HERAT -- The Taliban's attack on an animal clinic in Bala Murghab District of Badghis Province reflects the insurgent group's continuing campaign to destroy public facilities in Afghanistan.
Militants on July 25 blew up the eight-room clinic, which was built in 2016 at a cost of 8 million AFN ($108,000) funded by the government. No one was injured in the bombing, which occurred overnight.
Officials blamed the Taliban, who have yet to claim responsibility.
The destruction of this facility by the Taliban shows the group's extreme ignorance and cruelty, said Faiz Muhammad Mirzazada, the acting governor of Badghis Province.
"Infrastructure in Afghanistan -- and especially in Badghis Province -- has been built at the cost of people's blood and the public treasury. No one has the right to destroy it," Mirzazada said. "By destroying infrastructure, the Taliban have furthered their enmity with Afghans."
"The Taliban destroy roads, schools, bridges and other national projects," he added. "By doing this, they once again show their bloodthirsty and dark faces.
The Taliban also blew up a school in Qadis District of Badghis Province on April 18, preventing hundreds of children from being able to go to school.
No one was killed or injured.
An anti-Islamic act
Mohammad Naser Nazari, a member of the Badghis Provincial Council, decried how the Taliban in minutes destroy facilities such as schools and clinics in deprived areas that workers built with the support of the international community.
"The difference between the Taliban and the government is that the government is concerned and works toward the prosperity, security, reconstruction and human development, while the Taliban think only about terror, violence, and disturbance," he said.
The Taliban have shown they will not spare civilians, animals, clinics, mosques, or hospitals in order to achieve their goals, Nazari added.
In February, Taliban militants fatally shot four donkeys in Ghor Province, claiming the animals were carrying food for security forces.
Religious scholars in Badghis Province consider the destruction of infrastructure by the Taliban to be an unforgivable crime and anti-Islamic and inhumane.
These acts by the Taliban have no justification other than destruction and disturbance, said Maulawi Abdul Basit Sarem, a religious scholar from the province.
"I feel sorry for those who call themselves 'mujahid' and consider their acts righteous but commit vile and sinister acts," he said. "The destruction of schools and hospitals by the Taliban has no religious justification and shows only that they are violent criminals."
"Those who harm civilians and public infrastructure go against Islam. In accordance with divine commands, this is an improper and wrong act that has no justification," Sarem added.
"We cannot call the Taliban anything but terrorists and a violent and destructive group," he said.
Enmity with innocent people
Destruction of infrastructure including the animal clinic by the Taliban is a clear sign of enmity toward Afghans, agreed residents and civil society activists in Badghis.
"Destroying a clinic is not their first act of destruction, and it won't be their last," said Wazir Ahmad Adib, a civil society activist. "The destruction of hospitals, roads and schools by the Taliban reveals their enmity toward the people of Afghanistan, which has no religious and logical justification."
"Through suicide bombings, explosions and destruction of infrastructure, the Taliban have ruined the Afghan nation and kill innocent people on a daily basis," he added. "What have hospitals and schools done that makes the Taliban destroy them so mercilessly?"
These acts by the Taliban are neither Islamic nor humane, and the militants commit terrorism to achieve their goals and ensure that civilians remain afraid of them, Adib said.
The Taliban violate all rules of war and humanitarian principles by continually destroying public projects such as hospitals, schools, bridges and roads, said Abdullah Afzali, deputy chairman of the Provincial Council.
"The destruction of infrastructure is a major crime aimed at the people of Afghanistan that harms the public interest," he added. "This is not allowed in the rules of war, but the Taliban destroy infrastructure and adhere to no rules."
Infrastructure and public projects have nothing to do with military issues and the Taliban do not have the right to attack these initiatives, said Mohammad Naim Ghayur, a military affairs analyst in Herat city.
"How long will the Taliban continue destroying Afghanistan?" he asked. "What does destruction of a hospital have to do with the government and foreign forces? The animal clinic belonged to the public and served it. It should have never been destroyed."