KUNDUZ -- Ignoring the teachings of Islam, a group of Taliban fighters desecrated the bodies of Afghan security personnel killed in an attack last month in Takhar Province.
The Taliban's Red Unit attacked two bases in the villages of Khwaja Band-e-Kusha and Qara Tepa of Ishkamish District at midnight on July 26, according to District Governor Abdul Qayoum Qani Ibrahimi.
"Unfortunately, 28 servicemen including 15 public safety police, national and local police forces were cruelly martyred," he said. "After the criminal group martyred our officers, they mercilessly set fire to their dead bodies."
"After this incident, air strikes killed 13 Taliban fighters," he added.
Separately, an Afghan air strike killed at least seven Taliban militants and wounded 11 others in the area on Monday (August 5), the Defence Ministry said in a statement the same day.
"The Taliban's act of burning the bodies ... has broken everyone's heart," said Col. Abdul Khalil Aseer, a spokesman for the Takhar police. "We will definitely take revenge for these dear officers."
"God has created all humans as equal, and desecrating the bodies of Muslims is prohibited in Islam," said Maulawi Abdul Rasool, a religious scholar from Kunduz.
The flames of hell await "those who kill a brother of theirs for no reason and then set fire to their bodies", he said.
The Taliban not only burned the bodies of security personnel but also demolished a bridge in the area, said Ibrahimi, the district governor.
"On July 27, the next day [of their attack], the Taliban blew up a 9-metre-long and 8-metre-wide bridge that connected 22 villages to the Ishkamish district centre," he said.
"When the perpetrators were setting up the explosives to destroy the bridge, three Taliban fighters were killed in the explosion," Ibrahimi said. "With this bridge destroyed, commuting has become impossible.
"When security improves in the area, we will rebuild the bridge," he added.
No sacred book urges its readers to destroy roads, bridges, school buildings and public property, said Arash Masoomi, a civil society activist in Takhar Province.
"For God's sake, why do you hurt the public at the orders of your masters?" he asked the Taliban.
The Taliban destroyed the bridge "so that the security forces cannot follow them", said Aseer, the police spokesman.
However, after the incident, security forces headed to Band-e-Kusha and Qara Tepa villages of Ishkamish District, where they launched operations against the Taliban, he said.
"We assure the residents of Ishkamish District that our soldiers will defend their people and land to the last drop of their blood," he said.