Taliban destroying graves of dead rivals


New Delhi, Jan 1 : Since seizing power in August last year, Taliban militants in Afghanistan have been accused of vandalising or destroying the graves of fallen Afghan army and police commanders, RFE/RL reported. The Taliban have also allegedly defiled monuments dedicated to figures who fought the group during its first stint in power in the 1990s. While the Taliban have denied responsibility for many of the incidents, allegations against the hard-line group have mounted, with Afghans accusing the militants of violating Islamic traditions that advocate respect for the dead. In the latest incident, Taliban fighters were accused of bombing the tomb of former police commander Daraya Khan Talash in the southeastern province of Paktika on December 26, the report said. Talash was killed by a roadside bomb planted by the Taliban in Paktika's Sarobi district in 2020. He had reportedly lost four of his brothers in the war against the Taliban. Taliban fighters have also been accused of defiling the tomb of Mohammad Daud Daud, a former governor and an ex-police chief of northern Afghanistan in the province of Takhar on December 17, the report added. Daud was killed in a Taliban suicide attack in Takhar's capital, Taloqan, in 2011. Following the US-led invasion in 2001, Daud oversaw the surrender of thousands of Taliban fighters in the northern city of Kunduz. He was a commander in Jamiat-e Islami, a political-military Islamist group that opposed Taliban rule from 1996 to 2001. Bilal Sarwary, an exiled Afghan journalist, said Daud's family has confirmed that his grave was vandalised. But the claim was rejected by the Taliban. Meanwhile, the Taliban were accused of destroying the tomb of Colonel Azizullah Karwan in a bomb blast in the southeastern province of Paktika on October 31. The Taliban had assassinated Karwan in June 2018. He was a colonel in the special forces unit of the Afghan National Police. He had survived dozens of Taliban assassination attempts, the report added. In September, videos emerged that appeared to show damage to the mausoleum of resistance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud in the Panjshir Valley, just north of Kabul. The footage emerged soon after the Taliban captured the mountainous valley, the scene of a short-lived resistance to the militants, in early September. The vandalism coincided with the 20th anniversary of Massoud's death. Massoud, who fought against the Taliban in the 1990s and occupying Soviet forces in the 1980s, was killed by Al-Qaeda militants posing as journalists just days before the September 11 attacks in the United States. The Taliban repaired Massoud's mausoleum after a public uproar. Anas Haqqani, the younger brother of Taliban Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani, has urged Taliban fighters to "get rid of your personal revenge and envy". In a December 27 speech marking the 42nd anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Haqqani warned that the Taliban regime will collapse if it tries to rule through brute force, the report said. "An infidel government is likely to last, but an oppressive regime will not survive," he had said. But on the same day, another Taliban official boasted about the group bombing the tomb of former leftist President Babrak Karmal, who assumed power after Soviet forces invaded Afghanistan and killed his predecessor, Hafizullah Amin, in late 1979. "After capturing Mazar-e Sharif, the Taliban bombed Babrak's tomb," tweeted Nazar Mohammad Mutmaeen, head of the Taliban's Olympic Committee. He was alluding to the destruction of the late president's tomb in 1997, when the Taliban briefly seized the northern Afghan city, the report said. /IANS


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