The Taliban has denied any involvement and said the killings on Saturday were motivated by a personal dispute, The Associated Press reported. Jawed Bedar, a spokesman for Faryab province’s governor, told the news agency that the family was accused by the Taliban, which has long been designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the Department of State, of being involved in prostitution.
As a result, members of the group entered the family’s home and opened fire, Bedar told AP.
Mohammad Hanif Rezaie, a spokesperson for the Afghan National Army’s Shaheen 209 Military Corps, told local news website KabulNow that the terrorists allegedly carried out the killings on Saturday night in the Khanqa village of Andkhoy district in Faryab province. Other than the six who were slain, a woman and child were injured.
Rezaie said that none of the family members had served in the Afghan military, adding that the Taliban members arrived at the village in secrecy. The Taliban also told KabulNow its fighters were not involved in the killings.
The Taliban are in control of Andkhoy, which makes it difficult to confirm what had happened, Bedar told AP. Locals in the area said the family was not involved in prostitution and said a member of the family was formerly involved in the Taliban who had been involved recently in the peace process, Andkhoy district chief Sultan Mohammad Sanjer told the news outlet.
In the meantime, the Taliban have been carrying out attacks on Afghan and U.S. military assets as they are attempting to hold peace talks with the United States as the nearly 19-year-long conflict continues.
Earlier this month, two soldiers who had been stationed Fort Bragg, North Carolina, were killed by a roadside bomb, according to the Department of Defense.
“The soldiers were conducting operations as part of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission. The incident is under investigation,” the Pentagon wrote in confirming their deaths. The soldiers were identified as Staff Sgt. Ian P. McLaughlin, 29, of Newport News, Virginia; and Pfc. Miguel A. Villalon, 21, of Joliet, Illinois. They were both assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division based in Fort Bragg.
The Taliban immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, CBS News and other news outlets reported. Qari Yusouf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman, told the news outlet that it occurred in Kandahar province in the country’s south.