17 Afghan civilians beheaded 'for dance party'


­The attack happened during a celebration near the Musa Qala district, about 75km north of the capital of Helmand province, Lashkar Gah, said district governor Nimatullah. The Taliban holds control over large swathes of Helmand, while the central government has no grasp over it at all. The party involved music and men and women dancing together, of which Taliban fighters reportedly harshly disapprove. Generally, in Afghanistan, women and men do not socialize together unless they are related. Other officials have offered different explanations for the slaughter. Helmand police spokesman Farid Ahmad Farhang said the villagers may have been executed for being government spies. Meanwhile, Helmand government spokesman Daoud Ahmadi said shots were fired after a stand-off between two local warlords. “There are two Taliban commanders, Mullah Wali Mohammad and Mullah Sayed Gul, that control the area, but they argued about two women [at the gathering].” The women are among the dead. “Their throats were slit, but their heads were not completely cut off,” added Ahmadi.

Surge of violence

The number of civilian killings has soared in the last few months in Afghanistan, a local tribal leader told Al-Arabiya. “We had three people beheaded during the month of Ramadan. Another person, the son of a tribal elder, was beheaded recently,” Haji Musa Khan said. The  massacre comes in the wake of the recent statement of Taliban top  commander  Mullah Mohammad Omar, who urged the militant network to avoid  civilian  deaths in the violence-torn country – a step regarded by many  as an  attempt to boost the network’s popularity among the population. News   of the bloodbath in the country’s south comes against the backdrop of a   “green-on-blue” attack in the country’s east, with an Afghan soldier   gunning down two NATO officers. The killed coalition troops were reportedly instructors training Afghan security forces. The assault has been confirmed by ISAF officials. Rogue   killings of US-led international forces have spiked in 2012, leaving  42  people dead in dozens of assaults so far and prompting NATO to boost   security. The measures include a demand issued for all international troops to carry loaded weapons at all times. The  Afghan government has also reacted to  the increase in the killings of  foreign troops: last week, the  leadership pledged to re-examine the  files of over 350,000 policemen  and soldiers to find infiltrators the  Taliban claims it has in the  Afghan security forces. On the  whole, violence has soared in the  region recently. A swathe of suicide  bombings left 63 people dead and  almost 150 wounded in a string of  attacks just over a week ago. Some have predicted the Taliban could take power in the country when NATO leaves the country in 2014. But former MP Daoud Sultanzoy says that is not necessarily their aim. “The Taliban do not want to take control. What they want to do is disrupt and demoralize, and debilitate the government’s capabilities. And then they have reached their goal – they do not have a vision beyond that,” he told RT.]]>


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