Taliban sends assassins to quell dissent

ASSASSINS linked to the Taliban government of Afghanistan are attacking enemies of the hardline Islamic regime who have sought sanctuary abroad.

Gangs of gunmen commissioned by the movement are blamed for the deaths of at least four prominent opposition figures in recent months. Dozens of other enemies of the regime - often intellectuals or human rights campaigners - have been intimidated or harassed.

The most recent attack was in Mastung, south-west Pakistan. Mullah Sorkatib - a senior commander in a rival faction who fled Afghanistan two years ago - was seriously wounded in the jaw and arm and his personal guard was killed when four men, armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles, forced their way into his home.

Local police said last week they had arrested one of Sorkatib's attackers, who claimed that the group had been commissioned by a senior figure in the Taliban. They were to receive 250,000 rupees (pounds 3,300) each if they were successful, the man said. The Taliban has strongly denied any involvement.

Last month another squad of gunmen shot dead a leading campaigner for democracy in Afghanistan in a bazaar in the western Pakistani city of Peshawar. Mohammed Hashim Paktyanai had organised a meeting of dissidents to mark the anniversary of the death of the former Afghan president Najibullah, who was killed by the Taliban two years ago. Paktyanai's family said he had been receiving death threats for some time.

Two other opponents of the Taliban - both connected with the Communist regime that ruled Afghanistan in the Eighties - have been shot and killed in recent months in Quetta, a city in south-west Pakistan. One, Nazar Mohammed, 65, was the head and founder of the Movement for Peace in Afghanistan, which he claimed had more than 100,000 members around the world.

There has also been a string of attacks on intellectuals and women's rights activists in Peshawar.

Observers say the attacks are part of a general crackdown by the Taliban - which controls 90 per cent of Afghanistan - on ideological opponents, inside and outside the country. Several hundred dissidents alleged to be planning a coup were jailed in October.

Though the Taliban is supported by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, many other regional powers - including Iran - are working hard to destabilise the regime.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Group has been well establishe...

Recruitment Genius: Lettings Negotiator - OTE £23,000

£15000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Following a successful launch i...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitm...

Recruitment Genius: Lifeguards / Leisure Club Attendants - Seasonal Placement

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Qualified Lifeguards are required to join a fa...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003