Seven people including two women and a nine year old girl have been beheaded by suspected Islamic State militants in Afghanistan.
The bodies of four men, two women and a child, all Hazara minority citizens, were found on Saturday in the rural town of Zabul.
The Islamic State are now competing with the Taliban when it comes to cruelty against Afghan citizens.
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Protests and demonstrations broke out in cities across Afghanistan this week in the wake of the massacre with the capital, Kabul, seeing the biggest protest in 15 years.
The Washington Post reports:
Marchers in Kabul on Wednesday walked for almost four hours with the coffins of the victims, which included the body of Shukria, a 9-year-old girl. They chanted slogans against the government, the Taliban and neighboring Pakistan, which is seen as having a hand in Afghanistan’s Islamist insurgency. Some protesters attempted to storm the presidential compound.
A reporter from the Wall Street Journal filmed Shukria’s tragic passage:
Coffin of 9 year old girl beheaded by insurgents in Zabul on shoulders of women protestors. #Kabul #hazara #Afghan pic.twitter.com/1frvNo0tVa
— Ehsanullah Amiri (@euamiri) November 11, 2015
The week has been marked by nationwide vigils and demonstrations.
As my colleague Sayed Salahuddin reported, the demonstrations “highlighted growing discontent at the government’s inability” to deal with the threat of the militants and cast a spotlight on the grievances and unease of the Hazaras, the vast majority of whom are Shiite Muslims and fear further attacks from Sunni militants.
In Pakistan’s Baluchistan province, which borders Afghanistan, dozens of Hazaras have been killed in terorrist attacks over the past decade.
It’s not entirely clear who carried out the abduction and killing of Shukria and the six other Hazaras. The government has cast doubt on the purported connection to the Islamic State, which had been made by provincial officials. The area south of Kabul where the victims lived is home to a number of Taliban factions, some at odds with one another.
We’re all extremely pained by the horrific crime of Zabul. This’s the act of our enemies. V’ll have reprisal. Must stay united, not divided.
— Ashraf Ghani (@ashrafghani) November 11, 2015
According to the IBTimes: There have been several reports that Taliban fighters have executed several ISIS militants in Zabul in retaliation for the beheadings
Afghan President President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani had condemned the Isis beheadings and reportedly held an ‘extraordinary security meeting’ to ‘to seek ways for tracking down and punishing the perpetrators of this atrocious crime’.
The Taliban and Isis have been engaged in a turf war in Afghanistan, primarily a stronghold of the former.
Clashes between the two groups have resulted in several deaths and the two sides have also seen defection of members to the other side.
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