Clear evidence refutes Taliban lies that a recently published video showing the execution of 22 Afghan special forces commandos by the Taliban in Faryab Province is "fake".
The 45-second video, which was broadcasted by CNN on Monday (July 12), shows Afghan commandos giving up their weapons and surrendering on June 16 in Dawlatabad district, Faryab province, after the Taliban captured the district following heavy fighting.
Shouting "Allahu akbar", the Taliban militants shoot all 22 Afghan commandos to death immediately after they give up their weapons, the video shows.
CNN has quoted the Taliban as claiming that they captured the Afghan commandos, who are alive and in Taliban custody.
While CNN says it has confirmed the report and spoken to several witnesses, a Taliban spokesman claimed the video is fake.
"The report is from a fake scene combined with footage from another where 22 commandos were killed during clashes while carrying out an operation in Faryab province," Suhail Shaheen, a Taliban negotiator and spokesperson, said in a Twitter post Wednesday.
Rejection of Taliban claim
The Defence Ministry, however, has rejected the Taliban's claim and said the Taliban killed the commandos. In a statement, ministry spokesperson Fawad Aman said the executions constitute a "war crime".
Moreover, the Red Cross confirmed retrieving the bodies of the 22 commandos.
The killings amounts to a war crime, agreed human rights watchdog Amnesty International UK. "This deeply disturbing footage is horrific and gives insight into the increasingly desperate situation enveloping in Afghanistan. What we are witnessing is the cold-blooded murder of surrendering soldiers -- a war crime."
The executions, amid the Taliban's claims of pursuing a peace process, and plans to continue talks with the Afghan government, cast a shadow over upcoming peace negotiations.