nearby districts, said Mr. Rahmati. Many of the victims, which included a newlywed couple, were family members.
There was also a 3-year-old, who was taken to a nearby hospital but later died, according to Sediq Seddiqi, the spokesman of Afghanistan’s Ministry of the Interior.
“They are just creating fear. There is no other reason we can find,” he said. A search has begun for the Taliban group officials believe was behind the attack, and there are new police checkpoints along the road, Mr. Seddiqi added. “They are trying their best to find these guys.”
Persecuted by the Taliban, the Shia Hazara community made strong political gains after the regime’s fall in 2001, and it has the most to lose should the Taliban become more powerful as the bulk of the U.S.-led troops withdraw at year’s end.
The Taliban, who see themselves as a government-in-waiting, say they try their best to avoid civilian casualties. However, a recent United Nations report said that Taliban-led insurgents are responsible for three-fourths of the rising number of the war’s civilian victims.
Even as Afghanistan observes the holy month of Ramadan, the country has seen a spate of violence in recent weeks. Civilians have been the biggest victims.
On Thursday, in the northern province of Sar-e Pol, Taliban insurgents killed 12 villagers whom they accused of supporting the government, according to Mr. Seddiqi, the Ministry of the Interior spokesman. In a separate incident on the same day, two Finnish women who worked for a Christian charity were gunned down by unknown assailants in the western city of Herat.
Last week a car bomb exploded in the bazaar of a town in eastern Afghanistan, killing as many as 89 people. The Taliban denied involvement in that attack.