On Friday, Sept. 26, reports had surfaced that Taliban fighters allegedly attacked and beheaded 12 civilians in the Ghazni Province of Afghanistan. About 100 people may have died just in the past week. According to a report by Business Insider, the deputy governor of Ghazni, Mohammad Ali Ahmadi had stated militant fighters “beheaded 12 civilians in four villages.” Reinforcements are reportedly being sent by the central government, but Ahmadi had stated Ajristan, where fierce battles have taken place over the past week, is at risk of falling under Taliban rule.
Ahmadi stated about 70 homes were also burned down in the Ajristan area as well. Communication with other security forces had appeared bleak at one point, even though about 350,000 security forces are ready and able to beat back the Taliban. Business Insider added Afghan security forces and police have successfully beaten Taliban forces in recent months, according to the central government.
Al Jazeera had stated that hundreds of Taliban fighters had stormed the district and evoked five days of fighting with a goal to take over the area. The Taliban reportedly announced they had killed about 40 policemen, but Al Jazeera reported they had also killed family members and neighbors of policemen. Ahmadi was reported as saying without airstrikes, the Taliban may be able to take over central parts of Ajristan.
Ali M. Latifi and Shashank Bengali of the Los Angeles Times reported the 12 civilians attacked and beheaded by the Taliban may have been relatives of members who serve in Afghanistan military security forces. Latifi and Bengali stated about 600 militants were reported as going on a rampage and had appeared to be trying to take over the entire Ghazni province by overtaking its roads.
Not long ago, the Taliban had allegedly attacked two separate, regional headquarters of the National Directorate of Security facilities, Afghanistan’s domestic intelligence service agencies located in Ghazni. About 46 people had died, which does not include about 19 Taliban fighters who also died, and over 150 were injured, most likely due to bombs which were used during the attacks.
At a time when military forces are fighting off the Taliban without much aid from the U.S., the L.A. Times reported on Afghanistan’s new president-elect, Ashraf Ghani. On Sunday, Sept. 28, the president-elect was declared the winner of a runoff election after allegations of fraud had surfaced, mostly from Ghani’s competitor, Abdullah Abdullah.
Latifi and Bengali stated the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan had tallied up about 55 percent of 7.12 million votes in favor of Ghani, and had certified it on Friday. Voting results had been kept secret for quite some time after Abdullah had stated repeatedly that he would not accept any results due to what he believed were fraudulent processes.
Abdullah had agreed to the role of Chief Executive on Thursday, Sept. 25, however, according to Latifi and Bengali. This “newly created post” will share in some of the decision-making authority of president-elect Ghani, who is expected to be sworn in some time next week. Meanwhile, the government leaders have their hands full with alleged attacks by the Taliban in addition to the beheading of the 12 civilians, including attacks on different villages, while also burning up to 70 homes and attempting to take over parts of Ghazni Province.
By Liz Pimentel