Former fighters join local police force in Uruzgan
TIRINKOT (PAN): Some former Taliban fighters, after quitting the insurgency, have joined a local police force in central Uruzgan province. They urged their past associates to shun violence and participate in Afghanistan's reconstruction.
Jamal Gul, who once fought against the Afghan security personnel, has become a member of local police in his native Khas Uruzgan district, located 175 km east of the provincial capital, Tirinkot.
After years of fighting against Afghan soldiers, the 42-year-old told Pajhwok Afghan News: "I realised I was going down the wrong path. That was neither in my personal nor in my country's interest."
Six months back, Gul said, he parted his ways with the Taliban and joined the reintegration campaign. "The way Taliban have chosen to achieve their objectives is patently incorrect," he insisted.
After giving up violence, he was jailed for two months. However, the man was released on completion of investigations. He urged all fighters to take a leaf out of his book and serve their country.
"I got enrolled into local police to work for Afghanistan's wellbeing and security. For the wrongs I may have committed during my association with the Taliban, the government can punish me according to the law of the land."
Maintaining the security of his village in Shali area, he said: "Many of my friends who have abandoned the insurgency are now part of the local police."
He wished more of his associates lay down their arms and work for the reconstruction of their country. "I want to see more development, schools and health clinics in my district."
Local police commander in Khas Uruzgan, Muhamamd Zaki, said the US-supported force had 250 members. Initially not interested in joining it, now people in large numbers seek recruitment into the force.
"Each member is paid 9,000 afghanis ($200) a month, something people did not know at the beginning" said Zaki, who added they had set up 22 posts in various areas of the district.
A Fatwa village resident, Muhammad Akram, deserted the Afghan National Police due to threats from militants and shifted to Kandahar to join the National Directorate of Security.
"Now that the security situation has improved in our district after creation of the force under the Ministry of Interior, I have returned to my village and have joined the local police," he said.
Malik Abdul Karim, Khas Uruzgan local council head, also acknowledged security had improved -- thanks to the local police. However, he complained its members received inadequate salaries and facilities.
Governor Muhammad Omar Sherzad viewed the force as necessary for the restoration of security. He asked tribal elders to be "very careful" in recommending people for recruitment into the local police.
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