Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Foreign Ministry Assails Rights Violations in Afghanistan

The Russian Foreign Ministry assailed Afghanistan's ruling Taliban militia for the alleged executions of more than 170 Afghan civilians, including humanitarian aid workers, whose bodies were found in mass graves earlier this year.

According to the United Nations, more than 100 people were summarily executed in early January after the Taliban took back the strategic town of Yakaolong in central Bamiyan province from an opposition group.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko said Tuesday that the bodies of 70 more civilians allegedly shot by the Taliban had been found in another village, Bagi Zakhira, in northern Takhar province. The victims were members of ethnic minorities, he said.

"In spite of the repeated demands in U.N. General Assembly resolutions about the situation in Afghanistan, about the need to respect the rights of the country's population, the Taliban are continuing in an outrageous manner to violate elementary human rights and the rights of ethnic minorities, including the very right to life," Yakovenko said in a statement posted on the Foreign Ministry's web site.

Russia has championed efforts to strengthen sanctions against Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, calling it a threat to regional stability, and supported the northern-based opposition.

Russian officials have accused the Taliban of fomenting unrest in formerly Soviet Central Asia, sending militants to separatist Chechnya and training Chechen rebels at camps inside Afghanistan. The Taliban have denied the accusations.