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Residents worry about presence of armed men in Sar-i-Pul

Residents worry about presence of armed men in Sar-i-Pul

Mar 01, 2011 - 17:10

SAR-I-PUL CITY (PANinfo-icon): The presence of Talibaninfo-icon, who have renounced violence, but are still walking around armed, is worrying residents of northern Sar-i-Pul province.

Nearly 200 Taliban fighters, including some of their commanders, who were active in Sayad and Kohistanat districts, have joined the peace process over the past month.

Some have even been provided homes, while others have been enrolled in a vocational training centre. 

Yet, several have been seen walking around armed in the provincial capital, Sar-i-Pul, without official security force uniforms.

"When I see the Taliban with arms and not in uniform, I feel fear and it reminds me of the civil war. This will make people worried about the security," Najibullah, 35, a shopkeeper, said. 

The government should recruit the former insurgents and give them uniforms, so that people are reassured when they see them with weapons, he said.

"We are worried a lot when we see these armed men, so the government should take them out of the city or send them back to their respective areas," Faizullah, 40, another resident of the city, said. If these men want to live in the city, they should be without guns, he said.

The provincial governor, Sayed Anwar Aala Rahmati, also said that former Taliban had no right to be armed in the city, and that they could carry weapons when they went back to their districts.

The ex-insurgents, however, said they did not pose a threat to the people of the city.

"We keep arms for our security," Sayed Massoud, a former commander of a 10-member group, said. "We gave up the insurgency and now we are helping the soldiers in the province," he said.

They also said officials had promised to clear their areas of Taliban who could retaliate against them for switching sides, but so far nothing had happened.

Rahmati, on the other hand, said there had been some clearing operations in Sayad district but they had been postponed due to snow. Other operations and work on reconstructioninfo-icon projects would be launched as soon as possible, he said.

According to the provincial police chief, Brig. Gen. Asadullah Sherzad, about 50 percent of Sayad district was in control of the Taliban.


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