Taliban execute own fighters in Ghor amid growing internal rifts

By Omar


The Taliban captured these three men apparently for stealing in Farah in April and tried them in a kangaroo court. Militants in a similar sham court in Ghor Province on October 9 executed two of their own fighters.  [File]

HERAT -- The Taliban's recent execution of two of their own fighters in Ghor Province is just the latest example of the deadly internal rifts and rivalries that continue to plague the group, officials and analysts say.

The Taliban shot and killed their fellow insurgents on October 9 in Charsadda District of Ghor Province after accusing them of aiding the government, according to Abdulhai Khatibi, a spokesman for the Ghor governor.

"These Taliban members didn't have any contacts with the government, and the original reason behind these sentences was rifts among the Taliban," he said

"The Taliban first arrested these young fighters, and then they killed them in Kamarak village... in a kangaroo court in front of the public," he added.


Top Taliban leaders leaving Qatar to enjoy a trip to Indonesia on July 26. Taliban leaders have been beset by a growing number of internal rivalries and disagreements, many of which related to the group's political direction and illegal drug trade. [File]

"The Taliban don't treat people well," Khatibi said. "The mines they plant on main roads have killed many innocents. Certain members of the Taliban oppose this type of violence, and this has made them hate the Taliban leaders."

"This hatred has led to rifts between the Taliban and forced them to kill each other," he said.

The two Taliban militants died at the hands of Mullah Ahmad Shah, the Taliban shadow deputy governor for Ghor, said Abdul Sami Nejhad Ghori, a spokesman for the Ghor police.

"After this incident, a prominent Taliban commander, who used to lead the two victims of the kangaroo court, surrendered to the government," he added.

"This [former] Taliban commander has said that he regretted being part of the Taliban, and that from now on he would fight the Taliban with all his strength," he said.

Distrust and deep rifts

The shooting of the two Taliban fighters took place because of deep rifts and distrust among the Taliban, say civil society activists in Ghor Province.

The recent incident "unveils intense disputes in the group over power, and they are trying to accuse one another of treason and kill each other", said Hasan Hakimi, a civil society activist in Ghor Province

"The Taliban in Ghor Province have different views on peace talks. Some of the Taliban members want peace, but some want the fighting and violence to continue, and these rifts have caused clashes among the Taliban," said Hakimi.

"The Taliban's entire focus in Ghor Province is on killing civilians," he said. "The Taliban's roadside mines in Ghor Province have always targeted civilians. Two days ago, five civilians including women and children who were riding in a car died in a roadside bombing in Dawlatyar District."

Insurgent groups lack a unified leadership in the area and the recent executions of the two members suggest deep rifts among the Taliban, said Muhammad Wazir Noorani, director of the Civil Society Forum organisation in Ghor Province.

"This may have a negative impact on the Taliban's activities throughout Ghor Province, and especially in Charsadda District, the Taliban's major command center," he said.

"As the Taliban execute each other in kangaroo courts, it means they don't believe in obeying a sound and unified leadership, and in order to achieve their goals and earn more money, they kill most of their rivals," he added.

"These kangaroo courts have increased the chances of internal clashes among the Taliban," Noorani said. "There are groups of the Taliban who support the two fighters whom the kangaroo court executed, and there is a possibility of retaliation and an outbreak of fierce clashes."

Kangaroo courts

For officials at the provincial office of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), these Taliban kangaroo courts in Ghor Province are concerning.

Kangaroo courts are rampant in areas where the Taliban are in control, said Farida Naseri, acting director of the AIHRC in Ghor Province.

"On several occasions, the Taliban have executed young people -- including boys and girls -- on charges of having the phone contacts" of government officials, she said.

"The Taliban run arbitrary courts in areas under their control, and they kill whomever they want in these courts," Naseri added.

"When the Taliban become suspicious about civilians or their own fighters, they execute them in kangaroo courts," she said. "Even if we pretend that these defendants are guilty, no one has the right to carry out executions ... in the absence of due process and of investigation by an authorised court of law."

This act of the Taliban is unforgivable and a crime against humanity, she added.

Khudayar Waqif, a civil society activist in Ghor Province, recalled when the Taliban killed a father and a son in a kangaroo court in public in Pasaband District of Ghor Province without any justification.

"The Taliban commit heinous crimes in areas under their rule," he said. "These crimes do not appear in the media and remain hidden. Most of the Ghor villages are in mountainous areas, which are not connected. Many crimes that the Taliban carry out in these areas remain unreported."

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