KABUL: At least 100 Afghan Taliban militants were killed after fighting broke out with a splinter group in Zabul province in southern Afghanistan, a media report said on Wednesday.
Over the last four days, two Taliban factions have waged gun battles in Zabul, CNN quoted Ata Mohammad Haqbayan, the head of the Zabul Provincial Council, said on Tuesday.
Militants loyal to Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, the Taliban leader, and Mullah Mohammad Rasool, the leader of a Taliban splinter group, clashed with each other over the group leadership.
On Tuesday morning, an Uzbek fighter carried out a suicide attack on Mansour’s senior members in the province, killing some of them, according to Haqbayan.
The division in the Taliban came after the group acknowledged in late July the death of its leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, and his replacement with Mansour.
Massive protest rock Kabul
Afghan protesters carry a coffin containing a decapitated body of one of seven victims.
KABUL: Thousands of protesters marched coffins containing the decapitated bodies of seven Shia Hazaras through the Afghan capital Kabul Wednesday to demand justice for the gruesome beheading’s, which the United Nations (UN) say may be considered a war crime.
Demonstrators gathered in the rain in west Kabul and marched towards the city centre, chanting death slogans to the Taliban and the self-styled Islamic State (IS) group while demanding justice and protection from the government.
Though it is unclear who is responsible, both the Taliban and IS affiliates have been blamed for the beheading’s, which have prompted fears of sectarian bloodshed in the war-torn country.
The marchers carried pictures of the victims, including two women and one child a girl, whose coffin was carried by grieving women.
“This is a protest to demand justice for the victims who were so mercilessly murdered, we demand justice for people who are brutally killed by terrorists everyday,” protester Mohammad Hadi told AFP.
“We want revenge, today they kill us, tomorrow they kill you,” the protesters chanted.
The protesters plan to take the bodies, which were brought to Kabul Tuesday night after being found in restive Zabul province, to the presidential palace, organisers said.
The protest came as the UN followed the Afghan government and the United States (US) in condemning the killings, suggesting they may have been a war crime.
“These senseless murders may amount to war crimes and the perpetrators must be held accountable,” Nicholas Haysom, the UN’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, said in a statement Wednesday.
The circumstances surrounding the beheadings remain unclear.
The bodies of the seven victims, who are believed to have been held hostage by unknown gunmen for months, were found on Saturday in Zabul province, where fighting between rival Taliban groups has escalated over recent days.
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