Taliban Tortures Innocent Civilians to Punish the Group’s Internal Opponents, Says Khalili

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Mohammad Karim Khalili, the Leader and Chairman of Hezb-e Wahdat-e-Islami Afghanistan (Islamic Unity Party of Afghanistan), has said that the Taliban group is preparing to hold Loya Jerga or grand assembly at a time, while the members of the group in Balkhab district of Sar-e Pol province have intensely carried out tortures and attacks on civilians and have displaced large numbers of residents in this district, including women, children and elders.

In a statement shared on his Facebook page on Tuesday, Khalili said what happened in Balkhab was an “intra-Taliban disputes and clashes” that were carried out by the Taliban group against one of its dissatisfied commanders who is fighting for his legitimate rights.

According to Khalili, the Taliban group should have prevented these clashes in Balkhab district, which resulted in casualties of civilians, adding that the Taliban should have convinced Commander Mehdi to sit with them at the negotiation table for resolving the issue peacefully.

Referring to rumors that he had agreed with the Taliban to return to the country, Khalili has made it clear that he does not care about the position of the individual or his party’s gain, adding that ensuring the legal and political status of the people is at the top of his agenda, and there will be no engagement with the Taliban until this position is clearly defined.

Similarly, he has labeled the Taliban as committing war crimes in Balkhab and has said that the group should not harass civilians and oppress them under various pretexts.

He has further added that Balkhab access routes should be reopened and humanitarian aid should be allowed to help the people and prevent further suffering.

Khalili has warned against enmity with the people and has said: “An administration that is hostile to the people, persecutes the people, and sheds the unjust blood of the people cannot sustain for a long time.”

He has further said that the policy of war and intimidation is a failed policy that has no result other than deepening the crisis and dragging the country into fierce ethnic and sectarian wars, adding that a comprehensive dialogue on the establishment of an Islamic and democratic system based on social justice is the only solution to the current crisis of the country.

Earlier, Mohammad Mohaqiq, leader of the People’s Islamic Unity Party of Afghanistan had reportedly called the Taliban’s offensive on the Balkhab district of Sar-e Pol province a declaration of war against the Hazara ethnic and had warned of the consequences.