Nad Ali villages cleared of militants
LASHKARGAH (PAN): Several areas of Nad Ali district in southern Helmand province have been cleared of insurgents during an operation that lasted 10 days, security officials said on Monday.
Conducted by police, the operation was focused on Seh-wo-Yak, Loya Manda and Lochak areas, an official at the district police headquarters, 1st Lt. Omar Jan Haqmal, told Pajhwok Afghan News.
He said the offensive resulted in injuries to police officials and the insurgents. However, he did not provide specific casualty figures. Forty-two landmines, a machine gun, a Kalashnikov, three motorcycles and dozens of mine fuses were seized.
Roadside bombs were detected and defused in a number of areas, but some parts of the district were still littered with home-made bombs, the official said, adding efforts were ongoing to clear all roads and areas.
In the Loya Manda locality, a 30-member local police force had been deputed along with national police, according to Haqmal, who said the insurgents had been in control of the areas for four years. People had to face numerous problems due to the presence of gunmen.
He said the only unresolved problem was poppy cultivation in the areas, where farmers wanted to harvest their crops. "Allowing growers to harvest the illicit crops is beyond our authority," he explained.
Nad Ali district chief, Habibullah Shamali, told Pajhwok Afghan News residents had been asked at a series of gatherings to cooperate with security forces in efforts to prevent insurgent attacks.
The district chief added the youth who had joined rebels had been told that they would not be prosecuted if tribal elders provided guarantees of their good conduct in the future.
Haji Lal Mohammad, a tribal elder from Loya Manda, claimed they had grown poppies under pressure from the Taliban. "We have spent a lot of money on the crops and the government has warned of destroying them. If the government does so, we will face economic problems."
He suggested the government should improve the security situation before launching reconstruction projects. In the past, they had schools and clinics, but the Taliban ordered them closed.
Mohammad Aus, a 13-year-old boy, said their school was blown up some time ago, depriving a large number of students of education. The district has been included in the second phase of security transition.
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