During an investigation by the BBC, it was discovered that at least 20 civilians have been killed in Afghanistan’s Panjjshir Valley, which has seen fighting between the Taliban and the resistance fighters.
While communications have been cut in the valley, the BBC has evidence of the Taliban killings, despite promises of restraint.
The BBC has collected footage showing a man in Panjishir wearing military gear surrounded by Taliban fighters. Shots ring out and the man slumps to the ground, bystanders in the video insist he was a civilian. The BBC has established that there have been at least 20 such deaths in Panjishir.
The Panjishir Valley has held out against the Taliban takeover despite the Taliban forces declaring victory over them last week, posting footage of their fighters raising their flags. The resistance forces have vowed to continue fighting the Taliban.
When the Taliban first entered the valley, they encouraged residents to carry on as normal.
“They should come out, do their daily activities. If they are shopkeepers they can go to their shops. If they are farmers, they can go to their farms. We are here to protect them, their lives and their families,” said a spokesman, Malavi Abdullah Rahamani. But footage from the ground shows marketplaces deserted and people trying to flee.
The Taliban has denied targeting civilians but after reports of a massacre of members of the Hazara minority and the killing of a police woman, it is a further sign that the reality is far different from their promises of no revenge attacks.
“These kind of reports seem to fall in to a pattern that we’ve already documented throughout Afghanistan. As the Taliban made their way towards Kabul through July and August we had similar reports and we were able to document summary executions of former security personnel, former members of the government and civilians often in revenge killings. This looks to very much be the same pattern,” said Patricia Grossman of Human Rights Watch.
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