Daily Security Brief: February 19, 2012
HELMAND: Truckers accuse Afghan National Army (ANA)’s civilian employees with the 215th Maiwand Military Corps of seeking bribes from them. But an ANA official rejects the allegation as untrue.
The 215th Maiwand Military Corps officials are stationed in the Washer district near a base of international troops along the Kandahar-Herat highway in southern Helmand province.
Sher Ahamd, a driver who supplies logistics for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), alleged ANA’s civilian staff had consistently been asking truckers for illegal gratification.
He told Pajhwok Afghan News ANA staff had established a toll plaza in front of the military base and charged a $20.22 (1,000afs) tax from each truck. A similar tax is paid to the office concerned in Kandahar City and Greshk district.
He alleged the corps had illegally set up the toll plaza and they had no right to realise levies from truckers. He warned the drivers would stop carrying supplies for foreign troops if the practice was not stopped.
Another driver, Amanullah, also confirmed the problem, saying vehicles were not allowed until the money was paid. He complained they could not afford to meet the illegal demands of ANA employees.
Mohammad Daud Noorzai, the Washer district chief, confirmed the problem, the ANA civilian officials had no coordination with the district administration. “No one is allowed to realise illegal taxes from truckers,” he said, adding the issue had not been shared formally with the district officials.
Syed Malik, the 215th Military Corps commander, acknowledged the establishment of the withholding tax office in front of the military corps. He explained the office had jointly been set up by the transport department and the municipality -- not by the ANA.
Previously, he recalled, the office was situated on the Kandahar-Herat highway. It was relocated in compliance with orders from the governor’s house.
ISLAMABAD: At least 20 people were killed in a bomb blast and clashes between rival religious groups in Pakistan’s lawless tribal region of Khyber near the Afghan border, officials said on Sunday.
The blast that took place at a pro-government militia checkpoint in the Nari Baba area of Zakha Khel killed several members of the tribal force, government official Abdul Nabi told Pajhwok Afghan News. He had no exact casualty figures.
But another official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said armed clashes between the two sides -- followed by the blast -- left a dozen people dead and 13 others wounded.
He said the bomb was allegedly planted by the Lashkar-i-Islami militant group, led by notorious warlord Mangal Bagh. The pro-government militia has been in control of the post after it was deserted by rebels.
Reports said a clash was ongoing between two banned outfits -- Lashkari-i-Islami and Ansarul Islam -- in the Teerah valley. So far eight people have been killed and six others wounded in the clashes.
KABUL/HELMAND: Thirty-five drug traffickers were detained and a large amount of narcotics seized in the capital Kabul, officials said on Sunday.
The smugglers, arrested in different areas of Kabul, were involve in 31 cases of drug trafficking, Brig. Gen. Mohammad Zahir, the crime branch chief of the 101st Aasmayee Zone, told Pajhwok Afghan News.
He said more than 57 kilograms of hashish, 12 kg of heroin, 355 bottles of alcohol and more than 900 litres of intoxicant beverages were confiscated. The detainees are currently under investigation.
Elsewhere, two interpreters with NATO-led soldiers were held on drug-trafficking charges in southern Helmand province, said an intelligence official who wished anonymity.
Residents of Nangarhar and Baghlan provinces, the men were detained with eight kg of heroin in Greshk district late on Saturday.
--Khwaja Basir Ahmad & Zainullah Stanikzai