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    Kabul clerics oppose local police force

    KABUL (PAN): A number of Kabul-based prayer leaders and preachers on Tuesday voiced their aversion to the NATO-funded Afghan Local Police (ALP) and local militias.

    At a meeting with President Hamid Karzai, the clerics promised they would support constitutional amendments, if needed, for bringing durable peace and stability to the country.

    Karzai received the prayer leaders’ suggestions regarding the upcoming presidential and provincial council elections, due in April 2014.  They also floated proposals for the country’s bright future.

    A statement from the president’s office quoted the imams and khatibs as saying: “Religious scholars are prosecuted and tortured whenever they express their views on contemporary issues.” 

    They urged Karzai to ensure that scholars were afforded a fair opportunity to voice their opinions freely, a statement from the president’s office said.

    Opposing the ALP and militias, they said such forces were against the national interest. Funds allocated for the force should be spent on strengthening the Afghan army and police, they suggested.

    According to the statement, they also called for the creation of a neutral commission to look into the cases of detained religious scholars.