A bullet-riddled mosque is seen on the grounds of an army compound in the Dihdadi District of Afghanistan’s Balkh Province following an earlier assault by Taliban militants, on April 25, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Taliban militants in Afghanistan have killed more than a dozen people in Afghanistan’s northern Balkh Province.
According to local government sources, the Taliban militants stormed a mosque where the group had gathered on Saturday afternoon.
Local hospital officials reported inspecting the bullet-riddled bodies of 13 people.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the Taliban militants had been responsible for the attack. He said 12 people, including three commanders of what he said were local militia forces hired by the government to maintain security in the region, had been killed, and another one was wounded, in the attack.
Mujahid also claimed that the militants took several weapons, ammunition, and grenades from the deceased.
However, a member of the Afghan parliament representing the Balkh Province, Gulalai Noor Sapai, rejected the Taliban claim and said all those killed in the attack had been ordinary civilians and had no links with the government or security institutions.
Afghan security forces gather at a bombing scene at the police headquarters in Gardez, the capital of Paktia Province, June 18, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Taliban “governor” killed
Meanwhile, the Afghan Interior Ministry announced on Saturday that a Taliban “governor” had been killed in fighting with security forces in the eastern Wardak Province.
Mullah Bashir, the Taliban-appointed “governor” of the Nirkh district, was killed and two militants were wounded late Friday night, according to the government statement.
In a separate statement, the ministry said at least 13 militants, including five members of the Takifiri Daesh group, had been killed after Afghan warplanes carried out airstrikes on their hideouts in Paktika, Sar-e Pul, and Jawzjan provinces.
The overnight attacks destroyed some of the militants’ weapons and vehicles, the statement added.