Illegal armed men’s influence growing in Daikundi: PC member

BAMYAN CITY (Pajhwok): Illegal gunmen have become so stronger that they have disarmed policemen and forced people into complying with implement their directives in central Daikundi province.
Provincial Council (PC) member Hadi Rahimizada claimed on Saturday the armed men recently captured 23 policemen and snatched their weapons and vehicles in the Ishterli district.
He said the gunmen belonged to the Pesaran-i-Mublaigh group, led by former jihadi commanders with personal enmities. Khadir, Sang Takht and Ishterli districts have become more insecure due to the presence of the armed men.
The provincial council had earlier informed security officials about possible security threats in the districts, the public representative added.
Police chief Col. Khuda Dad Agah said they had dispatched 23 policemen to Ishterli district to assess the situation closely, but the local warlords abducted the security personnel and wrested their rifles.
He added the gun-toting men, who had been provided a tip-off about the departure of the police convoy for the district, ambushed the security officials and disarmed them.
After the incident, the town’s administrative chief held talks with the armed individuals on securing the release of policemen and their vehicle. However, the police chief said, the groups refused to return the arms.
Col. Agah continued a delegation of police officials and provincial government officials had been tasked with investigating the issue. He hoped the investigation would be completed soon. 
The police chief accused 90 percent of police personnel of having links with politicians and getting directives form Wolesi Jirga members, heads of political parties and other influential individuals.
Without naming anyone, Agah saidlawmakers from Daikundi warned to stage a sit-in if a new governor was appointed. In addition, they warned the appointment of a new governor would create more problems.
The lawmakers continued their sit-in protest for a month, claiming the people of Daikundi had rejected the woman governor. The MPs insisted on the appointment of a male governor who could deal with the situation in an effective manner.
But Governor Masooma Muradi, during her maiden speech, said women too had the ability to head provinces. She also pledged tackling all challenges in an efficient fashion to put the province on the road to development.
On the other hand, Wolesi Jirga member Sherin Mohseni acknowledged tens of armed groups had been active for the past few years in Daikundi.Without naming anyone, he said some government officials were supporting the illegal groups.
Mohseni accused former jihadi commander Mohammad Ali Sadaqat of killing an education officer in Khadir district. Sadaqat had been named by the Ministry of Interior as highway commander for Badghis province.
“Law must be enforced and the government asked why it cannot prevent the commander from illegal activities,” he said. Sadaqat, accused of harassing people and having a personal jail, joined the peace process along with his supporters last year.
Earlier this week, the district chief, Abdul Qadir Haidari, escaped unhurt in an assault.Haidari recalled he had gone to a clinic for inaugurating a vaccination campaign in Khadir district, where unknown people attacked him physically. He said they immediately left the area after being attacked.
Three armed groups active in the district had caused insecurity for the people, he said, adding they had asked Daikundi police officials to deploy more security personnel to the district.
Mohammad Hussain, a cultural activist in Daikundi, urged the Kabul government to take stern action against illegal groups in the province if it was serious about improvingthe security situation.
“It is clear there are no Taliban militants and Islamic State (IS) members in Ishterli, Khadir, Sang Takht and Bandar districts, but rivalries between different parties and groups, supported by the central government, have fuelled created insecurity,” he alleged.
About a month ago, a group of gunmen attacked security forces and freed a man involved criminal activities in Sang Takht district. The armed men wounded two security personnel and a civilian driver in the attack.
In a separate incident in the district, some armed individuals attacked a security post.Illegal armed men kidnapped two men in Khadir district a few days ago. Their fate is still unclear.
Mohammad Ali, an inhabitant of Daikundi, said the province was stable in the past but some transportation routes and districts had plunged into insecurity due some armed groups operating there.
It was the government’s responsibility to control the situation and not to let Daikundi slip into chaos, he remarked.Khadir district residents complainof armed robberies, illegal groups harassing the people and insecurity created by them.

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