As the ongoing war in Afghanistan is spreading to urban and populated areas, reports are emerging of human rights violations and civilian casualties in the intense fighting between government forces and the Taliban.
In one instance, footage shows children in the city of Taluqan, the capital of the northern province of Takhar which has been seized by the Taliban, lying on the ground with blood-stained faces.
They were reportedly killed in rocket attacks, media reports said.
The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) said that the Taliban has committed “war crimes” in Malistan district in Ghazni. But the Taliban has rejected the findings.
Reports said a young man named Mahdi, a resident of Malistan district, said that he was tortured by the Taliban after he attempted to save his parents.
Mahdi said he was beaten by the Taliban for having taken a photo of himself beside the Afghan flag.
“I told them that my father is ill and I want to take him to the doctor. They took my phone from my bag and a camera and broke them. They beat me without any reason and hit me with the butt end of their rifle,” said Mahdi.
The Taliban did not comment on the claims, but the human rights commission said there were many reports of war crimes, torture, and rights violations by the militant group in areas under their control.
“The Taliban has deliberately and with ‘full brutality’ killed 27 civilians, including a woman, in Malistan district, and 10 more have been wounded,” said Zabihullah Farhang, the head of media office of the Commission.
Another video circulating on social media shows a child killed in a rocket attack in the city of Taluqan.
“Anyone who turns their attention away from Takhar will be responsible in the future. Our areas (of control) are getting limited,” said Pir Mohammad Khaksar, a commander of public uprising forces in Takhar.
“They are strangers. They are Pakistanis. They are our enemies,” said Pahlawan Ibrahim, a former Mujahideen commander.
Footage of Nijrab district in the central province of Kapisa shows people leaving their homes due to the ongoing fighting in the district, which fell to the Taliban last month but was retaken earlier this month.
“The situation is worse. The Taliban has made their strongholds among houses,” said Abdullah a Nijrab resident.
“I have not earned even 20 Afs. The monthly rent for my shop is 7,000 Afs. And I cannot afford it,” said Sayed Agha, a Nijrab resident.
Previously, watchdog organisations accused the Taliban of committing war crimes in areas under the group’s control in Spin Boldak district in Kandahar province and in Faryab.
The US Charge d’Affaires Ross Wilson on August 6 said that “the Taliban’s violence and hate have never been sustainable forms of governance”.
“The group’s previous beheadings, as well as current offensive and targeted killings, show that they only know violence and are scared of peace. We urge them to choose peace.”