KUNDUZ -- Taliban militants beheaded a 50-year-old farmer in Sar-e-Pul Province after fatally shooting him in an incident earlier this month, according to local authorities.
The Taliban beheaded the farmer, who had a disability, on August 4 after abducting him from the district two weeks earlier, said Naqibullah Daqeeq, district governor of Sancharak.
"This 50-year-old man's name was Noor Ahmad Mirzaee. He was from Masjid-e-Sabz village of the district," Daqeeq said on August 6.
"Residents of Sancharak District found the body of this man in Gajwa village and handed it over to his family," he said.
Mirzaee was killed because he refused to give ushr to the Taliban, said Zabiullah Amani, spokesman for the Sar-e-Pul governor.
The killing is just the latest atrocity against civilians by the Taliban in the region, he said.
"In the past month, the Taliban have killed four farmers who refused to give them ushr and zakat or other unlawful payments," he added.
"The Taliban first took this disabled man from his field and detained him for two weeks before they shot and beheaded him," Amani said.
Asadullah Khurram, a member of the Sar-e-Pul provincial council, decried the killing of the innocent farmer, his relative.
"Noor Ahmad lost one eye and one leg to a bomb in 1997, and his mental health wasn't normal either," he said. "The Taliban shot him 22 times and dumped his body."
"This man had six small children, and now the family has been left without a guardian [and a breadwinner]," he added.
Extortion and captivity
The Taliban extort residents and detain them in their prisons if they refuse, said a number of tribal elders in Sar-e-Pul Province.
"Every year the Taliban oppress Afghans, especially farmers," said Muhammad Akbar, a resident of Sar-e-Pul city, the provincial capital, who declined to give his last name. "They extract ushr from them by force and spend the money on equipping themselves to fight the public and the government."
"The Taliban run private prisons where they hold Afghans for different reasons," the 62-year-old tribal elder said.
Residents are fed up with the killing of innocent civilians by the Taliban, said Ghulam Sediq Khairkhwa, 34, a tradesman from Sar-e-Pul city.
"May God bring long-term peace to our country soon so that we can be protected from the oppression of these terrorists," he said. "These criminals everyday kill our youth, children, women, sisters and even our elders for various reasons."
"This year, we witnessed a deadly attack on civilians in Sar-e-Pul Province in which even some children lost their lives," he said.
"How long will we wait and watch the merciless killing of the innocent by this puppet group?" he said. "We have to stand against them [the Taliban] and take revenge for our martyrs."
The government and local forces are working to fight the Taliban and defeat the militant group, say officials.
Members of the Taliban fatally shot three farmers on July 12 and set fire to one of their harvests after they refused to give the militants ushr and zakat in Shair Abad Wa Korak village, which is part of the Sar-e-Pul provincial capital, according to Mohammad Hanif Rezayee, a spokesman for the 209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan National Army.
"Forces of local uprising groups ... defeated the Taliban" members who killed the three farmers, Noor Agha Faizi, spokesman for the Sar-e-Pul police, told local reporters on July 16.
"The Taliban had casualties, but we don't have the details," he said.
Security institutions are taking steps to defeat the militant group, said Amani, the spokesman for the Sar-e-Pul governor.
"Our security forces, including the army, national police, NDS [National Directorate of Security] and local police, have launched joint operations to oust the group in various districts of Sar-e-Pul Province," he said.
"These operations are taking place in phases on the outskirts of the provincial capital and various districts [of Sar-e-Pul Province], especially Sancharak, and they will continue until the insurgents are annihilated in the provincial capital and districts," he said.
"Our forces conduct these operations with utmost precision and caution to prevent any civilian casualties and property losses," Amani added.
"In contrast, the Taliban use residents and their homes as shields when they fight the government," he said.