Sigh of relief as road cleared after 5 years
ASADABAD (PAN): Security posts have been established in the Chapa Dara district of eastern Kunar after a massive military offensive codenamed “Tofan” (Storm) against insurgents to pave the ground for reconstruction projects, local officials say.
The Taliban had kept closed the road between Chapa Dara and the Wama district of neighbouring Nuristan for the past five years. But security forces cleared a 22-kilometre portion of the route from Manogai district to Goslak area.
Last week, the Afghan National Army (ANA) troops cleared the road further from Chapa Dara’s Kondi area to Wama district in Nuristan during the second phase of the operation.
Residents say armed insurgents would stop vehicles and search them in broad daylight and would create many problems for commuters on the road.
Kunar police chief, Brig. Gen. Abdul Habib Syedkhel, said the operation had been a success, adding security posts manned by public order police had been established on the highway.
He said government officials and common people travelled the road without any fear. The police chief added the security posts would remain as long as the presence of armed rebels continued.
He also said a base of ANA troops would be established in Chapa Dara district to keep security for the highway. Syedkheli said search operations were still ongoing in order to completely purge the area of militants.
Maj. Shirin Agha, the 201st Selab Military Corps spokesman, told Pajhwok Afghan News that the troops were well-trained and laced with sophisticated weapons.
He said the corps’ bomb disposal squad was currently busy detecting landmines the Taliban had emplaced on the highway in Chapa Dara. He said so far dozens of mines had been found and defused as the search operations went on.
Kunar governor Shujaul Mulk Jalala praised the Afghan forces for successfully conducting the major operation without any support from their foreign counterparts.
He said the area had long been under the influence of Taliban insurgents and as a result no reconstruction project could be executed.
“We have plans to initiate several reconstruction projects in Chapa Dara in order to resolve residents’ problems,” the governor said.
He said their priority was the construction of the road between Manogai and Chapa Dara district, saying work on the road would be launched soon.
The governor said tribal elders and locals had wholeheartedly cooperated with Afghan forces in carrying out the operation against rebels and their problems would be resolved on a priority basis.
A tribal elder in Chapa Dara, Haji Sakhi Jan, told Pajhwok Afghan News no reconstruction project had been carried out in the district over the past six year.
He said the government should first of all construct the road and then build schools and health clinics for them.
Nuristan police chief Big. Gen. Abdul Baqi Nuristani said the road between Asadabad, the capital of Kunar and Paroon, the capital of Nuristan, had been cleared of armed rebels.
He said security posts had been established from Manogai to Chapa Dara’s Tarank area inside Kunar and from that area to Paroon.
The police chief said they faced no problem in dispatching logistics to security forces and government departments in Nuristan.
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