Afghanistan: Taliban close offices of two Shiite clerics in Ghazni

KABUL [Afghanistan], June 7 (ANI): The Taliban on Monday closed the offices of Ayatollah Mohammad Ishaq Fayyaz and Ayatollah Mohaqeq Kabuli, two Shiite clerics in Ghazni.

According to the sources, in recent days, Taliban members have repeatedly inspected the offices of these two religious authorities and arrested their officials, reported The First 24/7 International News Channel for Afghanistan.

The development comes after the Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid rejected the US annual report on the persecution of religious minorities in Afghanistan.

The Taliban slammed the US State Department's "International Religious Freedom Report" and said that the religious and civil rights of minorities are protected in Afghanistan.

For decades, violence has torn through Afghanistan's Shiite community, perpetuated by the Taliban -- who consider Shiites heretics.

Moreover, the attacks on them also fuelled concerns in neighbouring Iran, a Shiite Muslim theocracy and self-proclaimed defender of Shiite Muslims around the world, where officials have voiced concerns about the fate of Afghan Shiites under Taliban rule.

Earlier, the Taliban regime in Afghanistan prohibited dozens of Shia mosques from holding Eid prayers. The reports of prohibition were reported from the major cities of Herat and Kabul with some Shia Muslims also forced to break their fast prior to the announcement of Eid by their mosques.

Notably, the situation of human rights in Afghanistan has worsened since the collapse of the Afghan government and the Taliban's return to power in August last year. Although the fighting in the country has ended, serious human rights violations continue unabated, especially against women and minorities.

In the past few weeks, a series of deadly blasts, especially targetting minorities have hit Afghanistan. The series of blasts and vulnerable security conditions, especially for the minorities has drawn worldwide condemnation, including from the United Nations (UN), the EU, US and others.