As the Taliban swiftly expands its control over Afghanistan, snatching territories held by government forces with ease, it has also offered glimpses of the cruelty and brutality that were the hallmark of the radical Islamist regime when it ruled the country before the U.S. invaded it in 2001. A new video published by CNN shows the militants executing Afghan troops who had surrendered.
The video begins with military commandos shown walking out of a facility with their hands in the air. Sounds of Taliban gunmen shouting “surrender” can be heard.
CNN’s Anna Coren reported that the troops fought with the Taliban for around two hours before they ran out of ammunition and were forced to surrender. A few seconds after the commandos walked out, gunfire can be heard and the video shows dead bodies of the commandos on the ground. In all 22 military commandos were shot to death by the militants in that incident.
Warning: graphic content.
"'Surrender, commandos surrender,' a Taliban fighter yells. Seconds later, a group of soldiers from the Afghan elite Special Forces Unit walk out, hands raised and ready to concede. Before they have a chance to speak, they are shot execution style." @amcoren @CNN pic.twitter.com/EGb8MxHGlK
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) July 12, 2021
The Red Cross confirmed the retrieval of the bodies of the Afghan special forces.
Coren said CNN spoke with five witnesses who confirmed the killings that took place in June in a north Afghanistan district. A local resident told the outlet that the special forces’ commander at the location called for back-up but to no avail.
The Taliban has since denied the video’s authenticity, stating that the scenes were fabricated.
The militant group has made sweeping advancements in Afghanistan since U.S. troops began pulling out of the country. On Monday, top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Scott Miller, relinquished his position after about three years of service in the country.
Top American general in Afghanistan to step down Monday as U.S. finalizes exit and Taliban surges https://t.co/gPNKXJcNqH
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) July 12, 2021
The Associated Press reported that the U.S. will send in another four-star general to take over Miller’s post until the complete withdrawal of American forces in the country is fulfilled by the end of August.
There have been concerns among Afghans on how the country will face up to the intensifying battle with the Taliban now that the U.S. and NATO’s troops are close to completely exiting the country.
Afghan National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib said the withdrawal has left security forces with inadequate supplies of ammunition and food. He added that the lack of aircraft resupplies will greatly affect Afghan military activities.
Meanwhile, Afghan warlords are regrouping to strengthen the country’s fight against Taliban militants, the Financial Times reported.
Afghan warlords mobilise to counter Taliban onslaught https://t.co/SCZYMFI0j2
— Financial Times (@FinancialTimes) July 13, 2021
Former anti-Taliban commander Abdul Rashid Dostum reportedly said he is prepared to return to Afghanistan to fight against the Taliban again.
Dostum, who once served as a pro-Soviet combatant, has been residing in Turkey, but is reportedly among the growing number of Afghan warlords who are willing to take up arms once more, now that the Taliban’s has expanded its territory.
Other warlords too, like former governor Atta Mohamed Nour and Ahmed Masoud, whose father was killed by the al-Qaeda, have reportedly decided to revive their fight against the Taliban.
Last week, Taliban officials said the group now has control of 85% of Afghan territory, Reuters reported.
While the Afghan government said the claims were exaggerated, Taliban militants have seized a crucial district in Herat province last week, as well as the border town Torghundi.