MPs 'skip' memorial service for Sangin victims
LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): A group of Wolesi Jirga members on Friday did not attend a memorial service for the victims of a rocket strike in the Sangin district and remained in Lashkargah, the capital of southern Helmand province.
Hundreds of people attended the service in Sangin on Friday, two days after several people were killed and wounded when mortars fired by Afghan troops hit a wedding party in the Mian Rodi village.
Six Afghan National Army (ANA) troops have been detained in connection with the deaths after the government launched a probe into the incident.
Sources said 21 people had died and 50 others were injured in the incident on Wednesday evening. The military said the troops fired mortar shells at insurgents after they attacked their post near the house where the wedding was taking place. Most of the dead and wounded were women and children.
Sangin residents said it were their own troops who fired the shells. The residents carried out a protest demonstration in Lashkargah, asking the government to investigate the tragic incident.
A number of Wolesi Jirga members, including those from Helmand, on Friday arrived in Lashkargah, but they did not travel to Sangin for security fears.
The MPs visited the injured people in hospital in Lashkargah and then straightly went to the provincial council office.
Pajhwok tried to talk to the MPs but failed to establish contact with them.
A tribal elder in Sangin, Abdul Samad Khan, told Pajhwok Afghan News the lawmakers had sought refuge behind the walls of the provincial capital and they lacked the courage to brave insecurity and visit families of the victims.
He said the memorial service was attended by hundreds of people in Sangin. “We don’t want them when they cannot share grief with us,” the elder said, referring to the lawmakers.
In his address to the gathering mourning the incident, tribal elder Shamsullah Sehrai dubbed the government as cruel, saying it was not seriously investigating the incident.
He said the parliamentary delegation that had arrived in Lashkargah could not resolve their problem and they had no expectation from the MPs.
A participant of the service, Saifuddin Sanginwal, told Pajhwok Afghan News there were some elements in the Afghan army fueling insecurity.
He said the Wednesday’s incident was not the first of its kind and the troops had caused casualties to civilians before that incident.
He said the MPs could not attend the service because they feared an untoward incident could take place and they could get harmed.
A relative of the victims, Abdul Raziq, said: “I have urged God to give the same grief and pain to families of the governor, the president and other high officials so they feel ours.”
The governor and his spokesman had confirmed to Pajhwok Afghan News the detention of six ANA soldiers in connection with the shelling.
President Ghani has sent a delegation to Helmand to investigate the incident.
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