TARINKOT, AFGHANISTAN (BNO NEWS) -- A local police commander forced civilians from their houses in southern Afghanistan before executing at least eleven of them, possibly in revenge for the recent killings of two members of a minority ethnic faction, local officials said on Friday.
The incident occurred on Thursday in the Matakzai area of the Khas Uruzgan District in Uruzgan Province, located in the country's south. The gunman, identified as local police commander Shujaee Hazara, allegedly entered the houses of civilians and forced them to go outside before executing them.
Provincial officials said Hazara is a member of the Hazara ethnic minority faction and has a history of harassing civilians. The massacre comes just days after Taliban insurgents killed two other Hazaras in the area, and authorities are investigating whether Shujaee carried out the killings in revenge.
The Pajhwok Afghan News (PAN) agency said Shujaee had close links to the coalition forces and had been arrested on three previous occasions for harassing civilians, but was released soon after. Those two claims by PAN, which quoted provincial council chief Ibrahim Akundzada, could not be immediately verified.
Taliban spokesman Qari Muhammad Yousuf Ahmadi, who claimed at least seventeen civilians were killed, condemned the shooting massacre and accused foreign forces of being involved. "Locals from the area say that the notorious local police commander carries out such crimes under the direction and protection of foreign forces," he said. "He is personally being backed and armed with all types of new weaponry by the foreign forces."
Shujaee had not been caught as of late Friday.
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