Residents air security concerns ahead of polls
BAMYAN CITY (Pajhwok): Hundreds of residents of the Shibar district in central Bamyan province on Wednesday complained of the presence of illegal gunmen in the areas, fearing they might not vote in the April elections.
But local officials rejected the complaint as exaggerated, insisting no significant armed groups operated in the district. The authorities said there was no threat to provincial and presidential elections there.
Residents said as many as 300 families living in Ghandak, Aspi Sang, Pul Sharwal, Dahan Anaba and Qalacha areas faced serious security threats from the armed groups.
An influential elder, Mullah Bismillah, told Pajhwok Afghan News that about 140 individuals had already met the governor on behalf of the 300 families to discuss their problem, but no action had been taken so far.
Bismillah identified the illegal armed commanders as Mullah Gul Badin, Haji Mohammad, Raees Bakhash and Abdal. The militants are bullying Shibar residents for their support to the newly-appointed district police chief.
He said the polling stations in Ghandak area were under the control of the armed men and local residents could not go there for voting. “If the security situation does not improve, we cannot participate in the polls,” he feared.
But Bamyan Governor Ghulam Ali Wahdat said there were no armed groups operating in the area, where some individuals had issues with the police officer. The problem would be resolved by a peace committee, Wahdat assured.
Provincial police chief, Brig Gen Khudayar Qudusi, said security forces would not let anyone disrupt election affairs and they were ready to ensure security of polling stations.
Any armed group found in Ghandak area would be disarmed by security forces, he indicated.
Regional Independent Election Commission (IEC) chief, Ali Yawar Aliyarzada, said the Shibar problem had not been referred to them so far. But if such a threat exists, IEC officials will resolve it as soon as possible.
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