The latest: Relatives of recently killed civilians in Daikundi province, in an open letter, have asked for an international investigation of the killings.
- Abdul Rauf Hakimi, brother of Mali Hakimi one of the nine victims of the Taliban’s massacre in Sewak area of Daikundi is the author of the letter.
- He added that the civilians were innocent and unarmed.
- He asked the international community to support the release of the prisoners of the area from the Taliban.
- Hakimi stressed that among the victims, there was one woman and three children, aged 11 to 14.
- As part of his petition, he said that there is no government, no legal process and no transparent entity in Afghanistan that he and his family can pursue their complaints and demands for justice.
- Hakimi called on the international community and human rights organizations to condemn “cruel crimes” against Hazara families in Daikundi Province.
- This comes even as the United Nations’ mission to Afghanistan also said that they had asked the Taliban to hold a ‘credible investigation’ into reports of extrajudicial killings, including of children. The U.N. mission (UNAMA) said it was working to establish what had happened. “(There are) very serious reports of civilian casualties, with extrajudicial killings, at least eight fatalities, including children,” the mission said in a tweet. “UNAMA has engaged Taliban on the need for credible investigation and accountability.”
Between the lines: In the open letter, Hakimi admitted that the tensions had emerged out of a land dispute but said that instead of an investigation into the matter, the Taliban attacked his family. Hakimi said that after killing nine people, the Taliban fired RPGs into the house of the victims and destroyed it.
Back story: At least nine people, including three children, were killed after Taliban forces attacked a village in the provincial capital of Afghanistan’s Daikundi Province on November 27.
- The Taliban had said that a gunfight in Daikundi between security force members and suspected armed rebels had resulted in deaths but denied that children had been killed.
- Taliban’s Interior ministry spokesperson Abdul Nafi Takor said earlier this week that armed rebels had been identified in the area and security forces had asked local elders to intervene. He added that after the men did not follow the elders’ request to lay down their weapon, security forces entered a property where the suspected rebels were present and there was firing from both sides.
- “Nine armed people were killed and four people were injured in the mutual firing. The dead people were all armed and trying to rebel, it is not true that children were killed, or any other harm was done there,” he said.
Zoom out: The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) had earlier announced in a statement that children were among the victims of the attack. The incident took place in the Siwak Shibar village in the ethnic Hazara province and hence, it assumes more significance. Amnesty International in the past has accused the Taliban of targeting ethnic Hazara in attacks.