Shia clerics seek end to mistreatment of civilians in Balkhab

The Council of Shia Religious Scholars in a statement criticized the recent clashes between the Taliban and its splintered commander Mawlawi Mahdi in Balkhab district in the northern Sar-e-Pul province and said civilians must not be mistreated in these battles.

The statement comes a day after at least seven civilians were killed in Balkhab district. Taliban is blamed for the killing of civilians, but the group has not commented on this so far.

The statement issued on Saturday, July 25, says that the people expected that violence and insecurity will end under Taliban rule, but on the contrary, “violence is on the emergence in various areas.”

The council says that it had selected a delegation in coordination with the Taliban and Mawlawi Mahdi, but the team could not succeed due to rivalries within it.

“A delegation was assigned for talks, but its members played a negative role due to their rivalries and created this chaos for the people,” the council says in the statement.

The council says the devastating violence must end and that the only way to solve the issue is through talks.

It adds that the two sides of the conflict should not harm civilians and instead, make sure they and their properties are protected.

“The issue of Balkhab should be solved within the Taliban and it should not be extended to other parts of society or the country,” the statement asked.

This comes as sources said on Friday that the Taliban shot dead seven civilians, including five workers and two shepherds, in the ‘Jah Mirak’ area in Balkhab district.

The sources also said that four children have been wounded and a civilian house has been damaged by a mortar shelled by the Taliban in the Dahana-e-Balkhab area.