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Afghan Poet, Historian Killed By Taliban, Says Official

Afghan poet and historian Abdullah Atifi (file photo)

An Afghan poet and historian has been tortured and shot dead by the Taliban in the country’s south, a local official said.

Mohammad Omar Shirzad, the governor of Uruzgan Province, said Abdullah Atefi was killed late on August 4 in the Chora district.

"The Taliban took a poet and historian named Abdullah Atefi from his house in the Chora district last night, tortured him first, and then killed him," Shirzad told RFE/RL's Radio Azadi.

Qari Yusuf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman, denied the militants were involved in Atefi’s killing.

Chora is among several districts in Uruzgan that have fallen to the Taliban in recent months. The provincial capital, Tirin Kot, has been besieged by the insurgents for weeks.

The Taliban has been accused of killing activists, journalists, cultural figures, and religious clerics that have been critical of the militant group.

The Taliban admitted to killing comedian Fazal Mohammad on July 28, after videos emerged on social media showing him being beaten by the militants. Another video purported to show his dead body.

Mohammad, also an Afghan police officer, was executed in the southern province of Kandahar.

The killings come as the Taliban has captured dozens of districts and besieged major cities across Afghanistan since the start of the U.S.-led military withdrawal on May 1.

This story is based on reporting by RFE/RL's Radio Azadi correspondents on the ground in Afghanistan. Their names are being withheld for their protection.

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