7 Aug 2017

Dozens killed in 'brutal' Afghan attack

10:38 am on 7 August 2017

At least 50 civilians have been killed by militants in northern Afghanistan, officials say.

Afghanistan ambulance

A file photo of an Afghan ambulance: Dozens of civilians have been reported killed in a village in Mirzawalang, Sar-e Pul. Photo: AFP

They report that a checkpoint manned by local police was attacked in the Mirzawalang area of Sar-e Pul province.

The assailants then entered the village and shot dead mainly Shia Muslim civilians including women and children, a spokesman for the provincial governor said.

"They were killed in a brutal, inhumane way," he added.

He reported that seven members of the Afghan security forces were also killed, as well as a number of insurgents.

A combination of Taliban and Islamic State (IS) group fighters - including foreigners - were involved, he said.

Both are Sunni Muslim militant groups.

The Taliban denied killing civilians, saying that its fighters had killed 28 members of a government-supported militia in the area.

Afghan president Mohammad Ashraf Ghani.

Afghan president Mohammad Ashraf Ghani Photo: AFP

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack.

"Criminal terrorists have once again killed civilians, women and children," he said in a statement.

"This barbaric act of them is deemed a direct violation of human rights and a war crime."

Fighting has intensified across Afghanistan in recent months. More than 1662 civilians were killed in the half of the year, according to UN figures.

US President Donald Trump is considering whether to increase the number of US troops aiding the military and police in the country.

- BBC

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