Amnesty condemns Taliban attacks

Human rights group says civilians are being targeted in the group's spring offensive.

    Afghan civilians are being targeted
    in Taliban suicide attacks [EPA]

    "But it is the Taliban who have a deliberate policy of targeting civilians - they are killing teachers, abducting aid workers and burning school buildings."
     
    Fear and control
     
    Amnesty said civilians in Afghanistan faced an increased threat from suicide attacks, abductions and beheadings as part of the Taliban's spring offensive against government and Nato-led forces.
     

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    The attacks were used to instill fear and exert control over Afghans, the group said.
     
    Amnesty said that the Taliban had burned down at least 183 schools between 2005 and 2006, and noted that its military rulebook "explicitly sanctions targeting and killing civilians".
     
    The group also said that a Taliban fatwa, or religious edict, called for the death of any person who supported the foreign forces in Afghanistan.
     
    It condemned the Taliban's use of improvised explosive devices in roadside bombs and suicide attacks, with Cordone saying that by conducting such "indiscriminate attacks," the Taliban were "committing war crimes".
     
    'Propaganda'
     
    The report is the second this week by a major international human rights group to accuse the Taliban of committing war crimes.
     
    Monday's report by Human Rights Watch said almost 700 civilians had been killed by the Taliban in the previous year.
     
    Zabullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, rejected that report, saying it was disinformation and Western propaganda.
     
    "The Taliban only target foreign and Afghan military personnel and those who help them," Mujahid said by satellite telephone from an undisclosed location.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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