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Foreign militants pose serious threat to Faryab security: PC

MAIMANA (Pajhwok): Provincial council head in northern Faryab province voiced concerns over deteriorating law and order amid complaints of growing number of foreign insurgents that poses serious threat to peace and stability of the province.
According to provincial council, since the beginning of their work major focus have been shifted to address security issues and resolving people’s problems.
Sayed Abdul Baqi Hashimi, Faryab provincial council head, told Pajhwok Afghan News security was of a major concern in the province amid lack of sufficient forces.
In addition, the growing numbers of Uzbekistani fighters who have come from Pakistan’s northern Waziristan were behind insecurity.
In the last two weeks, security has relatively improved because local Taliban had gone for fighting in Charsada and Jawand districts of Ghor and Badghis provinces. These fighters, he added, had recently returned and were already mounting attacks on Qaisar and Kohistan districts of Faryab.
Hashimi said Faryab was as insecure the way Helmand province was made insecurity. Apart from Taliban, dozens of Uzbek fighters and their family members had presence in the province.
These foreign fighters plan to disrupt security situation of Central Asia, he added. What are their sources of income, Hashimi questioned, saying: “A country that has ambiguous policies and has no proper definition of terrorists and political opponents, with no control over far-flung areas it is natural that regional countries would take benefit from such situation.”
He added contingents of army were deployed in Helmand province but the number of soldiers deployed in Faryab was even less than those of Sangin district in Helmand.
Provincial council head said he met separately with almost all top officials regarding security situation in Faryab and received promises that still have not been materialized.
Hashimi added interior minister had promised to appoint new officials in security organs.
“The security situation in north and specially Faryab is deteriorating and if the government does not take tangible steps, districts will fall to Taliban like domino,” he warned.
According to security officials, Qaisar, Almar and Pashtunkot districts were among the most affected parts, which were under attacks intermittently.
Dozens of families have been displaced due to clashes and more than 10 civilians have been killed since the beginning of the current year.
Abdul Qader, who has been displaced with his eight-member family from Qaisar district said: “Neither Taliban nor government care about civilians. When there is fighting both sides fire rockets and mortars, affecting civilians.”
He had lost a child in a mortar attack and had no choice but to come to provincial capital. “The government and Taliban should not harm civilians. If the situation continues like that then what will happen to our lives.”
Security officials insist that insurgents do not have the capability to face security forces. They said majority of localities in Qaisar and Almar districts have been cleared and soon people would return to their homes.
Last month a group of local men, women and children complained to governor that illegal armed groups were harassing them in their areas.
The residents had complained four guards of commander Saleh of highway police had killed one members of their family and had wounded three others.
Saleh denied the allegations but security officials said they would investigate the matter.
Officials of the provincial Human Rights Commission said several complaints had been registered about murdering, sexual assaults, extortion and torching houses on fire in the past one year. Enforcing law would be impossible without stability.
The commission director Sayed Hafizullah Fitrat said most of the complaints were registered against rebels, local powerful individuals and illegal armed people.
He went on to say other complaints pertaining to collecting of Zakat and misusing of humanitarian aids.
On the other hand, the United Nations (UN) linked increasing civilians’ casualties to the ongoing conflict between Afghan security forces and Taliban.
According to a report released by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), as many as 665 civilians including 55 women had been killed and 1,155 others including 117 women injured in the first quarter of 2015.
Most of the casualties were said to be inflicted by militants while insurgents reject the figures as propaganda tool against them.
Provincial council head Sayed Abdul Baqi said that joblessness and poverty were another problem that forcing youths to travel to Iran for work.
“There is no job opportunity in Faryab. The Maimana-Faryab highway could help residents improve their life and economy if it is asphalted. But some neighboring countries disrupt its construction process,” he said, adding that they faced problems after Wolesi Jirga took the right of evaluating local governance from them.
Baqi added that the council had paid enough attention to share people’s problems about security situation, job opportunities and elimination of corruption with the government and civil society organizations but he regretted that the government did not pay any attention in this regard.
However, a civil society activist Waisuddin Samil said provincial council was ineffective for people and its existence has caused increase problems and insecurity.
Most of the people who voted for the council members expected the council would resolve their problems pertaining to corruption, security, reconstruction and other issues, but the council members have focused to protect their personal interests, he added.
“The council did nothing for people from the time it has started working. We did not see they resolved any tribal dispute, but they only criticize the government without any reasons,” Samil said.
A government official Mohammad Suhrab Masumi also alleged the provincial council had no capacity to tackle people’s problems efficiently.
He said the council members were busy traveling to attend seminars and workshops without bringing positive results in people’s lives.
“We voted the council members to defend people’s rights, the Wolesi Jirga took the right of evaluating local governance from them but they started protests and regained the right. They did nothing for the welfare of people,” he said.
A shopkeeper in Maimana city, the capital of the province, Naik Mohammad said the council members had promised to change people’s lives for positive but “we did not see their faces for months.”

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