Weekly Brief: Jan 08 – Jan 14
The Taliban purged a handful of their commanders in northern Afghanistan over the past week as part of a drive to cleanse their ranks. They arrested ethnic Uzbek commander Makhdoom Alam from Mazar-e-Sharif, which unleashed riots in his hometown Maimana with his supporters in droves fighting off and disbanding non-native Taliban. Taliban also arrested their ethnic Tajik commander Qari Wakil and later released him. An arrest warrant was also issued for another commander.
Taliban’s internal bickering saw a rise. In a bust-up in Badakhshan, three of their fighters were killed. In another fierce internal clash along the Tajikistan border, 11 of their militants were killed and dozens wounded. Also, in Panjshir, men loyal to the police chief and governor engaged in a clash. Another Taliban fighter was killed in a clash between two commanders over a land dispute in Balkh. They also killed four civilians in Nangarhar over a land dispute. Similarly, another civilian was killed and ten wounded after the Taliban police chief in Balkh’s Shulgara attacked a group of Uzbek residents over a land dispute.
In Nangarhar, civilian casualties were high. Explosions of mortar shells killed ten children and two women in separate incidents. Meanwhile, Taliban intelligence chief was killed and gunmen shot dead ex-TTP spokesman Mufti Khalid Balti. Taliban also arrested four IS-K terrorists there and freed a hostage.
In Kabul, the Taliban fought a gun battle for several hours with a group of alleged kidnappers (possibly anti-Taliban forces) on Sunday night. The de facto administration killed a young girl in the Dasht Barchi neighborhood. Moreover, two Taliban fighters were killed in a roadside bomb blast in Kabul. In the Bagrami district, four Taliban members were wounded and a child killed in a blast. Another magnetic bomb exploded in the Parwan Seh neighborhood Thursday morning.
This was while the Taliban also suppressed several protests in Kabul when women gathered to demand justice for a policewoman slain in Herat and a young girl murdered in Kabul. Women staged protests in Jawzjan, Takhar and Kabul.
In Kapisa, hundreds staged a protest after the Taliban captured six women and three children from their homes. In Laghman, Gunmen killed five members of a family and another civilian was killed in Kandahar. Taliban beheaded an ex-army commander in Takhar and abducted a civilian in Zabul. In a shooting in Kabul, a radio station official was hurt and an ex-police chief disappeared.