- The Taliban has admitted to killing comedian Nazar Mohammad, known for his humorous TikTok videos.
- A viral video showed Mohammad being slapped in a car by two Taliban men.
- The killing comes amid a surge in fighting as Taliban forces seize territory across Afghanistan.
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The Taliban has admitted to killing a TikTok comedian in Afghanistan after a video of him being slapped by two men went viral.
Comedian Nazar Mohammad, also known as Khasha Zwan, was taken from his home in the southern province of Kandahar and was later shot multiple times and killed. Images of his dead body circulating on social media.
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Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed that the two men slapping Mohammad in the video were Taliban men and that they would be arrested and tried for murder, according to Al-Jazeera.
Mohammad gained popularity in Afghanistan for posting humorous videos on TikTok.
"Taliban forces apparently executed Khasha Zwan because he poked fun at Taliban leaders," said Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "His murder and other recent abuses demonstrate the willingness of Taliban commanders to violently crush even the tamest criticism or objection."
Zabihullah Mujahid alleged that the comedian was a member of the Afghan National Police and had been implicated in the torture and killing of a Taliban man, as reported by Al-Jazeera.
He added that the Taliban men should have arrested the comic and brought him before a Taliban court rather than killing him.
Mohammad's killing comes amid a surge in fighting in Afghanistan sparked by US military forces withdrawing from the country.
Since Joe Biden announced plans to withdraw in April, the Taliban has been seizing territory across Afghanistan, with one report suggesting they control 55% of the country.
While the Taliban's territorial gains have so far been mostly rural, in recent weeks they have made gains in provincial capitals and seized border crossings.
According to Human Rights Watch the Taliban has been detaining, and often executing, people associated with the government or police.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen claimed that the group was under orders to not interfere with civilians or impose restrictions in newly captured areas. He said that any wrongdoings would be investigated.