Some Afghans say militants claiming to represent the Islamic State group are to blame for the worst incidents of brutality they have ever seen.
The militants recently took control of parts of eastern Afghanistan from Taliban forces. The Taliban governed Afghanistan until the United States and its allies invaded the country 14 years ago.
Now, Afghans say the militants are more violent than Taliban fighters.
A VOA reporter traveled to Nangarhar Province to talk to some of the victims.
Abdul Malik carries a small picture of his son. He says Islamic State militants killed the boy.
“My son went to get wood from the mountain on his donkey to sell. He was very young -- only 15. They fired three bullets in his chest. His name was Khalid.”
Hundreds of other people in eastern Afghanistan have been killed. The militants cut off the head of some victims. Others died in explosions.
The victims include tribal leaders and members of security forces. They also include anyone who opposes the Islamic State. Others are targeted for no apparent reason.
A VOA reporter spoke to a young man who witnessed some of the violence. He says he was almost beheaded by members of the group. He still fears the militants and does not want to be identified.
He says the Islamic State accused him of being a border guard, seized him and prepared to behead him. But individuals living in the area, including older adults, stopped the group from killing him.
“Locals, old people, old women intervened. They said to IS fighters: ‘He is a kid. Why are you beheading him?’ They let me go. They killed the others who were there. Some they blew up. Others they beheaded. And some they shot with guns. Allah saved me.”
A video put on the Internet by IS shows the group using a bomb to kill 10 men. Some of those killed were old. They were all members of the Shinwari tribe.
Such violence has forced many to flee their homes -- including one family that is now living in a tent. A member of their family was beheaded. A woman from the Shinwari tribe says after the execution, IS refused to return the body unless the family paid for it.
“They were trying to sell even the dead body. They never gave his body back.”
But IS fighters found another way to take the family’s money -- they seized the dead man’s father and threatened to behead him. The family paid the militants and fled.
I’m Christopher Jones-Cruise.
VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reported this story from Nangarhar, Afghanistan. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted the report for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.
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Words in This Story
apparent – adj. easy to see or understand
behead – v. to execute someone by cutting off their head
brutal – adj. extremely cruel or harsh
cruel – adj. used to describe people who hurt others and do not feel sorry about it
intervene – v. to become involved in something (such as a conflict) in order to attempt to have an influence on what happens
tent – n. a temporary shelter