Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, October 26th, 2021

Taliban Widely Engaged in Civilian Casualties, Occupation of Residential Houses

The Taliban are widely involved in civilian casualties and people’s life is highly cheap for them. They carry out indiscriminate attacks across the country and spill the blood of women and children without mercy. They have turned a deaf ear to public call for ceasefire.
In restive districts, the Taliban occupy residential houses in order to fight against Afghan soldiers. I have had a trip to Moqor district, Ghazni province, recently. There the locals, mainly Pashtuns, have complained against the Taliban militant fighters. According to them, the Taliban insurgents occupy their houses as well as schools forcefully. They collect food and money from locals with the barrel of gun. The death of civilians does not matter for the Taliban fighters. A number of Moqor residents said with a strong sense of rage and hatred that the Taliban militants have occupied their houses. They fight from the roof of their homes. Destruction of their houses and death of their family members are not significant for the militants. That is, the Taliban use locals as human shields. In case the Afghan soldiers attack residential areas, which could lead to civilian casualties, the Taliban will say out loud that Afghan soldiers do not respect humanitarian law and kill ordinary people. 
Meanwhile, the Taliban, instead of government organs, engage in resolving tribal conflict in areas in Moqor district. One of the residents, who took his local argument to the Taliban to resolve, said that the Taliban militants were involved in taking enormous bribe from both sides of the argument. He also said that as one day he went to the Taliban’s location to talk about his argument, there were many militants with dark skin who could not understand or speak Pashtu or Dari since they were foreigners.
As a result of the Taliban’s cruelty and forceful occupation of the houses of locals, a number of people are preparing to leave their houses to avoid being killed, said the people in Moqor district.
On my trip to Moqor, I crossed the checkpoints of the Taliban militants, who stop vehicles and search the passengers. They also collect money from truck drivers. I asked soldiers in Moqor if they plan to carry out air-strikes on checkpoints, they said that it would cost the lives of civilians. Therefore, they seek to avoid civilian casualties.
Meanwhile, the teachers in Moqor district sign two attendance sheets; one belongs to the government and another to the Taliban group. As of now, schools in Ghazni province was declared off as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, teachers in Moqor districts have to go to school and sign the attendance sheet belongs to the Taliban. Few schools which are still active in Moqor are not off since the Taliban have not agreed. But many schools are converted to battlefields by the Taliban militants. Girls are allowed to attend only primary schools, in case they are open.
If you walk in bazaar in Moqor, you will be shaken by a loud sound of firing several times per day, disturbing your piece of mind.
People in general and residents of restive districts in particular are frustrated with the war and violence. The youths do not have schools or jobs.
People believe that the Taliban’s acts of violence and bloodshed have no legal or religious justification. There is a strong sense of hatred against the Taliban in public air. Officials in Moqor district believe that the Taliban militants were the mercenary fighters and stooges of some neighboring countries. A military high-level official, who asked for anonymity, said that some Pakistani generals were killed in their operations in Moqor district.
Overall, the Taliban do not respect humanitarian law and spill the blood of civilians, including women and children, in one way or another. They only know to pull the trigger, no matter how many people will be killed. With this in mind, the public fear that the Taliban will resume their acts of violence as those during their regime in case of integrating into the system. So far, the Taliban militants practice upon the same ideology, exercised during their regime (1996 – 2001). They kill people, punish criminals in desert courts, and prevent girls from going to school. Their mindset has not been changed. Using people as human shields and committing every crime they can, will be a great disgrace for the Taliban group. In short, the Taliban are not able to fight face-to-face with Afghan soldiers. Therefore, they fight from residential areas, plant improvised explosive devices, and carry out indiscriminate attacks. The international community, mainly the United Nations, has to pressure the Taliban to respect the rule of war and stop killing civilians.