In another brutal episode of terrorism, an Afghan man has been tortured and murdered by the Taliban in the most barbaric way imaginable. Fazl Ahmad, 21, had his eyes cut out and was skinned alive by members of the Taliban in Ghor, Afghanistan.
According to local officials in Ghor, the Taliban had acted out of retaliation. One of Ahmad’s distant relatives had been suspected of killing a Taliban commander earlier, in December. They reportedly dragged the young man out of his house before cutting his eyes out. Ahmad, who was still alive after the torture, was then skinned alive. Skin was carved off of his chest, leaving the heart exposed. Then finally, they pushed him off a 10-story cliff, in an ISIS-style execution.
The Taliban have denied involvement in the gory crime which was documented in photos and a video which has since gone viral. This incident is the latest in a string of Taliban related violence that have plagued the war-ridden South Asian nation in recent months. The rising violence has also drawn apprehension from human rights agencies including the United Nations, Amnesty International, and the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission. Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, spoke of the recent rise in violent crimes during a press meet last week.
“The amount of casualties, particularly with civilians, is a crime — a crime against humanity, a crime against Afghanistan, and a crime against our people.”
Experts have blamed the growing influence of ISIS on the younger generation of Talibans as the cause of recent rise in violent activities. Vanda Felbab-Brown, a senior security and intelligence expert at the Brookings Institute, further clarified on this trend.
“The Taliban had always been the village homeboys, but I think that is changing quite dramatically. The younger generation is more accepting of violence, less remembering of the horrors of the civil war [of the 1990s], and much more socialized to the global agenda.”
Afghanistan has a long history of violent retribution for violating conservative religious and cultural laws. During the Taliban regime of the 1990s, public executions for these violations were common. In the aftermath of 9/11, the Taliban were overthrown by the US forces for having close ties with Al-Qaeda. Tens of thousands of Afghans have died since the post-2001 Taliban insurgency. During the period, the U.S. Government has invested an excess of $100 billion in building the military and police infrastructure for Afghanistan, in hopes of moving the country towards peace. The results, however, are far from satisfactory, as the Taliban continues to terrorize the Afghan people with public lashings, executions, and killings.
To add to the worries of Afghan officials and analysts, the Taliban are now believed to be growing. They’re expanding to new areas, using more violent measures to assert their domination and employing fear tactics that are similar to those used by ISIS.
Other experts believe the incident of Fazl Ahmad among others to be the symptom of a growing trend of violence in Afghan culture. People now resort to revenge and killings over simple disputes between families and villages. Most of these disputes have little to do with the war. Najib Mahmood, a professor of Law at Kabul University spoke on this matter.
“People want to settle old scores. You can hardly find any house that does not own a gun because of the war, and people use a gun even for a minor issue.”
Whatever the reason of the surge in violence may be, Afghan troops have seen record casualties since the United States ended the war in 2014. Many Afghan troops have deserted and there seems to be a serious shortage of troops to fight the Taliban. In response, the U.S. government has deployed experts in order to collaborate more closely with the local forces and help them fight the growth of the Taliban.
[Image via Shutterstock]