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    Paktia council office closed to protest NATO raid

    GARDEZ (PAN): Provincial council members on Sunday closed their office in protest against an overnight raid on the house of a senior counternarcotics official by NATO-led troops in southeastern Paktia province.

    The predawn raid by NATO and Afghan forces on the house of Paktia Counternarcotics Department head, Hafizullah Ahmadzai, left a woman dead and four others females injured. Ahmadzai was arrested along with his two sons in Gardez city.

    "We will not reopen the office unless the perpetrators of the raid are handed over to the Afghan government," the council head, Shaista Jan Ahadi, told at a news conference. He said the real culprits were those giving wrong tip offs to foreign soldiers.

    "Although our previous such demands have not met, but this time we are seriously calling for our demands to be met," he said. He questioned foreign troops if the counternarcotics official had any links with the Taliban, then why he was freed back.

    The Governor's House also condemned the raid, saying foreign soldiers carried out the operation without coordination with local authorities.

    The governor's spokesman, Rohullah Samoon, told Pajhwok Afghan News the raid was a cruel action.  "Raiding the house of a government department head is not tolerable by any means," he said.

    A tribal elder from Ahmadaba district, Muqbil Fazli, said the government had been unable to bring perpetrators of such attacks to justice in the past. He warned of protests if the soldiers involved in the raid were not punished.

    Another tribal elder, Abdullah Gardezi, on the other hand, asked parliamentarians not to attend Wolesi Jirga sessions as a mark of protest against the raid. "All MPs hailing from Paktia should not attend the house in protest and if they cannot do this, they are no more our representatives," he said.