More than 170 civilians killed in Panjshir in just over a year: Sources

Multiple sources, including a staff member from the Emergency Hospital in Panjshir, confirmed that at least 172 civilians have been killed in the province since September last year.

Panjshir, which lies just over 100 kms north of Kabul, has also regularly seen heavy clashes between the Taliban and resistance fighters.

Among the civilians killed are women, sources said. All blamed the Taliban for the killings.

According to the sources, at least 57 people were killed in Abdullah Khil valley, 38 in Hese Awal district, 31 in Bazarak, 3 in Abshar district, 22 in Rokha, 11 in Onaba and 8 people were killed in Paryan district.

Amu spoke to at least 20 members of victims’ families, many of whom spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of being killed by the Taliban.

Former senate speaker Mohammad Alam Izedyar also confirmed that “at least 145 civilians have been killed in Panjshir by the Taliban.”

The killings have taken place between September 2021 and October 2022, according to multiple sources.

More than 40 deaths have occurred since late March while residents of Abdullah Khil valley, a restive area that has often witnessed clashes between Taliban and the resistance front, have reported the highest number of deaths.

The youngest victims were a 14-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl.

The victims

Samina, the 16-year-old girl, was a resident of Abdullah Khil valley. She was shot dead in her house on August 15, this year. Her relatives accused the Taliban of having killed her.

Mohammad Nazar, Allah Nazar, Gul Haidar, Zamanuddin, Karzai, Sherzai, Lotf Khoda and Sami Khan, all residents of Abdullah Khil, “were killed by the Taliban on May 16, 2022,” a source said.

Karzai, 17, and Shirzai, 14, were brothers, the source said. “Their father lost his eyesight after losing his two sons,” the source added.

Khalid Bakhshi, a former army officer, was killed on May 8, 2022, “by the Taliban,” another source said.

“Khalid Bakhshi was my cousin. He was an army officer for which he was killed mercilessly in front of his sister and wife,” the source stated.

Khalid Bakhshi’s family was not allowed by the Taliban to bury him and he has reportedly been buried secretly at an unknown location.

Ghulam Sakhi, a resident of Meta village in Khinj district of Panjshir, lost his life through “Taliban torture” on March 13, 2022, a relative of his said.

He was a shopkeeper and had no links with parties to the conflict, the relative added.

Bilal was another victim. The video of his death was released on social media by the Taliban. He had been a teacher at Hesarak primary school in Rokha district and was shot dead “by the Taliban” on March 13, 2022, after being accused of having links with the resistance front, a source said.

Mohammad Azim, another Panjshir resident, was “killed by the Taliban” in Tawakh area in Onaba district on September 11 last year, when he was on his way to Kabul, a relative said.

Gul Mir, a resident of Keraman village in Abdullah Khil valley, “was killed by Taliban” in Dashtak area in Onaba district, a source said.

“Gul Mir was 23 years old and was the only breadwinner for his family. He was killed by the Taliban on September 5, last year – for being a Panjshiri,” his relative said.

Sharifa, a resident of Abshar district, was killed “by the Taliban” on July 17, 2022, when she was taking her cattle to graze, adding that Sharifa had eight children.

Nine days after her death, a group of women held an indoor protest in Panjshir, calling for justice.

Taza Khan, a resident of Paryan district, who was a former police force member during the republic government, was “shot dead by the Taliban” on March 4, 2022, a source said.

The source added that he was at home after the fall of the republic and had no links with any side of the conflict.

Mohammad Agha, a resident of Zaman Gor village in Onaba district, who was a former police force member, was “shot dead by the Taliban” on December 26, 2021, when he was taking wheat to a mill in the area.

His death was followed by a protest rally near the provincial governor’s office in the province.

The most recent incident, on Wednesday this week, saw Noor Mohammad Naeemi, a resident of Abdullah Khil valley, being killed “by the Taliban” in his village, one of his relatives said.

“Noor Mohammad had a car and went to Hesarat district to take his cattle and he was arrested by the Taliban and was martyred through the torture of the Taliban,” his relative said.

Amu spoke to relatives of other victims who confirmed the killings but would not discuss details.

Taliban’s response

Taliban spokesman Bilal Karimi said no civilian has been killed by their fighters in the province.

If anyone has been killed mistakenly, it will be investigated, he added.

Reasons behind killings in Panjshir

A number of influential figures from Panjshir said the reason behind the killing of civilians in the province is them “not surrendering” to the Taliban.

Panjshir is the only province that hasn’t raised the Taliban flag and has started “resistance 2.0” against the group, said Habibullah Hisam, an elder from Panjshir.

“The ‘genocide’ in Panjshir is happening by Kandahari Taliban in retaliation to the capture of Kabul by the national hero after the fall of Najibullah’s government,” he said.

“The Taliban is a terrorist group and by its deeds it showed it has been assigned to create instability and ethnic division among the people of Afghanistan,” said Tarana Adib, a women’s rights activist.

Taliban has repeatedly been accused of killing civilians after taking control in Afghanistan last year. Multiple sources confirmed to Amu in July that at least 66 civilians were killed by the Taliban in Andarab valley in Baghlan in the span of 8 to 10 months.

A UN report in July said the Taliban has committed dozens of extrajudicial killings and numerous arbitrary arrests of civilians and former security force members in the then 10 months of their reign in Afghanistan. Taliban rejected the report as baseless.