Hundreds join local police force in Marja
LASHKARGAH (PAN): Hundreds of youth in Marja district of southern Helmand province have joined a local police force to maintain security of villages, an official said on Saturday.
"So far 300 young men have joined the force and they are providing security for their villages," Rahmatullah, a regional commander of the force, told Pajhwok Afghan News.
Marja -- the scene of a massive joint operation by Afghan and international troops 13 three months ago -- is located 35 kilometres south of Lashkargah, the provincial capital. Militants were flushed out as a result of the offensive.
"Young men joining the force want their families and people to live in peace. Their aim is to block the way of drug smugglers, terrorists and prevent untoward incidents," the commander said.
A tribal elder, Haji Baz Gul, said the Taliban started intimidating residents after the operation and many people killed on spying charges.
"This intimidation and killings prompted the youth to join the force and fight the Taliban," the elder said. Salaries of the force are funded by US Marines, but they lack uniform and other equipment.
Rahmatullah said the newly-recruited policemen would receive professional training after their registration with the interior ministry.
"Earlier, the tribesmen would keep security for their own villages, but now the 300-member force has been divided into groups and deputed to four police districts," he said.
The district police chief, Ghulam Wali Shakir, said the local police worked in full cooperation with them and complied with their directives. He added small development projects were initiated villages where young men had joined the force.
Mohammad Aslam, a local policeman, said his three family members had joined the force. The job helped meet his family needs and provided him a chance to serve his villagers, he concluded.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.