The Taliban, carrying out an impressive offensive in Afghanistan, executed several soldiers of the Afghan Special Forces who had surrendered and were unarmed, in a war crime that ground the propaganda of the insurgent group, which pretends to portray itself as a legitimate force to rule the country.
The murders took place on June 16 in the city of Dawlat Abad , Faryab province, near the Afghan border with Turkmenistan and were recorded by a video obtained by the specialized outlet Funker 530 and verified by CNN , which also spoke with witnesses to the episode.
According to witnesses cited by the US media, the soldiers of the Afghan Special Forces Ktah Khas ( KKA , the national anti-terrorist unit of the Kabul government) were forced to surrender when they ran out of ammunition after being surrounded by the fighters. Taliban in a fierce battle for control of the city.
Despite Taliban propaganda claiming that voluntary surrender is a “safe option” , the video shows the insurgents who, after grouping the soldiers together, begin to shout “Allahu Akhbar” and fire at point-blank range with automatic weapons.
The Afghan military were still equipped with the Ops-Core Future Assault Shell Technology (FAST) helmet, a combat helmet used by special operations forces, while the Taliban carry the soldiers’ weapons, as seen in the video.
The weapons appear to be M4 carbines with a forward grip, IR laser and ACOG-style optics that the United States delivered to the Afghan Special Forces.
The video appears to unequivocally contradict the propaganda of the Taliban , who are promising Afghan soldiers that, if they surrender, they will be treated humanely and even receive allowances to return to their places of origin.
By offering this incentive to Afghan troops, the insurgent group hopes to reduce the high casualty rates it has been suffering in its offensive against the Afghan government.
Recently, Taliban propaganda online showed Afghan National Army infantry and militia soldiers being greeted with hugs by Taliban leaders as they hand over their weapons and say they will not fight the Taliban in the future.
However, the Taliban do not appear to contemplate the option of safe surrender for the Afghan Special Forces. This is because the insurgents especially fear these elite corps, which, despite constituting only seven percent of the Afghan military force, carry out between 70 and 80 percent of the fighting for the government. Of all the Special Forces, the Ktah Khas counterterrorism unit featured in the video is the one with the highest level of training and specialization.
Since the end of May, the Taliban, taking advantage of the withdrawal of foreign troops, which will end in the coming weeks, have seized important parts of the country’s territory and already surround several provincial capitals.
Due to the lack of air support provided by US troops, the Afghan army has no way of offering significant resistance to the insurgents and currently only controls large cities and main roads.
On Tuesday, the Taliban urged city dwellers to surrender to avoid further damage and also warned Turkey against keeping its troops in the country.
“Now that the fighting has reached the city gates from the mountains and deserts, the Mujahideen do not want to fight inside the city,” Amir Khan Muttaqi said, in a message posted on Twitter by a Taliban spokesman.
“It is better that our compatriots use the means at their disposal to get in touch” with us and “reach a sensible agreement to avoid damaging cities , ” said Muttaqi, former Minister of Information and Culture of the Taliban regime.
The Taliban “guarantee to all the inhabitants that Afghanistan will be their homeland and that no one will take revenge ,” insurgent spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a voicemail message.
The insurgents claimed last week that they are in possession of 85% of the Afghan territory , a figure contested by the country’s authorities and impossible to independently verify.
In addition, the Taliban on Tuesday warned Turkey against keeping its troops in Afghanistan once the US-led forces leave the country and deemed its decision “reprehensible.”
” The decision of the Turkish authorities is wrong , a violation of our sovereignty and territorial integrity and goes against our national interests,” the Taliban said in a statement, days after Turkey promised to provide troops to protect Kabul airport when foreign forces leave the place, in August.
“We consider the maintenance of foreign troops in our homeland, regardless of the country or the pretext, an occupation and the invaders will be treated as such,” they added.
The Taliban promised that if Turkey “does not reconsider its decision” the insurgent group “will resist as it has resisted 20 years of foreign occupation”.
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