Taliban behead civilians, torch houses in Ajristan
GHAZNI CITY (Pajhwok): The Taliban have beheaded 15 civilians and torched scores of houses in the Ajristan district of southern Ghazni province, officials said on Friday, hinting at the town’s likely fall.
Shafiq Nang, the governor’s spokesman, told Pajhwok Afghan News the insurgents decapitated the civilians, including women and children, saying they were relatives of the local police personnel.
He acknowledged the provincial authorities had lost contact with the district centre, the scene of heavy fighting over the past few days. Up to 100 people including policemen have been killed so far.
Numbering around 700, the militants had captured a number of police check-posts in Mohammadkhel and Langarkhel areas near the district office complex, Deputy Governor Ali Ahmadi confirmed.
But security personnel were trying to frustrate Taliban’s efforts to enter the district centre, the official said, adding the fighting had caused a lot of damage. Ahmadi warned the remote restive district could fall if reinforcements were not sent to the area.
Provincial council member Abdul Jame Jame also confirmed the fighters were zeroing in on the district centre. He accused the fighters of burning at least 250 civilian houses and inflicting casualties on 100 people.
A resident of the Gadakhel area of the district, Roohullah, said heavy clashes had been ongoing for several days. But the fighting intensified last night, he added. Foreign rebels had also been spotted in Ajristan, he claimed.
Meanwhile, the Taliban rejected the allegation of civilian killings. They were yet to wrest the district’s complete control, the group’s spokesman Qari Yousaf Ahmadi said, adding many security posts in Ajristan had been captured.
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