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    Militants have infiltrated police ranks: MoI official

    LASHKRGAH (PAN): Pakistan is trying to perpetuate the conflict and install a puppet government in Afghanistan, a Ministry of Interior (MoI) official alleged on Thursday.

    Lt. Gen. Mohammad Hasan Atmar, in charge of police affairs at the ministry, said neighbours -- especially Pakistan -- were seeking to catapult their hand-picked people into power in Kabul.

    After meetings with local officials in Lashkargah, Atmar said the Afghan government would never bow to pressures from Islamabad to leave the Durand Line spat unresolved.

    He told reporters the objective behind his visit was to assess the overall security situation in Helmand and bring reform to the national police, which was fast emerging as a strong force.

    However, he acknowledged that insurgents had infiltrated police ranks with the support of some neighbouring countries. The authorities were doing all they could to address the problem, he added.

    Policemen suspected of having links with insurgents in the province are being investigated, the Helmand police chief said on Sunday. The investigation -- part of a reform programme -- was launched after the killing of several policemen in insider attacks in Greshk district.

    Five police officials were poisoned before being shot dead by their colleagues in Greshk district before Eidul Adha.

    A week later, four policemen were killed and three others went missing in the wake of an attack on their checkpoint in the same district. The missing personnel are believed to have joined the Taliban.

    Atmar insisted the ongoing war, which had political motives, could not be justified as jihad, because there was no threat to Islam in Afghanistan.

    Public support was growing for Afghan soldiers and police, who were gaining professional strength and skills with the passage of time, he said, concluding they had been able to bust the militants’ morale.