Gunmen seen as a threat to Laghman peace

JALALABAD (Pajhwok): The presence of a large number of irresponsible gunmen poses a serious threat to security in eastern Laghman province, a public representative said on Sunday.

In an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, the Laghman provincial council secretary blamed the security forces for failing to rein in gun-toting individuals.

Mohammad Zahir Hassankhel said he had shared the issue with the governor’s house, but remedial measures had not been taken so far.

He added the new provincial council was ready to cooperate with the governor’s office in resolving public problems, including illegal acts by certain strongmen. But he did not name anyone.

He identified inadequacies in the education sector, a halt to reconstruction projects and a yawning gap between the government and the people as major factors behind escalating insecurity in the province.

Hassankhel said they were doing their bid to deal with the challenges. “We are trying to bring closer the masses and their rulers. Most of problems would be addressed if people are taken into confidence.”

The previous council had failed to reduce the distance, which was essentially spawned by corruption, self-seeking and unlawful actions, he alleged, saying they were trying to address the issues.

He continued: “The general perception about the outgoing council is that it often locked horns with the governor’s office on petty issues. But the new members have promised to identify problems and resolve them jointly.”

A number of former provincial council members often remained absent, but the incoming public representatives had pledged to pay greater attention to public problems, the secretary maintained.

Health clinics across the province are faced with numerous problems, according to the official, who said they had started keeping a watch on and visiting these centres. Once formally listed, the problems will be shared with higher-ups.

Similarly, he pointed out, many schools in Laghman were without proper buildings and there was a shortage of professional teachers in far-flung areas. Several projects are needed to promote the vital sector, he believed.

Mehtarlam resident Inayat also complained of the growing number of illegal gunmen, who threatened peace in Laghman. He urged the government to launch a disarmament drive in the province.

Sarhadi Zwak, the governor’s spokesman, acknowledged the presence of gunmen, but he said their number had fallen considerably over the past few years.

The governor had constituted a commission to disarm such groups, the spokesman said, calling the issue a legacy from the past.


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