Militants kill 50 civilians in Northern Afghanistan

At least 50 civilians have been killed by militants in Northern Afghanistan, officials say. They report that a checkpoint manned by local police was attacked in the Mirzawalang area of Sar-e Pul province. The assailants then entered the village and shot dead mainly Shia Muslim civilians including women and children, a spokesman for the provincial governor said. He reported that seven members of the Afghan security forces have also been killed, as well as a number of insurgents. A combination of Taliban and Islamic State (IS) group fighters – including foreigners – were involved, he said. Both are Sunni Muslim militant groups. The Taliban denied killing civilians, saying that its fighters had killed 28 members of a government-supported militia in the area. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack. Fighting has intensified across Afghanistan in recent months. More than 1,662 civilians were killed in half of the year, according to UN figures.