The Taliban have killed 28 members of police and paramilitary forces in battles in a government-controlled province of southern Afghanistan that threatens to fall into the hands of the Taliban, officials said Wednesday.
Uruzgan state spokesman Zilgai Abadi said: “Several police stations have been besieged (…) for days, but last night Taliban fighters suggested to some policemen that they surrender in exchange for being allowed to return to their homes ».
He added, according to Agence France-Presse: “But after they took their guns, they killed them all,” noting that the victims were police and paramilitary units.
For his part, the head of the Uruzgan State Council, Amir Muhammad Barkzi, confirmed the result, but presented a different version of events. The official said “intense battles continue (…) near the police headquarters” in the center of the Gizab district.
A third official source, who declined to be named, said that between 28 and 30 people died, while three policemen managed to escape.
In turn, the Taliban spoke of 28 deaths among government forces, but denied killing them in cold blood, which constitutes a war crime and may overshadow the ongoing talks in Doha between the rebels and the Kabul government.
The enemy’s guarantees of his execution after his surrender are weak. The Mujahideen asked them several times to lay down their arms and end the battles, but they insisted on fighting, ”said Yusef Ahmadi, spokesman for the Taliban, in a tweet.
The Afghan interior minister declined to comment on what happened.
And 14 Afghan police and soldiers were killed during the same battle overnight from Sunday to Monday.
Negotiators from the Taliban and the Afghan government have been meeting since Sept. 12 in Qatar as they try to find ways to end 19 years of war.
But after promising starts, discussions are progressing at a slower pace and the two sides have yet to agree on an agenda, while the violence has not stopped in Afghanistan.