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Taliban kills Saleh's brother: 'Let his body rot, you shall not bury,' they told his nephew
Former Afghanistan Vice-President and leader of the Northern Alliance of Panjshir valley, the only province still holding out, Amrullah Saleh's elder brother Rohullah Saleh has been captured and brutally killed by Taliban fighters in the Valley's Roca district, according to unconfirmed reports.

KABUL, Sept 11: Former Afghanistan Vice-President and leader of the Northern Alliance protecting the Panjshir valley province against invading Taliban fighters, Amrullah Saleh's elder brother Rohullah Saleh Azizi was tortured and killed by Taliban fighters on Thursday as, reportedly, he was proceeding to Kabul alongwith people leaving the province in the face of an escalating battle.

Rohullah Saleh, various social media reported, was captured and tortured to death when he was identified from among a group of common people leaving the valley.

“They killed him yesterday and would not let us bury him. They kept saying his body should rot,” Ebadullah Saleh, his nephew, told Reuters in a text message on Friday. "They executed my uncle." They pleaded to let them bury the body. Another report identified his nephew as one Shuresh Saleh.

The news of Rohullah’s death was first reported in a Twitter post by a website. It said Saleh's brother was killed in the Roca district of Panjshir.

Many residents of Panjshir were allowed by both the Resistance Front and the Taliban to leave the valley as the clashes were intensifying. Reports said Rohullah was found among them and was captured.

Meanwhile, contrary to Taliban's claims, ousted Afghan Government's Ambassador to Tajikistan said earlier that both Ahmad Massoud, leading the Resistance Front, and Amrullah Saleh are in Panjshir and have not fled to Tajikistan.

The Afghan Government was ousted by invading Taliban fighters on August 15 as they entered Kabul and President Ashraf Ghani fled the country. After the fall of the Government Vice-President Amrullah Saleh went to Panjshir, a non-Pashtun stronghold, and proclaimed himself as caretaker President quoting Constitutional provisions. The anti-Taliban Resistance Front was set up with Ahmad Massoud, son of the murdered mujahiddeen commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, and former Defence Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammady. Amrullah Saleh is a critic of Pakistan too.

"Ahmad Massoud and Amrullah Saleh have not fled to Tajikistan. The news that Ahmad Massoud has left Panjshir is not true; he is inside Afghanistan. I am in constant contact with Amrullah Saleh, who is currently in Panjshir and running the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan's Government," Zahir Aghbar, the envoy of the ousted Afghan Government to Dushanbe, was quoted as saying.

Ahmad Shah Massoud, the Mujahideen commander who fought the Soviets in the 1980s and the Taliban in the 1990s, was revered as the 'Lion of Panjshir', who protected the Panjshir Valley against any intruders. Panjshir has never fallen to any outside forces, partly because of the geographical advantage. Only a narrow passage opens up the valley to the rest of the country. He had led the Northern Alliance based here. He was killed in 2001 by Al Qaeda, the assassins posing as documentary film makers. All through he fought mainly the Sunni Pashtun group that constitutes much of Taliban. Panjshir is a valley tucked in the Hind Khush mountain range, 150 km north-east of Kabul, inhabited mostly by Shia and Tajik ethnic Muslims. Ahmad Shah Massoud's son Ahmad Massoud leads the newly formed Northern Resistance Front in association with Amrullah Saleh, who was a great admirer of his father. Both have vowed not to give up.

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