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Taliban prevent clerics from leading funerals of dead soldiers

KABUL (TOLOnews): Khost residents on Thursday claimed that some clerics in the province refuse to perform funeral prayers for fallen Afghan National Security and Defense Forces (ANDSF) soldiers on due to threats against them by the Taliban.

According to Eid Mohammad, one resident, his brother Khial Mohammad was an ANA soldier who lost his life during a counter-insurgency operation in Janikhel district of the province.

Eid Mohammad said local clerics in his home town refused to conduct his funeral prayer ceremony.

“Our own local Mullah did not come to perform the prayer ceremony for my brother,” said Eid Mohammad.

“When we asked the Mullah why he would not conduct the funeral prayers of a security forces member who was his brother and countrymen, he said that when he returns to his own village he would face problems,” said another brother of the victim, Noor Mohammad.

Some clerics in Khost said they cannot conduct prayer services at funerals because of threats by the Taliban.

“The Taliban have imposed conditions for clerics,” said one cleric in Khost Maulavi Matiullah.

Meanwhile, the council of religious scholars in Khost has confirmed the problem.

“We have asked the Mullah Imams about the issue several times, they say that their homes are located in mountains and plains and they can not perform funeral prayers because of threats,” said Maulavi Shah Mahmood, head of Khost Religious Scholars Council.

“Those who live in the villages can not perform the prayers because of threats,” said Maulavi Ezharuddin, head of Khost Hajj and Pilgrimage department.

Previously similar reports were received from Paktia where the clerics also refused to perform funeral prayers for dead security force members.