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Wardak sees high security threat in south, east

Wardak sees high security threat in south, east

May 25, 2011 - 19:00

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): There have been several security challenges in recent weeks but Afghan forces are now capable of defending their motherland, the minister of defence told lawmakers on Wednesday.

Speaking in Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon, lower house, Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak said the militants had lately changed their tactics -- moving away from face-to-face fighting to group suicide attacks.

Interior Minister Gen. Bismillah Khan Mohammadi and National Directorate of Security (Afghan spy service) chief Rahmatullah Nabeel also testified before the house on the situation.

The rebels were in an attempt to shatter people's confidence in the security forces with group suicide assaults on government buildings, the defence minister said. However, he hastened to add: "We are trying to foil this plan of the fighters as well."

Wardak said suicide bombers should be eliminated at the source, but doing so was presently beyond Afghan forces' control, in that the guerrillas were being trained abroad. Similarly, he continued, the rebels were making efforts to infiltrate police and army ranks.

The security threat was high in southern and eastern provinces, where militants in military uniforms staged suicide assaults in recent weeks, and low in the western and northern region, he said.

Echoing his view, Bismillah Mohammadi said the Talibaninfo-icon were doing all they could to make their spring offensive a success. Despite casualties among the forces and civilians as a result of rebel incursions, the interior ministry had made considerable achievements, he claimed.

Without giving casualty figures for the security personnel, he said 218 civilians had been killed and 567 others wounded by the fighters during their offensive. Over the past two months, 1,618 individuals were detained on the charge of involvement in terrorist acts. Nine of the detainees were would-be suicide bombers.

While Muhammadi was still testifying, Speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi said President Hamid Karzai had summoned Wardak to attend an important meeting at the Presidential Palace. His announcement irked some members, who called the presidential summons an affront to the Wolesi Jirga.

However, other lawmakers believed Wardak should attend the meeting at the presidency. After a lot of arguments, the speaker asked the house to vote on whether or not the defence minister should go to the Presidential Palace. A majority of MPs voted to let all the top security bosses leave.


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