50 villages cleared of rebels in west
HERAT CITY (PAN): Up to 50 villages have been cleared of insurgents as a result of a major military offensive simultaneously being conducted in four western provinces, an official said on Tuesday.
Codenamed "Oqab" (eagle), the independent operation involving Afghan National Army's 207th Zafar Military Corps is aimed at driving insurgents from Herat, Farah, Badghis and Ghor provinces, the corps spokesman, Col. Najibullah Najibi, told Pajhwok Afghan News.
He said the troops were yet to face resistance during the operation that had resulted in the seizure of a huge quantity of weapons and ammunitions, besides detection and defusing of 20 landmines.
He added the troops also disarmed some illegal armed men who had been accused of involvement in robberies on highways.
The armed men had established illegal check posts along the roads and were involved in extortion of money from passengers, the military official said.
A Chasht district resident in Herat, Noor Ali, also a tribal elder, called the operation as useful. He said the security situation had improved after illegal check posts were removed by the troops.
He urged the government to establish security posts in insecure parts in order to protect residents from being harassed by illegal armed groups.
A Bala Marghab resident in Badghis, Shah Mohammad, said such operations could bring security only for a short period of time. He suggested security posts be established in areas cleared of armed insurgents.
Local officials say the operation Oqab would help improve security on highways, extend government's writ and pave the ground for dispatching voter cards to districts ahead of next year's presidential and provincial council elections.
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