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    Tribal militiamen accused of threatening surrendering Taliban

    KUNDUZ CITY (PAN): A member of the High Council for Peace in the northern Kunduz province on Sunday alleged that tribal militiamen were threatening Taliban fighters who joined the peace process.

    A large number of Taliban fighters in this northern province would like to join the peace process but could not because tribal militiamen had warned them against quitting the insurgency, said the regional head of the High Peace Council, Asadullah Amarkhel.

    As an example, he pointed to the killing of former Taliban commanders who had joined the peace process. He alleged that tribal militiamen had been involved in planning the killings of Maulvi Mohammad Nabbi and Mohammad Omar, both former Taliban commanders.

    "In some areas where the Taliban fighters joined the peace process, they received death threats, and some have even been beaten up," he said. Without identifying a particular commander, he said that most of the problems were in Imam Sahib, Dasht-i-Archi and Chardara districts.

    Although members of the Peace Council and government officials had been informed of the problem, he said that no action had so far been taken. He added that residents might begin protesting if the government did not act to protect former Taliban.

    A former Taliban commander, Sayed Hakim, a resident of Nasiri village in Imam Sahib district, who joined the peace process along with ten of his fighters three months ago, also said that since he joined the process, he had faced numerous threats from tribal militias.

    "Every tribal militiaman will stop me telling me that I was a former Taliban and I will be killed," he said. "We are threatened by both the Taliban and the tribal militias. But our aim in joining the peace process was to live a peaceful life," he said.

    He said had also informed government officials but that the situation persisted. The governor's spokesman, Mahbubullah Saeedi, said on the contrary that the government took such threats very seriously.

    He said that he had received complaints from Peace Council officials and former Taliban and that the relevant officials had been following the issue.

    More than 400 Taliban commanders and their fighters have joined the peace process in last six months in Kunduz. At the same time, the Afghan government has armed about 1,500 tribal militias in the province to help the government provide security.

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