Afghan security personnel sit atop an armored vehicles amid an ongoing battle with Taliban militants in the Gereshk district of Helmand province on July 22, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Mass graves found after Afghan forces recapture Shia village from Taliban

At least 40 bodies have been found in several mass graves in a Shia Hazara village in northern Afghanistan recently recaptured from the Taliban.

On August 5, dozens of people were killed when Taliban attacked the village of Mirza Olang in northern Sar-e Pul province. Local reports noted that members of the Daesh terrorist group were cooperating with the Taliban during the attack. The Taliban has denied such reports.

“We have so far discovered three mass graves in the village, containing the remains of a total of 42 people, including three children, some of them beheaded,” said Zabihullah Amani, a spokesman for the provincial governor.

He noted that 23 of the bodies had been left in one grave, while 11 more in a second and eight in a third.

“The majority have been identified as civilians, while there might be a small number of uprising forces too among them. Search operations will continue tomorrow,” he added.

The announcement was made after the country’s army announced that the village had been retaken from the insurgents following several days of severe clashes in which at least 50 of the terrorists were killed.

“The majority have been identified as civilians, while there might be a small number of uprising forces too among them. Search operations will continue tomorrow,” said Nasratullah Jamshidi.

While occupying the village, the Taliban had taken some 235 people hostage, whom they freed after reaching an agreement with local officials.

Afghanistan is still grappling with violence well over a decade after the US and its allies invaded the country as part of the so-called war on terror. The invasion removed the Taliban from power, but has failed to stop the militancy.

Taking advantage of the chaos, the Daesh terror group, which is mainly based in the Middle East, has managed to establish a foothold in the eastern Province of Nangarhar.

Hundreds of people, including women and children, have fled the recent wave of violence fueled by Daesh terrorists in Nangarhar to take refuge in the provincial capital Jalalabad.