Dutch Military Chief Says Taliban Executed Civilians

Dutch military chief General Dick Berlijn says Taliban fighters were executing civilians who refused to fight alongside them during a battle earlier this month.

Berlijn said Dutch and Afghan forces engaged some 500 Taliban fighters in the southern town of Chora about a week ago. He said Taliban militants tried to force civilians to fight for them and killed those who refused.

Berlijn said one checkpoint commander saw two brothers killed by Taliban militants for refusing to fight, and eight Afghan women had their throats slashed to force their male relatives to join the battle alongside the Taliban.

His comments came after some 25 civilians and 20 Taliban were reported killed in a NATO air strike.

RFE/RL correspondent Salihmohamad Sali reported from the southern Helmand Province that the air strike late June 21 targeted a group of homes in Helmand’s Gereshk district where Taliban fighters were firing on foreign and Afghan forces.

The strike in Helmand Province came just as President Hamid Karzai urged international forces to do more to prevent civilian casualties.

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