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    No criminals in our ranks: Helmand police chief

    LASDHKARGAH (PAN): Authorities in southern Helmand provinces on Monday poured scorn on a British newspaper report that likened local security forces to criminals.

    The daily said Afghan forces in Helmand were involved in murder, sexual abuse of young boys, shooting unarmed civilians, drug addiction, kidnaps and extortion.

    “An investigation has revealed how Afghan forces running bases that British soldiers fought to secure are barely able to function -- let alone pose a challenge to the Taliban,” The Independent reported.

    It said more than 100 British soldiers lost their lives in Sangin before handing the district over to the Americans in 2010. Foreign troops are due to quit their combat role at the end of 2014.

    The newspaper said the frustration of US marines advising Afghan forces had been exposed in scenes being aired on BBC1's Panorama this evening.

    But the provincial police chief, angrily reacting to the allegations, accused The Independent of deviating from journalistic ethics in slandering the Afghan forces without seeking their views.

    Col. Abdul Nabi Ilham told a news conference in Lashkargah that the daily, in line with the fundamental reporting principle of objectivity, should have asked for the local security commanders’ comments.

    He insisted security situation in areas under the Afghan forces had significantly improved, indicating only a small number of police officials were involved in drug addiction.

    “In all districts of Helmand, social and village councils are functioning effectively. In their presence, concealing police crime is an impossible. People definitely complain of such things,” he remarked.