Illegal gunmen continue to threaten Badghis
QALA-I-NAW (Pajhwok): Residents say illegal armed groups continue to exist in northwestern Badghis province, saying a campaign against them has apparently fizzled out.
Violence involving illegal armed men took place on Saturday, leaving five people dead and 10 others injured, including two women, in the Awal village of Jwand district.
A resident of Jwand, Mohammad Asif, told Pajhwok Afghan News the Disbandment of Illegal Armed Groups (DIAG) programme has not been implemented in the town, where most residents were armed.
Last year, he recalled, 10 people were killed during a clash between illegal armed groups in the district.
Jwand district is 160 kilometers from the provincial capital, Qala-i-Naw. Afghan forces airlift equipment to the district center by helicopters because the land route is insecure.
In Abkamari district, Noorullah, a dweller of Pada Daizangi village, also said the DIAG process had failed to yield results what they had been expecting because illegal armed men still existed in most areas of the province.
“The DIAG process is not successful. Militants who join the peace process do not hand over new weapons but old ones,” he said.
Noorullah added the existence of irresponsible gunmen also caused personal enmity among local people.
“About 12 people have been killed as a result of tribal differences in Daizangi village this year,” he said, accusing illegal armed men of forcibly capturing people’s assets.
A resident of Tajik village of Muqor district, Mullah Abdul Hakim, called DIAG as unsuccessful process. He said some rebels only joined the peace process to obtain privileges.
“If the DIAG was a success story why would the so many illegal armed men exist today? These men loot defenseless people and torture them,” he added.
He said the government had failed to collect illegal weapons. “If someone travels on a bike from his village to the city, gunmen stop him and take away all his money and the bike,” Hakim said, adding 20 motorcycles had been stolen and their owners deprived of money in his area this year.
A dweller of Joi Ganj village of Bala Murghab district, Abdul Majid, said the district had become comparatively stable after the establishment of some security posts last year. But he added illegal armed men still existed and the DIAG was doing nothing.
However, Haji Mohammad Nasar Nazari, the provincial council member, said a number of people in some areas had risen in arm against militants.
He said he did not defend illegal armed men but sometimes it was necessary for local people to be equipped with weapons.
But DIAG Director Hasamuddin said the process was going better in Badghis than some other provinces in the west.
He confirmed some irresponsible armed men existed and said they had shared the issue with the officials concerned.
“You know the DIAG has only one police officer and his driver who cannot arrest illegal armed men alone because they have no extra personnel,” he said.
Hasamuddin said used to share plans with security organs but no one paid attention.
He said 250 different weapons had so far collected over the past two years in Badghis.
Provincial police chief Col. Mohammad Qayum Angar said there were no any illegal armed men in Qala-i-Naw and district centres. Such groups operated in remote areas, he said.
He said people in remote areas kept weapons for their own protection and that security forces were trying to disarm illegal armed men and maintain security in Badghis.
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