Local police deployed in Kunduz
KUNDUZ CITY (PAN): Residents in northeastern Kunduz province have welcomed the first unit of local police, but the security force say they do not have enough weapons or support to defend the area.
Talok, which has been peaceful for two months since the deployment of
the 105 local police unit, used to be a strategic Taliban base.
It is located between Imam Sahib district and Gortapa in Kunduz city,
and was used by the militants to plan suicide attacks and plant land
However, during a recent visit to the area, there were several new,
well-protected checkpoints and armed police on regular patrols.
The security posts were cordoned off by barbed wire connected to bombs
in case insurgents tried to sneak in.
Entry to the area is through a gate, which is barricaded by sand bags.
One member of the local police unit, who wished to remain anonymous,
said: “Taliban have no sympathy, they kill themselves and they kill
others, we should be very careful of suicide attacks. If the Taliban
want to enter the area, they have to go through us.”
Each security post is about 5 kilometres apart, and in the Talok
desert there is a military base of the NATO-led International Security
Assistance Force (ISAF).
All the members of the local police were trained by ISAF.
Nizamudin, another member of the local police unit, said he was
trained for a month in law, human rights, the Afghan constitution, use
of arms, the arrest procedure, checking of vehicles and patrolling.
The first batch of local police graduated two months ago, but many say
that they still lack adequate equipment to do their jobs.
Abdul Hafiz, the commander of the 105 unit, said that they desperately
needed weapons and ammunition.
The government has only provided them with two ranger vehicles and
some weapons, he said. “We need more bases and security posts,
motorbikes and more vehicles with heavy arms and ammunition in order
to halt the enemies in the area,” he said.
Construction of security posts, heavy weapons and ammunition cost
money and without posts, they could not restore security, Hafiz said.
Currently, there were no insurgents in the area, but with the arrival
of spring, they may return, he added.
Three months ago, international and Afghan forces carried out a major
clearance operation in Kunduz province, focusing on Talok, Chardara,
Dasht-i-Arhci and Imam Sahib. Many of the Taliban were said to have
escaped to neighbouring Takhar and Baghlan provinces and so there is
concern they could return.
Haji Muslim, an elder in Talok, said it was only three months ago that
the area was insecure. Taliban and Afghan and ISAF soldiers often
clashed in the district, but after the clearance operation and
deployment of local police, the security had improved, he said.
The local police treat the residents well and there has not been any
complaint so far, he added. “I hope that the security will exist for a
long time, however, we are concerned because we hear reports that the
Taliban will return and fighting will commence again.”
Abdul Rahman Aqtash, a police official in Kunduz, confirmed some of
the problems that local police were facing, but said the government
was making every effort to resolve them.
“We accept that the local police have problems, however, the
government also has limitations. Currently, local police should use
what they have been given, and if they need back up to fight the
Taliban they have the national police and ISAF,” said Aqtash.
“We will not leave the local police on their own,” he said.
Aqtash was wounded in a suicide attack on Feb.1, in which the former
police chief of Kunduz, Brig. General Abdul Rahman Sayed Khili, was
Gen. Bismillah Muhammadi, the interior minister, said two months ago
that all illegally armed groups in Kunduz had been disbanded and that
1,200 local police would soon begin work.
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