Insane and barbaric…
Afghan President Hamid Karzai accused the Taliban on Monday of beheading 17 villagers, including two women, in volatile Helmand province, in a gruesome attack recalling the dark days of the hardline group’s rule before their 2001 overthrow.
The killings, in a district where U.S. Marines have long battled with a resilient Taliban, could be a sign the Islamist group is reasserting itself before the planned pull-out of most NATO combat troops in 2014.
Karzai ordered a full investigation into the “mass killing”, which a local official said was punishment meted out to revellers attending a party with music and mixed-sex dancing.
“Such actions show that there are desperate members among the Taliban,” Karzai said in a statement.
The Taliban denied involvement in the attack, which Karzai’s office said took place in the province’s Kajaki district.
“The victims were killed for throwing a late night dancing and music party when the Taliban attacked,” Nimatullah, governor for neighbouring Musa Qala district, told Reuters.
Men and women do not usually mingle in ultra-religious Afghanistan unless they are related, and parties involving both genders are rare and kept secret.
The U.S. embassy in Kabul, the United Nations and European Union sharply condemned the killings in statements, with the EU envoy Vygaudas Usackas calling it “barabarism”.
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