MPs want wedding deaths deeply probed
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Meshrano Jirga on Sunday called for a thoroughgoing investigation into Wednesday’s shelling on a wedding party in Helmand province and giving harsher punishment to the perpetrators.
Several mortar rounds blamed on Afghan military hit a wedding party in the Sangin district, killing 21 guests, including the bride, and injuring another more than 50, mostly women and children.
Six Afghan National Army soldiers manning the posts from where the shells were fired have been arrested and two of them are being court marshaled.
Senators discussed the tragic incident during Sunday’s general session and strongly condemned it.
Senator Sher Mohammad Akhunzada from Helmand said he along with a number of colleagues had visited families of the victims in Sangin.
“The marriage participants said they had informed the army that they were holding a wedding party tonight and there should no firing. But it was in the afternoon, when the troops fired mortars from three posts, killing and wounding a number of people, a majority of them women and children.”
Akhunzada said the military officials told him they fired at the wedding because a militant had hidden among the guests.
He said Sangin residents had called for dismissal of the town’s administration officials and a harsher punishment to those involved in the shelling.
His colleague from southern Zabul province, Mohammad Daud Asas, said the Sangin incident was highly condemnable and the responsible ones should be awarded an exemplary punishment.
“We are very unfortunate people. One day Taliban kill us and one day Americans, if both spare us for a day, we are being killed by our own forces.”
Senator Ali Akbar Jamshidi said the upper house should constitute a delegation to properly investigate the incident because it was possible the attack could be a plot against the Afghan military.
Lawmakers from Helmand said currently delegations appointed by the Presidential Palace and the ministries of defence and interior were investigating the incident.
Senate Chairman Fazl Hadi Muslimyar also condemned the incident and asked the house interior and defence commission to fully investigate it and present a report on its findings to the house.
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