Daily Security Brief: January 26, 2012
BAGHLAN: Twenty fighters of the Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA), the second largest militant group behind Taliban, have joined the peace process in northern Baghlan province, an official said on Thursday.
Led by commander Obaid, the HIA men were operating against the Afghan government in the Baghlan-i-Markazi district of the province, police chief, Brig. Gen. Asadullah Sherzad, told Pajhwok Afghan News. The surrendering combatants also turned in 20 pieces of weapons.
A regional High Peace Council official, Shamsul Haq, said they had been able to convince the rebels to join the reconciliation drive. Efforts at luring other fighters into the process would continue, he promised.
The surrender would have a positive impact on the overall security situation in the district, the official hoped.
"When work on reconstruction projects was launched in our area, I decided to give up the insurgency," Commander Obaid said, pledging to work for stabilising the district.
According to officials, 250 fighters have so far joined the peace process during the last one year.
HELMAND: Two policemen and four Taliban fighters were killed during a fierce clash in southern Helmand province on Thursday, an official said.
The gunbattle that erupted in the Narai Manda area of Nad Ali district late on Wednesday lasted eight hours, Sgt. Omar Jan Haqmal, the district police chief, told Pajhwok Afghan News.
He said security personnel were conducting an operation against poppy cultivation in the area, where the clash took place. Six people including two policemen were killed and eight fighters were injured.
Resident Tor Jan said the fire exchange was serious and both sides used light and heavy weapons. Aircraft also hovered over the area, he added.
JAWZJAN: The Taliban are forcibly collecting Zakat and Ushr -- 2.5 percent of wealth given by a Muslim in charity -- from residents of northern Jawzjan province, officials and locals said on Thursday.
Residents claimed the insurgents sought from them every 40th lamb or cash equivalent to its price -- something that is creating unrest among locals. The practice has been ongoing in Dasht-i-Lilia and Qush areas of the province.
Zakat and Ushr are religious taxes considered obligatory in Islam for distribution to destitute families.
A resident, who wished not to be named, said the Taliban were forcibly collecting the tax from people in Buzghala Khord, Khatai Sai, Aqcha, Qadoghali and Dasht-i-Laili areas.
He told Pajhwok Afghan News the process started three weeks ago. "Last week, they took away one of my sheep, but I cannot complain to the Taliban leader, because his residence remains undisclosed."
A dweller of the Dasht-i-Laili area, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there were more than 60,000 sheep in the area. He added the Taliban had asked residents to pay them the Islamic taxes. They had complained to police, but no action had so far been taken, he continued.
Aminullah, the Qush Tapa district chief, confirmed the problem, saying the insurgents were operating 50 kilometers from the district centre. He said the fighters regularly patrolled remote areas at night.
Police had launched nigh patrols in the Dasht-i-Laili area, said Col. Mohammad Sadiq Muradi, the deputy police chief.
However, the Taliban denied involvement in collecting Zakat and Ushr. Their spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said they had launched an investigation into the matter, promising to put the perpetrators on trial.
KABUL: Eight insurgents were killed and weapons seized in a series of operations in different parts of the country, the interior ministry said on Thursday.
A statement from the ministry said the operations were conducted in Laghman, Kapisa, Faryab, Paktia and Herat provinces.
Afghan soldiers, police and ISAF jointly carried out the offensives that led to the detention of one militant and seizure of seven Kalashnikovs, four rocket launchers, 10 roadside bombs, nine hand grenades, 35kilograms of explosives, 38kg of opium and two motorcycles.
During the operations in Balkh, Kandahar, Helmand, Nimroz, Ghazni, Khost and Herat, police defused 10 roadside bombs and recovered 30kg of explosives, 23kg of opium, two mortars and a hand grenade.
The ministry said the 101st Asmayee Police Zone Police arrested six people on murder charges in sixth and 13th police districts of Kabul and Sarobi.
Meanwhile, border police arrested three people with fake passports at the Kabul International Airport.
KANDAHAR: An explosives-rigged motorcycle exploded in the capital of southern Kandahar province, moments before a bomb disposal squad reached the site on Thursday, officials said.
There were no casualties in the explosion that took place in the Hazrat Jee Baba area in the limits of the fourth police district, Brig. Gen. Abdur Razzaq, the police chief, told Pajhwok Afghan News.
After police spotted the motorcycle parked on a road, a bomb disposal was on its way to the site when the bike exploded, he said. Residents had been asked to vacate the area, he added.
Separately, 25 suspects were arrested in the province during the ongoing week. The men, including 11 militants, 10 criminals and four drug smugglers, were detained from different areas, police officer Rahmatullah Atrafi said.
He added 69 landmines, nine guns, eight mortar shells, one machine gun, 12 Kalashnikovs, four walkie-talkies, two detonators, explosives and a motorcycle were recovered from the detainees.
Police also conducted an operation against illegal migrants in Kandahar City, arresting and deporting 30 Pakistani citizens.
KUNAR: A 12-member insurgents group has joined the peace process in eastern Kunar province, an official said on Thursday.
Led by Najibullah, the group had been operating in Watapur district over the past years, Governor Syed Fazlullah Wahidi told Pajhwok Afghan News.
He promised the men, who had renounced the insurgency as a result of efforts by intelligence operatives, would be given work opportunities.
Rebel leader, Najibullah, said they had given up violence after realising that they were killing innocent Afghans.
Without naming anyone, he said foreigners were exploiting the situation in their own interests. He promised efforts at luring other militants into the reconciliation programme.
However, a Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said the group had no activity in the district and its surrender was aimed at grabbing money from the government.
--Khan Wali Salarzai
QUETTA: Six Pakistani border policemen were killed during a shootout with gunmen in southwestern Balochistan province, bordering Afghanistan, an official said on Thursday.
The gunbattle took place in the Dera Bugti area, where a group of insurgents attacked a border police post, police officer Ghulam Mustafa told Pajhwok Afghan News.
He said initial investigations showed the attack involved about 20 motorcyclists. Six policemen were killed, with the attackers seizing police weapons.
Although there was no claim of responsibility, Mustafa suspected the Baloch Liberation Army, a local separatist movement, was behind the attack that came days after police killed a large number of rebels in the Samawlang area.
Three people were gunned down by unknown assailants in Quetta, the provincial capital, late on Wednesday night. Police officer Nazir Kurd said the attack took place on the Mikangi Road. The dead included a Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) official and a national TV channel worker.
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