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Sunday, December 05 2021

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Taliban kill 20 civilians in Panjshir: Report

New Delhi:¬†At least 20 civilians have been killed by the Taliban in Afghanistan’s Panjshir Valley, which has seen fighting between the militants and opposition forces, the BBC reported.

Communications have been cut in the valley, making reporting difficult, but the BBC has evidence of Taliban killings despite promises of restraint.

Footage from a dusty roadside in Panjshir shows a man wearing military gear surrounded by Taliban fighters.

Gunfire rings out and he slumps to the ground.

It is not clear if the man killed was an army member, combat uniforms are common in the region.

In the video a bystander insisted he was a civilian, the report said.

The BBC has established there have been at least 20 such deaths in Panjshir.

One of the victims was a shopkeeper and father-of-two called Abdul Sami.

Local sources said the man would not flee when the Taliban advanced, telling them: “I’m just a poor shop owner and have nothing to do with war.”

But he was arrested, accused of selling sim cards to resistance fighters.

Days later his body was dumped near his home. Witnesses who saw his body said it showed signs of torture.

When the Taliban swept to power last month, only the Panjshir Valley held out.

Panjshir has long been a focal point for resistance in Afghanistan.

Under the late opposition commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, the region repelled both the Soviet forces and the Taliban.

Mountain peaks surround the valley making it difficult for anyone trying to capture it.

Footage from the ground shows once-busy marketplaces deserted.

People have been trying to flee, with long lines of vehicles forming below the valley’s craggy peaks.

There have been warnings of shortages of food and medicine.

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