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ED: Unearthing atrocity

Summary executions, disappearances and mass killings have occurred throughout all phases of Afghanistan’s conflict over the past few decades. There may be hundreds of mass graves in Afghanistan – not only those from the civil war in the 1990s, but also those unearthing the atrocities of cruel ISIS hooligans. Stark evidence of such killings is held in the mass graves that still litter the Afghan countryside, in which civilians are frequently slaughtered en masse. The existence of mass graves across Afghanistan provides evidence not only of the fate of the disappeared and murdered, but the brutalities of evil forces of terrorism.

Some of the mass graves are connected with infamous massacres in rural provinces. One such site is outside Achin, in the east. It lies with bones and the remains of clothing. In two recent exhumations, the bodies of at least 19 local residents were found in two mass graves in eastern Afghanistan. In Achin district of Nangarhar province – which is known to be an ISIS stronghold – 10 bodies were found, and another nine bodies were unearthed in Kot district on Monday last week. The bodies belonged to civilians who had abducted by Daesh militants more than a year ago. This is not the first time Daesh militants abduct residents. Last year, in two separate incidents, Daesh abducted 14 teachers and ministry of education staff from the same district. The deceased had reportedly been held hostage for over a year and are believed to have been killed by Daesh militants.

This exhumation is just ‘the tip of the iceberg’ that stirs up terrible memories. It’s not the first mass graves to be found since the toppling of the Taliban. A mass grave with at least 100 bodies was discovered in August 2017 in Mirza Olang district of Sar-i-Pul province. Militants loyal to the Daesh and Taliban outfits had massacred civilians, including women and children. However, only a few have been partly excavated, with several hundred remains identified. But many of the graves remain shrouded in historical fog and present-day political obfuscation. Some were used as dumping grounds by the communists.

Afghanistan has been a vista for belligerence and hooliganism over the past decades of internal inflicts. Civilians have borne the brunt of communism and the ensuing infightings in 1980s, the totalitarian regime of the Taliban in 1990s, the scourge of terrorism and militancy in 2000s and the menace of Daesh in 2010s. The most violent of them all has been the self-proclaimed Islamic State which perpetrates the most inhumane and atrocious patterns of genocide. In several notorious cases, the perpetrating forces and burial sites are widely known, such as the Taliban massacres in the late 1990s, and the communist government’s systematic executions during the 1980s of thousands of prisoners, whose bodies were dumped near Pul-i-Charki prison east of Kabul.

Daesh is an adherent of a fundamentalist and and heterodox doctrine. This terrorist outfit believes that all religions who agree with democracy have to die. Daesh was coaxed into being in 2014 in Iraq and Syria with unorthodox expansionist ambitions. It carried out mass killings, beheadings and brutal executions of soldiers and civilians and destroyed cultural heritage sites there. Soon after security alliance in Iraq and Syria drove them out and suffocated their operations, they started sneaking to Afghanistan. With their vast financial and warfare resources, Daesh would necessarily have eventually found its way using the security vacuum in Afghanistan and extended its foothold.

Daesh is a severe blow to democracy, credible government and human rights. The people want justice. Ultimately, it may be up to Afghans to force their government and its international allies to dismantle the roots of Daesh and their delinquent operations. This episode of mass killings perpetrated by Daesh is a reminder of how Afghan people continue to be victim of yet another deadly cause. Although Islamic State claims to enforce Islamic Sharia law, it is nothing but the evil death cult – which is neither a true representation of Islam, nor is it a state. It is rather an abomination, a movement to vandalize the rudiments of Islam and defame its true teachings. Daesh has become an infamous phenomenon, a universal threat – which needs collective deterrence.

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