Meddling behind Helmand fighting: Lawang
LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): The 215th Maiwand Military Corps alleged on Friday fighting in southern Helmand province was dragging on due to brazen interference from a neighbouring country and joblessness.
Brig. Gen. Dadan Lawang claimed: “There is a visible presence of the neighbouring country’s intelligence agents here. We have tasked some departments to share input to counter their nefarious designs.”
In an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, he said militants were unable to enter face-to-face combat with security forces. Frustrated as they are, the insurgents have resorted to planting roadside bombs.
He said a comprehensive strategy had been chalked out to beat militant tactics in northern districts of the province but he stopped short of disclosing details of the plan.
The fighting had intensified because of interference from a foreign intelligence network -- a not-so-veiled reference to Pakistan’s ISI. The spy service was exploiting jobless youth to take up arms against their own country, he said.
Referring to poppy cultivation in the province, the outspoken general said growing the illicit crop was a huge challenge for them, even bigger than the militant threat.
Another security problem was illegal mines business, which continued unabated in southern districts, he informed. The general is meeting different departmental heads to build close coordination.
“We have no big problems. We have aircraft, resources and military equipment. I have asked my staff to tell me without hesitation if they need extra facilities to improve security,” the commander continued.
He ruled out the presence of ISIS, Haqqani network or al-Qaeda in Helmand, but said that interference by the neighbouring country was a matter of concern to him.
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