Afghanistan’s Taliban has condemned a video that appears to show militants loyal to Islamic State (IS) blowing up bound and blindfolded Afghan prisoners with explosives.
The video highlights growing rivalries between the Afghan Taliban and some militant factions who have sworn allegiance to IS.
The video appears to have been shot in eastern Afghanistan, where the Taliban and IS have clashed in recent months.
It describes the prisoners as "apostates" aligned with the Taliban or the Afghan government.
But the Taliban described them as civilians, saying it was "a horrific video … [showing] kidnappers who associate themselves with Daesh (the Arabic name for IS) brutally martyring several white-bearded tribal elders and villagers with explosives."
A Taliban statement issued on August 11 called the executions an "un-Islamic act [that] can never be justified. … No law can ever allow prisoners to be mistreated in such a manner."
"This offense and other such brutal actions by a few irresponsible, ignorant individuals under the guise of Islam and Muslims are intolerable," the statement added.
The Taliban is itself often accused of brutality and killing innocent civilians. The Taliban has suffered a string of recent defections to IS.
The statement is the most recent indication that disagreements between the Taliban and the IS are turning into a violent rivalry.
In an open letter to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in June, Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour wrote that "the creation of a parallel jihadist front or leadership [in Afghanistan] will pave the way for disagreements, schisms, and conspiracies."
He delivered a stern warning to al-Baghdadi."[We] will be forced to react to defend our achievements," the letter said.
With reporting by AFP, DPA, and Reuters