Sangin elders for full-scale offensive against rebels
LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): Calling for a massive military operation to vanquish militants, tribal elders on Friday said the government had failed to prevent clashes in the Sangin district of southern Helmand province.
The elders from Sangin, who visited the office of journalists in Lashkargah, the provincial capital, said their relatives trapped in clashes between militants and security forces could not leave homes.
One of them Shamsullah Sehrai claimed the Chief of Army Staff, who visited Sangin a few days ago, was only able to visit a single military post and returned to Kabul without visiting other areas. The elder said the army chief on reaching Kabul had told President Karzai that the clashes in Sangin had ended.
Sehrai said the government should send additional security forces to Sangin for keeping security and should launch a major operation against the insurgents in order to protect residents.
He said family members of some residents remained in Sangin and they could not help them leave.
Another elder, Mullah Abdul Rauf, said corpses could still be seen lying on the ground in Sangin and no one could take them to graveyards for burial.
“But government officials say there is no problem in Sangin,” he said, adding clashes were still ongoing in the area.
In the group of tribal elders, influential figure in Karez area of Lashkargah, the provincial capital, Abdul Samad Khan, told Pajhwok Afghan News the clashes in Sangin had been launched on a large scale and as such operation was required to control the situation.
In a reference to neighbouring countries, Khan said the clashes in Sangin had no matching in the whole of Afghanistan. He said American and British troops still existed in Helmand but they had turned a deaf ear to the clashes.
Samad Khan said it was difficult to target militants hiding in groups at separate locations but wondered why security forces were not targeting hordes of militants roaming free in a single district like Sangin.
“This weakness of the security forces has created doubts among residents about their operations. Residents believe security forces are reluctant to go after the insurgents or launch a massive operation against them.”
Governor Mohammad Naeem and police chief Brig. Gen. Abdul Qayum Baqizoy had said the attacking insurgents had been weakened but landmines prevented security forces from quickly advancing. They also acknowledged clashes in some areas were still ongoing but on low scale.
Taliban’s spokesman Qari Yousaf Ahmadi said a large number of fighters were still existed in Sangin. He claimed a number of security personnel were killed in a roadside bomb attack a day earlier.
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