Kohistanat residents rise up against Taliban

By Hedayatullah

In this photograph taken December 2, residents of Kohistanat District protest against the Taliban. [209th Shaheen Corps]

In this photograph taken December 2, residents of Kohistanat District protest against the Taliban. [209th Shaheen Corps]

KUNDUZ -- The Taliban killed three civilians, including a child, and injured six others when hundreds of Kohistanat District residents rose up against them Monday (December 2), according to authorities in Sar-e-Pul Province.

The district has been under the Taliban's control for years and residents are fed up with their atrocities, said Zabiullah Amani, spokesperson for the Sar-e-Pul governor.

Residents staged a protest against the Taliban after the group made a decision that forced them to go to another village for shopping, he said.

"The Taliban decided to transfer 100 shops from Awra village to Jarghan village and force locals to go to that village [for shopping], but the decision aroused a reaction from the residents of the district," Amani said.

"The protesters attacked the vehicle of Amanullah Mansoor, the Taliban's shadow governor for Kohistanat District, with stones and sticks, and the Taliban responded by firing on them, killing three residents, including one child, and injuring six more," he said.

The Taliban's relocation of the shops stems from the group's internal rifts, said Ata Muhammad Sediqi, a tribal elder in Sar-e-Pul Province.

A commander of the Taliban's elite Red Unit who is a resident of Jarghan village is embroiled in a rivalry with the Taliban's shadow district governor, he said.

"After the Taliban opened fire on civilians, it sparked residents' reaction and hatred," Sediqi said.

Civilians rise up against the Taliban

Residents resorted to protest because they are fed up with being held hostage to the Taliban's brutalities, said Asadullah Khurram, a member of the Sar-e-Pul provincial council.

"The Taliban extort resources from the poor civilians of the district in order to cover their expenses, and no one has the ability to oppose them," he said.

"Collecting ushr and zakat and extorting money and forcing locals to take part in fighting [alongside them] are among many injustices that the Taliban have imposed on civilians in Kohistanat District of Sar-e-Pul," Khurram said.

The outraged civilians "rose up against the Taliban with stones and sticks", he said.

In addition to widespread poverty in the district, food and non-food items are too expensive to buy locally, which is one of the main challenges for the public, Khurram said.

"Residents of Kohistanat District always ask ... when the government will rescue them from the situation and launch the clearing operations," he said.

Afghan security forces will launch expansive operations in the coming days to clean Kohistanat District and rescue its population from the Taliban's atrocities, Mohammad Hanif Rezayee, spokesperson for the 209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan National Army, said on December 2.

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